The other day I turned on the TV to watch the last round of the Lead India campaign on Star One. There had been a bit of a buzz in the office about this, with people saying that oh, any educated leader is better than the uneducated louts we have now while I waged a lonely battle on the “disagree” side. I only get to hear of happenings from my wife who does read newspapers, so I was vaguely aware of the kind of messages that were coming out of the campaign. Here’s on - “our taxation policy is regressive. Taxing the rich means taxing efficiency” No surprise that, since ToI is a capitalist organisation that benefits greatly from the status quo. It would have surprised me to hear even a vaguely socialist message come out of this campaign, but dear readers, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.
The damn thing was a quiz show. One hour of bollywood and cricket questions with Aditya Birla and Akshay Kumar (two other status-quoists) dispensing advice on how to build a country (lagan, mehnat, imandari).
While one might say that ToI is a cynical organisation that plays upon people’s hopes and frustrations, it was still shocking that they wouldn’t even make the minimum effort to give the campaign some credibility. In the end Lead India is nothing but reality TV, with the emphasis on TV.
So, I went about the web to see what I might have missed in the previous episode’s and I found that political discourse in India is dead as dodoes. Youtube? All commercials. Blogs - zero. Lead India site? Spambots. Here are some screenshots and links.
Do check out the comments in the discussion board and draw your own conclusions about the depth of political discourse in this country. While the country cheers Modi to power and corporate control of the government grows unabated, the rest of the country is worried that their future leader may not know which actress played Sanjay Dutt’s wife in Mission Kashmir.
It is beyond pathetic.