Bangalore. The 850 million Indian voters participating in the current national elections are more or less indistinguishable from commentators on the viral video ‘Gangnam Style’, according to a new study that points to the remarkably similar psychological attributes of both sets of groups.
“An in-depth analysis by researchers identified multiple common traits that dominate both populations – including rampant racism, homophobia, reactionary tendencies, distinct lack of information and attention spans – which flourish under the cover of anonymity,” said Barath Shankar, one of the authors of the study.
“Think of it as a grand social experiment where the millions of people who left random, incoherent and often incomprehensible comments under the YouTube video are allowed to decide the outcome of the world’s largest democracy. What could possibly go wrong?” mused Barath Shankar, tongue in cheek.
The study convincingly proves that the average Indian voter, much like his YouTube counterpart, has very limited knowledge about world affairs or politics and tends to overvalue information that supports his pre-existing opinions while ignoring data that goes the other way. The endorsement of celebrities and movie stars (especially Rajinikanth) assumes disproportionate importance in this context.
“Large segments of the population get their information right before elections from political ads and are therefore highly susceptible to misleading propaganda,” wrote NRI Praveen Chandrasekar on his blog.
Praveen belongs to a subset of the hugely influential Indian population that contributes to over 4% of the country’s GDP through foreign remittances, but is typically accused of arm-chair criticism by his fellow Indians on Facebook for not participating in the (largely meaningless) act of voting.
“Indian elections are dominated by low information voters who tend to vote against their own interests, and occasionally those of their milkman, dhobi etc,” argued Praveen. “I’d rather spend my time more meaningfully by watching over a dozen YouTube reviews of the latest Android smartphones before deciding to get an iPhone anyway,” he concluded.