Thursday, April 16, 2009

Voting-Day is here

All in all, it has suddenly crept up on us. The Great Indian Election 2009 is finally underway, heralded in by a blanket ban by the Election Commission on real time reporting by any and all television news channels from all constituencies. The ban is further extended to all exit poll analyses after the fact, ostensibly to prevent any influence on the fragile voter’s mind. I have nothing to say in terms of self-regulation by the television channels – they represent everything that the fabled Fourth Estate should not have degenerated into, but they still provide a vast majority in this country with at least some perspective on what is happening.
During the campaigning, there have been such distractions as;
- crass cash disbursements to the adoring public in full view of television cameras
- murders of sitting M.L.As
- a desperate attempt to instill a sense of individual contest between contestants in what is a sixty-year old parliamentary democracy
- personal accusations and counter-accusations by all the prominent personalities
- the tried and tested (and remarkably successful) attempt to play one religion against the other
- and the stark fact that caste-based political wooing isn’t going anywhere.

The election manifestos put forward by the main parties in the fray are as incongruous.
They tell us that;
- poverty is good,
- that progress (social and economic) is for a privileged few and that it will hopefully ‘trickle-down’ to the very many, so long as you keep voting us into power for the next fifty years
- that whatever is happening in the rest of the world has nothing to do with us – ‘we are Indians after all, you see’
- and that foreign attack on our way of life is ‘imminent’ – or at least until we come into power.

It is by no stretch of my imagination that I see a masterful comedy being played out on a grand ‘uninformed’ stage:

If I want to vote sustainable and painstakingly slow progress, then I have to align myself with a political dynasty that I, as a reasonable man, cannot conscionably have any feeling for, whatsoever.
If I want to vote an impression of vitality, at least, and visible momentum, then I have to contend with divisive politics that spits in the face of everyone who had anything to do with liberating this country.
If I have a sentimental attachment for the upliftment of all those who have been completely marginalized and left out of any sphere of influence in determining their own futures, then I have to balk at the unbelievable amount of personal wealth paraded around by the very same representatives of these people.

And the Communists, at the end of the day, are still communists.

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