PM Narendra Modi invented another Acronym yesterday (or was told by his P team). While addressing the All India Conference of DGPs and IGPs conference in Guwahati yesterday, PM added the acronym to ‘SMART’ to policing. With SMART Modi meant, ‘S’ for strict but sensitive, ‘M’ for modern and mobile, ‘A’ for alert and accountable, ‘R’ for reliable and responsive and ‘T’ for techno-savvy and trained.
As expected, everyone from the News Channels to Newspapers are going Ga ga about SMART. They are portraying it as yet another clever and intelligent talk of Mr. Modi.
No one objecting to Mr. Modi saying something intelligent; and the importance of intelligence, sensitiveness, modernity , tech savviness etc. for Police force is indeed necessary. What I’m objecting to is the habit of throwing acronyms every now and then.
Why? As acronyms, may sound interesting, but they have a ability to trivialize important issues.
Those who have prepared for Indian Civil Services Examination are often advised not to use proverbs , euphemisms (A euphemism is a generally innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant OR simply put — loaded one liners), idioms or proverbs (truck loads of wisdom packed in one or two lines). Why? As these one or two liners are hard to understand, are open to multiple interpretations and many a times generalize issues too much. In short, they make for good listening, and applause (when said from a podium); but they often paint a wrong picture. Simply because the entire debate on the issue ends at the proverb itself. Most of the issues, require serious study and continued deliberation. A witty one liner, ends the possibility of any deliberation.
Some examples of proverbs are :
Penny wise pound foolish.
Once Bitten twice Shy (in Hindi — Doodh ka Jala, Chhanch bhi fook fook kar peeta hai.) etc.
An example of Euphemism is :
To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.
For more than a year now, Mr. Modi has been using acronyms.
But slogans are a staple of any election. Hence there’s nothing bad in using them in elections. The problem arises when the same slogans became the staple of a new Government in the task of Governance.
Ever since Modi came at helm of things, we have heard truck loads of slogans and Acronyms from him, right from :
Red Carpet but not Red Tape.
Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.
Minimum Government Maximum Governance.
MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission)
Make in India
MoM (Man of the Match)
If real deeds matter, then an improved Police will simply mean more safety for citizens and lesser instances of human rights violations at the hand of the police. And if that anyone can ensure, then it’s the Government (both union and State Governments). Using acronym SMART can give lauds, but the real change will require the real work. I have noticed that those who use too many one liners, are not very inclined at real work.
To conclude, Witty one liners or slogans or acronyms can make for great listening, but they also trivialize the sensitivity of an issue. That’s why there’s nothing useful they can serve.