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TOO MUCH DELAY

For some reason best understood by the Election Commission, the counting of votes in the recent assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh will not take place before December 20. In this age of information, such a decision smacks of utter disrespect for the voter. The babus are stuck in a time warp where every individual in power believes he is the best and the brightest. This has ensured that an emerging nation like India plummets into the depths of an abysmal low. One shudders at the prospect of Parliament once again being subjected to endless adjournments because of selfish agenda. The nation’s democratic framework continues to be grossly misused and exploited by those who have ironically been shielded from punishment by its norms.

The behaviour of numerous members of parliament merits their immediate suspension. A majority of them need to give the public a valid explanation for their inappropriate actions. No MP should be paid his or her daily wage if the House is adjourned. All perks and freebies should be taken away from leaders who openly shirk their responsibilities towards the country. These people live in free accommodation with subsidized electricity. Their telephone connections are free, and they eat through the day in the Parliament canteen where the food items cost a pittance when one compares their prices to those of commodities in the market. These MPs happily accept free travel by air, rail and road. In spite of enjoying all these comforts, they do nothing for the people. This arrogant attitude is then emulated by the ordinary Indian.

Let down

The frightful situation in India is a direct result of bad governance and mismanagement. This can be seen everywhere, from the Central Halls of the two Houses of Parliament to the dismal state of the seedy, smelly corridors of government offices. It would be unfair to blame people from any other profession for the decay, corruption and unacceptable practices that have engulfed India. In all of this, the press could have played a far more substantial role. It should have been less partisan and noisy, and more ‘real’. The media have become somewhat ‘lightweight’ — they pose superficial questions and are satisfied with supercilious comments from arrogant people who get excited at having been recognized on the streets and have a limited knowledge of the subjects they are questioned on.

The inordinate power of the many television channels is often misused by various anchors and TV hosts, who destroy reputations on the basis of speculative information, gossip, insubstantial evidence and personal grudges. Then there are those personalities who are celebrated by these channels. Guests invited to shows are the same boring faces saying the same things. The media partners of the three-day-long THiNK 2012 conference in Goa treated the ‘guests’ like they would in a studio, by asking silly questions. One wonders why television anchors here cannot be like David Dimbleby and Charles Wheeler. Where is that extraordinary knowledge and wisdom in our country? Why are viewers in India subjected to superficiality? Surely owners of television channels would want their channels to mature. They should improve the content of their shows as well as the manner of presentation so that they can compete with the best in the world.

India seems to have moved far away from anything that is cutting edge. The best and the brightest are not applauded here. Mediocrity is encouraged everywhere: in politics, in governance as well as in the press. This has sadly made the performance of this nation in various arenas unimpressive. Indians have been let down by their own leaders.