Monthly Archives: June 2010

New Media & Democracy

The other day I was watching a reality show on TV where the participants were begging for votes to save themselves from being eliminated.  The same episode also showed  the mind boggling number of votes one of the contestants had won and that led me to thinking…in a country where the government is chosen by us, a country which is the largest democracy in the world, why only less than half of its voting population go out of their homes to cast their vote?  We don’t practice our political right  to choose a leader for our country. We leave the most important decision of finding the country’s leader in the hands of a selected few who are most of the time coaxed into voting a certain party because the so called leader belongs to their village, caste, community or has promised something big for them and I was wondering, when it comes to voting for reality shows then people sms their votes as if they are going to win a prize for voting. Why is that?

I feel the way we choose our leader and our electoral system really need to change because we, as people of this country especially the youth,  have changed dramatically. Our lives have changed and lifestyles have changed too.  Finding few hours to reach a polling booth, stand in a que and cast our votes is something we find difficult to adjust in our lifestyle. We live a very fast world where information travels at a speed of light, where we dream of fast internet,  fast cars and short cuts because at the end of the day,  24 hours also seem very short with all the things that we have to manage, be it at home, at work, in personal or in social life. So much so that we do not even get time to see a friend on his birthday party but  rather prefer wishing him on Facebook. We socialize on social networking sites, we read online rather than sitting in a library and we vote using our cell phones for the reality shows. So why not use the same media for election campaigning and voting? Why can’t the political parties start discussing their manifesto, their goals on social networking sites like  Twitter, Facebook and start blogging.  There are off course  many political parties who are waking up to this revolution which only proves one point that new media is a very powerful tool especially to reach the youth of urban India and the political parties realize that to really create an impression on us they need to be one of us who we can also relate to.

Democracy and the way we choose our leaders need to adapt to the changing times if the parties need urban votes also along with the rural votes.  We may not find time to venture out to vote but that does not mean that we are unwilling, we only need a platform which is more accessible to us for voting. I think just like they have in the reality shows, we should also be give an option where we can Twitter, sms, call in to cast our votes and be equally responsible and committed in choosing the face of new India via new media.