They say India is the melting pot of cultures and races. To this, allow us to add another category: commercial brands. However, instead of them jumping into the milieu and metamorphosing into something ‘brand’ new, many among them have had the good luck of becoming ‘Indian’, at least in our minds. Take, for example, Bata. There are many among us who realised very late in our lives that the shoe company was not an Indian firm but owned by a Czech family. Of course, for Thomas J. Bata, who died recently, such large-hearted acceptance of his product translated into something grand: profits. For Bata, India accounted for the maximum sales.
There are plenty of examples: Horlicks, Fiat, Cadbury — foreign brands that have become Indian. A glass of Horlicks was mandatory for all medical situations till competitors came in, and is still seen as grandma’s remedy, while Cadbury has been synonymous with chocolate for years.
The only ground rule for occupying our mindshare is this: we appropriate what we want. We are happy doing that, they should be too. Mother Teresa was also ours, right?