(1) Loksabha Elections:
(1.1) I went out to the polling booth right at 7:30 AM, and voted for Suresh Kalmadi. (Who else?) [No, I didn’t get up so early on my own—my parents woke me up.]
(1.2) This time around, with so many NGOs and all conducting so many awareness campaigns about asking people to go and vote, one might have expected a greater turnout.
Yet, the preliminary estimates are that the percentage who actually voted is only average or even somewhat below the average. The figures are: about 38% (IBN Lokmat) to 55% (Times Now). I already suspect some spin at that magic figure of 38%… But anyway, to put these figures in context, consider this: in India, the record for greatest voter turn-out was set in the 1957 Loksabha elections; the figure was 62.8%.
(1.3) One often hears complains to the effect that the elected government is not at all representative of the people in general. The basis put forward is that the total voter turnout typically is only about 50% or so. (What this translates into is the fact that the winner typically does not have even one voter in four backing him up by going to the polling booth, and yet he gets to make decisions for all…)
Yet, I have always had an argument about it.
You know about opinion polls… They take such a small sample and yet produce such accurate predictions. Accurate, assuming the right standard of judgment. …
If you contact just 2,500 people and still if your prediction is already within 2 to 3%—as in a pre-election poll—then how far wrong can you really go if you contact, say, 700,000 (7 lakh) people—as in the actual election? …Any consideration regarding the required randomness of the sample is wiped out simply because the “sample” is so massively large.
I mean, it’s a height of contradiction, rather, of punditry. Journalists vouch by the accuracy of their small-scale surveys, and yet manage to cast doubts as to how the actual elections could not be representative.
It’s high-time that our intellectuals understood that the trouble doesn’t lie in the non-fulfillment of the applicable mathematical or statistical criteria. The trouble, really speaking, lies with the idea of unlimited democracy.
Our intellectuals typically complain that the better “ghaTak” (factors, or parts) of our “samaaj” (society) do not get represented in the parliament. This, incidentally, itself is a manifestation of the pervasive Platonic-Kantian thinking prevalent in India—namely, the idea that man does not exist primarily as an individual but only as a part of a society… The language itself is not an accident; such things do not happen by accident; it only is a give-away about the nature of the premises. By default (i.e. as a matter of habit), Indian intellectuals all think that it’s the society (“samaaj”) which has the primacy—not the individual.
Indeed, I do tend to think that the blame here primarily lies with the intellectuals. In comparison, many practical politicians, even when they use such language, actually are better when it comes to the actual decision making—even if almost all our intellectuals routinely blame politicians as a class. (Recall here the discussions following 26/11. Everybody—from cine actresses to editors—were busy blaming politicians.)
(1.4) I think it would be a good idea to make a small PDF document mentioning some of the more prominent instances in which our intellectuals (e.g. editors/journalists) have subtly (and, perhaps even deliberately) spread ideas along the axis of mysticism-altruism-collectivism.
(1.5) It’s been an old idea with me, and a blog seems to be an ideal medium for expressing it. The idea would be to run a column, or a blog, of a title on the lines of, say, “The News That Was Not!” One would write down just the news that should have been, but isn’t. How editors and journos and professors and intellectuals are hell-bent on giving spin, or making mountains out of mole-hills and vice versa… Or, even, the plain case that things simply don’t happen the way they should. Let me give you a few examples of “The Fake News” or “The News That Was Not”, in the days to come…
(2) My Joblessness:
Suresh, would you now look into the matter of getting me a right sort of (a well-paying) job? Would you tell your superiors and subordinates about it? Thank you.