Since then, observing our public political life has felt like sitting through a movie made with the latest jump-cut, handheld camera techniques: jerky, murky, in fact just a bit too much like real life. Event and incident have assailed us regularly: three national elections, the bjp in office, Pokhran-II, war in Kargil, kaleidoscopic turns in our party 'system', natural and human disasters, the software boom, cricket scandals, literature a la mode, the penetration of satellite and cable television, Clinton's progress, and, through it all, the constant intimidation of fellow citizens and a narrowing of our religious and cultural freedoms, all in the name of Hindu nationalism.
The press and media have gratefully accepted this spectacular cornucopia, and have regaled us with images, comment, information, and surveys. As a nation, we are probably better informed than ever before—we know more about more. Yet can we claim to have a better understanding of our world, and therefore a better sense of how to act, of what to do? Are we better placed to judge?