By Faraz Ahmad,
The media surveys have always troubled me with skepticism and disbelief, partly because I am not particularly good at arithmetic, which is why I had to give up studying science and turn to the study of English Literature. To this day numbers give me jitters what to talk of graphs and percentages and therefore I fail to comprehend the psephological analyses conducted on various TV channels with utmost confidence by erudite and articulate psephologists like Yogendra Yadav, Swapan Dasgupta or Arnab Goswami. Frankly I am not sure how much of this Arnab or Rajdeep Sardesai actually understand. I of course remember that my good friend Yashwant Deshmukh was doing his surveys sitting in The Pioneer Bureau room on his laptop for the 1996 elections for which a paper like The Pioneer, sinking fast, paid him substantially. That made me further lose any faith in the science of psephology. In a country like India which is so wide and varied where language, culture and food habits change every 50 kilometres, it is incomprehensible how any sample survey at best of a few thousand urban babus could reflect the true picture of the overall people’s mood.