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How do Indians think?  As vast and as diverse our nation is, it is nevertheless interesting to get a feel of its pulse.  I am not sure if the surveys can go an honest and a good job, but the findings do present an interesting picture.  Let’s look at some of the findings.  The new survey by Pew Research Centre says:

As many as 92 per cent Indians believe that the military has a good influence on the nation. The defence forces garnered the highest level of support in a survey

The view of the current PM Dr. Singh is very favorable:

An overwhelming 85 per cent of the people surveyed believe that Dr Singh has a good influence. A higher percentage — 87 per cent — of people have a favourable opinion about the prime minister.  Among them, nearly 47 per cent per cent of the respondents held a very favourable opinion about the highly qualified and soft spoken Dr Singh.

Media also seems to get high marks:

85 per cent of Indians believe that the media has a good influence on society.

The current Congress-led Government seems to be in a sweet spot.  80 per cent of respondents in the survey say that the national government is doing a fine work.  In a similar survey by Pew Research Centre in 2007, only 77 per cent people had said that the National Government was doing ok.  And this has happened despite the large scams coming out like the CWG and Telecom 2G.  It is obvious that people feel that Congress can do no wrong.

Police doesn’t seem to be much loved.  Half of all respondents believe police is a bad influence on the society.  Interestingly, and ironically, women are greater advocates of the police than men.  50% of women and 45% of men think police is a good influence.  Religious leaders and Gurus seem to be having a bad time with their image.  Only 38% people favor them, while 58% say they are not a good influence.  In 2007, the percentage who backed the religious Gurus was 52%.

On the economic side, foreign investment is not frowned upon any more.  72 per cent say that large companies are good for the country.  This is up from 2002 survey’s figure of 61%.

The themes that emerge are:

  • If you have a good prop as a Head of State, while his colleagues and team members are busy looting the country, the team as a whole gets great marks.
  • Indians don’t care for strong people with leadership qualities – but those who exude some “wisdom” due to their resume and demeanour.  For charisma, we also fall for fairer skin.
  • If such a team – with a “wise” and old guy as the head but thieves as members – loots the nation unprecedently, but still spins the media well and the opposition has no plan worth talking about, then the chances are the looting team will benefit more and get more chances to carry on the looting.  This is a system that has been perfected by Congress under Nehru and the Gandhis.
  • Media may be a bitch in India with unbelieveable biases, prejudice and lack of journalistic ethics, – on camera acting dramatics and melodramatic music scores for news programs can enhance your credibility.  The score that media got in this survey is more a remark on the intelligence and sensibilities of Indian masses than the success of the Indian media.
  • One scandal in religion is too much.  If I was a Spiritual Guru, I would have some kind of a body created to handle the “authorization” of someone being called a “Guru”.  No Tom. Dick or Harry should be allowed into that group!

As a nation, the question remains – where are we headed?  Interestingly, there is an overwhelming feeling that military is a good influence.  If the disillusionment was to increase to a level where looting politicians cannot gloss over anymore, then a military coup and takeover of India may become a possibility.  But for that, we would need some military general with some strength and risk taking ability.  That has not happened since Sam Maneckshaw!