Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The South shows the way! Voters are the real civil society activists

A few days back, the country’s democracy was held hostage by a well-intentioned man who unfortunately adopted a disruptive hunger-strike to force his will. And a whole bunch of his urban educated followers who very largely were ignorant of the impact of the proposed solution.....blind followers trying to purge their own internal guilt of being corrupt by taking up the cause of a media-supported struggle against corruption. On the other hand, the people of TN, Kerala and Pudicherry showed that there is a different way to get change. A democratic way. And an equally powerful one.

Equally powerful, because all polls suggest that the current corrupt and ineffective DMK government is on its way out. As it should be. The party has been indulging in shameless activities in Delhi and Chennai...... causing great embarassment to its alliance partners.....many of whom are now getting tarred with the same accusations. It’s been abusing the special powers a coalition system confers upon it. The voters of TN are likely to show the boot to the DMK. Likewise, in Kerala, the LDF is likely to be thrown out, in line with what happened in the Lok Sabha elections a couple of years back. People in Kerala are known to get disenchanted by the ruling political configuration every five years; and throw it out every five years. This time also, they are expected to do the same to the LDF.

All three states polled upwards of 75% yesterday. Now I know the naysayers will suddenly jump up and say: What about all the illegal money that was doled out to woo the voters? Is this democracy at all? Are these people really voting for a particular political party or are they voting for the immediate cash they are getting in their hand? My answer is simple: All this is unpardonable. It should be stopped. However, it’s not as big a deal as it is made out to be by the TV channels. It’s practically impossible to influence crores of voters by doling out cash to each of them. It’s only in certain pockets, where results are likely to be close, that parties try and play games. Besides, how do you know that the person who takes money from one party actually votes for that party? Or is not taking money from the opposite party also? Even if flawed, I still consider this to be indicative of at least some degree of accountability....compared to none that exists for the civil society activists who routinely shun the process of democracy.

The people who vote have a right to demand that action be taken against corruption; those who don’t, have no right. The urban people continue to disappoint the most. Chennai came up with the lowest polling % at some 62%. Within the city, if one were to take the voting amongst the educated and affluent.......all supposedly Anna Hazare’s supporters.....I can bet it would be lower than 40%. These are the armchair experts who want to dictate terms to the nation and subvert its democracy. So called intellectuals who don’t want to dirty their hands. In the corporate sector, they are called the ivory tower experts.....the marketing guys who haven’t done sales ever. The sales guys who have never understood what brand building or R&D is. And the R&D guys who don’t know what the consumer wants at all. The corporate sector is ruthless with such people.....such people wouldn’t survive for long. And yet, at Jantar Mantar, these ivory-tower experts held the country to ransom.

Those who do not vote usually end up deriding the entire system of voting. They believe that the votes are rigged; many of them have never even voted after the EVMs have come around. Most of them are cynical. Actually, most of them are looking for excuses to justify their inaction. All of them are happy to enjoy the holiday; almost none of them want to enjoy one of the best fruits of democracy....

The urban folks live in a chimerical world of make-believe. They have no idea of the real issues facing the country. I read somewhere that there is probably less corruption in WB and Kolkata than in Delhi. But the city of Delhi progresses remarkably with every passing year.....but the city of Kolkata still lives in the 1960s. Which city do you think people want to live in? People want a corruption-free society; but I can bet that they want a prosperous country even more. Corruption can be solved down the line.....but economic progress cannot be delayed any further. Those hit the worst by corruption are willing to delay action on want of economic progress. The better offs don’t value their economic progress.....and would be happy to derail it to achieve some lofty goals. Such a contrast between two divergent sections of society!

The real truth is that only voters speak the real voice of India. The UPA government should listen to them and should have handled the pressure put by the activists better. They should have force-fed Anna Hazare the way they do Sharmila in Manipur.....Incidentally, its not like her voice has not been heard; but the government has decided that it does not want to amend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. That’s the right of the government.  Protests are fine, but threats are illegal. In fact, the government should make hunger strikes illegal.....

1 comment:

  1. Of course it is not a surprise that those who have something to hide and are corrupt will fear the honest crusaders.
    You do not represent the voice of India. Stop acting like you do.