Friday, December 05, 2008

missing-links dept.

The post-Mumbai popular outburst has provided an interesting insight to me. For too long, the actors (stateful, not stateless ;-)) in Indian democracy have been completely unaccountable pretty much for five years of their elected terms. This has rendered a good state in theory, practically dysfunctional. For any truly functional democracy there has to be a closed loop where the common man gets to hold everyone in power accountable.

There were two crucial elements missing in Indian democracy to close the loop, and now I see those two elements gradually taking their rightful place, and plugging this gap.

The first, with the electronic media, has happened over the last decade, and continues to go from strength to strength. However, someone needs to keep a check on the media too.

The next, with social networks and cellphones, is giving unprecedented community mobilization and expressive power to common people. The next decade belongs to the emergence of this particular piece of the puzzle. For it keeps all of the other pieces in check, and is more or less self-regulated. You can see it throw up temporary structures as responses to particular situations, even though for the most part, it is structure-less. Politicians the world over, with the singular exception of a certain compulsive-Blackberry-using President-elect, are really clueless about this phenomenon.

The result is this amazingly organic system that's really self-evolving, and is mutually accountable. Its not mandated by the Indian constitution, no one set out to create it -- it has just appeared out of thin air. A politician who can keep this formless beast happy can go a long way in life :-).

Perhaps a few years from now, when enough has been written about this phenomenon, the technology has matured and become truly ubiquitous, and the politicians begin to grok it, the 'last piece of the puzzle' will finally get its due, and some official constitutional recognition.


old_friend said...

hmmm nice one.. so whats your opinion on obama?

anyways nice to see the blog running again after a long time..


W0lf said...

Obama is a very astute politician. He seems to have the ability to manage and assemble a good, balanced team and to motivate people. He also has the best understanding by far among past American leaders of how the world outside the US works. I think by the time he's done he will make the roster of great US Presidents and global leaders, but only time will tell...

The Shaolin said...

That's interesting linkage between blogsphere and alike communication channels with current terrorists attacks. But yes, it will go unnoticed until our extremely backward politicians start heeding attention to it.
But at the least, a common man using computer has become a little aware of such medium of idea-exchange exists.

W0lf said...

The politicians will notice it when they start losing votes because of their backwardness.
When they do notice it, they will respond to it in a big way (or risk being made irrelevant).
Generally politicians as a species are very adaptive by nature. Like cockroaches, they will survive in any condition, as long as they get enough nutrition (votes).
Also, like roaches, they don't seem to serve any evolutionary purpose, but they might be made to perform useful tricks by giving them the correct stimuli.

The Shaolin said...

That's an interesting point... makes sense. And amazing analogy with roaches :)
Waiting for that wave to start! Lets ride it together and make a difference!