New Year, New Decade

It’s not just the beginning of the New Year but also the beginning of a decade. That’s what the media will have us believe. We believe a lot of things the media says so this needn’t be an exception. Nevertheless, what could be more phenomenal about a new decade, what is not about a new year or a new month, we don’t know except that it gives opportunity for ‘status report’ crazy western media to take stock of ‘the decade that was’ and ‘best of the noughties’ as in best albums, movies, books, and also worst. And our Indian media follows suit by drawing up their own lists. East or West, we all love Top 10s so we lap it all up.

Where has the end of this decade brought us to? In India, everything became entertainment-driven, including media and politics. 24/7 news channels play a ‘suitable’ background music to pep up the news presentation. Driven by these channels, politicians prop up their best performances for the public. Like a movie is determined within two days of its release, any issue is drummed up for two full days and then is forgotten. This was a decade when ‘pseudo-secularism’ turned a coveted title rather than an insult.

The GDP of India grew like our population in the last decade but the rate of poverty was equally competitive. Politicians stopped being embarrassed about corruption and even a lip service paid to ‘clean polity’ stopped, which was good because the public themselves are corrupt and politicians talking about integrity seemed like ETs among their fellow Indians.

The public learnt to set buses on fire and show their might for issues like separate states, and dilapidated buildings, however, not for corruption in the scope of sixty thousand crores or exploitation of Dalits or displacement of tribal community for mineral wealth. An Indian youth who is not into IT became a secondary citizen and began to be treated like a tribal. The chasm between urban and rural life became so yawning and so wide that no bridge was thought possible or even necessary. For consolation, rural life and problems were made into movies and the urban population watched it eagerly as if it was an Iranian or El Salvador film, like eating an exotic dish.

For the first time in the history we have two prime ministers, one who takes credit for good things and the other who bears the brunt of the bad ones. We have a chief minister who loves erecting her own statues and another who loves felicitation parties and revels in self-anointed titles and awards. We also had a central minister who changed to best clothing to appear before media minutes after a terror attack and another who turned a fugitive and went absconding whilst holding the cabinet. And he is swearing in as a chief minister of a mineral-wealth state as we speak.

This was the decade where the prices of everything shot up through the roof, including the bribe paid for votes. Latest report: Rs. 1000/- per vote + one month cable TV subscription + one month milk subscription + one Biryani + one bottle of local liquor if you will: you go do the math.

Welcome to the New Decade. Happy New Year.