Simply stated, selfie is a photograph that one takes by oneself. For the benefit of the small number of smart-phone-illiterate section in the country’s headcount, whatever fraction of it is left, “A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a smart phone which may be held in the hand or supported by a selfie-stick. One is obliged to take off from here, after a brief familiarisation of the menace which is proving to be an agent of death, taking the lives of unwary youth who have fallen into its trap, and ponder over the current image of society, figuratively society’s selfie. The country’s total headcount, currently estimated at 1.35 billion (135 crore), and counting, doesn’t yield to be easily classified under various categories based on their multiplicity of spoken languages, ethnicity, culture characteristics, faiths, castes, creeds, physical features, literacy, economic status, trades and so on. For the sake of this column with its self-sufficing caption, India’s society can be classified into two sections, one section eligible to elect its representatives as a right to the various legislative bodies and the remaining section ineligible until crossing the age bar of 18 year. The numerical strength of the former section is estimated at about 850 million for now.
The process of choosing their elected representatives to be followed by the electorate, as stipulated in the land’s Constitution, formally adopted on Jan. 26, 1950 and amended 120 times so far, as familiar to the literati, is marked by limited options. Firstly, the electorate has no say in the choice of contestants decided by their respective political parties, a handicap which cannot be explained in words. Going by their profiles, as already carried by the dailies of all hues, less said about their background, the better. People at large, going to the polling booths to cast their votes, don’t seem to have any hard feelings on this matter, barring exceptions.
The land’s media has dutifully put across to the avid readers of dailies and viewers of television news channels, graphic portrayal of the machinations of the country’s law-makers, making a mockery of the nation’s democratic system. The just begun action by the players of Karnataka, making merry in this system, has triggered a few observers of the goings on to express their disenchantment about the conduct of the law-makers in particular and the electorate section of society in general. Once again, the literati section of society prefers to pore over the copiously emerging reports which is read by the literate and missed by the illiterate, making not much difference between the two outcomes.
While the limited space that this column can avail cannot possibly reproduce the views of astute observers of the election process already published by dailies of all hues, one is obliged to quote one such view amply conveying the current feature in these words: “Our democracy needs a tweak to prevent the rot that is creeping into our society.” In short, one cannot be faulted for saying that society’s selfie portrays a self-shaming society, barring a minor section of the populace.