Sunday, May 17, 2009

Democracy or whatever

Three days of listening to so many stories of money bags being exchanged for votes. I hear that this time they targeted the Women self help groups and they went about to several villages, distributed money, got them to swear in God's name that will vote for a particular party and then it happened. And the trusting, promise-keeping people went about doing that. Loyal to the hands that gave them the money.
I wonder how the election commission keeps quiet watching all this and perhaps helping the whole thing to happen, by, perhaps turning a blind eye. I know of people in Velachery who contacted Naresh Gupta and complained that money is being distributed. Apparently he is reported to have said "I cannot do anything" in Tamilnadu.
Interesting. Is there one singular power in India that can is unchallenged? I dont know if there is an answer to that question. I guess even a Supreme Court order is not followed by the Chennai Corporation and openly indulge in contempt of court and the common man, at the same time lives in fear or authority which perhaps really does not exist. Or rather authority that is exercised by the goonda raj. I think this way, every man in this city might turn into an Anniyan. On that Anniyan note, I wonder killed those people randomly sleeping on the roads last year. Was that case solved?
Also I wonder why nothing has been done yet to bring in a biometric system of identity and voting in India. Time they started bringing that in. Yeah, you ll think whats the point. Mayhap, A lot of our tax money will be spent on this, built in a manner that voting can be rigged, which of course is already alleged with the EVM's with people saying that it is all programmed. And then that vote from each man will be bought. Now the Election commission laid down a hundred thousand rules on how much a party can spend on campaigns. At last count, it stands at 56000 crores in the days leading to the elections. Of course, the only good thing is maybe the money that was originally taken from the people have been given back to the them by means of temp employment and all the envelope handouts.
I read this article somewhere that foreigners watch the election process in our country with awe. It perhaps requires more than awe.
How the land I adore, the land I thrive in survives despite all this is pure magic. Sooner or later if the people of my country do not do anything, nature will step in and begin the culling process.
Every night as I go to sleep, I pray that my land and my people be taken care of, be protected. So many people right now are predicting dire consequences especially in this state. I wish and pray that every such prediction comes to naught. God save my country. And in some cases, from its own people.

18 comments:

vishesh said...

true enough but if every gen passes the responsibility on to the next , this will continue...

Aakarsh said...

The last two lines of your post nail it, completely.We problems we have today do not belong to today. We have been amassing them since ages. One election or few elections are not enough to purge it all out. And looking at what all we have amassed, it will take ages for the 'change' to dawn.

Anonymous said...

"And in most cases, from its own people."

I don't think even education will help the mindset. Look at neighbouring Kerala. And if any of the youth really started something, they will be called enemies of the state. Do I sound hopeless?

But hope is always the only thing we have.

-kajan

Krishna.S said...

Hi,
I totally agree with you wrt biometric system of voting since i believe signature which we affix in form 17 can be affixed by anyone.Coincidently, i was also speaking about biometric system of voting to my sister today.So there is every possibility that it would have crossed many more people who had followed this election.But i believe it will be very difficult (both money and time)to execute the same in a big country like ours.But it can be implemented in case any national id issued.Until such time we have to depend upon 49o only.Even in that we have our task cut out since we cannot exercise it freely in the machine itself (There is a case pending in SC wrt).Right now,there are many people who cannot exercise due to
fear factor.Inspite of all negatives in this election there is a positive thing which has happened in Andhra through victory of loksatta canditate in assembly election IAS officer coincidentally he is called as DrJP.Lets hope for the best atleast in near future.

Shaggy said...

Hi,

I have similar thoughts on implementing bio-metric methods in polling. I have pointed out it in my previous blog before couple of days. Recommendations to Election Commission Posting the link for the readers of your blog as it reaches to more people.

I hope this bio-metric authentication will be used in many departments in the future.

K C Sundaram said...

I've been reading your inspiring, uplifting blogs regularly and wanted to comment many times but for some reason or the other haven't done so far. now I thought I must comment on oyur latest blog.

Well written. You've just written whatever I've been thinking and telling people. Since yesterday I have been very disappointed and distressed with the result. Because if money power and muscle power wins, then the power holding people will become even more autocratic and will not care about good governance and just resort to bribing the voters during election. And you are right people are very loyal in this sense that they vote for the people who gave them the money forgetting that then obviously the candidate would not do anything for the people.

Chinmayi, I very well understand how you feel as I also feel exactly the same way, especially your last sentence. I'm glad at least you are among th every few who think like this. I'm writing this because whoever I spoke to are all very glad that the people have spoken decisively and for a stable government. But they lose the main point - democracy is in danger here and they don't seem to be bothering as they claim to say that that has been the case all along... bringing closer to your argument that somehow India would survive like a magic wand. Here, I would like to differ from you. Okay, our country is surviving despite this but is that enough? No, a lot has to be done. Just by ignoring all the problems by saying this has been like this for long / nothing can be done about this / this is our fate... these kind of attitude must be thrown out. In that respect you are doing a fantastic job by raising issues which many tend to say "yes, so what; nothing can be done about that". If people ignore it nothing will get solved. Issues must be raised, problems must be identified... then solutions would automatically follow. In psychotherapy, if a patient admits he has a problem and wants to change, then half of his problems are already solved. Similarly there should be a movement for change... Carry on doing your great work by raising issues here, and in aahaa kaapi club! Raising issues and spreading awareness is very important. If everyone thinks like you, then our country can achieve wonders!!! I'm with you in your mission!

Sundaram

Sreekrishnan said...

Chinmayi, If you see this is what it takes for a democracy to mature. This has to happen, people will do this and one fine day things will turn.

Now i am not saying it will turn automatically. But, the questioning process has just started. Soon more people would start questioning and then, we will be there where the democracy takes one step to mature itself.

One day, the questioning will be made legal [ just like we started RTI] and so on.

Fortunately or unFortunately - we are in the process of maturing. We are in the Build up time. may be in 20 30 yrs it'll change. All that we can do now is to reduce the time by having more involvement. We'll be there ! Its not Hope, its just the design. trust the design !

Narayanan said...

56000 crore!!! A jaw dropping figure of money spent on the elections. Assuming India's population is 120 crore, the candidates or parties have spent a percapita election expenditure of Rs 450!!! I skip a heart beat if I calculate how much the parties would earn in 5 year term if they can spend 56k crore for a 5 year term.

Since we have a huge population, its not easy to implement every scheme at grassroot level. Every scheme will have its share of successes and failures and biometric system is practically impossible to implement on a 5 year term just for the sheer magnitude of expenditure, logistics, management issues we face. Even the voter id card scheme is yet to be completed fully.

And regarding allegations of EVM rigging, cash for vote, it could be all be true (it is!) but its next to impossible to patrol each and every act of parties by Election Commision. This is where self discipline should come into picture.

How many people can be bought by Cash for vote scheme! They would not have paid Rs 450 to each and everyone. Each party focusses on cash distribution only at places where they know they are week! Or where there is no one from party to represent local population of same caste.

Still democracy survives if you think of politics at macro level and not at micro level. Victory to any political party is only a mirror reflection of entire population's image (of which a selective 20% of misrepresentation may be ruled out). Only education, change in people mindset, a sense of social responsibility among public can help the country take it to next level.

Infact I would even accept someone taking cash for vote coz it benefits atleast them, but tell me truly, how many young girls or guys have voted for Congress, just for youth sensation Rahul, or for Chiru, Sanjay, Govinda etc. saying he is hot or is charismatic. These dumb people who vote for such dumb reasons are utter bad misrepresentation of public. It is more stupid to vote someone just for reason he represents my caste. Such things happen and people go by impulse to vote, in India people are not able to change opinions and make informed decisions. Once a DMK patron or Congress patron, or for that matter any other party's patron will remain forever.

So, the call of good practices, strong policing are difficult to apply as long as the people do not change.

Every bunch has a share of rotten apples! Period!

Enjoy the success and ignore the sore grapes.

B said...

Chinmayi, The system in the last 20 years has changed from hopeless to average. Just looking from Bihar results, people have rejected money & gunpower and favored growth. I am based in Colorado, US and speaking to my local friend here abt elections, he mentioned that the US took 90-100 years to come to a good position whereas our country took just 30 years. More later.
Bala

Anonymous said...

Seems a little biased (may be subconsciously, at least). Nothing to wonder, after all we know your loyalty towards Amma. If money is all that is necessary to win an election, the opposite gangs have that too. May be they are unwilling to spend :P?

Narayanan Venkitu said...

'So many people right now are predicting dire consequences especially in this state ' -

That's really scary !!

Raymond said...

i think india should bring up the
MYKAD system as used in Malaysia an ID card with computerised voting

Vamsee said...

Wow. Not even one comment yet? I must be dreaming :). I kept quiet because I'm an outsider, and I don't have a very good understanding of TN politics. But one thing is sure - you should always take what you hear, even through newspapers, with a heavy dose of salt.

Electoral fraud is everywhere, not just TN. But it's not as rampant as what you think. What you hear can be motivated by so many other reasons. It might not be the entire truth. My thumbrule is, if there are two extreme allegations in opposite directions, the truth is somewhere in between.

Also, the people cannot be fooled twice. You can find that evidence everywhere in the elections. Vote bank politics held less sway this time, and seemingly powerful candidates lost all over the place, and in my home state AP, all the film star power couldn't win but a seat or two.

At the end of the day, people do care about good governance. If they don't see real results, any political party, no matter how powerful, cannot escape the verdict of the people. It might be a slow and painful process, but democracy works. The evidence is all around for you to see.

Ragavan said...

When one part of us is amazed at our EVMs, the other part swears at it saying the machines that are used for polling and counting are not the same!!

We, the people, are the only reasons why our country is like this.

Some of us are politicians, some of us are bureaucrats, some of us are professionals, some of us are "not so-professionsal" goondas and most of us are indifferent public.

And none of us are used to or taught to see commonality.

Aided by one of the worst and irresponsible media, we relish division, chaos and self interest.

To me, it is all my house, my life, my intelligence, my brilliance - the list is endless.

There is nothing in our country which can be called a unifying factor - like language, race, culture etc - except maybe our collective indifference.

When there is nothing in common, how can there be any kind of unity. So it is free for all.

Is there any one single issue in our country which has national acceptance??

In this mess, outfits like the ELECTION COMMISSION are trying to do their best.

Without the EC,let us acknowledge the fact things can be much worse.

Our EC has some of the best regulations for the conduct of general elections. But where is the political conviction and public support to help its implementation.

Let us also not forget, EC is also manned by people like all of us.

Plus - if you support the EC, I, even for the heck of it, will rally a group to oppose.

Reason why - unruly democracies like ours - needs things like compulsory military service - something that can bring all of us from different parts of the land together, keep us for a period of time under strict order and control and teach us unity and cohesion.

We cheat ourselves day in and day out saying we are the most intelligent people on the face of the earth, but time and again we miss even the basics.

So what we do not realize, we have to be told, on the face. And taught, maybe even by force.

If our country needs to be better, we need to be prepared for such tough measures and painful efforts.

We will not turn into some 'ideal land' just like that - by magic.

In spite of all this - we will survive. Nothing will happen to us.

This basic belief is what has made us all so indifferent, in the first place.

raju4u said...

Really! Such a young girl having so much social/political awareness and feeling the need to set right things.
Keep the spirit.
Federal System as in USA could be a good alternative for our country.
Even the Process of Election and Voting is different in some other countries.I guess the caste based money based voting is not going to help us.

Anonymous said...

Chinmayi San...

"Democracy or Whatever " is the beauty of Democracy ...it sucks bigtime but I love it :).

hav fun !!!

MADHAV said...

Chinmayi

I think this is how I can interpret the Election results in TN. Its just a guesstimate!

No matter which party comes to power, the common man is screwed! No one delivers what is promised in the "Manifesto". So people of TN have become clever. They probably go by " A Bird in hand is worth two in the bush". So who gives them more money at the time of election, they vote for them, and they are loyal to the money they receive.

Its sad but might be true...

Thanks and regards
Madhav

GP said...

hey..we public wanted to go for biometric voting ..put the leader of a major party is screaming about having the old paper ballot system again..gosh...I wonder what awareness these leaders have about the modern technology /Environment..and how are they going to lead us..we need a major overhaul..which would start from required attitude change of the educated of being very pessimistic about our country...