Ethics are core to professionalism in communication: Experts

Wednesday, 20 November 2019 0 comments

Chandigarh: Ethics are the key elements for any professional communicator to succeed and build one's credibility and competence, said CJ Singh, National Vice President of Public Relations Council of India (PRCI).
Addressing the students at the workshop on press release writing conducted at the School of Communication Studies, Panjab University, he said that understanding the norms of ethical conduct is one of the four essential pillars to any professional success.
The other three being the academics or the knowledge, the strong operational skills and third, to be a part of the professional body which regulates and promotes professional excellence.
Jupinderjeet Singh of The Tribune and Kanchan from Indian Express shared the journalists' perspective in effectively writing a press release which should be based on facts, free of bias or subjectivity, and free of advertising hyperbole. 
L 2 R: Renuka Salwan, CJ Singh, Sumedha Sharma, Jupinderjeet Singh, Kanchan, Jayanth Pethkar

Renuka Salwan, another experienced professional and Director Public Relations, Panjab University, shared the need to practise the art of writing by working like a media person and framing the news releases for the print media in a way which is newsworthy and caters to all the 5Ws and the Hs.
Dr Sumedha Sharma, Chairperson and former chairman Jayanth Pethkar of School of Communication Studies interacted with the students.
The workshop was organised to commemorate the World Communiators Day observed by PRCI, on first known press release issued by one of the PR practitioners on 28th October 1906 in USA, Mr Ivy Lee, who issued an official statement to the journalists on behalf of Pennsylvania Rail Road company following a rail accident in which 50 people had died. 

Mahatma Gandhi is forever - 150 and beyond: a PRapport special

Tuesday, 1 October 2019 0 comments

Salute to the Greatest Communicator

Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest communicator that the mankind ever had. No one in history or in current times would ever match Gandhi’s communication skills. Nor will there be anyone in times to come.
One word from him – Satyagraha - would make the nation stand still. Remember, those were the times when social media did not exist. The Internet of mobile telephony wasn’t even thought of. Even the telephone was rare. Yet, Gandhi’s message would spread faster than a forest fire and set the British rulers’ machinery on fire!
He would go on a hunger strike for a cause. He would observe Maun Vrat whch no leader would question. His silence used to speak millions of words. If you recall the scene from Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi on hunger strike during Kolkata riots, you will recall the power of his silence. I still keep watching the movie whenever it is telecast on any channel. I have a DVD in my library.
Two words – Quit India – made the Raj shiver and they were forced by the nation to leave within three years.
Patience was his key word or the mantra. He must have under terrific pressure to
decide on mass action to force the Brits leave. With the likes of Subhash Chandra Bose trying to force him to support Japan during the World War-ll to kick Britishers out, one can understand the youth pressure that he had to face. Yet he would  not budge.
Our generation and the generations to come have a lot to learn from the great man – Mahatma. I have a strong feeling that those who criticise his style of leadership or his philosophies would not equal even his small toe nail!
I have been personally witnessing many leaders trying to advocate us to be worthy of Gandhi. In fact, right since Gandhi’s Centenary in 1969 my generation has been witnessing all deliver big talks about the Father of The Nation with little or no dedication.
Unfortunately, we have forgotten the Mahatma. We remember him and pay token respects only during  Gandhi Jayanti. Isn’t it really sad that certain people remember him for the ‘dry days’ which used to be for an entire Saptaah, now reduced to October 2 and 8.
Corrupt politicians refer to Bapu for the Rs 500 currency note.
In such a shameful scenario, we at PRCI have decided to remind ourselves and the society at large about the greatest man, the master communicator.
Any number of words would not suffice to describe the greatest communicator. He was simple. Straight forward. Gentle. Compassionate. In fact, he had more than all the virtues that a thesaurus can list.
Let’s read what various communication professionals think of him as they pay their respect to him.
Enjoy reading and keep remembering the Mahatma!
-B N Kumar

Flat on a Railway Station to
Father of The Nation

By David Franklin

Who would have thought that pushing a frail Indian out of a train at Pietermaritzburg station could lead to the British Empire being sent packing from the world’s second most populous nation, some years later?
Yes, we all know that the incident at Pietermaritzburg was the defining moment in turning Mohandas into Mahatma.
The apostle of non-violence gave the world a most potent weapon; one that put fear in the hearts of regimes unafraid of facing bombs and bullets. That weapon was Satyagraha (Devotion to truth). It simply meant that the adversaries were invited for talks and through non-violence, resisted. To date it has proved to be the most devastating of all weapons of mass destruction, as there is no defense against non-violent opposition.
Mahatma, in his childhood, was an average child with sedate ambitions of becoming a Barrister. In fact, he messed up his very first appearance in a court.
We will not recount his life here, but as communicators see, what lessons we can draw to become better in our field.
The three lessons we can draw from his life to become better communicators are:
·       You are the message- We spend a lot of time being a messenger of a message. We make swanky presentations, have apt positioning statements et al, forgetting a vital truth that world is not changed by messages, but by the messengers, who live them. All of us have experienced failure, where we thought the presentation was great but somehow the client did not buy it.
What was missing? Let’s look at Gandhiji’s life and see if we can find an answer. When he took up Satyagraha, he shed more than his clothes. To him, truth was the most important thing. He purposed that things like fame, fortune, desires, etc will not sway him. In fact, there was no difference between him and his message of non-violence.
He became the message. It’s not surprising that British Scholar, Gilbert Murray called him “… a dangerous and an uncomfortable enemy?”
Clients are looking beyond commitment; they are looking for partners with skin in the game, standing shoulder to shoulder, as they reach out to their TG. Partners who are willing to stake their reputations along with clients. In fact, most of the time clients put money where our mouth is. But are we sure where our mouth is?
·       Don’t just reach, preach- Once the message is decided, we spend time and money to carry out research to find the best target audience. Then we use various channels to reach them with our message. Do you think, it is the most effective way?
Imagine you are an NGO working for the downtrodden. What is the point, then, of having a roundtable or a seminar in a five-star hotel, whose vicinity your target audience cannot even imagine approaching?
Gandhiji, left everything and lived among the people, he hoped to set free. He reached them and preached among them. They saw the messenger become the message and the most powerful empire of that time was brought to its knees.
We must spend time in connection with our TG at their home grounds. They must see a commitment in our message to them.
In today’s connected world, it means reaching communities and becoming a part of them. More than being a part of the digital influencers. This is more than just influencer marketing or digital marketing. It is the digital equivalent of Satyagraha.
Once this happens, there will be a quantum shift in the way the TG sees us and our clients.
·       Give it time- Allow your strategy and message time to unfold. Don’t go for short term fixes. These result in great output and hardly any outcome. Once clients see us become their message and evangelists, they will not complain.
Though Satyagraha started in late 1890s, it was only in 1947 that India became independent.
This was the Communication Trident that Gandhiji used effectively to become one of the most influential persons of all times. In 2011, he was among TIME  magazine’s Top 25 Political icons of all times. (The author is President, Concept PR) 

Walking with Gandhi to Master Communication
By Dr T Vinay Kumar

In a gentle way you can shake the world
Does this famous quote ring a bell? It has all the essence of ‘communication’ and was said by the father of the nation,Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Nope, we are not talking about him in terms of politics but as a communication bigwig. Scooping up lumps of his achievements as a freedom fighter, on closer look, it is not that hard to see that Gandhi worked on the principles of communication.
There is no doubt that to taste the flavours of the success of communication, it has to happen two-way. But, it doesn’t end here. The most crucial fact is that the message or information has to create an impact in the minds of people/customers. For this, one need to have sufficient emotional intelligence, cohesion and clarity, empathy, confidence, respect, listening skills, open-mindedness and oh yes, don’t forget to ensure a positive tone of voice.
Did you know that Gandhi was once an anxious public speaker? Yes, it is said so. Flashback-- Scene 1:A ‘Vegetarian Society’ meeting at a restaurant in London. Gandhi (then a law student) was to give a speech on the benefits of vegetarianism.
Scene 2: Gandhi is prepared to narrate the speech. But, when it is his turn to speak in public, the shadow of panic engulfs him. Unfortunately, he manages to speak only a line from his speech and fails to speak further. Someone else from the group has to continue to read out his speech further.
However, Gandhi wasn’t willing to give up. He later said. “‘My hesitancy in speech, which was once an annoyance, is now a pleasure. Its greatest benefit has been that it has taught me the economy of words.” For a man constantly surrounded by people, having communication skills was mandatory.
Nothing Beats Determination
Mahatma Gandhi also maintained a resolute written communication. He wrote regular articles and on March 24, 1930, it is said that he produced seven articles for ‘Young India’.

Gandhi saw to it that he made effective use of media. He once stated: “The true function of journalism is to educate the public mind, not to stock it with wanted and unwanted impressions”. Gandhi's speech during his visit to The Hindu manifested his philosophy and vision of journalism.

I have, therefore, never been tired of reiterating to journalists whim. I know that journalism should
never be prostituted for selfish ends or for the sake of merely earning a livelihood or, worse still, for amassing money. Journalism, to be useful and serviceable to the country, will take its definite, its best for the service of the country and, whatever happens, the views of the country irrespective of consequences.” (Gupta, V. S. (2012). Mahatma Gandhi and Mass Media)

Gandhi’s communication skills transformed India’s freedom struggle from one waged by a small elite, urban group into a mass movement in which millions of Indians from every stratum of society enthusiastically participated. He was aware that to reach out to the hearts of the people living in the rural areas was through the age-old oral traditions such as public lectures, prayer meetings and padayatras (walks).
Haven’t many of us heard “actions speak louder than words?” In Mahatma Gandhi’s case, he led several movements as part of his freedom struggle. In a nutshell, actions fall under the category of communication.
·       Gandhi launched the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1920. With the support of the Congress and his invincible spirit, Gandhi became successful in convincing people that adhering to non-cooperation in a peaceful way is the key to attaining independence.
·       Mahatma Gandhi was considered as one of the best negotiators among world leaders. Gandhi’s concept of conflict resolution was based on nonviolence. He used the method of satyagraha to resolve all conflicts be it personal or some kind of tough international conflict. The main objective of Gandhian satyagrahawas to change the opponent’s mind in a peaceful way. He did not consider any one as his enemy.  That was the message that he communicated through his actions.
Gandhi and Public Relations
Mahatma Gandhi’s communication and organizational skills besides his striking personality can be set as an example for PR professionals. Beyond doubt, he was able to have a good innings in terms of communication. But what is yet again worthwhile to note is that he was his own PR agency. Gandhi knew whom he should consider as his target audience and sculpted his communication strategies accordingly. While today one cuts a poor figure without mobile phones, television and other sources of technology for communication, Gandhi's message smoothly reverberated all over the country sans modern technology.  Several centuries back Aristotle in his book Rhetorica - the oldest and detailed book on human communication – had defined rhetoric as the art of persuading the audience, identifying character of the communicator, his sense of logic and ability to rouse emotions as the three key factors in successful communication. Aristotle, perhaps, was the first person in the history of mankind to articulate the secrets that lead to successful communication. However, it took a person like Mahatma Gandhi to practice it for the first time that too in a non-violent way.
Let me conclude with a quote of the great man :
“I realized that the sole aim of journalism should be service. The newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges whole countrysides and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy. If the control is from without, it proves more poisonous than want of control. It can be profitable only when exercised from within. If this line of reasoning is correct, how many of the journals in the world would stand the test? But who would stop those that are useless? And who should be the judge? The useful and the useless must, like good and evil generally, go on together, and man must make his choice.”
(The author is President-elect, National Executive, PRCI)

Gandhiji – Life Lesson apart from Liberty
By Jairam N Menon

Saints are supposed to be solemn people. Political leaders are supposed to be so caught up with the earnestness of nation-building that they would never have time to step back and jest. Our school textbooks seem to have gone along with this trope and built a uni-dimensional image of the architect of our freedom struggle. The encomiums have become trite over time – father of the nation, apostle of ahimsa, crusader of the downtrodden…. What remains hidden in this numbing avalanche is another Gandhiji – the Gandhiji who knew when, how and why to tell a joke.
American writer Pearl S. Buck said: “Gandhi was not only a saint, he was a humorist. The two are not often in combination but when they are, the creature is invincible.” The fact is, apart from freeing from India from colonial rule, the smiling saint also told us – long before happiness gurus and quick fix philosophers got into the act – that we should free ourselves from the anxieties that burden our everyday lives.
Gandhiji fulfilled the least stated but the most important requirement of a good communicator – he struck a rapport with those whom he addressed. He joked with almost all his visitors. For instance, when American photographer Candice Bergman complimented the residents of Sabarmati Ashram for being able to spin their own clothes, Gandhiji chuckled and said: “In my case, it’s not much of an accomplishment.”  Self-deprecation is almost non-existent in political circles today but  Gandhiji could joke against himself because he didn’t share with other world leaders the desire to impress and overawe.  Louis Fischer has elaborated on this difference.  When he sat in the room with Gandhiji, he was not nervous, intimidated or overawed by a powerful personality. Instead Fischer said he felt he was “in the presence of a very sweet, gentle, informal, relaxed, happy man.”
The Mahatma must have gone through life without really hating a soul. Of course, he had opponents by the score but he was too essentially good spirited to bring himself to harbour any malice to those who would not agree with him.  ‘It is hateful to hate’, said Tagore, and Gandhiji crystallised that belief. The absence of malice is a great balm for the soul.
Gandhiji also had a wonderful sense of balance. He proved to the world the significance of the things in life that we consider trifles, and the limited importance of the all those things we consider momentous. A story, probably apocryphal, goes that at a critical point in the discussions between our national leaders when the deliberations seemed to have reached an impasse and everyone was weighed down, Gandhiji held up his hand. “Now it’s time,” he said, “for me to milk my goat.”

And so the all-important arguments of the day had to be suspended for a little chore. One can imagine the temperature coming down, everyone involved re-setting their approach to each other and equilibrium restored. It was the Mahatma’s gentle reminder to his followers to balance the little things in life with the large.

Gandhiji’s life is full of the messages we have heard a million times – to be truthful, to abstain from violence and to stand up for your rights. But amid all these important messages, we shouldn’t forget that our smiling, tireless Bapu also taught us how to take it easy, and yes, take time off for a chuckle.  (The author is a Mumbai-based Communications Consultant)

Blast from the past
Mahatma’s Historic Visit to J & K
By O. P. Sharma

Mahatma Gandhi, a symbol of non-violence, truth and moral values paid a 4-day historical visit to strategic and sensitive Jammu and Kashmir State during a crucial period in first week of August, 1947 and played a pivotal role. This was his life’s first and the only short visit in Kashmir which gave some turning points to course of events on the eve of Independence as well as thereafter by providing much-needed healing touch to the people in this sensitive and strategic border State.
The Father of the Nation always had his hand on the pulse of the people and his gospel of non-violence, truth and sincerity of purpose had already won the hearts of masses in Jammu and Kashmir as elsewhere in the country.
The visit was at a very momentous period on August 1-4, 1947 and had much historic importance for Jammu and Kashmir as well the entire country. It was a significant event then in 1947, but a spotlight on it now is also of much relevance for the people in this part of the country. Gandhiji’s message of peace and harmony has always stood the test of time and is so still very much relevant in our time now.
Historical Visit: The Indian National Congress leadership- Gandhiji, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, Sardar Patel and other stalwarts - had been source of inspiration and ideology during the movement in Jammu and Kashmir for attainment of responsive and democratic governance in place of the monarchy. The struggle in Kashmir was spearheaded by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah who stood by the high principles of peaceful method and uphold the Hindu-Muslim unity at all cost. The Sheikh was imprisoned at the time of the Mahatma’s visit.
On August 1, 1947, Gandhiji reached Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State, to an affectionate welcome and grand reception by Begum Akbar Jehan wife of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and about 500 women social and political activists. He freely met the masses in Kashmir then. The Mahatma did not address any public rally during his three days stay in Srinagar but held two prayer meetings during which he gave expression to his ideas, impressions and idealism and at the same time highlighted the supremacy of the masses.
Gandhiji made some famous observations which assumed historical significance: First, the Amritsar Treaty of 1846 under which Kashmir was given to Maharaja Gulab Singh was termed by him as “a sale deed”. He admired the masses for their exemplary role during the freedom movement as also in maintaining exemplary Hindu-Muslim unity at a time when there were dark clouds of strife and observed that he saw “a ray of hope” in Kashmir despite communal frenzy elsewhere on the sub-continent. Gandhiji also frowned on illumination when strategic Gilgit area was reverted by the British to the J&K ruler and curiously observed and prophesied that Gilgit area will be ultimately “snatched”. His word proved true in less than a year as Gilgit was annexed by Pakistan.
Complex Situation: After enactment of Indian Independence Act by British Parliament on July 17, 1947, the Paramount powers of the Crown over rulers of Indian States was to lapse from August 15, 1947 and Lord Mountbatten called upon the princely States to join either of the Dominions- India or Pakistan- by deadline of Independence Day (August 15, 1947). There was pressure on the ruler from Muslim League led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah who propounded two-nation theory while the people of Kashmir led by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah totally rejected the two-nation theory. The Maharaja of J&K State was unable to take decision in this complex situation.
The J&K State’s then Prime Minister, Ram Chand Kak, was removed within a short while after Gandhiji’s meeting with Maharaja Hari Singh during the visit.
Mahatma Gandhi was all praise for the tallest leader of Kashmir, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah for his adherence to communal harmony, deep concern for down-trodden masses, democratic aspirations and nationalistic views. The Sheikh and his party, while firmly rejecting the two-nation theory, had consciously sided with the ideals of peace, progress, democracy and secularism.
During this visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja, Hari Singh and Maharani Tara Devi, cordially invited Gandhiji to the Palace and had an elaborate meeting. He was affectionately accorded traditional welcome with Arti and tilak by the Royal couple and also then young prince, Dr Karan Singh. Later, the details have been recorded by Dr. Karan Singh in his book titled “Heir Apparent”. Gandhiji during his visit also had met a number of delegations and preached his ideas and ideology both in Kashmir and Jammu..
Mahatma with Sardar
Mahatma Gandhi wrote one report on this visit and sent it to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru with a request to show it to Sardar Vallabbhai Patel as well.
Subsequent events have amply proved Gandhiji right in many respects. Gandhi’s message and teachings still have much relevance and significance for tackling the real problems still facing the people. By adhering to Gandhian ways, the solution to all issues can be found and permanent peace, progress and prosperity attained. Mahatma Gandhi’s 4-day visit on August 1-4, 1947 to Jammu and Kashmir forms a proud chapter of our history.
The Indian people are without Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, for the past 65 years but Gandhiji’s ideals still are like beacon light for not only the nation but the entire world.
On the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is time to re-dedicate ourselves to the lofty ideals and high principles of moral values for making the country including Jammu and Kashmir, a strong, secular country based on socio-economic justice.( PIB archives 01-October, 2012)

He Communicated Fair Content Fearlessly. Not the Fake Content!

By G S Bawa

How is that whatever we look far, we find in Gandhi? To me, it is only due to the fact that Gandhi was a complete person Sampuran Vyakti who lived his life fully; he played every ball as thrown to him with full vigour and joy and left it to the commentators to judge him rather than self drum beating.  Gandhi believed in adopting thing into his day to life rather than learning for the sake of learning, and this was true to Journalisim and Communication too.  It was Gandhi only who even converted Silence into Mode of Communication.
His movements had not only attracted thousands and lakhs of  people from the motherland rather from across the globe that made him a global leader. This came through deployment of all the communication tools of that era, that we can think of.   And we know there were not many tools at that time and ‘Social Media’ was certainly not there. At times, we are forced to confer that he enjoyed better communication response from masses than Anna even when there was no Social Media !  Mahatma Gandhi used Print and Mass Communication   very extensively; his mass communication was through large public meetings that he used to address.  Thus, he deployed his Speeches as mode of communication with masses.   But his silent and hidden mode of communication was influencing his nears and dear and the right the left through demonstration of his principles by self adoption.  Any one who will come in his contact once will be sold to him for ever.  There are numerous examples that persons came to meet him for a purpose and stayed with him for ever.  There are several instances where he resisted his reaction until he experienced himself; that is setting a personal example on whatever he preached or believed.  This was a very big tool of Convincing Communication; probably known to him only. May be, this only was later on adopted by management schools as Management By Demonstration. Gandhi's mighty pen was also equally powerful tool in his armoury of communication tools of that era. Gandhi diligently deployed his pen to any kind of misrepresentation of facts that came to his  knowledge.   Gandhi believed in, that communication shall not be made for the purpose of communication rather it shall be other way around; that means every communication shall have a purpose and the same shall be pursued irrespective of fear or danger.  Gandhi’s writing style was also unique and trendsetting at every stage.  Thus its learning from his work;  that be on your own, don’t copy others’ style, create your own style. 
Gandhi’s communications were built upon his understanding about the feelings of the masses which he used to gather through his daily encounters with the masses; he used to articulate public feelings in his own expressions and sentiments that kindled hope and desire among the masses when he spoke about them.   Gandhi had fearlessness in his communication as he was sure that whatever he is communicating is in the heart of masses and he is communicating on their behalf.
Gandhi was a persona who even adopted letter writing as an effective mode of communication.  He wrote letters to numerous personalities on every subject that matters  in nation building; on social front too he wrote letters adressing masses on subjects that matter in character building. Gandhi new the importance of Media very well.  While he was in prision between 1942 to 1944, the ‘Harijan Press’ was completely destroyed and on
his release the first thing he did was to revive it; and it took him nearly two years to revive it.

Thus, Gandhi was a complete personality who carried the aura of  Truth & Honesty, Keep it Cool, Simplicity and shunning Violence and Materialism.  Above all he demonstrated all these high morals through self adoption rather than just preaching.
Thus it’s a learning from Gandhi; Communicate Fair Content Fearlessely - Not the Fake Content. (The author is Former General Manager, Public Relations, and Head of the Department, Airports Authority of India)

The Maha Communicator
He gave us the ITM Theory!

By S K Kaul

One man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in any other department. Life is one indivisible whole -Mahatma Gandhi.

India has produced many great communicators in past like Lord Buddha , Guru Nanak, Swami Dayanand, Aadi Sankaracharya and Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi’s developmental practice of communication made him Mahatma, as well as father of communications. His major contribution in communication has been development of ITM theory of Gandhian Public Communication with the combination of three types of media - Interpersonal media Traditional folk media and Modern mass media to reach both urban and rural masses with the message of freedom struggle.
Let explain ITM. ‘I’ stands for Intra and personal communication based on spirituality, meditation, prayer meetings, public meetings, and word of mouth, ‘T’ represents traditional folk art media(songs,dance,drama,Bhavani,street plays) and M relates to mass media ( newspapers, radio, films). He developed ideas for Satyagraha, non-violence, truth and education. Ghandhi ji used his novel method of non-violence and Satyagraha , as communication against the greatest  imperialist power on earth . He was one of the most profound and original thinkers that modern age has produced.
More than anyone else, Mahatma Gandhi recognized  communication skills are the most effective tools to shape public opinion and mobilize it for popular support. He was successful because he had a latent skill in communication that surfaced in South Africa where he started during 1903 “The Indian Opinion”. Gandhi’s journalism / communication belonged to an era where there were no modern mass communication gadgets. He did make use of his mighty pen to convey his heart to millions of his followers and admirers across the globe.
The difference between what we are doing and what we're capable of doing would solve most of the World's problems.-  Mahatma Ghandhi
Gandhiji did make the best use of the nationalist press and his own journals. Young India, Navjeevan and other periodicals to reach the masses in every nook and corner of the country. He also knew that the secret of reaching out to the hearts of people living in the rural areas was through the age-old oral traditions as also public lectures, prayers meetings and padayatras (walks). He used all the available means of communication channels of the time to give a new direction to the national struggle and assumed the inspiring leadership on the national scenario and won the freedom through the unique technique of non-violence, Satyagraha, Dandi March, truthfulness. The pledge of Poorna Swaraj taken by Indians on 26 January 1930 and Dandi March of 200 miles in a period of 24 days from March  12-April 6,1930 were shining examples of Ghandiji's communication exercise to unite crores of people. He used  internal personal communication of sending or receiving of a message between or several individuals whether verbal, handwritten  notes to touch the hearts of millions. The Gandhian techniques of communication in the freedom struggle had great impact on the Nehru Government in informing and educating the public on democratic values.
Gandhiji made his personality felt through the columns of Young India and other periodicals. The impending change was visible from the very beginning. He turned those into his “views papers” ventilating his point of view .The Young India sold more copies than the combined total circulation of several other newspapers in the country. There were not only new thoughts, simple but stylish language and a fresh air of fine quality of journalistic writing.
Gandhiji never underestimated the important role of newspapers, media (then radio was under British Government control and the television channels were non-existent- not to think of Mobiles / Internet or Social Media) He would scan through all the newspapers and reply suitably to any misrepresentation or distortion of facts.
Gandhiji was an effective communicator, he  was fearless and eloquent with his words. He used all the available means of communication channels of the time to give a new direction to the national struggle and assumed the inspiring leadership on the national scenario and won the freedom through the unique technique of non-violence. (The author is Consultant, Management Strategies, e –commerce, Public Relations and Secretary General of PRCI)

Public Relations And  Mahatma Gandhi
By Suresh Gaur
Gandhi with Frontier Gandhi
In year 2011 Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) led an international effort to modernize the definition of Public Relations. Under the ‘Public Relations Defined’ banner, PRSA initiated a crowd sourcing campaign and public vote that produced the following definition:
PR is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics”.
This definition focuses on the basic concept of public relations - as a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing mutually beneficial relationships. Process is preferable to management function which can evoke ideas of control and top-down, one-way communications. Relationships relates to role of PR in helping to bring together organizations and individuals with their key stakeholders. And Public is preferable to stakeholders, as the former relates to the very public nature of public relations, whereas stakeholders has connotations of publicly-traded companies. 
The Father of The Nation Mahatma Gandhi had recognized the importance of  communication as an effective tool to shape public opinion and to mobilize support. He was successful because of his latent skill in communication that surfaced in South Africa where he used his communication skills by conveying his heart to millions of his followers and admirers across the globe through “The Indian Opinion” newspaper which became an important tool for political movement led by him and the Indian National Congress to fight racial discrimination and win civil rights for the Indian immigrant community of South Africa. Gandhi ji made best use of the nationalist press and his own journals: Young India,  Navjeevan, Harijan  and other periodicals to reach the masses in every nook and corner of the country. He also knew that the secret of reaching out to the hearts of people living in the rural areas was through the age-old oral traditions as also public lectures, prayers meetings and padayatras. He used all the available means of communication channels to give a new direction to the freedom movement and won the freedom through the unique technique of satyagraha, non-violence, and truthfulness.

Gandhi ji, through his effective communication, reached out to millions of people, convinced them of his cause and mobilized the public opinion for attainment of freedom. He made optimal use of channels of communication very efficiently and effectively as he had a rare knack of “inventing apt news events” to get the best coverage by the media.

The introduction of new causes and the symbols associated with the freedom movement, e.g. introduction of the Spinning Wheel (Charkha) and Hand woven cloth ‘Khadi’ that became an enduring symbol of independence and ingenuity. It was the first step towards the conversion of masses into ardent freedom fighters. Gandhi ji effectively used three C’s of communication i.e. Credibility, Consistency, and Connection.  He knew that without credibility, his messages will not influence anybody. When he said: “Be the change you want to see in the world,” he was living his message of peaceful resistance daily. Gandhi ji’s consistent message was the importance of gaining India’s liberty through peaceful means. The consistency in his messages eventually helped India to gain her liberty. Being an effective communicator, Gandhi ji had the ability to instantly connect with his audience through his speeches which were clear, direct and heart to heart. He made an authentic emotional connection with the people of India. Once that connection was made, he was able to paint a picture of an independent India and eventually India got freedom on 15th August 1947.
Public Relations methods used by The Father of The Nation Mahatma Gandhi were truly effective and paid great results in; 
1. Communicating with the masses,
2. Winning public support despite the problems of cultural and linguistic diversity,
3. Overcoming the serious obstacles laid by the ruling British  Govt.
Many of the methods adopted by Mahatma Gandhi to communicate with the masses are now part of the standard practice of Public Relations all over the world.  Firstly, the importance of getting public to identify with a cause and with the leader espousing that cause. He discarded his European dress and dressed himself in the garments such as poorest of the poor use in our country. He realized that by doing so the masses would be able to identify themselves with him and the cause he represented.
Secondly, the use of symbols. Mahatma Gandhi, a born communicator, understood the value of symbol. The Spinning Wheel (Charkha) symbol, which he adopted became the logo of national movement symbolizing self-reliance and people participation in the cause of freedom struggle.
Thirdly, the staging of events i.e. 1. Champaran Satyagrah, 2. Kheda Satyagrah, 3. Khilafat Movement,   4. Dandi March, 5. Namak Satyagrah, 6. Civil Disobedience Movement,  7. Direct Action Campaign 8. Quit India Movement, 9. Bonfire of foreign cloths, and 10. Non-cooperation and Non-violence. 
These events captured the imagination of the whole nation and proved far more effective in taking the message to the masses. Besides this Mahatma Gandhi did not neglect the conventional means of communications either besides holding meetings, giving speeches, he regularly published newspaper and journals. Indeed he made use of all possible media and devised imaginative forms of communications to circumvent restrictions placed by the govt. on the official media. We can learn a lot from the Gandhi ji’s art of effective communications.  (The author is a visiting  professor at IMSIT-YMCA - New Delhi, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan - Delhi Kendra, Amity University - Noida , Indian Institute of Mass Communication - New Delhi, Delhi School Of Journalism, University of Delhi, Delhi )

From food writer to thoughtful editor
By Dr Mrinal Chatterjee & Sambit Pal
Bapu with journalists in Rome - 1931
Mahatma Gandhi’s engagement with journalism had been long, intimate and life changing. Gandhi the Journalist predates Gandhi the Mahatma by several decades. In fact, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as a journalist and editor carried the ideological moorings of Gandhiji, the Social Crusader and Freedom Fighter – which finally shaped him as the Mahatma.
Mahatma Gandhi has not only been an effective communicator, perhaps the most important quality of any mass leader, he has been a practicing journalist all through his life. Delving into his works as a journalist, one can find a strong correlation between his journalistic writings and shaping up of his political and philosophical self which drove him to lead the freedom movement in a unique way- till then unseen in the modern civilization.
Gandhi’s first foray into writing for periodicals was as a ‘food-writer’. He wrote about vegetarianism in a periodical titled Vegetarian. It was not much to talk about. But it started his engagement with the act of writing for an audience. His engagement with journalism matured in South Africa. The Boer War was an opportunity for him to hone his skills to see with a journalist’s eye. He was quick to realise the power of the press to reach the audience and mobilise public opinion. In Indian Opinion he experimented with the idea of using newspaper as a tool of protest. It was also in a way the laboratory of his political philosophy, which he attempted to put into operation in India.
In 1913, Gandhi left South Africa to return to India. He then extensively toured the nook and corner of the country. He tried to understand the problems of the common people, especially the downtrodden. His Champaron Diary is one of the finest example of a genre of journalism now known as developmental journalism.
Soon he got himself engaged in the Indian freedom struggle and took up a political role. Still the journalist in him remained intact. Since his arrival in India, Gandhi went on to edit and publish newspapers along with the freedom movement that he led.
After the success of Satyagraha in South Africa, Gandhi wanted to replicate the same model in India.On the one hand he gave a call for civil disobedience, while on the other defying the Indian Press Act he brought out a newspaper Satyagraha (or Satyagrahi as was mentioned in the first issue) which remained unregistered. The first issue which was published on April 7, 1917, clearly charted out Gandhi’s plan for Satyagraha. It was written in no uncertain terms what people joining Satyagraha should do in order to force the British government to withdraw Rowlatt Act. The Satyagrahis were asked to court arrest by committing a civil break of certain law. 
Young India was an extension of Gandhi’s plan of action to take forward the principle of Satyagraha. He also took up the editorship of Navjivan and simultaneously from October 1919, both Young India and Navjivan kept on publishing under the aegis of Gandhi. He had significantly changed his stance on the British Empire. Through the declaration of objectives of Indian Opinion, Gandhi wanted his paper to “promote harmony and good-will between the different sections of the one mighty Empire". But while publishing Young India, his tone had changed. On realising the true nature of the British colonialism, his objective was to turn the consistent resistance into a duty to remove injustice that was being inflicted on the Indians. From a “staunch loyalist and cooperator” or British Empire he turned out to be “an uncompromising dissaffectionist non-cooperator” (Gandhi 1922).
End of en era
If Young India was to help Gandhi to continue with his ideas of Satyagraha or Civil Disobedience movement, his next objective was to bring a social order and launch a mission to remove the social stigmas. Here after a few turbulent years, Gandhi was looking for a mouthpiece to address the social issues. In his conquest to fight the problem of untouchability, on February 11, 1933, he launched Harijan weekly under the trusteeship of The Servants of Untouchables Society. In the first issue itself Gandhi made it ample clear that the newspaper would work towards the betterment of the Harijans and removal of untouchability. It also propagated ideas for development of village industries. As Gandhi has realised the people should work towards achieving social and economic emancipation along with political victory. Gandhi separated Harijan from politics. It became integral to his parallel social movement across the country. In the September 24, 1938, issue of the Harijan, Gandhi almost made a confession about his newly found genre of journalism, "Harijan is not a newspaper, it is a viewspaper representing those of one man. Even Mahadev and Pyarelal may not write anything whilst I am alive." To him Harijan was a weekly dose of instructions about the conduct of daily life for a common man under the principles of nonviolence.
Gandhi’s life as a journalist was in full conformity to his life as a political philosopher. If the Vegetarian taught him to ventilate his opinion in a mild manner, Indian Opinion provided him a space to develop his idea of Satyagraha and later Young India, Navjivan and Harijan turned out to be his mouthpiece to teach the nation political, social and economic lessons based on his ideology of truth and nonviolence.
(Journalist turned media academician Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee
Mrinal presently works as Professor and Regional Director of the Eastern India Campus of IIMC located at Dhenkanal, Odisha. He has recently co-edited (with Snehasis Sur) a book titled Mahatma Gandhi: A Journalist and Editor.

Sambit Pal, an alumnus of IIMC, Dhenkanal has recently joined his alma matter as Assistant Professor after working 15 years in different mainstream media houses both in print, television and digital media.

Gandhi@150 - My 150
We requested communication professionals to share thoughts on Mahatma in just about 150 words. Here are some responses:

The powerhouse of communication
A Barrister Degree holder, Leader of folks, freedom fighter moreover the great communicator the world has ever seen is – Mahatma Gandhi. His life itself is a message to us.
On 2nd October 1869, Putlibai gave birth to her last son at Porbandar city. After childhood, facing challenges Mohandas moved to University College London with the intention of becoming a Barrister. At that time he was not an orator. So in London, he joined a public speaking practice group and got mastery in public speaking helpful for law practice.

A Great leader ignited Indian people through his writings, inspiring speeches. Gandhiji’s speech for independence, call for non – cooperation movement to British rule was attracted students, youth, women, and folks of our nation and made them fight for independent India. On the 150th year of his birthday, it is a tribute to Mahatma - a great soul who showed the entire world the power of communication. – Adv. Annapoorna Sharma, Puttur, Karnataka

Prophet of peace

If ever there was a quintessential icon of erudition, simplicity, humanity and causative commitment, it was no other but Mahatma Gandhi. With stunningly astute leadership and determination to succeed, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi set for himself a seemingly unattainable goal. The Father of the Nation helped India achieve independence from the British Raj by an unfathomable tool that left the whole world dumbstruck – the tool of Non-Violence.  
The mantra of non-violence spread far and wide very quickly, thanks in part to the awesome contributions from brilliant leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru pioneered the magical concept of a non-aligned world together with Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt.
There are countless statues, squares and streets in the name of Mahatma Gandhi the world over. They are a constant reminder of the power of this charismatic prophet of peace. - Bish Mukherjee is a freelance writer and author 

A journalist and a mass leader

Mahatma Gandhi as he is known as The Father of Nation has contributed lot to Indian polity with his mystical and effective sense of communication. An ace communicator par excellence who had entered deep into the minds and the souls of Indian people. In fact, he started as a revolutionary communicator in South Africa, much before he started in India.
His skillful and powerful persona as a communicator had actually helped mobilize people from all walks of life to start freedom struggle in India. He not only conveyed his intentions of freedom struggle through verbal communication but through various channels like public meetings, existing media, newspapers etc.
He won the hearts of millions of people across India through his traditional and effective communication ways which includes padyatra, bajan sandhyas and public meetings. So, a great journalist with unique sense of admiration for reaching out to the people with his eloquent communication skill. -Annu Mattoo Raina, Passionate Marketing and communication professional

True environmentalist
Can a man's idea, principle, moral, thought solve the world's problem? No, definitely no! Each problem need a customized solution, but undoubtedly I say Gandhian ideology and principles can be utilized as a core block to block the problems and find solutions to problems.
The man who taught to farsee the environmental issues to greed of materialism and his emphasized simplicity and anti-materialism has given inception to lower carbon signature, concerned earthy living and sustainable development till date, awakening youth to DIY culture, an impression that no job is lowly.

His non-violence move has made people conceive, it is not a sterile passivity but a powerful moral force for social transformation, which has helped build resilience,  created leaders of moral repute. His principles were rethought , recoded and rebooted as they are visionary to hold the community and nation as a whole with love and mutual living. - Chinnmaye Praveen, Strategic Head, GeWinn Wachstum organization.

Universal icon
What better payback of communication could be than a message well communicated! Disrobing himself to identify with the disadvantaged countrymen, to my mind, was Mahatma Gandhi’s most iconic way of conveying the message.
Gandhi ji, through his ways and words, communicated with masses and mobilised their sentiments. Cutting across the clutter, he championed in doing and saying just the right thing at right time. With   Upholding high values throughout his life, he became an asset not just for the nation but for the entire human civilization.
words and actions straight from the heart, his soulful words gave expression to millions of unheard and unseen.
True, when the very being of one’s existence is a message by itself, effective communication becomes a natural consequence than a sought-after thing. He led a life which became a cornerstone for communication. Fittingly, beside nation, Mahatma Gandhi is father of communication too - Purvi
Purvi NCL, Coal India Limited

Seeker of truth

India has been blessed with many great souls who have inspired us to imbibe the qualities of integrity and humility. Today I would like to reminisce about someone who was a seeker of truth, an ace communicator, a man of such great faith that non-violence was an inseparable part of him.

Mahatma Gandhi Ji’s conduct and character was an evidence of purity and the real presence of god within. In spite of all odds, he stood by the truth for he believed that truth itself is self-sustained. He always aimed at complete harmony of thoughts, words and deeds.
Gandhiji said that freedom is never at any price as it is the breath of life. What would we not pay to live? Still, let us remind ourselves of the sacrifice he made for it! Let us plant these morals deeply in our hearts and pay tribute to Bapuji.  -Uday Marwah , Director, Premier LifeStyle Event Management

 His Lungs – Ahimsa and Truth

Mahatma Gandhi, “The Father of the Nation” was an effective communicator. He was fearless and eloquent with his words. He was probably the greatest journalist of all times. As a communicator par excellence he mobilised public opinion for attainment of freedom. He acquired a remarkable mark on the psyche of the masses. He knew their pulse. He never tried to do anything which went against their Dharma.
His autobiography titled “My Experiments with Truth” elucidates the simple life he lived and practised his principles by setting his own example.( He practiced what he preached.) This was also the secret of his success as a communicator . "Ahimsa (non-violence) and Truth are my two lungs. I cannot live without them" Gandhi said. When he was asked a question as to what was his message to the world, his reply was "My life is my message". - K.Ravindran, Additional General Manager(Corporate Communication), NTPC Ltd

How much do we know?

Mahathma Gandhi  was the first person in the world perhaps to translate the philosophy, all are equal in the eyes of god, to all are equal in the eyes of law through one of history’s most peaceful rebellion that saw the British withdraw from one of its richest colonies in India on August 15, 1947, truly a momentous day.
Then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill called him the half-naked fakir because he wore aswaraj, (self-rule), but the greatest scientist in the world Albert Einstein said: “The word will scarce believe such a man in flesh and blood ever trod the earth”. It was an unqualified praise of his great sacrifices for the nation.
dhoti as a symbol of

Today, one billion people enjoy a FREE INDIA, thanks to the father of nation, and the younger generation and gen next needs to know a lot more about him. - TN Ashok - Executive Editor, The Flag Post , & Corporate Tycoons Ex Economics Editor- PTI.

 Let’s discover a Mahatma in us

The movie Lage Raho Munnabhai brought out how individuals could transform themselves into ‘Mahatmas’ by becoming the change before attempting to change the world. While elevating Gandhiji into Mahatma-hood, all of us conveniently externalised and alienated his message from ourselves. The movie exposed our hollow veneration for Gandhiji by reducing his memory and message into ‘MG roads, symbolic statues garlanded ritualistically once a year.
Gandhiji’s message was futuristic, although it came to make the masses as active but peaceful soldiers of the freedom movement. It subtly prepared us to assume our responsibilities as citizens for building a free and fair free India. We all are guilty of failing him.
My family in Mysore participated in the freedom struggle. They never met Gandhiji or any other national leaders. But Gandhi’s message had entered the house hold in the form of “Takli”, an inexpensive hand held turning top for spinning cotton yarn, a substitute for the Charkha. Dozens of them would be around and most visitors who came into our household, would take a “Takli”, and will spin out cotton yarn while carrying on their conversation. Everyone, including me, was expected to clean the toilet after using it. Wastage of food was discouraged, and ostentatious living frowned upon.
Our orthodox Brahmin family had a Muslim maid- servant, and my lawyer father’s clients including SC clients came walking from far away villages, spent the night in our house. Most lawyers were following the same practice. Stress on Panchayat institutions was aimed at power decentralisation and developing nurseries of political education. The message was self-reliance: not dependent on anyone, including on the government.
Naya   Taleem was about Indianising education,f reeing us from Macaulay’s westernisation mission. Long  before the Internet made us globalised citizens, Gandhiji wanted us to keep our mental windows open in order to let the breeze from all sides blow in. Gandhiji was rightly called ‘Vishwa  Manav’, yet he  was quintessentially ‘Desi.
How many of us can claim to be both? He was human. Traditional. Contrarian. All of us are in some way or other. Can we discover  and celebrate a portion of the  ‘Mahatma’ in each one of us, rather than deifying Gandhiji on his 150th Jayanti? – S Narendra, former PIO and adviser to Ex-PMs

 Dedication & Discipline
Before I write about the inimitable Mahatma Gandhi , I would like to remind those who try to compare themselves with Mahatma Gandhi, as there is not even a single person alive who could be termed as the true Gandhian.
What I could learn about the Great Indian called Mahatma Gandhi is Simplicity, Dedication, and Discipline- these are the three qualities required by all to succeed everywhere in life. Anything could be achieved through true Dedication and Discipline. Positive Attitude without Dedication and Discipline is worthless.

Mahatma Gandhi also practiced non-violence as the most powerful weapon to conquer the World. He taught to the World that only Peace leads to real Prosperity and it further leads to the overall wellbeing of the Society.
Mahatma Gandhi was the true Winner in all respects. I would pray to God and to the Gandhi Resting in Peace to please send at least one Gandhi to transform the World into Heaven!- Shiv Harsh Suhalka Editor in Chief:

Ace Communicator
Mahatma Gandhi, “The Father of the Nation” is one of the greatest freedom fighters, a revolutionary social reformer and above all an ace communicator. More than anyone else, Mahatma Gandhi recognized that skilful communication is the most effective tool to shape public opinion and mobilize
it for popular support. He was successful because he had a latent skill in communication that surfaced in South Africa where he started during 1903 “The Indian Opinion”. Gandhi’s journalism belonged to an era where there were no modern mass communication gadgets. He did make use of his mighty pen to convey his heart to millions of his followers and admirers across the globe.
Inspired by Gandhi ji many of his followers started publishing newspapers in the Indian and regional languages so as to propagate his thoughts to the common man. Chaya Umesh Chandra, Soft Skills & PR Manager & Founder Designer,Chaya Candle Craft World Bangalore

PRapport © 2011 | Designed by RumahDijual, in collaboration with Online Casino, Uncharted 3 and MW3 Forum