The entire citizenry of India is undergoing a crisis that everyone takes for granted and does not realize – there is a complete loss of trust in all unelected bodies that were till now always assumed to be neutral and impartial – the judiciary and the media being two main such victims.
It was the Congress that started this trend of legally buying off judges with post-retirement duties such as heading this or that commission, and cultivating pliant public servants who had a fantastic, relaxing paid vacation looming ahead after retirement in the form of gubernatorial duties, using the word in the loosest possible sense here given the governor’s rubber stamp status. Three prime examples are sufficient evidence: retired justice Katju, Kamla Beniwal, and Sheila Dixit.
The Congress also continued its insidious campaign through the largely meaningless and political awards a.k.a. the Padma awards and the Bharat Ratna – while all right thinking people will naturally be religiously tolerant, the Congress sought to gather all kinds of vicious anti-Hindu communists around itself and created a coterie of artistes such as Arundhati, UR Ananthmurthy and the like to garner further support.
Then came the attack of the jholawalas – these guys infiltrated the deepest echelons of power in the form of the Planning Commission and the National Advisory Council and have successfully imposed many policy decisions on the nation almost unilaterally.
The media too has been sold out at the hands of all the parties – those of us who grew up trusting The Hindu as the final word on anything of import, whether foreign policy or domestic issues or labour rights started seeing how, under Siddhartha varadarajan, the paper had been reduced to a mouthpiece of the anti-north lobbies and China-Maoist sympathisers. The newspaper was reduced to inordinately long articles on inconsequntials such as the SAARC, the Non-Aligned Movement, and oddities such as the bird watching club of Chikmaglur. The Economic Times has started showing its colours as well, and patently vacuous people such as Suhel Seth have started appearing on TV debates on any and all topics. The less said of The Times of India, the better. In short, the Niira Radia kaand completely shook our faith in the so-called fourth pillar of democracy.
Social media is again a mess – exactly why should I trust a post that I read, or a photo that someone has posted? What is the source, the source, THE SOURCE I find myself asking quite often, and the answers are neither forthcoming nor encouraging when I do get some.
So, to sum it all up – what are we left with? There is practically nothing that we can completely and blindly trust – everyone’s motives are suspect. Do I have a solution? No – however, this is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to sit back and contemplate over what we think matters, over the factors on which we wish to evaluate information that we get from different channels of the mainstream as well as social media. THINK! Think about what you read, and what it means, and how the writer reached the conclusion. Apply some basic criticism to whatever information you come across. It might make us a more vibrant democracy after all