The verdict is finally out for Karnataka. On the positive side, there is a clear mandate given for a single party which means there won’t be any scope for the multiparty fiasco as well as poaching and horse-trading. The winners as well as the losers now need to do a lot of soul searching and tap into the nerve of this verdict to truly benefit from this. Congress does not really have many reasons to celebrate because this mandate isn’t so much for Congress as it is against corruption and instability. If one can protract this sentiment to the National level, the UPA regime has some serious miracles to perform in the few months left before the Loksabha elections. There in again, if Congress loses, BJP also would need to understand that the verdict was mostly against corruption and inefficiency than it was pro-BJP.
I have during the course of viewing the upcoming elections and options before us, expressed my opinion on the many factors that are being portrayed by the parties vying for National attention. In this final part, I would like to explore if we really do have any options to look for and vote for the best amongst the worst. But before that some more thoughts:
Misplaced calculations: Every major party, infact the whole nation at large, has been talking for change. From the deflated hysteria for Anna Hazare to Kejriwal’s histrionics – the focal point for the country in the past 2 years has been a makeover. For Congress, this seems to have given a different message. While the grand old party partially understood the importance of roping in the youth and making them inclusive, it seems to have gone all out to the extreme and showcasing a novice such as Rahul Gandhi as the candidate for the top post. The only point of grouse for me is that he has only a negligible involvement at the National level. Rahul may have rightly decided to focus on understanding and connecting with people at grassroots level and that is a noteworthy decision, but somehow, everyone in the Gandhi family seem to succumb to the pressures of having to act as “saviors”. I couldn’t understand what stopped him from stepping up and stopping this whole razzle-dazzle around his name and say clearly that he still needs experience. Why not take a cabinet rank? So far, apart from the name, there is nothing to his credit that deserves any semblance of attention! With sycophants like Digvijay Singh, they’re veritably heading for their doom.
BJP has turned out to be just a spoilt-brat crying over missed opportunities and political seclusion. Every opportunity that they could’ve utilized to grill the ruling party in the parliament over the many many scams that were unearthed, they lost blatantly due to their obstructionist behavior. This current parliament session has probably been the most useless one, with more disruptions in its register. The limited number of sessions they had was squandered with the legislators hindering the proceedings of the house. Rather than actively involve the ruling party in a debate and tear down their defense, and thus appear more capable of administering, they’ve often essayed the role of a sour kid hell bent on spoiling the whole game for everyone. This may work out for their advantage, but it has cost the nation a huge price. Unfortunately, that is not a concern for them.
Media: Amongst the biggest threats that are currently seething right here on Indian soil, one worthy of mentioning is our media. While on one hand we have home grown terrorists, on the other, we have home grown elegant opportunists who use verbiage, videos, vitriolic and loud remarks to stir emotions like never before. Is it truly the common man’s good that underlies this imagery? I beg to differ. Whether it was the anti-corruption movement, or the heinous crimes on women, or the scams, they were all just feeders for them to boost their TRPs. The lightning speed with which every story that is more than 2 weeks old is thrown out of the window and a new sensation created is baffling to say the least. We have a media that cries foul about the crimes on women on one hand and on the other, showcases ads to restore virginity to retain the spark in the marriage. The women in the serials are stereotyped suhaagans kowtowing to their pati-parameshwars or vamps who stop at nothing to destroy the peace of the household. If one has to see a chameleon in action right in the comfort of one’s home, please do look at Indian media! From Barkha Dutt to Arnab Goswami, we have the nadirs of journalism feeding and ruling the minds of the people.
Nowhere is this true than in the way these channels and their presenters work with the political establishment. Given that many of these are owned by political families, the stories are wonderfully crafted and tailored to showcase only certain aspects of the issue, rather than provide an unbiased and objective journalistic information. But then, such an information would barely attract any viewership! How many of us really watch DD News?! With millions of Indians having a mindset that would rather be fed, not many would really dig deep into exploring all facets of a story that is being discussed on the media. They’d rather be TOLD what to believe, than be allowed to interpret by themselves. Media, has hence, taken the role of being the matron of the society.
So, does all this sound like we are in deep s#**?
It’s Us!: It’s Me! It’s you! It’s all of us. The first basic tenet of democracy is that, it requires active and effective participation of the people, for it to be a success. And what defines effectiveness? When the collective good overcomes personal betterment, we’d have achieved a huge milestone in terms of being effective citizens of a democratic country. This is in my opinion, an essential benchmark, no matter what we may be involved in as citizens. From a mundane act of driving to work, to the all important – casting the ballot, if we pause to think whether the act being committed would further the collective good or harm it, I am sure that a lot of the problems we are in currently would be effectively addressed at the grassroots level. This community cannot be based on religious, political, social, economic or gender based classification. It has to be the collective betterment of humanity. In simplistic terms, it is about making – knowledgeable choices. I am not talking about educated choices, but instead, choosing through the right knowledge. And there’s a huge difference between the two. Surely, I may be sounding utopic in my thoughts, but even if 20% of the country would work bearing this in mind, it may offset the 80% of indifference. Currently, the indifference of the 20% of knowledgeable and efficient individuals has put the country in dire straits by handing the reins over to the 80% who really don’t give a damn! And it is not about a momentary flash of awakening that I am referring to, but a consistent, determined and focused action. It doesn’t necessarily have to be on a magnum scale, but even small contributions – cleaning our surroundings, educating adults and children, supporting social causes, standing up for the environment, effective garbage disposal, rejecting vote-bank politics, creating social and health awareness, working towards harmony and efficiency in every aspect of our individual and collective lives – if we start moving towards this, there will be a turn around eventually. The good of the collective cannot be forever submerged under the auspices of a few! We learnt this lesson during our freedom struggle! The collective good of India, couldn’t be suppressed by the interests of a few British administrators. It was comparatively easy to fight them, since we had the alien factor. But what we are pitched against today, is ourselves!
Look Out! How is an individual supposed to make a difference? Would it really matter if one person does not vote for a corrupt politician, who however will win – thanks to his dubious methods and means? Do we have to see scams amounting to multi-crore rupees before the people shall become enraged? How ironic is it that we don’t mind giving few hundreds of rupees as bribe to get away from a fine for violating the rules but fume when we hear of politicians receiving kickbacks amounting to lakhs of rupees?! Is it that, while we feel our cause is genuine, they don’t really need that moolah? Why do we break the traffic rules? Why do we skip the queues or try to put others down? Why do we take advantage of the innocence or simplicity of another person? How different is this than what our political establishments do to us? Just because the magnitude varies, it doesn’t make it any lesser of an evil! Does it?
How many of us can confidently vouch that we tried to atleast find out some credentials about the candidates we voted for? Have we tried to use the available resources to see the developmental work carried out by a candidate, before deciding whether he needs our votes? What interests us more? Which species of dog Siddharth Malhotra owns, or voicing our opinion about the anti-rape law to be formed? Why do we hesitate to opt for the option to not vote any candidate, if we feel that none are good enough?! Have we really gained enough knowledge on our own democratic system and set up? The biggest obstacle to the development of this country is thus, ourselves! We conveniently elect representatives who we feel will further our community, our religion, our sect or our group, even if it’s at the cost of the whole nation. But we forget that they are infact a mirror of our own selves! Hence they will obviously try to forward their own group, family, community or establishment! When Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in others, he gave one of the most essential mantra for an effective democracy. If every citizen of this country tries to be the sort of person he wants his politicians to be, then, we’ll see the curtains falling on our Great Indian Nautanki. Till then… well the show’s on.. and popcorn is tasty!