Today, a very interesting thing is here to talk about. We live in a world, where there is a very thin line of difference between the two concepts : Power Vs PR. Actually, both can be treated as synonyms as well as antonyms to each other. It all depends upon our perception and more or less perception of the masses towards these sensitive words. Let’s understand both of them one by one and then analyse the correlation between them with few contemporary examples.
Power is supposed to be the glamour and valour which comes to an individual at some point of time in life and as it comes, all of a sudden, the roles, status, public image, behaviour, basic instincts, actions and even personal routine activities undergo see change. We find that people who start veiling power or come within the power circles all-of-a-sudden start building fake walls of distances, develop false egos and even begin ignoring or neglecting even those peers alongside whom they have had grown all those previous years. This happens inspite of the fact that this cliché of Power is a purely temporary phenomenon and never remains static throughout with an individual. To detail a little bit more about it, one can simply define that Power may flow for an individual through qualification of an examination like IAS, IPS, etc or by getting more economically sound and wealthy or through some political push and attaining a temporary seat of a political post or due to certain unforeseen pre-destined phenomenon happening ion one’s life making her or him Power-Full. As it happens, everything withers away with time, so does the Circle of Power. But when engulfed in the trap of Power, an individual usually goes into a utopian orbit, even forgetting that the world will again a U-turn in and around him and then, one has to return to the same social system from where she or he had started this journey of Power-Packaging. But, by then, even if an honest attempt is made by that person convince the people around about her or his return or releasing the mistake, the acceptability levels amongst would have dipped downwards because of Power high-headedness during Power veiling times and chances of return dip down to minimal. All this happens because the negative image built over the years was its root cause and it leads towards nothing other than depression in the last but most critical phase of life when one requires maximum social backing and love and affection of others.
Now, let us talk about PR or Public Relations. This is a pretty simple phenomenon. It is no magic science, rather it is simply the phenomenon of leading our life like a social animal or social being, the chapter which is taught to all of us, at the beginning or start of our elementary education. Just to throw more light on it, Public Relations or PR is not an art but it is just exhibition of the natural behaviour which is expected out of all human beings towards one another. This includes our manners, etiquettes, response level, community consciousness, general concern, empathy, helping attitude, caring, nurturing, sharing, respect and many alike virtues towards others. Simply, just asking about one’s health and giving a smiling gesture towards others are the easiest yet most effective tools of PR. It is not expected that we always have to go out of the way in building PR with others but mere good decent behaviour which remains static throughout life, whether one touches Power Circuits or Not, makes a huge difference and builts-up one’s goodwill which can last forever, even after one exits this world. PR is all about righteous behaviour, helping attitude, wonderful relations and winning over hearts of others with all, including peers as well as outsiders.
At this juncture, we can now understand a deep correlation between these two phenomenon. Power, as it gets reflected by the word itself, is about being strong, powerful and at the niche level whereas PR is all about understanding others, being grounded and developing a strong connect with public which is otherwise, also a basic pre-requisite for leading a healthy and prosperous life. Inspite of very well knowing this difference between the two, there is a wild craze amongst the majority of the Public or Janta about yielding maximum possible Power in shortest possible time, be it through money, muscle, education or even any kind of unethical short-cuts. Here comes the difference that PR can never be attained or earned with any of the above-mentioned means but only through sustained and relentless efforts towards helping the cause of others which have a long lasting effect and it requires a consistent graph of good deeds which are done over the years, whether with or without the support of any or all of the just mentioned media. However, it is also important to clarify here that Power and PR have a very deeper correlation or they can be used as synonyms of each other as well. See, all those who veiled Power can develop the best of the best PR as compared to those who don’t and therefore, make people realize that Power and PR are not always antonyms but sometimes, they can be used as perfect synonyms to each other as well by consistently keeping oneself involved in PR activities, especially when a person is at the peak of Power pyramids.
Just to quote few contemporary examples to have a better understanding about these two concepts, I am referring to case of V.G Siddhartha, a top-notch entrepreneur, a short-time but big success story who was the owner of the huge Coffee Café Day (CCD) empire, but allegedly committed suicide couple of days back only after leaving a suicide note. It shows that a person, who was even the son of one-time most Powerful Ministers in the Union Government and happened to be the CM of a Powerful state and owned huge coffee estates, left this world, at the peak of Power, when he could manipulate everything to his favour, even if his business was going through tough financial challenges. Also, an age-old story tells that one of the most Powerful persons in the world at one time, Adolf Hitler, also committed suicide when he became aware of the fact that Public won’t spare him if he remained alive after committing so many atrocities upon them. Similarly, a lot of movie stars, bureaucrats, top cops, heads of respective Corporates met tragic ends and went into a state of oblivion all-of-a-sudden soon afterwards their respective stardoms or retirements from hyper-active living or so-called glamorous lifestyles came to a halt.
And surprisingly, this trend has seen an exponential growth over the last few years, unfortunately because of the bare fact that most of them often created a huge gap of superficiality between the Power they used to possess and the PR they could have built. It is not that these so called “Powerful” persons were not aware about the unfortunate end, they were heading towards, but actually it becomes practically difficult, almost impossible, for such persons to retreat backwards, from the floss or artificial lifestyle of ‘keeping a distance from the masses’ they had adopted over the years. Then, all-of-a-sudden, a big shock of reality of life hits them when all floss goes-off and then, when they come back in to their own old society and real world, but by then, it is a ‘point of no return’ for most of them.
Therefore, it is wisely said that one must not leave one’s natural lifestyle, whatever the ups and downs, one goes through in life, either because of Power Upsurge or Career Peaking but PR should always remain a way of leading natural life. In reality, it is only a person’s own Public Relations (PR) which help at the end of the day and not the Power Play. Those people who earn PR over the years are the real winners in life and it’s not only them but even their future generations, who gain a lot out of the ‘goodwill’ which they had generated over yesteryears of their existence full of social contributions. However ultimately, the choice remains with the people, which pathway to opt for. One should also understand that it is never too late to make an attempt towards building PR even if they have missed the bus in the earlier part of their lives. It is also a fact that it is much easier to accumulate a lot of wealth these days, whether by fair or unfair means, or to pass an exam to get a top post, or to get a power-packed political stature but it is a tough and most difficult task to attain the truest form of PR or Goodwill amongst the masses, as it requires years of sustained and relentless efforts to touch the emotional chord of public and win over their hearts in the real sense.
I would sum-up this chapter with the message that we must strive hard towards building PR amongst the masses and I assure that Power automatically follows suit towards these real PR builders. Just to conclude, it is actually those ones who attain top Power and still continue with top PR Matrix are the “real winners” in this race called “Life”!
(The author is a Senior JKAS Officer and presently working as Special Secretary to Government.)