Friday, March 9, 2012


Audio-Video and Print media declared in big font that Samajwadi Party won the elections in UP and the Congress party lost miserably. In the US, Mitt Romney defeated his Democratic contemporaries to gain a majority in six out of ten states. At the other end of the world, Putin was declared the victor for the third time in a row. Back in India, Sonia Gandhi was heard saying that the party will now have to rethink their strategies concerning the elections in the rest of the states.

Lost. Won. Victor. Defeated. Strategies.

Smartly dressed news anchorwomen, heftily equipped with satellites providing wireless communication, cry these words out loud, again and again. The common man’s TV screen is filled with tiny boxes, each representing senior journalists and former party leaders who dispute and quibble over the strengths and weakness of each party. On the streets, some party banners are raised higher and others are lowered completely. Slogans are cheered and curses are bawled. Sentences are “He cheated”, “He bribed”, “He lied” are exchanged between lower party members, while partaking in official effigy burnings. I understand all the hue and cry and I ask why.

Hear me out. I got it when they said that India lost to Australia in a cricket match. It’s fine when my neighbour kid comes home, all happy, saying that he secured the first rank in his exams (he got sweets for us all). Win and lose are applicable to the above situations since the end point involves a trophy, or a cash prize or even a new watch from the parents. A personal gain. Something you receive as a reward for yourself in the end for your efforts. But when it comes to Politics, if you are elected, you are to represent a large number of people of a particular region; basically take care of their welfare and needs. Hence a non profit job with the title that says ‘Public Servants’. So all that unfettered campaigning, drama loving MLA’s walking in and out of parties, and lest we forget, the tonnes of mud thrown by each politician at the other (apart from chairs and mikes), and they say all these frantic acts are for that sacred chance to do public service. I don’t buy that.

India is not under a Monarchy or a Dictatorship, where the potential heirs have to fight for the right to ascend the throne. Ours is a full fledged, out and out Democracy (with a little bit of Capitalism here and there). In our country, the voter fellow is the king and the queen. We hold the power to assemble or dismember governments. We have the last say. Having said that, let me not go into why you and I are afraid of the government instead of the reverse.

All that am saying is that let us use our words well. We have already corrupted the word POLITICS – it means ‘art and science of administration of government’ and Not ‘dirty devious underhand ways to obtain an upperhand in a hierarchy’. The more we sensationalize elections by using words that represent it like a race, a contest, or worse, a war, then all that we are doing is to make the elections, which is a public issue, a personal one for the politicians. No matter who loses and wins, all that gains momentum is the ego drive of the entire Khadi wearing crowd.

Let us not lose our focus. All the electoral hungama is for that plain and straightforward common man coming out of the polling booth, admiring his middle finger that has the drop of blue indelible ink on it. Remember that he now pays more and more each year for petrol and buys less number of vegetables for the same price. But his income and hunger remain the same.