Justice Markandey Katju-
Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.
There has been a lot of enthusiasm among the public over the recent elections in India–the state assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and the Municipal Corporation elections in Delhi. The Indian media has covered it widely, both on TV and in print ( in fact it has been covering little else ).
There is now a great deal of fanfare and hoopla by BJP supporters over their party’s record-breaking win in Gujarat, by Congress supporters over their party’s upset win in Himachal Pradesh ( which dethrones the ruling BJP govt ), and by Aam Admi Party supporters over their party’s securing a majority in the MCD for the first time. The Indian media, particularly TV channels, has only been discussing these events for the last 2 days, as if nothing else matters in India.
However, to my mind, all this fanfare, hullabaloo and merry making is silly, and reveals the inanity of the Indian public, as well as the deliberate policy of our largely sold-out media to sideline the real, massive, socio-economic issues in India, and divert public attention to trivialities, irrelevance and frivolity. Let me explain
The test of every political system or activity is one, and only one : does it raise the standard of living of the people? does it give them better lives?
From that viewpoint, do the BJP victory in Gujarat, the Congress victory in Himachal Pradesh, and the AAP victory in Delhi in the recent elections, matter for the public? Not at all. They are irrelevant for the masses.
Their real issues are widespread poverty, hunger, ( India has slipped from position number 101 to number 107 out of 121 countries surveyed by the Global Hunger Index ), massive unemployment, skyrocketing price rise, almost total lack of proper healthcare and good education for the masses, widespread corruption, etc, and this is likely to continue unabated. The results of the recent elections will make no difference for the masses.
There is a saying in Hindi ” Koi nrip hoye, hamein ka haani ” i.e. ” How does it matter to me who will be the king? ”
And yet our media is discussing nothing else but this, day in and day out. This shows that our media is just a tool to divert the attention of the people from real issues, which are socio-economic, to non-issues and trivialities, such as elections in India.