Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Edited & Brought to you by ilaxi


After deep rumination I have reached the considered conclusion that, starting with the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, I shall make predictions only after the results have been declared. That is clearly the only way to ensure that we, whether low caste pundits like journalists, or high caste oracles like opinion pollsters, get the whole thing skewered.

My friend Mike Khanna, now chairman emeritus of Hindustan Thompson, reacted to this proposition with the alacrity of an adman. He coined a term: postdiction. Having slept over the name I really do think he ought to suggest something better for such a clever idea. Postdiction sounds too much like the state of a successful graduate from Alcoholics Anonymous.

Even a sophisticated, much-researched, heavily-polled prediction is becoming about as scientific as launching an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile. All you have to do is get the trajectory wrong by 1 per cent and a missile headed from Washington to Moscow could end destroying innocent little Burma. Most of the predictions in the general elections went wrong by about 30 or 40 seats out of around 550, but that was sufficient to overturn the message. Power and wilderness, government and impotence are now determined by the fate of a single digit percentage of seats. This is why elections are no longer a race between sprinters. They are a chess game where the alliance of a pawn or the misplacement of a castle can gift victory to the other side.

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Asian Age

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