Videsh mania is nothing new on Indian soil. Indians always took pride in having a son abroad or a daughter getting married to an NRI or flaunting an item procured overseas. Now with the metropolis going through a deep economic transformation and the escalating demand for foreign brands in almost every sector, we must finally face the undeniable truth. The fact that in an attempt to own one or two of those videshi goods, we have started becoming habituated, maybe even obsessed with them. Unfortunately and regrettably, most of us, just aren’t aware that the products that we like so much and use on a daily basis are not Indian but manufactured by international houses!
Let’s take a closer look at a typical day in India. We begin by brushing our teeth with Colgate/Close-up/ Pepsodent toothpaste. Then take a shower with Lux/Liril/ Pears/Rexona soap. Eat a bowl of Kellogg’s cereals and make a glass of Bournvita for the kids. Put on our Levis jeans and an Adidas or Nike shoe. Apply some Revlon or L’Oreal make-up. Ride a Ford or Fiat to office. Then switch on our laptop, either an HP or an Apple. In the break time, read Vogue or Marie Claire. Deposit our day’s earnings in Citi bank or Deustshe. Come back home and watch either a Samsung or LG TV. What have we become… nothing but brand ambassadors endorsing and flaunting foreign labels in our daily lives!
In the same India, we had the “Swadeshi movement” and “Be Indian, Buy Indian” philosophy. The movement was quite a success and even in later years India continued to follow a restrictive policy due to which foreign companies weren’t as interested in investing in India. But the year 1991 changed it all. Due to economic reforms and free market policies, the Indian Government opened its doors to foreign investors, as a result of which today, there is an astounding 4000 Multi National Companies making tons of money by making products using our resources and selling them back to us! We welcomed foreign companies but closed doors on our own. Even hot selling Indian products eventually went to foreign hands. Thumps Up and Limca, products of Parle Group were bought by Coca Cola Company. Viva and Maltova was sold to Glaxo. Hindustan Unilever Limited, the big boss, acquired our Lakme (subsidiary of Tata Group) along with Kwality ice cream, Hamam soap and Kissan.
We cannot blame the consumers for not choosing wisely or making the right choices. Times have changed, and so has the consumer’s buying habits and psychic. Sasta aur Tikao propaganda (cheap and best) used to sell but not anymore, these days it is about what sells the best and what attracts the most irrespective of the price tag. With the MNCs bringing to the table substantial advantages by bombarding the consumers with great many choices and luring them with attractive offers, it only makes life difficult for our home grown products! Moreover with the Think Global, Act local strategy, and making products especially for the Indian masses, these MNCs have been successful in making quite an impact. Mc Donalds gave us Aloo Tikki burger and we loved it. Hyundai offered i10 and we gladly took the cute car. Nestle made Maggi for us and we still thank them. However, amongst such stiff competition, there are some Indian companies who shines bright even in this age of foreign encroachment and western imperialism. They are Infosys Technologies, Reliance Industries, Wipro, TATA, Hero Honda Motors, Dabur, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Larsen & Toubro, Ranbaxy Laboratories, ITC, and ICICI to name a few.
‘What to buy’ is a choice everybody should have. However, it is also necessary to spread the awareness and significance of Indian products, and maybe use one or two of them. Do you know that the lesser known Ghari detergent is the second-largest selling detergent in the country? Oh yes, it is. Unless and until we actually try them, it’s not fair on our part to undermine the credibility of our homegrown products or completely ignore them.
Here’s a list of what’s Indian and what’s not.
Indian – Cinthol, Godrej, Santoor, Wipro, Shikakai, Mysore Sandal, Margo, Neem, Evita, Medimix, Nirma bath & Chandrika, Dettol
Foreign – Lux, Lifeboy, Rexona, Liril, Dove, Pears, Hamam, Camay, Palmolive
Washing soap and Detergent:
Indian – Nirma, Ghari, Wheel
Foreign – Surf, Ariel, Tide, Rin
Indian – Neem, Babool, Promise, Vico vajradanti, Prudent, Dabur products, Miswak
Foreign – Colgate, Close up, Pepsodent, Cibaca
Indian – Santoor, Cinthol, Wipro baby powder, Boroplus
Foreign – Ponds, Old spice, Johnson baby powder, Shower to shower
Indian – Fiama di Wils, Vivel, Velvet
Foreign – Halo, All clear, Nyle, Sunsilk, Head & shoulders, Pantene
Indian – BSNL, Airtel, Tata Indicom, Tata Docomo, Idea, MTNL
Foreign – Vodafone, Virgin
Indian –Tips & Toes, Shenaz Hussain
Foreign – Maybelline, Revlon, Estee lauder, Revlon, Coty, Oriflame, Chambor, Avon,