Everybody is waiting, India, the whole world, waiting in breathless anticipation. Voting days are here again and the EVMs will soon arrive. There is no greater public event on the entire planet than Election Season in Bharat. Newspapers, television channels, the smartphone social media, are all about to experience a-once-in-five years mega tetrabyte crash and decibel levels ready to explode. Breaking news, faking news, shaking news, rallies, yatras, megaphones blaring out concocted stories of promises and false tales of blame and abuse. No noise counter has yet been invented to measure the emotional sound levels being heard across the nation, perhaps a Richter Scale will do. Maybe.
Every aspect of the Indian Character is on international display: money, marketing mantris, mantra merchants, media manipulation and a general sense of spontaneous merriment abounds.
We are after all Democracy Numero Uno. A huge monolith of enlisted voters, total energy, unbridled excitement, an exhibition of inexplicable exuberance and in a most Indian way, a disciplined and well-orchestrated national phenomenon will play out to an audience in a collective state of euphoria, to the delight of some and detriment of others. Minus of course the minor violent incidents that will inevitably occur and skirmishes among rival and vociferous politically motivated gangs that are indeed, for better or for worse, the trademark of our unique democratic system. As education percentages and income levels and of course the population count rises, so will the critical mass of this all-inclusive election fiesta, which in essence is a celebration of our culture and “Indianess”.
Then there’s Democracy Number Two on the other side of the globe, and the other side of the clock, watching in quizzical wonderment of how it all happens. “For a Nation that prides itself on having explained the ‘Meaning of Life’ to the rest of the world, it has to be nothing short of a miracle. Surely this exercise in selecting their leaders must have to be an act of Divinity, or how else can it work the way it does”!
The Great Downside: Corruption
To be corrupt one must be possessed by greed, which in turn is a result of being stupid, of a low grade character. Only a mindless, cruel creature will pursue such a mean, selfish way of life. The downside of a corrupt environment is pain and untold suffering for the poor and underprivileged, and misery inflicted up on the general population by way of sub-standard infrastructure and living conditions. Thus creating a third grade society and generally destroying the status and quality of living for an entire nation.
Money skimmed from government coffers is actually money stolen from the poorest of the poor. Corrupt people are too stupid to see that in the end it is they who will be victims of their own crimes, forever peering over their shoulder, wondering, “when will they catch me”.
The other big sin is something almost everyone of us is guilty of: dodging taxes, direct and indirect. Every penny tax that’s not paid is actually money taken from the poorest people on earth. Of course no one is expected to pay a higher tax than what is mandated, but as a nation, Tax Dodging is a pit that is inhabited by a vast majority of supposedly good citizens.
We may shrug this off as an “universal trait” that the whole world is guilty of, but hey, we’re Indian, our culture teaches us that when you do wrong with one hand, it hits you back in the face with the other. Karma.
So for now, here come the EVMs
The new generation EVMs are the latest M3 Units. The Election Commission eligible voter tally for Goa, about 11,75,000, of which 5,25,000 are men, and 5,50,000 women, will be expected to punch their choice on the electronic machines. The higher levels of education and higher per capita incomes that Goa is blessed with, should exhibit higher percentage attendance at the booths, including those who may choose to go “NOTA”, None Of The Above.
However every single vote cast has an immense impact on the final result. We may not think so, but for every vote not exercised, the opposite guy gets a TWO-vote advantage, your “minus” vote and his voter’s “plus”.
A little note here for candidates running in the Goa polls: women outnumber male voters this time, just remember that women vote with their brains and not their brawn.
Summer is here and things are hotting up
The weather too is collaborating with the rousing hustle and bustle of the voting campaigns to step up the heat, with a promise of a joyful summer.
For us, it’s time to weed out the bad guys from the good fellas, to debate, argue, contemplate, scan the news, sort out the fake stuff, and pray. When we collectively get it right, when good decisions are made, it benefits everyone. It’s also a time for thanksgiving; to be grateful that we live in this vast, vibrant democracy which brings the hope and promise of better things to come.
Our duty is to select a leader of exemplary and truly noble character. A person who believes that it is his duty to devout his life to other people, to bring prosperity to the country and to beautify God’s world. A leader who sees the power of Divinity within himself and in everyone else. A leader who will weed out and eliminate the rampant corruption and mismanagement from the legislative, bureaucratic, law enforcement, judicial and all other official institutions. A good leader will say: “The people have elected me, I must follow them, not that they should follow me”. Have a joyful and an enlightened Voting Day. Jai Hind.
(The author is now a permanent resident of Goa after living in Mumbai, New York and London)