Save our Tigers, Really?

February 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Posted in Random Rants | 69 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

‘Save’ is perhaps the noblest of all four letter words that I’ve come across. It doesn’t have the hidden desperation that other four letter words have. ‘Save me’ sounds much better than ‘Love me’, much more earnest in its desperation.

When I first saw the ‘Save our tigers’ ad on teewhee, I rubbished it, you know, like we rubbish everything from Save Haiti to Save Hockey. That way. But having 400 friends on Facebook does have its disadvantages especially when sending invites to stupid clubs is the favourite pastime of some of them. But when some of the ‘sane’ friends also sent me invites to join ‘Stripey the club’, I was sure something was amiss.

It happens so that ‘Stripey’ is an innocent tiger cub whose mom ventures out in the forest and doesn’t return. You know, like women venture out in Goa(or Delhi or Bombay or <insert Indian city>) and don’t return. But let’s not digress. So Stripey’s mom has been killed by some poachers or so the commercial says and it then punches a figure of ‘only 1411 tigers left’ in your face. Very poetic. Figures always move people. You know, when anchors were screaming the number of Swine flu victims on news channels, people were scared shitless. Similarly this 1411 figure brings a sudden horror. Add to it a cute tiger cub and you have a win social initiative. Good job Aircel. Not.

Save the Tiger – www.saveourtigers.com , in my honest and unwanted opinion, is a very poorly executed social initiative. I am not sure if this has brought any mileage to Aircel but apart from creating some buzz, the initiative hardly does anything worthwhile. It lacks the soul and resolve that a social initiative requires. It applies armchair activism to an issue where its effect is debatable, and the extent of change that can be brought is extremely limited. Let’s do a quick post-mortem of the initiative.

1. The Videos:

The only saving grace of the Save our Tigers initiative is the promotional video/ad. A lot of people apparently find the tiger cub cute, most of them are distressed to see its fate. This ad also had a significant effect of kids. My mom tells me that every kid in her school now knows that there are only 1411 tigers left in India. This video is followed by some pleas by Dhoni, Baichung and Some other dude – The less said about this, the better. Shahrukh does a better job in convincing me to use face wash, than them. But that is just me.

 

2. Roar Online:

ScreenShot005

On the home page you get an option to Join the Roar. It is basically a wall thingy where you can pledge your support, reserve a pixel by adding your name to it, and a tiger-jigsaw-puzzle-thingy finishes as more and more people join up. You have to enter your name, your email id and if you wish, your mobile number. Which is a very good way to form a mailer list and build numbers. But once you join the roar, the website fails to tell how to roar, or even purr.

 

3. What can I do?

ScreenShot006

When you click on this link, it gives you five sweet options:

  • Roar Online
  • Be Informed
  • Speak Up
  • Donate
  • Lead the Change

We’ll comeback to the Roar online thing later. Let us click on Be Informed.

ScreenShot007

 

It gives you links to three pdfs. The awesome part? They are scanned copies of news clippings. One TOI and two HT stories, scanned. Are you informed enough? A Google search on Save Tiger will give me more information than those clippings. The page doesn’t even mention other sources of information. No links, nothing. Not even links to WWF’s articles. Not one mention of Project Tiger. This is where my faith in Save our Tigers took a big nosedive.

 

Next, Let us Speak Up.

 ScreenShot008

Write a letter or an email to editors of popular newspapers and magazines, asking them to support the cause and highlight the urgency to save our tigers. The more people we can reach and inform, the stronger our roar will be.

That’s it. Two lines. How short of ideas/content were you when you prepared this webpage? Two lines? They don’t even make sense. I mean, isn’t your ad already showing up on all popular newspapers, magazines and television? This is your idea of speaking up? Of making noise?

By this time, I had lost all hope in the campaign but for the sake of analysis, let us tread further.

The Donate page is another excuse of a page. A few lines and a link to WWF India’s donation page. No pleas, no requests. Remember you are asking those people who most probably didn’t donate a penny for the Haiti earthquake(barring a few ofcourse). You are asking people who generally don’t spend anything to help humans, to shell out money for animals. At least make a good case for the cause. Tell them where the money goes, how is it utilized, why is it needed. But no, we made this website in a hurry, we had to save Stripey you see.

Then there is a Lead the Change page, which tells us to:

  • Spread the word
  • SMS: Dear Aircel, How about donating some money to WWF, everytime an sms is sent on your network?
  • Write to editors – as if the majority population reads editorials and this considering the fact that they already have print ads.
  • Donate: Okay, we’ll ignore the recursion. But they ask us to donate clothes for forest guards. I am not sure if that makes sense but I’ll give it the benefit of doubt.
  • Volunteer for our Tigers: Finally! A brainwave. But where do we begin? Any pointers? A list of NGOs perhaps? Profiles, list of training courses, opportunities? Nothing. They have a list of wildlife sanctuaries plotted on India’s map for visual pleasure but they couldn’t make a list of NGOs where people can volunteer.
  • Preserve our Natural Resource: Ha!
  • Be a responsible Tourist: Double Ha!

I can ramble on, but let us have a quick look at the Roar Online page:

  • Youtube: Where you have all the ads in one place
  • Twitter: 3000+ followers but only 17 tweets. Hell of a difference that made. Listed at 51 places, following only WWF but a whole lot of opportunity blissfully lost.

I’ve been on Twitter long enough to understand its potential. I’ve seen several campaigns being pulled off with amazing ease on Twitter without a corporate backing. Be it people chipping in funds for the welfare of the girl child on Diwali or people coaxing others to donate for Haiti, Twitter has been a very strong medium for translating arm-chair activism to something worthwhile. Sadly, Aircel with all its mighty powers fails to understand and put Twitter to good use, even moderately effective use. 

  • Facebook: 99000 fans and counting. 253 Links, half of which are updates linking back to saveourtigers.com – which as you all can see is a storehouse of information. Stripey ofcourse says a few cute things once in a while, like “I can hear 50,000 roars for me and all the tigers of India! I feel this is only the start of good things to come.”

Good and bad. Good because the photos section has loads of photographs some of which are brutal and can bring a change of heart. Good because there are loads of discussions.

Bad because no body is moderating. If you read a few discussions you’ll know. Even the participants are confused because there is no plan of action. They lament the fact that the website is outright lame. There isn’t much information. Still some of them are meeting on Valentine’s day I hear. Some are trying hard to pull something together and I wish them luck. But the candles will burn out, like they eventually do and this will just be another protest. Our memories are short. Aarushi anyone? 

  • Stripey’s Blog: Two Posts. One with 2100+ comments, another with 21 odd comments as of now.

Immense potential. Down the drain. Two posts. Just two. I went through 19 pages of comments. Scanned some 1000 odd comments looking for blog posts, bits and pieces. The levels of trolling are limited, not like say the godlike Rediff or even Youtube. But believe me, it wasn’t easy.

I shouldn’t comment on grammar and spellings, being a usual offender myself. But it often got out of hands. Some myths that featured regularly in the comments are:

  • Almost everybody thinks that stating the fact that Tiger is our National Animal is unique. Almost every Indian (apart from a few who take part in Splitsvilla and Rahul ka Swayamvar) knows that Tiger is the National Animal.
  • Everybody wants to ‘join hands’.
  • Everybody thinks ‘Its High Time’
  • Everybody wants each other(or India) to ‘wake up’
  • Some go off in the preamble mode – We the citizens of india….
  • Some think that TYPING IN CAPS LOCK WILL PROVE THEIR URGENCY AND DETERMINATION
  • Others pass the responsibility – Plz save the tigers..
  • The opinion is divided – Some blame Indians, others blame humans.
  • Most want to save tigers because they want their children to see them – I am assuming most of these are the same people who haven’t taken their kids to the zoo and think the Discovery channel and Playstation are better teachers.
  • The religious kinds offer a Jai Mata Di in the comment.
  • Then there are the Orkut kinds who leave a ‘Plz reply me’ in the comment.

 

But there were some real gems in the comments and the blog posts that I read:

  • A guy had an acronym ready –

T-TRULY
I-INDIAN,
G-GENERATED,
E-ENTHUSIASTIC,
R-RACE……

  • Another fellow announced an NGO giving a link to his blog.

    SAVE SAVE SAVE THE TIGER

    DON’T LET THE VOICE DOWN
    I AM OPENING N NGO FOR TIGER PROTECTION
    join now when u join u help save the tiger
    I need 2000 members there will be 15 main members.be the lucky ist 15 members or be 2000 strong volunteers.

  • Then this:

we must do at least a bit 2 save this priceless organisms
togetherly our single bit would 1 day form a huge contribution
PLZ REQUEST UR SOUL NOT 2 MIND ABOUT DOING THIS JOB

  • And the most outrageous thing that I read in a forum:

Aircel has recently launched a campaign to save tigers in India. I hereby, writing a post to do my bit. Well, there are only 1411 tigers left in India. This number is too less to keep an ecological balance. and if not protected, this number will go down soon. How much do you thing should be proportion of Tigers as to humans? Though there is no perfect answer to this, I think it is around 1:10. How did I figure it out? Well, a sheer judgement. Now some people might not agree to this proportion. For them, lets apply a factor of safety of 10. So this proportion is now, 1:100. This means there should be 1 tiger per 100 human beings in india. Now India’s population is 1.1 billion (110 Crores). So there should be 1.1 Crore tigers in India. and how many have we got? One Thousand Four Hundred and Eleven. Now look at that huge difference. So we are short of 1,09,98,589 tigers. One Crore, Nine Lakhs, Ninety Eight Thousand, Five Hundred Eighty Nine. God, Where do we get those many tigers from?
Now, look carefully at the picture of cubs of tigers, above. Look at the grace on their face. This genetic gift of nature will be completely and permanently lost if tigers are not preserved. We will never be able to see that beauty again.
Now I want you to tell the best ways and means to save tigers. Let me start here by telling one. Let them live on themselves with zero human intervention in their territory.

Tigers = Maggots? Though I do agree with his bit that we must leave them alone.

I have some 12 pages of comments that I can quote here. People who think the tiger is on the ‘virge’ of extinction, it is a symbol of our ‘bravory’ and we must stop the ‘cheep people’ (read: poachers) by giving AK-47s to our guards. There was someone who wanted us to ‘defeat the battle’ for ‘survive tigers from extinct’.

Bad grammar or typos isn’t my point. The point is that this comment section isn’t moderated. No body is separating the wheat from the chaff. There is no grading of comments. I found of a lot of good comments, NGO descriptions, links, even some blog posts by bloggers that I know. But no body is aggregating them, reposting them as blog posts. All the information is blissfully wasted.

On top of it the second blog post says:

“I’ve read all your comments and it’s really great to see everyone not just stopping at showing support, but also giving ideas and suggestions to help us. With more people joining us every day, I hope you’ll spread our message far and wide.
And I’m really excited to see the discussions on my Facebook page too (Stripey the Cub).

With people planning events, discussing ideas and actions to help us and getting actively involved, it gives me hope that this is just the beginning of great things to come.
I can’t wait to hear more suggestions and see the people of India lead the change!

Looking ahead with pride,

Stripey”

If they keep ignoring the info that is being oh-so-totally ignored in the comment section, I’m sorry, I won’t look ahead with pride. The pride thing almost reminds me of Neo’s post on being a proud Indian. Stripey dear, you are wasting all the buzz that you’ve gathered.

I want to suggest a lot of things here. Put a list of NGOs there. Tell people to work, volunteer for them. Urge them to donate. Tell them why. Tell them about Land encroachment deals that the government is approving thereby clearing the Tiger’s habitat one by one. Ask people to file an RTI. Tell them how to do it. Most importantly tell them WHY it is so important to save Tigers. But that will be useless. All that is already mentioned in the comments and the facebook discussion forums. If only they had the good sense to put it to use.

I am not sure why I am even bothered. So, in typical TGAT style I’ll offer them a few out-of-the-box-into-the-dustbin suggestions and a comic:

#1: Change our National Animal:

I once tweeted: ‘Whatever we want to screw officially, we call it a National symbol.’

I really feel the National tag carries a curse. One look at Hockey’s condition or River Ganga’s plight or Peacock’s population will give you an idea. It is time we abolished the National Animal/Bird thing and chose a National Icon.

How about a pigeon? We already have pigeon anthems like Kabootar Ja Ja Ja and the Atariya pe lotan Kabootar re or the recent Masakali(which is a dove but most people think its an albino pigeon). Pigeons breed well. No need to demarcate sanctuaries, you’ll find enough of them in Bombay. This will also justify their shameless loo practices. You’ll be proud when the national icon poops on you. This move I think will save the tiger definitely. No National Status, no assassination.

#2: Redesign the Food Chain:

I think the Tiger being the at the top of the food chain has a lot to do with the threat to its existence. Being at the top of any chain brings a lot of pressure and accountability – look what it did to Ramalingam Raju.

It is time we constituted a scientific committee that proves that the Tiger isn’t actually at the top of the food chain. In fact we humans are at the top. It is widely known that Scientific studies can prove anything. So taking this burden off the Tiger’s shoulder can go a long way in solving this problem.

#3: Made in China Tiger Products:

Poaching is prevalent because I hear there is a huge market of Tiger products – nails, teeth, hide etc. – in Tibet and China for uses in traditional medicine. Now borrowing China’s concept, if we can start making ‘fake’ Made-in-China-or-Japan-or-Taiwan-or-Ulhasnagar-Sindhi-Association Tiger Products, we can save the tiger. You know, fake medicines, fake nails made out of plastic or fibre and so on, with a ‘Maa Kasam Made in India’ Tag.

So the poachers don’t run the risk of confronting a tiger and the tiger also survives. Win-win situation.

#4 Shift all tigers to zoos:

This idea has actually been borrowed from Indian politicians and Bollywood movies. You see, whenever there is a threat to a politician’s or criminal’s life, they surrender. They are taken to the police station and are safe. Similarly if we move the remaining 1411 tigers to zoos all across the country and keep them in preventive detention, there won’t be any losses. They’ll slowly get used to the environment too, seeing the pathetic way in which other animals are treated in the zoo. They’ll eventually fall in line, fall in love with a tigress maybe and give birth to more Stripeys.

#5: Build Tiger Statues:

I think Tigers have suffered a huge inferiority complex with Mayawati ji’s Elephant Statue programs. It is a ‘mammoth’ insult to the Tiger kind. They’ve been pwning the elephant population since ages and still elephants get statues while the Tigers get gunshots. Unfair. I feel the Supreme Court must pass an order that all Elephant statues be taken down and remodelled into Tiger Statues.

#Bonus:

junoon1

Rahul Roy must be made the brand ambassador of Save our Tigers project. Considering that he was brutally killed for turning into a WereTiger in Junoon and his career was also brutally murdered although for difference reasons, I think he deserves to be the face of the Tiger. Also the keyword ‘Rahul’ works wonders these days.

 

With that, I guess, I’ve done my bit for Save the Tiger. Yeah, go save some Tigers now. or like @oldmonkmgm says: Don’t save the tiger, it is better to save the Tiger Project. 


Disclaimers:

Apologies for the extremely cynical tone through this post. Initially I wanted to do an analysis of this campaign in a very unbiased manner. But somewhere down the line, the half-hearted-ness of the whole thing disturbed me a lot. Apologies again for mentioning some comments in the blog post. After spending close to two hours on comments on that blog post, trying to extract meaningful comments and links, I was too frustrated because the amount of trash and repetitive sentiments were overwhelming. If you find these offensive, mention that in the comments and I’ll take them down. But I’d like them to remain there because they prove why asking people to blog isn’t always a good option for a social media campaign. Especially in an Orkut-infested country like ours.

Again, I’ve seen both sides of the coin – I’ve participated in Armchair activism as well as activism on the field. I’ve worked with an NGO trying to ‘save’ another national symbol – The Ganga river. We’ve fished out dead bodies from the river, cleaned ghats, held rallies, struggled to collect funds etc. – so I know how difficult it is to bring about even an iota of change. I am not trying to ridicule the intention or the cause. I am complaining about the laxity in the effort. This is an issue that needed attention, maybe five years ago. We are late and even when we are, we aren’t doing it the way it should be done. It is as good as remaining silent and waiting for 1411 to decrease to two digit figures.


Links:

I picked up the following links from the comments section. Some of them are blog posts, others are comments. If you have time on your hands, you can try going through them.


If you actually read the entire 3300 something words, send me your mail id, I’ll send you a Valentine’s greeting.

Till saner times return, Roar!

69 Comments »

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  1. Great to see that I am the first one to read your entire 3300+ words…
    It is an acheivement for me (and I guess for you too :p).

    But please dont send me Valentine’s greeting … I am expecting from some one more sane than you … :p
    I dont need to say that another great blog from Tantanu’s tuntuna …

    • Some achievement that. I’ll spare you then. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Cycnical yes, but must say a very well thought through post, and I really liked it! I like the suggestions that you making also and maybe a good moderator (maybe WWF India itself) can action something further on this….the numbers are huge, and it would be a waste if some follow up is not done..am sure there are interesting things in the offering..if not, you should post this article on the FB page! I too will post it on my wall!! – Jasojeet

    • I wish I was more straightforward. To the point. Anyway, wrote it the way it arrived. Hardly suggested anything, just skimmed the surface. The site could do with a lot more thought. Moderator yes. But the numbers are piling up.
      I hope they come up with something interesting and worthwhile. Shared it on FB. Thanks for the share and the comment.

  3. I like the way you think ! look forward to more from you..Cheers

  4. I read the last line in the end, about reading the whole post for valentine’s greeting 😛 because I really wanted to read from top to bottom what you actually wanted to roar about. Hats off, you explained it really well.
    I always love it when it comes straight from the heart. Groups are being made, communities are joining in.. but the final result? nothing much. There should be some good moderation and implementation as Jasojeet commented.

    A good one!

    • A moderation could be a good beginning, I think. Let us see.

  5. very well written and thoroughly researched. unfortunate that most campaigns are just arm chair activism and little else.

    (prev comment had typo in mail id)

    • Thank you. This campaign can gain little from arm chair activism I feel. Nonetheless, lets see what they make of it.

  6. Very nice post.. long but true.. somehow its jus a fad dese days to join ‘Stripey The Cub’ of FB, which i’m sure the girls are joining cause the DP is ‘oh so cute’… ya, so you join the group and wat? you saved a tiger?! bah!…. just spread the word across it seems.. hell everyone knows we need to save ’em.. but tell me how exactly do you plan to go about it, be more transperant and i’ll join watevr you want!

    • And the guys are joining because cute girls are there. There are active discussion groups though, try them. Or sign up with an NGO whenever you are free.

  7. I have no idea what this Save our Tiger thing is all about since the moment I found out that its an aircel initiative i mentally blocked all images/ads/updates related except for the funny ones. They needed a social initiative to counter vodafone/airtel’s marathon, they cooked up one.

    P.S Im glad ive started following your blog. This was a real good post.
    P.S Over and out.
    P.S btw Can i now start eating those Tiger biscuits?

    • I can live with the fact that this is just a gimmick as long as it ends up doing some good. But it doesn’t look like it is going anywhere. I hope I am wrong.
      P.S.: Thanks 🙂
      P.P.S.: You can haz tiger (biscuit)

  8. The Tiger project is going great guns in the south – The bandipur, nagarhole and mudhumalai ranges covering Karnataka, TN and Kerala to a bit. There have successful attempts to stop poaching and it is on the decline. Infact, the last time I visited bandipur, the range officer merely stated that there had not been poaching incidents in the last three years. Stated, not claimed. The official tiger census is underway this month. A more distinct meaningful idea of the tiger population should come out rather than just 1411 in India. The concern in all this as I understand is in the North, the ranathambhore, the pench and kaziranga, all of which are breeding not only tigers but also poachers, and add to it the fact that all these ranges have heavey human intervention. Nobody ever talks about details. Everyone wants to generalize. It is a shame. But I’d rather the tiger survive in a country like China, where other endangered species like the Red Panda and the ordinary Panda are being given real lifelines. India is no country for beautiful creatures.

    • From the tidbits that I read, there is also the issue of land encroachments by popular construction magnets like Adanis. Besides, China lost one of its tiger species to illegal trade. I read it one of the links.

  9. ohh and don’t mind my grammatical errors 🙂

    • Heh! Same pinch.

  10. Great post! I’m sure some people will actually work to save the tigers after reading this. All we need now is a blogadda sat/wed pick. 😀

    • Hmm. Am in two minds, whether to post this on Save Tiger’s page or not. I don’t want it to be lost there. Hmm.

  11. Wow. Can’t believe I ended up reading the entire post (well almost the entire post – please don’t send me Valentine’s greetings). Well written stuff this. More importantly though, it’s Super comprehensive and that is rare.

    I suspect Aircell is using this campaign to create a large community that it’ll find ways of selling products and services to later on. Epic Fail.

    Totally subscribing to the blog and sharing this.

    • Don’t worry, I am being selective about the Valentine offer. Hmm, comprehensive, maybe. I made a quick comment on their faults. Not sure if I’ve covered them all. Suggesting everything would have involved redoing their entire social media strategy. I also suspect the same but like I said, I am ready to accept a commercial agenda as long as some social good is a by-product. But that social good must be something concrete. I don’t see that yet.

      Thanks for sharing this.

  12. You’ve caught the saveourtigers by the tall-tale. I too found the campaign’s response underwhelming given its high-decibel advertising. Am more keen mobile-telephony companies like Aircel, Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Virgin, BSNL, MTS, and whoever else is competing in the dog-eat-dog mobile space, should urgently focus on the harmful efects of their cell-towers, on entire species of birds and bees across India. Take a look at this blog-post: http://bit.ly/NiyamBirdsBeesTigers

    regards
    niyam

    • Nice observation there with the cell towers, I’ll append your post to this.

  13. I must say this is a really thought-provoking post. I’ve been wondering about this campaign myself, and i must say, my initial reactions more or less mirrored yours. But i’m supporting them, for now.

    Talking to some people sort-of-related with it has got me this:

    1. Aircel, being a large corporate house, is typically wary of rubbing the government or any other corporate the wrong way. Their biggest nightmare is a lawsuit.
    Which is why there is absolutely no mention of the real causes of this problem. And hence, no real solutions.

    And apparently there are many people absolutely frustrated because of it.
    (Though it beats me why they’ve picked up this cause in the first place, then)

    2. The strategy seems to be: spread awareness as much as you can, nudge people into figuring out solutions for themselves (and there’s no one magic answer), and then support them in some way or the other.

    It seems to be working somewhat as it is being talked about and there are events being planned in different cities.

    (The strategy looks like shooting an arrow in the dark and hoping it hits the eye of the tiger, but then, miracles do happen, right? 🙂

    3. The only purpose seems to be to establish some kind of ’emotional-connect with consumers’ in typical brand-gibberish.
    But like you said, if it does lead to something worthwhile, it doesn’t really matter.

    4. WWF is still sleeping. They’re the only ones who can probably give some kind of direction to this and provide outlets for all the enthusiasm. I don’t know why they’re not involved in any of the discussions anywhere. It’s a huge opportunity for them too.

    They’ve probably got their money and are too big to bother, like UNICEF and the likes.

    4. I think the only thing working in this campaign (apart from the cute pic) is the facebook thing. Because they’re giving people a free run, highlighting the good stuff every once in a while to get more people involved, and saying cute things to keep the traffic coming.

    Only if they could have some wildlife experts answer people and direct them, it might just be of some use.

    Completely agree with you on the blog and twitter bit. Even if they want to publish all comments, they can at least compile the best ones in a post.

    But still, i’m supporting it in the hope that some good will come out of it. Even if it’s just making people aware, it’s better than nothing.

    But the day i get an e-mailer selling me their shit connection, i swear to god…

    • I love numbered comments. 😀

      1. I did notice that they didn’t criticize any official move in order to stay out of trouble. It beats me too, they could easily have chosen another cause. But I’ll give them the benefit of doubt, maybe the 1411 figure moved them too. Or maybe the creatives for this came easier. Who knows.

      2. Arrow in the dark. Bingo. People are talking, yes. And the good thing is that kids are talking too. Which is good in a way.

      3. Somehow I feel that ‘1411’ has become more prominent than Aircel but whatever be the ulterior motive(if there is any), as long as it leads to some good, it is fine by me.

      4. Am not sure as to WWF’s role in the entire event. But I’ve seldom seen them hogging the limelight so can’t really comment much.

      5. Yes, I had almost given up on the campaign when I saw the facebook page. Though I think even there we have pretentious activists, the fraandsheepers who are using these meets to push their own agenda and/or meet/stalk new people. But the majority there seems concerned even if for a short while, so no complaints.
      As to wildlife experts, there are some who have been commenting on the stripey blog. That is why I insist that there should be some emphasis on comment moderation.

      Haha! Totally with you on the last point! 🙂

      Thanks a lot for the comment!

  14. Oh what fun we’re having here!
    I dont know why we are actually bothering to think about this and meet on sunday… we should all just make stupid posters and smirk to ourselves right?

    Instead of appreciating whatever they’ve done… and believe me they’ve done a lot – my maid servant from Bengal did not know it was our Natioal Animal and it’s dying and she said she’ll call home and tell family about it… all you can do is poke fun at them.

    Of course, you could have done it better. You could have won India the last test match also if you were the captain right?
    Although whatever few meaningful suggestions you’ve given – list of ngo’s, donate, reason to save them, etc.. are already present if you look for them.
    ANd even if they aren’t, how hard is it to google? At least it’s a start.
    Also, just because everyone in our ‘orkut-infested’ country didn’t went to posh public schools, they don’t have the right to comment? It just reeks of your elitism and ego.

    If you have so much time on your hands, i suggest you come for the meet on sunday and figure out how you can actually do something.
    But of course… armchair criticism and making fun of ‘desi’ people
    is much more fun, right??

    PS: Please forgive the mistakes in my english.

    • Dear Arpit,

      Since you were too infuriated with my blog post to read the disclaimer, I’ll say this again – I am sorry, for being cynical and quoting comments that I didn’t like. Really. But hear me out:

      1. I never criticized your efforts and meetings. I didn’t even criticize their(Aircel’s) intent. Read the reply to the earlier comment. I am ready to believe that they must have felt strongly about this issue(or the creatives must have been in its favor) so they chose this issue.

      2. I do appreciate what they are doing, I criticize the manner in which they are.

      3. I am glad to hear that your maid servant now knows about the national animal and will discuss this with her family. I did say in my post that I am glad that the children are reminded of this.

      I am trying to say that reiterating the same in the comment is futile. But I might be wrong there, I’ll strikeout that quote.

      4. I am not sure about the Test captaincy, but having worked as a content consultant for websites and blogs across the world, I am SURE I could have done it better.

      5. Again, you are right when you say that meaningful suggestions are available on google, but when they’ve started a website, how hard is it to mention it? Or link. You think a single sentence description is enough? It will hold the attention of a first time visitor? I don’t think so. If it isn’t hard to google, they should have googled it and put it there. They are professionals, others might not be.

      6. It is a start. I agree. No doubt about it. I am happy about it in case you didn’t notice.

      7. I am not talking about ‘posh public schools’ or ‘elitism’ though my observations do come out as elitist or biased. But I apologized for them many times over.

      But let me tell you something, there are comments in Hindi. And they are good comments. There are comments in sms lingo that are really good. I didn’t quote them, did I? Why? Because I liked them. I am not an elitist. I am talking about sensible comments. I dislike comments that are written for the sake of writing something. I tried to make sense of stuff that seemed stupid, I read them again and again and often felt that there were people who meant well but couldn’t express themselves. I quoted the ones that I found stupid. Simple.

      8. I have time on my hands but I choose to spend it my way, devote it to causes that I feel are important and deserve my attention. I wish you all the best for the meet(I wished everyone who is meeting for this cause, in case you missed it).

      I didn’t post this on the FB forum because people were enthusiastic there, I didn’t want to discourage them. They are meeting and I hope they do something good. I am criticizing the organizers of the campaign and not the participants. I think I made that clear on more than one occasion in the post.

      9. Like I said in the disclaimer, I’ve done armchair activism, criticism and worked and criticized on the field too. You judge me too harshly despite the disclaimer. Reading 20 pages of comments isn’t my idea of fun, believe me, I have much better to do. I did this because people asked for my opinion. I did this because people wanted to hear what I want to say about this.

      I don’t think I need to mention all that I’ve done for my country and the issues it faces but if you want me to, I’ll send you a mail. I am ready to discuss this, but with an open mind.

      10. I am sorry, I won’t be able to make it to your meeting. But let me tell you something. Read the 32 odd pages of comments on the blog. There are people there who are ready to work, volunteer. This includes vets, wildlife experts, tiger census takes, ngos and what not.

      They have also shared some insights, news clippings, interesting ideas, willingness to file RTIs. I forgot to take permalinks of comments early on but I have good comments from the first 19 pages in a word document, if you want I can mail that to you.

      I did list an NGO in the links section, there are more like that in the blog comments. Go through them. It will help you gather opinion and information before you meet. It takes a lot of time but it will be worth your effort, I guess.

      11. Lastly, if by ‘Desi’ you mean ‘dumb’, then I am sorry, I don’t mind making fun of them. But if ‘Desi’ here means Indian, I don’t think I’ve made fun of us. I hope you notice the difference between ‘dumb’ and ‘Indian’, between ‘them’ and ‘us’.

      Thanks for the comment(I mean it) and for expressing your rage in a dignified and meaningful manner. Much respect for that.

      Regards,

      Shantanu.

      P.S: Your command on English is way stronger than mine so the request of forgiveness doesn’t stand.

      • Hi Shantanu,

        Firstly, I apologize for my outburst misdirected at your post. It was not my intention to insult your efforts. I gues I just mistook your scepticism for cynicism. I believe the former is much more helpful than the latter but it seems that it’s becoming fashionable to be a cynic these days and ridicule whatever little people are trying to do. Maybe that’s how the media industry people are. I was just upset at seeing this cynicism all around.

        But anyway, I think many or in fact most of your points are valid enough and this could have been done in a better way, but I just thought that at some points you were only trying to make fun of it for the sake of it. Like you’ve done in the analysis of parts of the website.
        There are some good things also there and the pixel thing is better than a noraml registration form. But that’s only my opinion.
        And of course its far from perfect and it can be improved.

        My point about cricket was only to say that we are all experts or consider ourselves experts in some field or the other but we can’t always know what the actual situation was and don;t have the power of hindsight.

        So I also hope that this gets better as the Aircel people and all realize these things and it leads to some good effects eventually.
        I appreciate your efforts in putting in your time to this and also replying in a dignified manner. Apologies once again.

        All the best,
        Arpit

        • Arpit,

          I guess you are right. Even I noticed that I crossed the line of skepticism and ended up being a cynic. Hence the disclaimer. If you notice the post, I keep fluctuating between promise and contempt. This could have been done in a better way, I was simply too tired to redo the 3000 odd words that I had blurted out. Even when I’m talking about the pixel thing, I mention that it “is a very good way to form a mailer list and build numbers. But once you join the roar, the website fails to tell how to roar, or even purr”. I liked it too. Pretty innovative but it somehow failed to lead you to the rest of the website, I was worried that there might be people who just finish this step and leave. Hence the acrid words.

          Being a content manager, I was very miffed at the shoddy, hurried attempt. Eighth graders could have put more information there by simply googling. Agreed that too much information can be a turn-off but at least some basic info is expected. Again, making a website is probably the easiest part of such a campaign, the on-the-ground activities are the ones that take time and effort. They could have made a grand statement but missed the bus completely. I agree that on most instances I was almost cynical, but I’ll blame that on the comments I had to read. Don’t take my word for it, Try it yourself – it left me supremely irritated. And I wasn’t aiming for a formal study/report so I took the liberty of being overtly cynical.

          Anyway, I also hope that this gets better with time and it actually yields some positive results.

          Thanks for the comment.

  15. Very nice post :Powerful and a must read too !
    Hope Aircel guys get to read this…
    Maybe stripey wud b mighty pleased

    • Thanks.

    • Agree…aircel marketing people should read this and pay the writer for he has been a awesome marketing consultant for them!!

  16. Hahahaha!! About time someone took the patience to elucidate the ridiculousness of the whole thing! Thumbs up! 🙂

    Psss.. You have a Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot of patience! Phew!

    • Patience is a by-product of acute joblessness. Thanks for the comment. 😀

  17. Tigers are of no use! Kill ’em!

    • Best suggestion ever, eh? 😉

  18. I am doing an article on the same story and came across your post.
    You are so right.
    Like the caustic tone. Way to go!

    • In case it helps, read the comments too. Thanks for the comment. The caustic tone wasn’t intentional but well, serves the purpose.

  19. Really interesting piece of work. Liked the research part and the way point has been put forward.

    Actually, I feel this is basically another huge marketing campaign for aircel but at very low cost. Coz people are always concerned about “saving” something.

    I think these marketing guys always take Indian audience for a ride coz they know it’s easy to fool them. We have seen so called promotional activities everywhere.. In reality shows, movies etc..

    Sadly it works in india…

    • I think Aircel didn’t gain much from this, they could have transformed this into a mega campaign.

      I don’t think Indians can be fooled that way, the marketing guys know we won’t cough up any real money or effort. So they aim for Facebook comments and Blog posts, free and easy.

      Reality show foolishness works everywhere. I somehow don’t mind it, but with a serious cause like this, they must not take any chances. I hope they don’t.

      Thanks for the comment Deep.

  20. […] we’ve deliciously satirical blog posts – like Tantanu’s that beautifully dissects the channels they’ve adopted and how inappropriately each one is […]

  21. Hi!
    Took time off to read the entire post, the comments and the replies.
    It would be interesting to read if you or other visitors could really come up with pragmatic ideas to save the tiger …. let’s not debate on whether Aircel is gaining or not. There’s something that’s bothering you, but what is it? Please come up with a solution.
    For any good cause, the word needs to spread & without corporate help it’s almost impossible. Toyota India, NDTV, Standard Chartered Bank, Nestle, Tata Tea, Infosys, P&G, Novartis, Coca Cola & tens of thousands of companies across the globe are into misc CSR activities where there’s a huge media outlay. If every brand’s efforts are analyzed and post-mortemed at such details, then I know for sure huge contents and visitors can be generated on the webspace. Advt earnings become a distinct possibility!!
    Like it or not these brands are doing a great job.
    Let’s continue with the debate & contribute (not necessarily money only) with a positive frame of mind ….

  22. nice post…..

    http://upmaan.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/save-the-tigers-or-let-them-die/

  23. C’mon guys! Haven’t you learn the lesson of ‘survival of fittest’? Tiger should save themself! They should be happy that at least they are more than 1000. I can count you more than 50 as-you-say-beautiful species that are less than hundred in number. There are more than 1200 animal species endangered in world. Yearly, 150+ animal species are added to this list. I haven’t added plants to this list. How many of them will you save? Anyway, here’s a database of national parks, animals and all those stuffs :- http://oldwww.wii.gov.in/nwdc/nparks.htm Go ahead. Write blog and post comment. That’s all you bother to do.

  24. Breed Tigers.

    • That isn’t a bad idea. Infact someone suggested Tiger Farms on Twitter. Thanks for the comment.

  25. […] and Twitter flooded with petitions and invites requesting us to show solidarity and compassion. As tantatoo put it so beautifully, its a huge […]

  26. The Tiger:Human ratio had me rolling on the floor.
    “So there should be 1.1 Crore tigers in India”…Was he serious?

    By the way, I have a feeling this figure ‘1411’ isn’t real.
    9-11, 26-11…there are too many devastating incidents associated with the number 11.
    It’s my bet that some smart alec at Aircel or their ad agency must have figured that ’11’ works, so why not tweak the actual figure a little.

    • 1411 is the official ‘Government of India’ tiger census figure, you idiot. And no corporate can claim that it is lesser than that due to legal reasons. YOu’re not the first one to have figured that out.
      This is exactly why they’re doing this campaign, but alas, people like you refuse to look at the facts even when they’re blasted at your face. And you’re calling people ‘smart alecs’… jeez. God save our country.

  27. Good to see many ppl rising their voice for this wonderful campaign..

  28. I was directed towards your blogpost thru one of the comments made in my blogs “Tiger” post which read similar to yours. I must congratulate you for tearing Aircel apart. The entire campaign is soulless and more directed towards providing more revenue towards the company involved.

    I wrote my post after I came across the “Tiger” website and was hugely disappointed, it was like someone telling a headless chicken to run helter-skelter. Hardly, the site mentions the source report on which entire propaganda is directed.

    Further, on a different note, this entire drama does provides an insight into way we react to pertinent social and environmental causes and how much awareness we really have about pollution and global warming.

    Anyhow thanks for writing such wonderful post.

    http://braindeaf.blogspot.com/2010/02/tiger-conservation-and-mans-dependence.html

    • Wonderful post there, especially the resources section. I just revisited the blog, the campaign is almost over(read: dead).
      RIP.
      Thanks for the comment.

  29. We writers believe, that writing can make hell lot of difference, and in some instances it indeed can. But yes, you are right in saying that some causes require more than just words. But its words that are available in abundance in this country (even you wrote 3300 or so!), since they are free of cost and mostly don’t require too much effort as well.
    In my opinion the cause is worthy, the method is not. There is little that the masses can do in this regard, unless well guided by the people who are championing the cause. And that certainly inst happening.

    As for the comment on your post, i think it is overflowing with that thing we call cynicism, but it does make some sense in parts. Well written!

    Mehak

    • I share that opinion completely. Including the ‘overflowing cynicism’ bit. 🙂
      Thanks for passing by,
      Shantanu.

  30. Hi,
    Sharing a Wonderful article by Dr.Minnu R.Bhonsle on SAVE OUR TIGERS. The link is given below.
    Share this one with all your friends to create awareness about SAVE OUR TIGERS
    http://completewellbeing.com/article/tiger-trail/
    Regards
    Dr.Rajan Bhonsle
    9821093902

  31. Tigers are among the most recognizable and popular of the world’s charismatic fauna.
    This magnificent animal has always been an important aspect of our country, occupying the position of “national animal”.
    Aircel has been thoughtful to bring forward to us the pathetic state of this mega cat. Its contribution to the awareness campaign is really commendable. All networking sites are continuously spreading this knowledge by creating groups and communities.
    As part of the youth of this nation I feel responsible for the diminishing population
    of all animals and more specifically the tiger.
    Infact saving the tigers would mean saving the forests, the eco-system directly and indirectly and everything that goes into keeping the tiger alive.

    1411. A number that is one most heard of these days. It is not mere figure but a harsh reality of how close we are to extinct a species. Albeit not on personal level!
    Admittance is the first step to cure. By not turning a blind eye to this harsh reality and lamenting facts, we are really keen to prevent any extinction.
    As the number 1411 keeps popping up in hoardings, TV commercials, posters, etc, it is a reminder of what each one of them represents:

    1- is a number where each one of us have to be involved and make it a unified goal
    4- a number of corners of the country this message has to reach to preserve this magnificent creature
    1- is where every single heart that is not touched by this message
    1- And finally another one is the number we ought to remember where when each one dies; we are morally, ethically and naturally feel accused of not saving.

    1411. These are alarming figures yet it is time to save, preserve and cherish the presence of each one of them. Let us pledge that the tiger is not alone in these heinous crimes committed against it.
    Let us help the tigers live. And let us help ourselves. It is our only hope that each one of us through word and deed help keep the tigers alive and roaring.

  32. wow!1 an awesome analytical post and the ending was just too hilarious!

    • Thanks Reema, you should try BigFishMag’s post on the same… outrageously funny that. 🙂

  33. […] the complete article here. google.friendconnect.container.setParentUrl('/' /* location of rpc_relay.html and […]

  34. Very well researched article Shantanu.

    If there was as much research put into the campaign, there wouldn’t be one. There would be action against poaching. This comes across as a ” chance pe dance ” campaign by Aircel,above averything.

    Has the potential. Will not reach anywhere.

    • I guess they had a great opportunity to make a difference and they messed it up beautifully. ‘Chance pe dance’ it ease, that too one lousy performance.
      Thanks for the comment ILWML.

  35. […] we’ve deliciously satirical blog posts – like Tantanu’s that beautifully dissects the channels they’ve adopted and how inappropriately each one is […]

  36. 2. I do appreciate what they are doing, I criticize the manner in which they are.

    3. I am glad to hear that your maid servant now knows about the national animal and will discuss this with her family. I did say in my post that I am glad that the children are reminded of this.

    I am trying to say that reiterating the same in the comment is futile. But I might be wrong there, I’ll strikeout that quote.

    4. I am not sure about the Test captaincy, but having worked as a content consultant for websites and blogs across the world, I am SURE I could have done it better.

    5. Again, you are right when you say that meaningful suggestions are available on google, but when they’ve started a website, how hard is it to mention it? Or link. You think a single sentence description is enough? It will hold the attention of a first time visitor? I don’t think so. If it isn’t hard to google, they should have googled it and put it there. They are professionals, others might not be

  37. it is a very good process and with help of this process we can take help of many people to save our tigers. tiger is our national animal ……………………………………………. plzzzzzzzzzzzz save our tigers THANKING YOU

  38. So, this is the first time I’ve come to your blog. And although I generally run away from long-ish posts (I tend to write them too), this being on wildlife kept me hooked. I guess it’s a slightly delayed comment 🙂 Also it’s interesting coming from a person, who’s not really into wildlife research/conservation/etc (or are you?)

    Anyway, so, I really admire your patience, and the interest you have had to go through the number of pages you said you did to write this. And the wildlife conservation scene actually probably needs people who can write in a manner that engages people from all walks of life and motivates them to volunteer/donate/or just stay out of everything and mind their own business. Most of the write ups generally cater just to the wildlife community.

    Having said that, my opinion, (although I’m in no position to really comment upon the whole thing), is that way too much attention has been diverted on the tigers. Most obviously is politically motivated, the tiger being a flagship species. But real conservation in places like Bhadra, Nagarhole, Bandipur, is due to the action of few who work day in and day out, staying out of big positions on offer. Sadly these aren’t people who really lead the campaign.

    On the other hand, the government hands over the tiger task force to organisations like CSE headed by Sunita Narain, who mostly has her visions planted on some different planet.

    For me, if I am able to continue research in wildlife, it’ll be on species other than the tiger. Because the tiger as a species is quite resilient. Or maybe just because there are enough number of people running around it.

    P.S: The comment on 1:10 ratio was hilarious. Really good post 😀
    And my sentences often have no connect.

  39. hi
    good summery and i liked the tone.
    join the group 🙂
    “I don’t want to join the group “save tigers”.
    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=104727786244913

  40. Good efforts going on..n we must..as we shall start b4 its too late n not wait for they day of thinking a new “National animal”..so dont just say..contribute ur best.


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