Finally some good news from India

This piece, published on Niti Central, relates to the Congress’s attempt to prevent people from knowing how badly it is faring in the public’s opinion by banning the publication of opinion polls. Here it is.

Finally some good news from India
{Originally published here.}

The news out of India is usually grim. Which makes the occasional good news item all the more precious. The news that the Congress-led UPA government was attempting to ban public opinion polls had us rolling on the floor laughing. Funny gets you ROTFL but it takes something else to make you smile: something that gives you joy. The subtext of that news that the Congress was stepping up its efforts to throttle freedom was like sweet music to me. That joy was a Diwali bonus and I thanked all my favorite gods for it.

Tired though the cliches are, let me use them because they are so appropriate about the Congress. They are seeing the writing on the wall. They are shaking in their boots. They are running around like headless chickens. They are flailing around like landed fish. They are shooting the messenger because they are afraid of the message. They are burying their heads in the sand. They are closing the barn doors after the horses have fled. They are stuck up [redacted] creek without a paddle.

I understand where the Congress leaders are coming from. Caught in terminal decline, they are in those critical stages that precede the onset of catatonic shock. In their desperation they grabbed what they could out of their old bag of tricks. Some particularly dimwitted leader (Rahul, is that you?) came up with what he or she must have thought was a brilliant idea: ban the publication of opinion polls. Gag orders all round. At least some of the Congress leaders are not uneducated ignorant dehatis (just kidding — but only about the dehati bit), and I am sure they cringe at having to defend this kind of insanity.

People who are secure in their position don’t do stupid things. Everyone makes mistakes but to make a real disaster of a mistake, the mind has to be gripped by fear to the point of distraction. It does not require a genius to recognize that while the opinion polls are bad news for them, attempting to gag them is futile and will only draw more attention to them.

Censorship is a hoary Indian government tradition. Books, magazines, movies, songs, court transcripts, investigation reports and any criticism of sacred political figures have been routinely banned by the government. It is a damning indictment of the politicians that they treat the public with such naked contempt that they justify it on the grounds that the public should be protected from information as if they are easily misled mindless morons. Perhaps not without some justification, one may cynically add, because the public has been indeed misled for so long.

Gagging is an old trick much beloved of the Congress (and occasionally others too) but it does not work any more in this new age of them Internets and social media. The government could, did and continues to successfully control the traditional channels of information. But in an age where a significant segment of the population, albeit a minority, have access to social media, censorship has the opposite and beneficial effect. It’s a network age and as the American internet activist John Gilmore so pithily put it, “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

In the pre-Net days, ban a book or a movie and you could be reasonably sure that it would not be read or watched by too many. That was then, this is now. Now if you ban something, you can be reasonably certain that more people would get the message than would have otherwise. Banning drives more traffic to the object, as if sticking a flashing neon sign on it saying, “Pay attention to this because this is important for you to know.”

Here’s why I find joy in the Congress’s attempt at censoring opinion polls. I concluded long ago that India’s lack of prosperity is primarily because of the Congress and their evil ideology which promotes poverty through extractive and exploitative policies. For India to prosper, the first and unavoidable first step is to make India free of the Congress. Until now, it was difficult to the point of impossibility to remove them because they had the power to manipulate the people through their control over the information media and the nanny state they created brainwashed the poor into believing that the government was their savior.

To me, the attempt to ban opinion polls reveals forcefully that the Congress party that has caused incalculable harm to India is about to die. It is grabbing at straws to keep itself afloat. That brings joy to my heart made heavy by the distress that poor Indians suffer. Though it may not be such a big deal to others, to me this move is a shining indicator that the Congress stands at the edge of a precipice and is blinded by insanity.

As the ancient saying (usually wrongly attributed to the Greek playwright Euripides) goes, “Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.” I eagerly await the gods’ next move.

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