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Jan JabenI ndia's first CD-ROM title to be marketed in the U.S. embodies a stark contrast that clearly reflects the India of today.

The Asian country with its nearly 1 billion people already has garnered a strong reputation in the computer software industry, but most of that has been for software for large companies needing accounting, manufacturing or distribution work. The CD-ROM, entitled "Yoga For All," is clearly targeted at the Western consumer market.

It is a curious mixing of the ancient practice of yoga-taught in this case by B.K.S. Iyengar, a 76-year-old guru who has 262 certified yoga instructors in the U.S. alone-with the exciting multimedia technology of CD-ROM.

Developed and produced by Kirloskar Computer Services of Bangalore (India's Silicon Valley) and distributed and marketed in the U.S. by Nimrod Systems, Chicago, "Yoga For All" offers instruction in hatha yoga exercises. The partnership of the two companies clearly indicates an understanding of marketing: The integrated marketing plan calls for a combination of telemarketing, advertising, trade shows, public relations, direct mail and possibly a tour for Mr. Iyengar on various talk shows here.

Kirloskar Managing Director Parth Amin says the CD-ROM was designed to allow for voice-overs in other languages; the French version is expected to be completed in the next few months.

The title also has been produced for CD-interactive, a technology apparently catching on faster in Europe than the U.S. because it can be used with a TV rather than a PC. The CDi was displayed at the one-day workshop sponsored by Cross Section Publications in New Delhi last month where I spoke about the use of CD-ROMs to promote tourism.

In fact, all the latest technology was shown off at what was called a "Workshop on Tourism Communications: The Challenge of Technology." Various CD-ROMs and computer applications were shown, and even digitized photos of the audience were immediately displayed through computers onto the overhead projector.

I've seen a lot less at so-called technology conferences in the U.S. Here I was in a country that can't seem to feed its multitudes of people living amid trash heaps in its polluted capital city, and yet at the conference I watched a first-rate tourism film produced by Anu Malhotra of AIM Television and listened to sharp questions about digitizing photos, the Internet and CD-ROM from the audience of travel and tourism operators.

Isn't it time marketers devoted more attention to harnessing this wonderful technology for the betterment of humanity? Marketers who do business in India could start in the streets of New Delhi.

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