Finally the administration has decided to build the road in front of my house. They have also decided to repair the streetlights. I wish they had done that a couple of months ago, had they been working, a fatal accident I witnessed would not have taken place.
But why did they wake up now? In the words of an official supervising the repair work, “Elections are here!” Ahhh Yes!! The Elections!! How could I forget that I am an empowered citizen of the largest democracy in the world??!!?? How could I forget that people like me and you are poster boys for advertising the “success” of democracy??!!
I do not wish to indulge in yet another diatribe on the Indian polity. Neither do I wish to mourn the state of affairs of governance in India. Enough of that is available else where on the net. I wish to turn the tables. I would like to blame you and me, the citizens of this country for all that is going wrong in this country. It was because of my apathy that the roads remained un-built for so long. I needed the lights and I did not take the initiative to ask for it when I saw that the administration is not doing anything about it. My only contribution to the whole situation was to curse and analyse. “Curse and Analyse”, this is what we do. This is the only thing we ever do.
My belief is that the inaction, apathy and insensitivity of government bodies flows down from what they see as the status of a common man in the eyes of their political masters and I assure you that the people who sit in the Lok Sabha as your representatives care two hoots for you. I had the privilege to witness that first hand during my stint with a news channel in New Delhi. I was shocked to see what these politicians say before and after the official press conference is over. I was stung by the language they would use to describe their colleagues in the opposition and the total disregard for what we call the “common man”.
How did this happen?
In Greek, “Demos” stands for people and “Kratos” stands for rule. At least in principle, democracy is supposed to provide you and me, direct and equal access to power. The people whom we revere as our ministers and MLAs are supposed to be our representatives and our humble servants. In the run up to the elections all political parties are busy cobbling up partnerships and seat sharing agreements. Till now I have not heard of a single news story which might indicate that they are even considering being answerable to the citizens or asking them for their perceptions as activities worth pursuing.
What right do I have to decry the politicians and their activities when I am the very person who sent them to the hallowed halls of the Parliament? Please ask yourself the following questions.
· Will I vote this time?
· Do I know the festering issues in my state and in my country?
· Do I know which party stands for what?
· Will I vote for a party or will I choose the person?
· Will I even consider independents?
· Will I vote for candidates with criminal cases pending against them?
· Will I consider caste, creed and religion while deciding my vote?
· Will I caste my vote just for the heck of it or will I be serious about it?
· Do I really believe that I can loose the victim and helpless mentality?
The answers to these questions, my dear students will decide the fate of the road in front of your house, the streetlights near your home. . . . . . . . . The answers to these questions will decide the fate of your nation.