Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Elections and television

I love election time. It is the best time to watch the politics unfold in its full glory. No holds barred! And when years ago when we were introduced to Psephology by Prannoy Roy (now Dr) it was fascinating. There was a new way of looking at the election process and try to understand the complex ways of Democracy.

But over the years with every media house laying claim to how specialised and exclusive their coverage is we've kind of lost the big picture. The images are so skewed that we can't tell what's real and what's hype.

And even the way the elections are referred to isn't flattering. One channel keeps referring to the great Indian election "pageant"! To me the word means something frivolous and I am offended. If I type the word into dictionary.com this is what comes up.


1. an elaborate public spectacle illustrative of the history of a place, institution, or the like, often given in dramatic form or as a procession of colorful floats.
2. a costumed procession, masque, allegorical tableau, or the like forming part of public or social festivities.
3. a show or exhibition, esp. one consisting of a succession of participants or events: a beauty pageant.
4. something comparable to a procession in colorful variety, splendor, or grandeur: the pageant of Renaissance history.
5. a pretentious display or show that conceals a lack of real importance or meaning.
6. (in medieval times) a platform or stage, usually moving on wheels, on which scenes from mystery plays were presented.
7. display or pageantry.
8. Obsolete. a stage bearing any kind of spectacle.

Another channel referred to it as Indian election "circus"! Circus?

This is what dictionary.com throws up


 a large public entertainment, typically presented in one or more very large tents or in an outdoor or indoor arena, featuring exhibitions of pageantry, feats of skill and daring, performing animals, etc., interspersed throughout with the slapstick antics of clowns.
2. a troupe of performers, esp. a traveling troupe, that presents such entertainments, together with officials, other employees, and the company's performing animals, traveling wagons, tents, cages, and equipment.
3. a circular arena surrounded by tiers of seats, in which public entertainments are held; arena.
4. (in ancient Rome)
a. a large, usually oblong or oval, roofless enclosure, surrounded by tiers of seats rising one above another, for chariot races, public games, etc.
b. an entertainment given in this Roman arena, as a chariot race or public game: The Caesars appeased the public with bread and circuses.
5. anything resembling the Roman circus, or arena, as a natural amphitheater or a circular range of houses.

I think I will stick to newspapers and local gossip for information. At least they give the election process the respect it is due.


Kannan said...

"Prannoy Roy (now Dr)". Now Dr? He was always called Doc by NDTV insiders.

Abhipraya said...

Yes Kannan but for common people we discovered his dr pattam only recently :)