Reading the front pages of most serious Indian newspapers can be quite depressing. Even as we have stood on the threshold of breaking through on the economic front, the absence of real political leadership holds us back to a frustratingly large extent. There isn’t much we can do at this point of time – or in the next 5-6 years. But beyond that, we can create a very different Indian political leadership.
What will make this possible is the growth of digital devices (mobiles and PCs) and their increasing use by the voting class. Within 5 years, pretty much everyone who can vote will have a mobile. And the mobile is a 2-way interactive device capable of much more than just receiving and making voice calls. Also, literacy levels will be higher so hopefully just the offers of money will not sway voters, and they will be in a position to think before voting. Income levels will also be higher – and so will be people’s aspirations. Mass Media’s reach will be nearing saturation levels. Into this world can someone stride and transform the Indian polity? Just like Obama promises to do for the US.