Of course, what the people said outraged our ministers and broadly speaking, the government. A reaction that almost sounded like a "How dare you people! We are the government"*. Thats how I perceived it, and that was laid down in concrete last night watching RTV's Road to Democracy.

The panel had AL's Mr. Suranjit Sengupta, whose response to the whole thing was a song and dance routine which went like "Every democracy's got corruption! Even developed countries! Your survey's whack!" The survey, he complained, wasn't specific enough, not actionable. The TIB guy to this replied that the detailed report was not printed in newspapers (obviously), but is available on their website and he is happy and willing to make it available to him. To that, he just repeated himself in a louder voice, as you would expect loudmouth politicians to talk.

Here's the thing - the survey reflected what people's perceptions are of the system. If even a majority 6000 people say its true, there has to be something that needs looking into! Its not unheard of, its not unseen ... walking into most government banks (haven't been there in a while), police station**, BRTA, etc., will only give you a sense of chaos resulting from a lack of information - Which counter? Where do I start? Who do I talk to? If you find someone to talk to, what do you do if they won't give you the time of day and act human? Short of slapping the guy and getting arrested, are you expected to run off to write a complaint with someone? Where to go? The ACC? The police? Can you afford, at a time when you need to get something important done, to run around and setting things straight which should've been straight to start with? Hence the bribe or a dalal who are middlemen of the service sector.

I had hoped the government would take such a survey, no matter how faulty or inaccurate, and just humor us with an attempt to get to the root of it. I would be calmer now. Why does TIB have to tell you where exactly things are going wrong Mr. Sengupta? Most of the offices are filled with corruption and grave mismanagement and extremely bad processes, which when looked at, even a slightly bright matriculate student could suggest better solutions to!

* Some of them also tried to refute TIB's survey on intellectual grounds - like the authenticity of the survey regarding how many people were interviewed and so on.
** I once took a GD to Ramna station, where an officer accused me of not taking enough care in my writing! When I asked if it'd be alright if i corrected the text in place, he was appalled, accusing me that I wouldn't be this careless if I was writing something to the bank. He was offended! In fact, yes, the private bank I frequent would be much more accommodating to me Mr. Officer! When I asked for a piece of paper so I could rewrite it, he said they don't have any! Imagine that...
Since the mushrooming of satellite channels here, there has been a trend of politically charged talk shows. They have all been quite successful in getting people of power and heights in their guest chairs and also giving people the chance of joining in and putting forward their views via phone, sms or emails.What drew most of us in about these programs were the fact that they were raising points and debates that we are usually deprived of from our regular parliamentary proceedings. Also, historically, we've always had one in power - AL or BNP, and the other in opposition, and usually missing from parliament on some grounds, that the one in power will help carve using the mud they hold against each other. The mud slinging is also taken onto the screen sometimes in programs such as Channel I's তৃতীয় মাত্রা or 'The Third Level' which is debate centric and where many episodes saw two ministers from the opposite sides sit on either side of the host. Amusing to say the least.BBC's Sanglap was also commendable.