Millennium Post

And this time, every Delhiite must vote

I don’t have a vote in Delhi (I stay in the Wild West – the badlands of western UP). Heck, I have never ever voted in my life, if you cut out the college and Delhi University students’ union elections. There, too, I skipped it the last year (I still had no inkling it was the final year, for there was always the chance of failing to convince the examiners that I knew enough to be honoured with the degree).
Why, I am asked often, especially after the devil whispered in my ear and I decided to become a journalist. My reply depends on the state of mind at that point of time: it could be anything from ‘I don’t believe in electoral democracy’ and ‘no one offered me a bottle of IMFL to woo me’ and down to ‘what goes your father if I did not?’

The fashionable thing, of course, is to say I never had the kind of candidates I deserve. The truth, and nothing but the truth, is I am lazy. If you can form a government (which you can) without me bothering myself to go out in the morning to stand in some godforsaken queue in some godforsaken sarkari school to cast my vote and then heading for office with a grumpier face than is normal, then why take the trouble? If you can decide to make laws and increase taxes and VAT on my cigarettes (which you do any which way) without my presence in those queues, why don’t you just go ahead and elect anyone you feel like?

And if you can sing, dance, do a jig and tango with that noun called democracy without my presence, be my guest; all the best. Truth be told, if men are from Mars and women from Venus, I am the man who came from Mars via Neptune – I have no fondness or mental/sentimental attachment to things you hold so dear and precious (you are not giving me the right to smoke in restaurants either which way, so you can have your democracy and its associated rights and eat it, too).

But something might just have changed this time. In Hindi film parlance, which is my personally personal favourite theory of deconstructing all pompous ideas, there are too many bad guys out there, doing too many bad things. And perhaps, just perhaps, it needs me in all my Rajnikanth flair – dark glasses and Thalaiva-esque swish moves included – to stand by you, the worshippers of democracy.

So Delhi (and then the rest of India when the time comes, sometime before next summer, to do the mass havan invoking democracy), there’s no point blaming the system. Leave all that whining and bleating to the Sunny Deols of Bollywood. The system never made or unmade you. Your rank bad decisions did, humbly aided and abetted by some shady or semi-shady, corrupt or uber-corrupt officials and officialese.

There’s a genuine alternative this time around, and if you do not press the button, there’s no point blaming the all-pervasive system for the next few years. I don’t have a vote in Delhi. Dear Delhi, you do.

On arrangement with Governance Now
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