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I am not voting, Here’s Why

I am not voting, Here’s Why
I have decided not to vote. This was neither a tough decision, nor a casual one. Does this decision make me an irresponsible citizen? Doesn’t democracy deserve a better treatment than the electoral politics? Is democracy all about electing a government and then changing it periodically?

Our democracy starts with election and culminates into another election. In the name of development mostly what we see is actually byproducts of corruption and scams. If we, the people of this country, cannot buy food for ourselves after about seven decades of swaraj and so many acclaimed revolutions, then we need to stop and introspect. When farmers are forced to attempt suicides and people who do not grow even an ounce of food but can source the best food from world over in DTH mode, we need to stop before we vote. In 2014 when more than 50 per cent population is promised a government-funded roof on their heads by ruling party, we need to stop and ask the definition of development. The political system of this country has done nothing but made people beggars and dependent, so that they can be bought over on small and petty promises.

Voting is the only duty we perform by tan (body), man (mind) and dhan (soul). We are all set to outsmart USA in election expenses. An estimated figure is $5 billion. What for? For a change! What change? God knows! Apart from money, we deploy thousands of civil personnel for election duty. We deploy police and paramilitary forces in such a number and with such a planning as if we are waging a war. Defence personnel are killed for facilitating people to vote. People are killed for voting and some time not voting. Couldn’t we sacrifice our lives for a better cause?

We are a secular country, but still vote communally. Our constitution does not allow discrimination in the name of caste, creed or sex, but we critically examine these data before every election. In fact, without any intention of hurting any sentiments, I can safely deduce that election divides people on the line of caste and religion more than any other occasion. Any study or research will only endorse and substantiate it further.

In a country where half the population defecates in the open and more than that shamelessly urinates in the open, we need to check our development parameters, our value systems and our education systems. We build wide roads, but we do not educate our people how to cross them and we are killed day in and day out. We offer prayers to trees, but do not hesitate in cutting them for our gains. We offer prayers to rivers, ponds and lakes, but we shamelessly pollute them.

The most fascinating aspect of electoral politics is that pre-poll hatred gets converted into post-poll harmony. You may reject a party or candidates, but they still can make an entry to the legislatures. They can even become prime minister and you cannot cry fowl. You might be bleeding, you might be fighting your survival, but prime minister may chose to meditate. Your right to vote does not guarantee you the right to choose the right person. The right persons may not even think of filing his or her nominations, because simplicity and righteousness are no more the criteria for getting into public service. In fact, simplicity is neither respected, nor accepted in the developing Indian society. You can ignore weavers, but you may boast on your designer Khadi attire.

We are living in an era where visibility makes all the difference. You can glamorise poverty, illiteracy, rape, scams, communal riots, suicides etc. etc. in the name of democracy and freedom of expression. You can flood the virtual world with the ideals of your choices. You can develop your own indexes to show that you are doing exceedingly well.

You show clippings from all over the world and tell your people that you are not the only corrupt and immoral lot. You are just following the global best practices. Politicians may not know even hundred people in their constituency, but they can boast of thousands of followers on their social network. These numbers you can actually buy as per your abilities and needs.

I may sound like a pessimist. I know not voting is not in fashion, but I am taking this risk. I think NOTA button is nothing but a tool to allow the frustrations to vent out, but we need to think much beyond that. We need to educate ourselves first, before we go out to vote and we are bought over by the power of glamour, sectarianism and capitalism. I may not get a chance to get my finger marked with the election ink in this life, but I shall die with the pride of having not voted a wrong person.

The author is a senior bureaucrat. The views are his own
Akhilesh Jha

Akhilesh Jha

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