We in India celebrate life like no others can. For example, those who have witnessed Thaipoosam a festival worshipping Lord Muruga will agree with me totally. Individuals who otherwise are sane poke sharp and long needles (vale) throughout their bodies recite prayers loudly and ignore the pain.
In fact they are in a state of ecstasy. The westerners who witness the procession admire the individuals for their tenacity and total involvement. To top it all some devotees walk through burning coal as a matter of fact and in fact nothing happens to them. In a similar way, we celebrate election by turning up at the political rallies in millions. Hot weather with temperature hitting 40 degree centigrade creates skin burns. Don’t bother us. We bear it stoically with a big grin in our faces. We attend these rallies, of course paid (for a couple of hundred rupees to attend) we sit through the proceedings quietly totally ignoring what is being talked about. The place chosen will ideally be a market place and hours before the candidate arrives there will be a loud music from the latest cinema to warm up the participant spirits who are mostly drunk anyway. The speaker will be a candidate or his supporter and he will speak both critically and obnoxiously about the opposition candidates and their personal lives. If you were curious to know what is being said it is not possible because the noise in the area will prevent you from hearing and yet as when one starts clapping from the front rows, the others will join with enthusiasm and gusto. I once asked a rally attendant as to what his leader was saying and not surprisingly he didn’t know who the speaker was nor understood what he said. Also it doesn’t matter at all whether the speak could be a pack of lies totally innuendo, irrelevant and very personal attacks like the opposition candidate had a wife and he didn’t reveal it to the election commission. The rally attendant is a very happy man. Every rally brings money, food and the much desired liquor. This aptly describes how the largest democracy in the world functions. There are no economic policies to discuss nor are they relevant since there are no solutions to any of the problems the country is facing like high inflation and low employment opportunities.
The constitution of India recognizes that any party which earned more than 6 percent of the votes polled as a national party. But then there are hundreds of parties registered in India with no intention to field a candidate but created only to claim tax deduction as contribution to any party can be claimed as accepted expense. This is the biggest fraudulent scheme in the world and in the process black money is converted to legal money (white). Other than the candidate who is allowed to spend a couple of crores (I think it is 2 crores) which is set by the election commission, there are hundreds of his supporters who are waiting patiently to grab an opportunity to get a share of the money the candidate will illegally make. Once he comes to power you can see the net worth of him move up several hundred percent. Believe it this is not earned through hard work but money syphoned out of the system. Money and muscle power is the order of the day. Poor voters stand in line in the hot weather to select a winning candidate knowing full well that the winner will take the tax payers money through multiple schemes which are otherwise known as scams.
We live in a very emotional society where a large portion of the voting population can be swayed by innuendos, lies, money and promises. Most of us are a desperate lot struggling to make ends meet and looking for handouts. There are some candidates who stand for every election knowing full well that he will loose his deposit. As for he is concerned, it is entertainment for him and the experience he believes is worth it.
Every Indian citizen knows what needs to be done to improve his quality of life. But he feels that his vote doesn’t count. Ultimately he feels that it doesn’t matter as he concludes everyone is a crook. But this should not be the case. When the election authorities check your identity at the polling booth don’t you feel that you are recognized by the country’s authorities. Of course some of the voters have a shock of their life when the election officer tells him that he has already voted. What a social service when somebody else painstakingly has voted for you. On the Election Day, closer to the closing of poll this practice is rampant.
For those loosing faith in the system of government and the election practices, a piece of information. We Indians are creative people, election and voting are all our birth right. We are tenacious people. We will survive the election outcome and wait eagerly for the next one to come. Evidence prove it, more people have voted in this election than ever before.
Luckily in India there are no leaders who are of the caliber of Stalin Hitler and Mao Tse Tung who commended huge people support in their countries. We will always have a divided parliament with a plethora of parties. We actually recognize parties by their symbol rather than by their names. The majority party will be asked by the President to form the government and defend its credibility with a simple majority. The majority party will get into action and buy up loyalty from other small party candidates for a handsome price. They are not worried since they can always recover the money invested in the election many times. Our politicians generally have no understanding of how an economy functions but it doesn’t really matter to them. In fact many of them don’t turn up in the parliament regularly and appear only on important days. Thus we Indians enjoy one carnival or the other throughout the year. Be it an IPL season or election of state or center there is always something to look forward to. We worship the dead politicians for their contributions. We believe that but for them we would all be in dire straits. But look at the brighter side. The trillions of rupees spent during the election period only enhances the quality of life of voters. Demand for goods go up and supply increases to match the demand. All the money thus far hoarded come into circulation. This will contribute to our GDP through consumption expenditure. Politicians just to win elections are relentless in giving goodies to people name it cooking stove, television, computer, bicycle, etc. In the next election I heard that motorbikes will be distributed freely to the loyal voters. It will be good if they distribute it just before the election. At least the voter need not walk.
The facts and figures about the election are not available yet. When it becomes available I will share it with you. Just the other day I called a Chinese friend in Singapore. As I was talking to him I heard a familiar voice in the background coming from his television. I asked him who it was and he said that it was Arnab Goswami, a popular TV star. I asked him as to why he was watching the show since he was not an Indian. He said that some Indian friend had told him that it was the best entertainment in town. This is the only show where all speakers speak at the same time and nobody listens. Their noises will help you to keep your mind shut and this indirectly helps us to enter a mindless state.
Finally don’t take this blog seriously. We need humor to live in this challenging world. Indian election provides plenty of it.