A famous tea company in India is currently running a TV advertising campaign called 'Jaago Re' (lit. Hey, wake up). It talks about how the average citizen needs to wake up to his responsibility in electing good candidates as the peoples representatives to the 15th Lok Sabha (House of commons in the Indian Parliament), elections for which would be held in a phased manner in April-May 2009. The results are expected to be announced on 16th May 2009 and the new house constituted thereafter.
We have been witnessing a steady decline in the standard of our members of parliament over the past two decades or so. In the early years of our Independence, we had the leaders from the freedom struggle who had dreamt of India’s independence and strived hard so that our country could take its rightful place in the commity of nations. They worked tirelessly to achieve economic milestones as well as in the development of its people.
Once the post-independence generation came to occupy these positions, they realised that being a member of parliament gave them an opportunity to make millions from public money by distributing a part of these gains to an ever-ready bureaucracy. So the politician-bureacrat-contractor clique came to rule but atleast they had a modicum of respectability about them since whatever they did was behind closed doors and their public face was one of respectability and they continued to pay lip services to the slogan ‘Garibi Hatao’ (eradicate poverty).
But after 1985 or so, after the politicians had divided the electorate, first in the name of religion and thereafter in the name of caste, the candidate’s ability to win elections became the guiding principal while shortlisting candidates. Muscle-power became vital since stakes were large. So all sorts of mafia dons, smugglers, history sheeters, murder accused and convicted felons became the new darlings of the politicians. Some of them were in jails and running their rackets from there, be it extortion, abductions, smuggling, gambling or plain racketeering in government contracts. The scale of financial inducements offerred and a free flow of countrymade liquor have become the hallmarks of Indian Parliamentary elections of late since these are the only currencies available with the ganster-politician. Debate and discourse have long vanished from the electoral landscape.
We seem to be heading into an abyss of mayhem and anarchy. The frankenstein of gangster-turned-politician is about to gobble at the vitals of Indian Parliamentary Democracy. It is about time we wake up and vote with an eye on the future of the country and not get swayed by caste, religion or vote out of fear or inducement. I sincerely hope we wake up in time and bring about a revolution and Indian democracy is reborn.So my countrymen, wake up and vote sensibly with an eye on the future on the country, since that alone will secure your and your child’s future.
Jaago Re !!!