Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bandhs and L' Affair Robert Vadhra

Most of us in Bangalore have been under house arrest in view of the Bangalore Bandh. This bandh has been different from previous ones in that it seems to have a wide support. As always, I doubt anyone knows what the issues are regarding the dispute except that Karnataka should not release water to Tamil Nadu.  The cable operators have joined the strike and the only channels working are the news channels. This means one can chose between the Bandh and  L’affair Robert Vadhra. Both are equally depressing.
I don’t know anything about the water dispute and will try to educate myself before talking about it. One of the professor types on television seemed to think strongly that Karnataka had a case but I unfortunately watched it towards the end and missed the gist.
The Vadhra episode has been going on repeatedly and makes one more and more depressed. It is difficult to judge which is more ridiculous, the childish rants of Team Arvind or the  defence from the Congress.  My view is  that team Arvind is the more ridiculous and the  Congress frontguard of Salman Khurshid makes a stronger case. The self-righteousness of team Arvind  and substituting analytical thought  with innuendos makes me feel there is not much of a case. The whole affair does look a bit suspicious and might need some investigation but there is just not enough data to prove anything.  Assuming that there is a case,  Robert Vadhra should certainly face the majesty of the law and assuming there is none, so should Arvind and Prashant. However in India, “the law will take its own course” which means irrespective of either scenario it will take 25-30 years to reach a conclusion.
The media actions and inactions show a gradual collapse of one of the pillars of a democracy – the fourth estate.  Indian media seem to have got away from the traditional reporting and commentating to showmanship and pandering to ratings. (This same malaise has hit the health care but that is a different story).
The depressing part which I mentioned earlier is the complete lack of any substance in the debates on television.   Most of the political participants seem to substitute quality with volume and try to shout each other down. We are not seeing anything resembling an idealogy or position and these are substituted by mud-slinging
I keep coming back to thinking around ideology. How many of the partys have a clear ideology which they can declare and stick to if voted to power ?  Arvind Kejriwal  has announced that he would pass the Lokpal bill within 10 days of coming to power. This does indicate that law and civics is not his strong point and he possibly does not know (like most of us) how laws are passed in this country. Prashant Bhushan cannot claim the same ignorance and it is surprising that he is not correcting his political colleague.  He  goes on to assure us that  they will ensure that Petrol (or diesel?) prices will be pegged at Rs. 50 and no one will be allowed to make profits on essential commodities. That shows the same level of ignorance in economics as in civics.
On the subject of debates,  may look heavy but is very interesting  read and useful.  Unfortunately those who need to read it – don’t.

Update: 9-Oct Corrected link to logical fallicies

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