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Saturday, May 2, 2009

The World’s Largest Democracy

We Indians boast of our largest democracy and as usual, we tend to exaggerate a bit too much of our beautiful country and beautiful system.

Many a days, I restrained myself from writing this and a recent news item in the ‘Times of India – Hyderabad edition’ inspired me – rather provoked me – to express, what I felt at the bottom of my heart.

At the outset, let me explain the context… The perception of the true & beautiful rural India is just a hoarse these days…if anyone still boasts of the same….!! This may be harsh to accept or digest for my friends who live outside India. They all must be having some beautiful nostalgic memories about their villages and never would like to accept the ever evolving ‘development’ in their respective remote places across the country.

The ‘once beautiful’ rural parts of India is now corrupt and doesn’t care for any values we all boast of….!! Every passing election is making us more & more corrupt and abusive…!! On an average, every major candidate spends few crores in each election and in every constituency, there will be at least three such candidates who spend like that. Imagine the money distributed in a single constituency and where is this money coming from? If you calculate the total amount spent all over the country, it will be much more than the accumulation in the swizz banks…!! Apart from money, another item distributed is country liquor, made of illegally smuggled spirit (which may even come from hospitals and mortuaries)….!! There are many places where a whole colony or community wiped out consuming this illicit liquor. Our great ‘media mafia’ is partial in terms of coverage as they consider making somebody a poster boy out of a weird speech as more important than such silent massacres poor, illiterate people, who can be biased by anyone with a motive.

Now, let’s understand that our democracy is still alive not because of the greatness of our system, but just because of the acceptance nature of our people. Even if somebody goes on a rampage of massacre, we would not respond, rather we have the ability to rationalize it as our destiny…!!

Having written so far, let me describe the silver linings among all these are the expectations we all have on the educated youth of this country and the few examples like following….

The DGP of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. A K Mohanty had executed his duty with vigor during the first phase of elections. He had practically arrested the movement of cash and liquor, which otherwise would have got distributed across the state. Almost all the vehicles were stopped and examined and crores of currency had been seized. Mr. Mohanty was brought back as DGP by a special request from the Election Commission after recommending action against the then existing DGP for sharing a stage with the Chief Minister and violating the code of conduct by publicly praising and supporting the CM. It is an open secret that Mr. Mohanty cares a damn about any political pressure from any quarter…!! Many of the SPs, who were helpful to many candidates from various constituencies found it difficult to help their friends as they knew the nature of DGP and possible consequences if they fail in their duties…!

The results of these stringent measures were very funny and eye – opening…!! The rally addressed by Mr. Rahul Gandhi in Hyderabad had only around one thousand people as audience. The reason: The money & liquor could not be distributed to the people to attend the meeting as there was this strict check was happening. Now, all these leaders are pulling crowd by paying money & distributing liquor. Gone are the days of charismatic and crowd pulling personalities. Our villagers even bargain to get more money when they come to pick them to the meeting place…!! This proved that even a single authority with determination to implement the systems can really make a change.

This was one of the silver lines which gave me some strength to write despite the frustrating deterioration of the system and the lack of people’s ability to respond to all these social injustices. However, a news item show cased the determination of a village, which in turn, made me write…!!

A rural village in Andhra Pradesh had stopped the candidates, who came with money at the entrance of the village. Every voting individual of that village came together to corner the candidates with a list of development requirements written on a bond paper and made the candidate to sign it with an affidavit of fulfilling it.

This is simply amazing….!! Even in our highly literate Kerala, I had not heard of such activism. This is the real ‘Panchayati Raj’ or decentralization of power. Let’s hail it and hope that it spreads to each village of our shining India..!!

It is my sincere wish that all of us take this forward to induce an unbiased thinking process among the villagers and make them participatory in the development process as they only know the exact requirement of their respective habitats.

1 comment:

Chandra Sekharan Menon said...

Dear Padmanabhan
Thanks for the wise and powerful "voice" from bottom of your heart. When will the "aam aadmi" (common man) learn the true value of Democracy in which the politicians are only beggers (begging for the votes) and the voters (public) are the real "masters"? Once voted to "power" they forget all their "promises" and with the help of ther "goondas" contain everything to recover what they spent during the so called "election".
May be this "cycle" is coming to end soon and public awareness will rise so that we can still boast that we are a Democratic country. I wish to see that day sooner than later.
Chandrasekharan Menon