Great Talkers Little Doers

In addition to commercial advertising and ideological propagandathere is social advertising, which refers to the advertisements whichdeal with social causes and are aimed at the welfare and well-being of the people. Its target audience is not specific class but the masses whocan be educated about socially relevant issues like health, familywelfare, literacy, national security, to mention a few issues only. Theimportance of such advertisements has reached such heights thateven the government falls back upon them quite often to highlight theissues to immediate concern.

Undoubtedly, in today’s context, carryingout campaigns through social communication is of paramountimportance. The society, the economy, the politics and the mediaexposure are bringing about changes which are so radical and dynamicthat they are creating dissonance and upheavals. In order to withstandthe negative effects of changes, we certainly need these kinds of campaigns through advertising or propaganda, for sustainingcommunication with the masses at large. In short, advertising not onlyinfluences the buyer’s perception but also his responses to socialproblems.

It has its negative effects but the positive side far out-stripsthe negative side. WE TALK MORE, WORK LESS Undeniably, there are millions of people in India who think little,act even less but talk too much. Indulgence in idle gossip, disgruntledattitudes, bitter criticism of all and sundry, frustration over their sorryplight, fate and “kismat”, have in fact become national pastimes. Thenumber of those who can claim that they keep their tongue within theirlips and never talk in vain is limited. The talk of the common people,mostly irresponsible, creates the impression that they have little to do.

Indians are indeed typical of the people of the Orient who have nothingworthwhile to say, and yet contrive to spend the longest time in sayingit. Those who have endless time on their hands are great babblers. Thinking and reflection postulate a certain degree of education andintellectual development. About 64 per cent of the people in India areilliterate; so they have not developed the qualities of thinking andreflection. Montesquieu truly said that the less men think, the morethey talk. India is a land of myriad tongues. The 1961 census listed1652 languages as mother tongues spoken in India, and the 1971census, retaining he number, presented a somewhat more realisticpicture. Judged by any standard, India is Babel of tongues, perhaps thelargest in the world. This Babel has been the outcome of a cumulative process resulting from the influx of various races into the countrythrough the centuries. Talkers are never good doers; this explains theproverbial sloth, idleness and complacency of the average Indian. Ourmaterial output, our productivity and production, our net contributionto the country’s Gross National Product (GNP) are all far too low.

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Whilepeople should learn to use their hands and to be active all the time(like the Japanese who have raised their country to the pinnacle of glory despite the havoc done to their economy during World War II), wehave mastered the technique of whiling away time talking and talking,doing little positive, constructive and concrete work. Jawaharlal Nehru, in a speech way back in 1952, said he wastired of people who merely talk about various things. However wise youmay be (in India the number of truly wise, sagacious men and womenis limited), he said, you can never enter into the spirit of a thing if youonly talk about it and do nothing.

We do not know the value of time; sowe do not mind spending precious hours in idle gossip. In part thedisinclination to be up and doing all the time is the result of ourfatalistic beliefs and attitudes. Most of us tend to believe that what Godhas ordained cannot be averted. What will be, will be; so, they argue,why needlessly waste energy in thwarting God’s will? Besides, there are many among us who believe that flattery isthe shortest route to success in today’s India. The great talkers, thewily, garrulous politicians who sway audiences through their loud talk,all manage to mislead the people and promote their selfish ends.

Aflatterer is in the excellent company of imitators because imitation isconsidered the sincerest form of flattery. The easiest weapon adoptedby flatterers and sycophants is smooth talk, not work. A ready and glibtongue has at times proved to be a more precious weapon than gifts of cash and kind. Through a facile tongue the flatterers continually createillusions and a world of make-believe. Almost all great talkers are greatflatterers; praise inevitably becomes their forte. Then there are those hose talk mostly comprises advice to alland sundry on everything on earth. Like air and water, advice too canbe had free. Self-appointed advisers are great talkers; they talk theirway into your hearts and they even drive away rationality, good senseand the quality of discriminating between chalk and cheese. Asking foradvice is to tout for flatterers. And flattery feeds the ego and isexhilarating. Most talkers become bores. But let it be said in defense of the growing tribe of talkers that they do manage at times to relieveboredom.

A quiet gathering at which all those present are serious-minded people deeply engrossed in thought and philosophy wouldappear to maintain the silence of the graveyard. The talkers relatefunny incidents, describe lively experiences and entertain theircredulous listeners, quieten and comfort the people, for hours together. There is no tax on talk and gossip. So the idle, endless talker flourishesat the cost of the silent, constructive worker. It is the latter who canhelp ensure national progress, not the ceaseless twisters of the tongue,even though the latter manage to find credulous audiences.

True,sincere and genuine workers cannot stand non-sensical postures,including nonsense talk. But work does not lie in marching up anddown the streets, shouting slogans and lodging protests. Many of ustend to resort to strikes and work stoppages. Undeniably, our future amongst nations, and the good name of our country, depends entirely upon our work and work alone. Muchvaluable work can be done silently and without becoming noisy orindulging in aimless talk. If everyone realises the truth of this dictum,the salvation of the country would not be far off

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