Friday, May 1, 2009

My middle finger to your apathy

I would ordinarily be thrilled to be proved right this soon and in such a spectacular manner, but this is the election we're talking about and my being right doesn't change one basic fact - the Indian voter SUCKS.

My earlier post reminded you that for all the online activism, we were about to witness a 'traditional' election - with all its pre-poll bribing, booth capturing, small queues in the affluent areas of Mumbai and long queues in the slums, et al. Unfortunately, and this is new for me, I was bang on target when I said that NO PART of your Jaago Res and Vote Indias would really work.

Testimony to this statement are some headlines from across the nation and the world: DNA says that 57% did not come out to vote in Mumbai, the Khaleej Times tells you that 30 villages in Gujarat gave the polls a mass boycott, and Bloomberg blames the heat wave on low voter turnout.

Would it surprise you to know that Mumbai's slums, which form the bulk of the vote for any election, actually voted lesser this time and that compared to other times, more voters came to polling booths from the city's buildings? This is an interesting phenomenon, considering that the actual picture is always the other way around. Does this mean that our politics has finally disenchanted the enthusiastic slum voter?

That is not to say that the middle classes of the country are enchanted by politics. Anywhere in the country in the first three phases of polling, voter turnouts have not exceeded 47 per cent. Democracy, anyone?

Is it just me or does anybody else realise that as a country, we are disenchanted with our politics because we are disconnected with it? Why does anybody, leave alone a host of civic activism campaigns and multimedia advertisements, need to exhort the average Indian to get out there and vote? Why did some educated people not know when Mumbai went to the polls a full 24 hours before polling began? Of what use was a sustained media effort to cover the elections two months in advance, if post-poll headlines would only talk about mass boycotts and heat waves?

Let's not blame the weather or disillusionment for low turnouts. And let's not get off so easily by using fancy terms like 'voter apathy'. To be apathetic, you must know what you're apathetic about. Not voting because you didn't know who to vote for says not as much about your candidates as it does about your own ignorance. We know everything about the Big B in America and his dog Bo, but we don't even know which party Sanjay Nirupam belongs to and have no compunctions in asking who the heck is Nitin Gadkari.

Your indifference has made this country what it is today. And don't let me hear you complain when you go down with it.


Debby said...
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