Raj Weighing Heavy on Raj – Question is Which One?

Raj Thackeray Interviewed by Rajdeep Sardesai

Prescript: This is a college assignment in which we were asked to pick one interview from the internet that does not involve a Bollywood celebrity, and analyse the interview based on SWOT analysis.

Hailing from Mumbai, and paying heed to my new found interest in MNS, I decided to pick Raj Thackeray’s interview taken by Rajdeep Sardesai from CNN – News 18.
This interview was posted on Youtube on 18th April 2014. Editor-in-chief of IBN 18 Rajdeep Sardesai interviewed MNS’s chief Raj Thackeray, where he was asked questions like – Whether he (Raj Thackeray) backs Narendra Modi. Will his stand on anti-North Indians ever die down?

This interview is 40 minutes and 14 seconds long and was hosted around the time of 2014’s Lok Sabha Election under the title – Election Special interview.

Strength – The host openly admitted in the beginning of the interview that their guests are the newsmakers. In this interview, Raj Thackeray was the ‘newsmaker.’

A banner with the word ‘Exclusive’ was flashed throughout the interview. This was a great way of reminding the audience time and again that this was an exclusive interview with Raj Thackeray.

Every controversial statement made by the man of the hour was instantly turned into banners and flashed on the screen throughout the interview. This was a smart way of building intrigue in the audience especially the ones who tuned in late.
Rajdeep did not get intimidated by Raj Thackeray on several occasions. This showed his experience and skills at handling a powerful personality live on camera.

Rajdeep was smart enough to not take offence when Raj Thackeray lost his calm a couple of times.

Weakness – Rajdeep on more than a couple of occasions failed to maintain his decorum while addressing Raj Thackeray.

It appeared that Rajdeep tried too hard to get out controversial statements to build up show’s TRPs.

The questions asked in a 40 minutes show were quite limited. Re-phrasing the same questions triggered anger in Raj Thackeray who threatened to leave the interview incomplete.

Raj Thackeray was cut in the middle of his answers on several occasions which he clearly didn’t appreciate.

Opportunity – Rajdeep’s presence of mind helped him to take on every statement by Raj Thackeray and counter question him until he got satisfactory answers.

Rajdeep’s beating around the bush helped him get Raj Thackeray to admit that he was open to have a conversation with Shiv Sena and end the interview on a high note.

Although the interview was focused on topics related to Lok Sabha elections, Rajdeep found a way to slip in other questions that weren’t Lok Sabha specific. This got Raj Thackeray to say he would do two more interviews to discuss other topics when the time was right.

Threats – Pushing a politician too much to get them to admit or speak about things they don’t wish to could be threatening as the channel could lose any future exclusives with them.

Pointing fingers and high pitched tone while questioning can make a negative impression.

The mid frame that showed clippings of Modi and Udhav Thackeray was distracting and moved the focus from the interview.

This was my analysis of the above interview. Do leave your suggestions, feedback and your version of SWOT analysis in the comments below to help me better my analysis in the future.

It’s Time! Secularism Should Become An Official Religion

You know what’s the best part about travelling and exploring the world? If you have travelled then you do, and those of you who haven’t, this one is especially for you.

I’m afraid what I’m about to tell you might just shatter your feelings but No! The best part about travelling is not finding Instragram worthy posts. It’s okay; take a moment to let that sink in.

Now that we got this out of our way, let’s hop on to the real deal. So I was born in Palghar, a small village on the outskirts of Mumbai. Fortunately I was only born there; my parents raised me in a popular suburb of Mumbai. I said fortunately, because I take pride in the fact that I come from THE cosmopolitan city of India. I went to a convent school and my first two friends at school were Muslim, and Parsi. I was constantly surrounded with classmates from different religions and backgrounds.

I grew up praying to Jesus every morning, then praying to Ganpati Bapa every evening while simultaneously hearing the Adhan calls. Every year I celebrate Diwali, Christmas, and Eid. Honestly, the latter is just about eating Biryani and Sheer Khurma.

As I grew through my teenage years and entered the young adult phase, my personal life complications kept me so occupied that I forgot to address God, religions, and form an opinion on the same. All these things just existed in the background. On the foreground however, my belief in God kept decreasing. I didn’t pray daily, I didn’t visit temples and I became agnostic. I couldn’t decide whether God existed or didn’t. I didn’t even try to understand Hinduism, let alone our fellow religions and their significance. By 23 I had quite a handful of friends but they all were Hindus, maybe one or two Christians. Remember my Parsi and Muslim friends from school? Well, over the period of time I lost touch with them too.

I was quite indifferent towards any religion. In fact I even occasionally blamed people’s annoying behaviours on their religions/castes. I did that because their stupidity would fit perfectly in all the stereotypes I had heard about all the castes and religions. Heard… not experienced.

To be honest I had become too lazy to care and understand why the world was divided based on their faith in God, why people were at war, and why were religions a defining factor. Until one day when I magically and quite unexpectedly landed in an African Muslim country. How and why was it magical and unexpected? That is a story for later. Today, I’ve sat down to write about what my time in Egypt, and travelling across the country taught me on a deeper level.

I met people from all across the globe who’d also come to Egypt to work and travel. My friends are from Brazil, Georgia, Tunisia, Columbia, Germany, Mexico, Kyrgystan, Spain, Jordan, and Canada. I lived with a few of them and we exchanged our ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and learning. However, three months out of the four, I lived with a bunch of Egyptian girls; A bunch of Egyptian girls… that’s a bunch of Arabic Muslim girls. That’s a bunch of girls who wore veils every time they stepped out of the house, and read Quran five times a day.

To be honest, before I flew to Egypt, I had inhibitions about Muslims. No offence, and nothing personal but the fear media, and society had ingrained in me, led me to believe it’s a territory I wouldn’t dare to explore. I was better off living in the dark, believing what I was told by filtered sources. And then there I was, willingly moving in with these wonderful girls.

Honestly, the most comfortable I felt throughout my time there was with my Arabic Egyptian friends. I could connect with them without even understanding their language. We ate the same food, lived in the same house, used the same washrooms, and slept in the same bedrooms. We had similar insecurities, fears, and worries. Our core values were the same. Our parents taught us to not disrespect people, to be compassionate, honest, caring, independent, bold, smart, value education, build careers, and not just have opinions but also voice them. Through my Egyptians friends I made some more Egyptian friends, and by the end of my stay I had more Egyptian friends than I have Indian friends.

They told me about Allah, the teachings of Quran, why they wore veils, why was fasting so important during Ramadan, and how was praying five times a day changing their lives. By now I know as much about Islam as I know about Hinduism and Christianity. I learnt a lot of life lessons in those four months; it wasn’t all flowers and rainbows but I’d still without a doubt say it was the best time of my life.

This time for the first time during Ramadan, I was more aware of why half the world was strictly fasting during the day. I ate the delicious Iftari with a sense of familiarity of where it was coming from. I’m still an agnostic, but only this time I am more aware of different religions and have finally formed my personal opinions.

For a change, after a long time in the midst of all the hullabaloo of my city, I paid close attention to the call of Adhan. It took me back to the memories of the Adhan I heard five times daily while travelling across Egypt.

So going back to the beginning, the best part about travelling is (without a doubt) realizing the fact that irrespective of our faiths, we’re all just humans, after all.

P.S. Now you know how Adhan called out to the writer in me and awoke the slumber of my blog.

P.P.S. Penning down this post has honestly been quite difficult because of the constant recurring of words like Religions, Castes, Hindus, Muslims, Christians etc. I strongly feel if only the world was a secular place?

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