Jawaharlal Nehru: 24 ads, 11 pages in 12 papers

A week is a long time in politics, especially if you are a dead Congressman.

On May 21, the 20th death anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, various ministries, departments and State governments unleashed an advertising blitzkrieg in the media.

Result: 69 ads totalling 41 pages in 12 newspapers.

Today, on the 47th anniversary of the death of his grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, the sycophancy deficit is palpable: Just 24 ads amounting to 10¾ published pages in the the same 12 newspapers surveyed last week.

Meaning: India’s first and longest-serving prime minister gets 45 fewer ads (amounting to 30¼ pages) than his grandson who was in office for five years against Nehru’s 17.

Hindustan Times: 22-page issue; 4 JN ads amounting to 1¾ broadsheet pages

The Times of India: 30-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¼ broadsheet pages

Indian Express: 20-page issue; 5 ads amounting to 2 broadsheet pages

Mail Today (compact): 42-page issue; 4 ads amounting to 2 compact pages

The Hindu: 20-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1¾ broadsheet pages

The Pioneer: 16-page issue; 3 ads amounting to 1 broadsheet page

The Statesman: 16-page isuse; 1 ad amounting to half a broadsheet page

The Telegraph: 16-page issue; 1 ad amounting to half a broadsheet page


The Economic Times: 32-page issue; 0 ads

Business Standard: 20-page issue; 1 ad amouning to half a broadsheet page

Financial Express: 24-page issue; 0 ads

Mint (Berliner): 32-page issue; 0 ads

Also, unlike dozen or so ministries and departments that were falling over each other to remind the nation of Rajiv Gandhi last week, just four ministries—information and broadcasting, women and child welfare, steel and power—and one State government (Delhi) seem to have taken up Nehru’s cause.

Also read: Rajiv Gandhi: 69 ads over 41 pages in 12 newspapers


  1. Sam

    Good reporting on some of the facts, though the rest leave a lot to be desired since you try to force the readers to your emotionally colored views.

    When you report on politics, at least make some effort to show that you really KNOW something about politics. (Hint: It’s all not one large conspiracy theory :).

    Do you even know why such ads of our past leaders are released?
    (Hint: Symbolism and value anchorage – People need a representation and constant reminder of the values they cherish.)

    Did you even bother to find out why this ‘sycophancy deficit’ (as you so ‘unbiasedly’ and colorfully put it) exists (atleast in your mind)?
    (Hint: It’s because Nehru’s achievements are there in all our history textbooks, while Rajiv’s are only now slowly being introduced. Read hint of 1 and let your brain munch on these 2 facts till you see light.)

    Did you even bother to find out why the government does not have single point of source for any ad it releases? (Hint: No, look it up yourself – should be very obvious.)

    And finally, another thing that should be very obvious is that apart from the goals of reminding us of these great leaders, these ads also provide a leverage for governments against the manipulation of news by vested interests.

    So yes, overall, that is 300 crores (or whatever) well utilised for its (un)stated purpose.

    Though take heart, it’s not all bad – all the ads released by the Narendra Modi government / Yeddy government certainly haven’t diluted the reporting of the strictures against them by the Supreme Court of India or of the investigation against them and their government.

    (But then again, perhaps that’s what your real ire is all about … ).

  2. Sam

    I sure would like to know what the author thinks of the Gujarat government’s plan to build a 1000+ crore statue (it might cost around 2000+ crore by the time it is completed) of Sardar Vallabhai Patel.

    Khaleej Times reports ( http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/international/2011/May/international_May1250.xml&section=international&col= ):
    “Obviously following a government fiat, at least ten state-owned public-sector undertakings have had to cough up Rs. 50 million each from their corporate social responsibility funds.

    They include PSUs flush with funds like the Gujarat State Fertilizers Company, the Gujarat State Financial Corporation, the Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers Company, the Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation, the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited, the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation, etc. The Adani group which has several companies in Gujarat has also donated Rs50 million.”

    It’s stupid, show-offish political acts like these, of the BJP, that help the Congress be one step ahead of them. (They would have built 10,000 small statues all over Gujarat!)

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