Normally a person even with less intelligence can be fooled once or twice or at the most thrice. Then he/she will become cautious. But there is one country in the world where its people are fooled thrice (in local body, state assembly and Lok Sabha elections) every five years and this has been going on since 1952. But what is most intriguing is that those who are fooling a billion and plus people of this country are ordinary criminals and crooks. Your guess is right, that country is India. Former Chief Election Commissioner of India, S.Y.Quraishi had made a statement publicly that if one don’t have money in lakhs and crores or if one is not a ‘dada’, he doesn’t have a chance of winning elections. When a person of such authority is making this statement do we still need to take part in these sham elections? By doing so will not the world come to know how stupid Indians are?
A Banana Republic? To the outside world India appears as the world largest democracy with all its features of freedom, self-governance, equality, dignified living, etc. but only an insider could tell whether true democracy exists or vested interest are perpetuating their autocratic, feudal rule in the name of democracy. It does not require deep intelligence, research or analysis to find out the truth. Common sense and observation of the happening taking place in the country over the past several decades will be enough to burst the myth of Indian being a vibrant democracy. Everywhere in the world including U.K. the mother of democratic traditions, franchise was granted in a phased manner. But in India the elite who had mesmerized the masses with their slogans and false hopes gave voting rights to all irrespective whether they are aware of their rights and responsibilities. The elite know fully well that an ignorant majority can pave way for their perpetual family rule. Even now after several rounds of elections, both at the national and state level, the promises made in the election manifesto of all political parties are exactly the same as contained in the election manifesto made during the first general election held in 1950 with none being fulfilled. How can such a vast majority of people are being fooled by a bunch of rowdy elements on regularly basis? Firstly India has a population with a large number of illiteracy, who are poor and ignorant. Even the so called educated are politically illiterate, for instance we may have professionals like doctors, engineers, scientists, accountants, artists, teachers, etc. who may be experts in their respective field, but don’t have historical and political awareness, and hence lack ability to choose eligible candidates in elections. Some don’t have interests also to take part in the political process just like everybody is not interested in sports or literature. So a small percentage of people with historical and political awareness are left who actually can participate in elections and can play an important role in choosing a right candidate and party to power. But as in democracy majority prevails and hence this small minority who are eligible in all respect to play a decisive role in the country’s democratic process are made redundant.
Arm Twisting by Mercenaries: The political mafia both the ruling and the opposition make use of the ignorant masses for their selfish ends, through using muscle power, distributing money and liquor, they purchase votes and the same story continues election after election. Now who are these people who have fine-tuned this art of remaining in power? As we all know while leaving India, the British handed over power to one organization consisting of elites from different states. They retained the same bureaucracy including the police and armed forces who had earlier prostituted their services to the British to rule over India. These mercenaries now began to work for their new masters. For the new rulers the British had left behind well trained and organized mercenary units. Soon after assuming power the new government could have dismantled the old bureaucratic set up and the army which had helped British rule in India for over 200 years. But the new government did not do so, they even did not heed to the advice of Gandhiji to wind up the Congress party, as their main intention was to rule over India, not bring any changes or improve the lives of the millions of masses steeped in ignorance and poverty. Hence they retained the same old bureaucracy, police, judicial system and the laws and the old constitutional set up, the Act of 1935 was continued with a few cosmetic changes. Just as the British during their rule to show that they were the masters, looked upon Indians, lowly and harassed them in various ways and made them go through torturous process to get their simple work done, our bureaucracy is following the same. For instance even now after more than six decades of independence, ordinary folks from rural areas dread to file complaints in police station or seek readdress of their grievances in government offices.
Mockery of Democracy: We Indian have made a mockery of democracy. While the voters are ignorant about their role, politicians’ sole aim of winning elections and coming to power is to enrich himself and his family. The way elected representatives scramble for cabinet post and start dissidence if not given clearly show with what intention they get elected. But the voters with poor memory, lack of political education or awareness and also helplessness continue to be fooled in every election and are not able to think how the system could be changed. Imagine ISRO decides to launch a multi- purpose satellite. It is a multi crore project and hence everything has to be planned minutely including constituting a team of brilliant space scientists. We have a selection panel consisting of a farmer, a carpenter, a historian, a doctor, a lawyer, a bus driver, a soldier, a poet and a space scientist and selection of the scientists is through majority of votes. Common sense tells us that in this panel only the space scientist is eligible to select suitable candidates. But will he be able to do so considering that others have no idea of determining the caliber of the candidates who have applied for the posts. Also just imagine the competence of scientists whom these panel members are going to select and how successfully these selected scientists would work for launching the satellite. The above concept look stupid isn’t it? But this is how we Indian are behaving in the governance of our country. We are not serious about politics and governance and unfortunately until and unless the political system is set aright no progress can be achieved in the economic and social front.
To give more examples, in TV channels we find expert singers/choreographers as judges even to select small kids in singing and dancing competitions. Small business companies reissue advertisement if they don’t get suitable candidates for the post called for and in the advertisement they highlight that those applied earlier need not apply, which shows their seriousness for choosing the right candidate. We have University professors framing questions for candidates appearing for I.A.S. examinations. But ironically no expertise is required for selecting those who are supposed to give orders for I.A.S. officers and frame policies and programmes for the nation. Isn’t this pathetic and stupidity that to govern a vast and varied nation like India no qualification (I am not talking about academic degree), ethics, statesmanship and leadership quality is required and all sundry can act as arbiters to select. Remember it was the politically ignorant people who exercising their voting rights defeated Baba Saheb Ambedkar twice.
Between a rascal and a scoundrel: Some people think that 100 percent voting or compulsory voting will bring changes which are nothing but a mirage. In West-Bengal about 84% of the eligible voters cast their votes and brought Trinamool Congress to power. But has anything changed there? Mayavathi ruled UP for five years. Has the condition of Dalits changed for the better? Lalu Prasad Yadav ruled Bihar for 20 years. Has it transformed the life of at least the Yadav community to which he belonged? Compulsory voting will takes away the right of the people who choose to stay away from casting votes as their conscious does not permit them to choose between a rascal and a scoundrel. In case if someone wants to vote for a particular party, its candidate will be the opportunistic who had been associated with all political parties at one time or the other during his political career. In case of casting a vote in favour of an independent candidate, there is no guarantee that once elected he/she will not switch loyalty to the parties aspiring to form government, in the name of ‘development’.
According to Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) democracy can be established only in very small countries in which direct representation can be achieved. Just because other countries have adopted this process does not mean we should ape them. Even in western countries people were enfranchised gradually. In India ignorance, poverty, illiteracy and superstitious are plenty among the masses. Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins in their Freedom at Midnight says that as India’s independence was nearing, many people were of the belief that in free India everything including food would be free. Even now as reported in newspaper, voters are incited with liquor, goodies, money for casting their votes. Many cast their votes on caste and religious lines. The practice of enticing voters with money and liquor are continuing since decades with the Election Commission not able to do anything substantial, except occasional seizure of the same.
Passion for Public Service: The great statesman Gopala Krishna Gokhale felt that public service or politics was a whole time affair and only people who had a single minded devotion to the public cause could prove to be good politicians. To train young men in public life he started the ‘The Servants of India Society’. Here first class graduates were given five year training in various subjects and given stipends. This shows aspiring politicians should have good knowledge about the country’s history, politics, constitution, administration, oratory and linguistic skills, international, economic, environmental and a host of issues. But in India if you are a rowdy or criminal and want to legalize your nefarious activities, you join as an apprentice with a politician (who himself was a former rowdy who got promoted as a politician by working as an apprentice with another rowdy politician) and then by pleasing him get a ticket to contest municipal election and later assembly elections. During the British rule, Gandhiji and other nationalist leaders used to urge Indians to boycott elections as participating in them would give the British a moral stand to say to the world that they were running India with the consent of its people and cover up their misdeeds.
Now by not participating in the elections until electoral reforms are made all right minded and politically conscious Indians could show the world that democracy in India is farce and there are still people in India who have common sense. One thing people should understand is that the present system has immensely benefited the rowdy politicians and hence they will resist any attempt to change the system and there will be violent clashes. But people should be ready to sacrifice for the betterment of society and nation.