Monday, April 13, 2009
Confusions of a democratic mind
So it’s election time, and people all around me are writing about it and I am not; well, my last post was about my compulsive shopping!! I mean, I know I am shallow and hollow and a bit of an airhead and I never claimed to be otherwise and my blog has never been about anything of national importance, but still herd mentality rocks!! If everyone has something to say about our big bad democracy, I can’t possibly afford to miss the bus!
But say what? As it is, politics gets me all worked up; I can’t imagine that elections can be lost and won on such frivolous grounds (religion, reservation, free power, colour TV sets…), that votes can be bought and bribed, that most of our “leaders” have illustrious criminal records behind them and honestly, in todays age of coalition politics, political agenda takes a backseat to sheer number counting! So yes, I am confused, and I am well within my rights to be so and I don’t know which way to turn: right, left or centre!
The SP manifesto nearly had me running for cover: I mean, who in his right mind talks about banning English as a medium of education, of doing away with computers to restore employment but of course Mulayam Singh Yadav is a marketing man: he knows his audience and he is doing everything to cater to his audience. So that raises the question of the audience- the people who vote! I am going to stick my tongue out at the risk of sounding elitist but I do believe that the “wrong” kind of people vote and if we elect such “leaders” for such promises then well, we deserve them! And as for the “elitists” like us who are too cynical, who have given up on politics, who believe India is still a superpower despite its politics and not because of it, who can’t bother to go out and vote, well, we deserve it too, because we refuse to exercise our rights and hence should live with the choices made for us.
The burning issues so far in this year’s dance of democracy: the “budhiya-gudiya” debate between Priyanka Gandhi and Narendra Modi, the “shoe incident” involving Jarnail Singh and P Chidambaram, Jagdish Tytler’s clean chit and Varun Gandhi’s hate speech. Good governance, terrorism, economics, infrastructure still remain largely on the sidelines.
The point is that in a democracy with a billion people especially with such huge differences in culture, backgrounds, financial status you can’t possibly make everyone happy and it’s not the government’s job to make everyone happy. It doesn’t work for individuals, it works for industries because that’s where the money is which is perfectly fine with me! If only it is honest enough to admit it, go all out and make policies which are corporate India friendly it would save a lot of trouble and funds. Let the government take care of the industries and the industries will take care of its employees but then again there is agriculture and the poor farmers which leave ample scope for populist measures and therefore hypocrisy and therefore a volte face!
So many parties, so many ideologies, so many “leaders”- I am still confused, and I still think democracy is largely by the “wrong” people, for the “wrong” people based on the “wrong” promises, and here I don’t use the word “wrong” as an opposite of “right” but as “majority”, but a choice by “majority” need not mean the “right” choice! There, talk about confusion!