Nowadays, netas and political gurus are conquering cyber space. They tweet, blog and post their status, blissfully thinking that they are getting closer to their potential youth vote bank. The Bihar elections recently had the maximum use of EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) for a state election. The revolutionary RTI Act has given the greatest corruption-busting tool into the common man’s hand. All these reiterate the fact that technology has become an integral part of our democracy.
India has become not only the largest democracy but the most high-tech one too. The Institute of Ideas and Landmark had set a moot point in the city, on whether technology helps democracy or vice versa. Helen, the programme coordinator, explains why they chose to come down to India. “We wanted to hear out the views from the youth of the largest democracy on whether they think that technology has helped in the growth of country or otherwise”.
Since its inception in 2000, the Institute of Ideas set out from Britain is exploring global terrain for the first time. The panelists were voices from the two main answerable branches of democracy — the media and the government. Kevin Toolis, a New York Times journalist and Dolan Cummings from the Institute shed some world insight on the point of contention. Sarath Babu, known for contesting as an independent candidate, Kris Dev an e-governance consultant and Sanjay Pinto of NDTV, were the Indian panelists.
The young found this a forum to vent their ire on the present system of democracy.
On questions of media biases, Pinto quipped “it has become fashionable to shoot the messenger” though it was noted that he gave no comments on the Barkha Dutt tape scam that is doing its rounds.
The crowd was critical on the shift of an independent candidate like Sarath Babu into a political party, especially when he was vehemently commenting on dynasty politics and the political systems.
Scepticism was rife with a youngster summing the debate up, “Technology can make me ‘like’ a ‘Vote for India’ page in Facebook, but it can’t make me stand in a line outside an election booth!”