MG Road – That’s a name which is omnipresent in quite a few cities in India. MG stands for Mahatma Gandhi, of course. When it comes to naming a road, bridge or a reservoir, India doesn’t have to look very far. Names for these projects typically come from charismatic persona of the the ruling part of the state or the centre. Rajiv Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru have their names fixed on quite a few welfare programs, airports and bridges. Gandhi is almost the default choice. If a bridge is named after anyone other than a Gandhi, where Congress is the ruling party, a ruckus is guaranteed.
So how does one get away from this popular and politically sensitive naming convention? How about naming it after a group coupon buying site? That wouldn’t be the obvious choice anyone would make. But for the village of Shiv Nagar in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the choice was simple and straightforward. They re-named their village to snapdeal.com Nagar. This is out of gratitude. Nothing else.
Snapdeal.com has adopted Shiv Nagar to provide basic amenities like water, hospitals and schools. As a part of this initiative snapdeal has installed 15 hand pumps at the cost of $5000. This isn’t much of a money for Snapdeal but sure has made the village a much better place. The villagers of snapdealnagar don’t have to worry about water in the foreseeable future.
This little attempt can easily brushed off as a marketing gimmick but snapdeal doesn’t need this nor had it expected the name change. The name change just happened. And the essence of this story isn’t that a village named after a Hindu god has decided to change its name to a group buying site. The real essence of the story is this comment by the CEO of Snapdeal :
“India has about 640,000 incorporated companies,” he said. “Many are much larger and more resourced than us. Even if 10 percent decided to do something like this, 64,000 villages would have clean water.”
Now look at the top commentary across the web about the Snapdeal Nagar. This is what we call, missing the big picture. Don’t you think so?
PS : To just add one more statistic, India has 576, 000 villages.