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Hope be damned. The search is on.

At 69, Modi is threatening to change.

And that too for the better.

But the way Indian journalism is hoisting the tent of Hope in this makes one wonder two things. One, do domineering dictators ever change? If at all? And at 69? And two, if he is changing for the better, then shouldn’t Indian journalism acknowledge that their narrative that he was already good must have been a well delivered pile of shit then in the first place?

But this is just a tiny part of the pre May 23rd and post May 23rd story give or take a week. A look at the post headlines tells us that joblessness is at a 45 year high and the GDP growth fell below 6% (never forget to substract 3.5% to compare with the UPA series) in this last quarter for the first time in 18 quarters, the headline forgetting conveniently to calculate that 18 quarters was well within Modi’s own term and that then, it was even lower.

Then from that again, there are a few more implications and inferences.

That in ages, Modi has delivered the most spectacular duck in Indian economy. Besides of course the fact that these were simply not Indian journalism’s idea of the main headlines pre May 23rd. Interestingly the headline says that “Agri, mfg drag GDP growth below 6% for the first time in 18 quarters.” It’s like pretending that simultaneous rape from both the front and back are still only one small part of the disgrace. Because my dear Indian journalist, if both mfg and Agri are screwed, we might as well say all is screwed, no? But no, this is Indian journalism and its great pretence, the ultimate political appeasement of political masters.

 

Postponed to well after the elections, a week after the election results, many other headlines, that daren’t have appeared earlier, have appeared today on the first page. Just 10% water stock left in Mumbai lakes; crack in bridge; SC slams Maharashtra government; 46.2 degrees and no rains in sight, Sensex crashes on trading error. Yet the newspaper sings in hope as a lurid bunch of nincompoops alight to ministerial births. This headline naturally takes centerstage. As a criminal turns home minister, Indian journalism doesn’t even ruminate on this. As a Defence Minster is rewarded for the Rafale scam, Indian journalism turns a Nelson’s eye to this most palpable perspective. As an erstwhile Home Minister who watched over a full five years of lynching strife and killings from this side or that takes over Defence, Indian journalism whimpers along agreeably. Naturally. Because when at the fountainhead, a grossly underperforming useless rioter who has systematically murdered democratic institutions fails to be in the line of sight of Indian journalism much like the dubious backend of EVM polling, what can you expect.

 

And that really is the whiff in the humid muggy air this tropical June.

It’s a heavy fog of hopelessness subsuming a numb electorate where even the most diehard supporters of the ruling criminal were surprised with the results. No one is even talking that the exit polls were all wrong. Exit polls after all can’t predict the murky back end of EVM polling. The hopelessness also comes from the normal usual sane inclusive citizens sense of numbing shock resulting from some hard hitting realization. That with a clearly bought out and sold out Judiciary, election commission and suchlike and an opposition caught in its own internecine interpretation, where at all do we go from here.

It is now not even about vacationing Modi’s obvious lack of calibre. It’s now more about the fact that Modi has no reason and no incentive whatsoever to perform. And if Modi was at all so suddenly sincere on the rebound, why on earth would he want the vendetta enabling ministry of home in the hands of Amit Shah. Shah was once his home minister in Gujarat. Remember, Indian media? Remember what happened then?

Bad question.

Worse, the timing.

Because if we remembered what happened once, would we at all be condemned to repeat it?

Hang on, there’s a step more here.

If we knew that there if the election commission knew that it would be screwed if Modi lost, then wouldn’t it have gone all out to ensure he won. There’s still more, the nail on the coffin of hope. When the opposition knew that EVMs will be rigged, then why didn’t they move heaven and earth to stop the usage of these thingamajigs. Why did they revolt, agitate, bring the house down. Because that’s what you should do to save democracy and annihilate anarchy. You don’t then go begging to the Supreme Court, especially when you know that even Pakistan now has a better judiciary. You don’t then mew to the one remaining TV channel that listens to you, about the problem. Unless you are a bunch of rich fat air conditioned elites lacking the gumption to agitate in the streets. Unless the Youth Wing of your party is dead and defunct and cannot its saffron equivalent. But then maybe you just confirmed that the situation now is what it was in France before the French revolution or what it was in Russia before their revolution. And then it was people who looks to arms, while noblemen went to sleep.

On fashionistas and celebrities who showed their voting finger and urged us to participate in the so called ‘festival of democracy’, we can confirm we voted. But we voted in not in the festival but farce of democracy, something that many of us regret. Next time, at least for me, its either NOTA or nothing. So fuck you celebs. Try and get this simple fact in your filmy heads – that when democracy fails, it’s time to boycott, not to bloody vote.

And here’s the proof of the pudding.

Now even while the stunning difference between the polled and counted votes of 6 million votes stares brazenly in farcical democracy, the opposition seems to be in a resigned state of denial. But not many of us. We still hate the effing EVM that all mature democracies have rejected. But then who says we are a democracy anyway.

 

So dear opposition or noblemen, whatever you prefer to be called: please snooze. We the people aren’t even looking to you. Leftists and communists, you too can snooze. You are Indian communists afterall. The word revolution in your ideology has absolutely no connection with the armchair you have lazed on for years. We, the people, aren’t looking to you. On you, we gave up long ago.

 

We’re now looking for one among us, a new kind of hero, who understands that anarchy cannot be fought by animatedly waving the white flag, or talking to two journalists on one TV channel or wasting time in a kangaroo court. Or even sitting melodramatically in a fast or dharna. That mill we’ve been through in our last experiment with hope. We’re only reminded of that one episode when we took to the streets when we felt a raped and murdered girl represented us more than any of you.

 

And so, though we are still numb and gawking at the inevitable that has happened, a week after India’s most disgraceful election results, finger on NOTA or either in the pocket, we are only looking for leadership from within us. So while Indian journalism plays hope-hope once again, we are in no mood to play ball.

Because for us the simple home truth is.

Hope be damned, the search is on

Balls to the exit polls

There were already two elephants in the room – E for Election Commission and E for EVM. And now there’s the third – the summer to an icecream vendor equivalent ie Exit Polls to TV news channels. Given my marketing and market research credentials, which have more marketing in it than most market research walas and more research creds than most marketing walas, I thought it more timely and prudent to put down my two cents on this whole murky issue of exit polls.

So here goes, bhaiyon and behno.

Let’s go back to the basics. In a country of a billion, even the largest sample of an exit poll is a really small sample with a margin of error wider than the Indian ocean. So what happens here is that immediately after voting (this too is some variable dubious timing) a survey of voters is conducted on a ‘sample’ of voters. There are various methodologies of sampling be it random sampling or systematic sampling but in such a tiny sample it becomes impossible to capture anything accurately unless it is a well defined wave. Now this wave can be either of the anti emergency 1977 kind or of the 1984 death of Indira Gandhi kind. Such waves run so uniformly that exit polls would actually have to try to go wrong. Any lesser wave, like the 2014 one for instance, is beyond the grasp of exit polls. That’s why exit polls went wrong in 2014.

And now this one in 2019, is a tougher cat to bell.

A few more examples.

Take the 2004 elections.

Every exit poll predicted a landslide for the NDA but look what happened. Vajpayee was so confident of victory that after his assembly victories in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, he actually preponed the Lok Sabha elections unlike Modi who waited for the radar obstructing clouds of May. Confident of his nationalist “India Shining” slogan, Vajpayee took great solace in the exit polls that said NDA would get 240 to 250 seats. He poured himself a few extra pegs and recited poetry even in his sleep. But the result was the exact opposite. Yes the exact opposite. NDA got 187 seats and Congress and allies got 216 seats against the predicted 170 seats. To break it up further, the NDTV exit poll then gave NDA 230 to 250 seats and the UPA 190 to 205 seats.

Exit polls continued to blunder along. But significantly in 2014, exit polls gave NDA (not even BJP) 261 to 183 seats and the UPA 110 to 120. But the NDA actually got 336.

Closer now, in 2017, in the UP assembly elections, all exit polls predicted a hung assembly. Yes all of them. But the BJP won over 300 seats. Now here lies the clue to why the polls are showing what they are showing now in UP. Dare any pollster make the same 2017 mistake of UP again. So they are factoring in what may well called factoring the last fuck up. This factoring happens at various levels but fundamentally in methodology and in sampling. But yet again I think the hinterlands of India have been beyond the understanding of city bred market researchers for all kinds of consumer products. And poll researches are far more challenging anyway. Now here again in 2019, UP has 80 seats. So if the exit polls get UP wrong, no way they can get the national number right. Right?

The problem is this. If some stranger asks you who you voted for, you would mostly not answer. Or you would take the name of the party you fear. That my dear countrymen, is the BJP. And if you thought that its only about UP, then think again. Here’s what happened in 2015 Bihar Assembly elections. Most exist polls predicted no clear majority to any alliance. But what happened is that BJP scored a measly 58 seats and the JDU romped home with 178.

But now if you think that UP and Bihar are a different kettle of fish, then consider this. For the Delhi assembly elections most exit polls predicted 26 to 27 seats for the BJP. But what happened? The BJP got 3 miserable seats. And the AAP marched into the assembly with 67.

So here’s a question.

If these very pollsters couldn’t predict the fate of a single city like Delhi, where most of these buggers live, do you really think you should be watching their exit polls about the whole goddamn country.

But here’s a little rider.

Maybe these exit polls are showing the results they are showing to give credence to rigged EVM results? That means if the exit polls can say beforehand what the EVM will say later, then no one will doubt the EVM. Got it?

Or here’s another one.

Are the exit polls and their over zealous media coverage meant to prop up the stock market for the benefit of a few?

Oh hang it. Go to sleep. Let’s wait till 23rd. And then decide, depending on who is in or who is out, whether we want to be good. Or we want to be bad.

Goodnight.

Sweet dreams.

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