Whenever an issue of immense national concern has arisen, it has been our endeavour at Planman Media to keep focusing on the issue relentlessly, so that people don’t just forget and move on. Keeping with the same ideology, after the Mumbai killings and terror attacks, thanks to our shameful political class, I have decided to write five consecutive editorial articles focusing only on our political class and the need for change. After my last editorial, a significant lot of people wrote to me through emails, text messages etc confirming that though they would themselves want to contest elections, they couldn’t even dream of winning in India when the masses have no clue about what issue and whom to vote for. Thus, with this fourth editorial of mine after the Mumbai massacre, I want to answer these. Why is it that people in India don’t vote for policies and fall for sloganeering instead? Why is it that an educated citizen in this country is in a dilemma about whether to vote at all or not, in the first place? And what is that key change, apart from judiciary – as highlighted in my previous editorial – that we, as citizens of India, need to fight for, so that even an educated, passionate man with the right thoughts and policies has a fair chance at elections?
Well, just as elections in India are won with muscle power, so they are with money power. That’s not to say that elections in other countries don’t require money. Of course, they do; but, for example, in a mature democracy like USA, money flows towards the right policies and thoughts. Thus, as Barack Obama kept winning debates and his popularity increased, more money flowed in for him... However, in India, that’s not how it happens. Often, bottles of alcohol, which get distributed the night before elections in various slums, determine who these people vote for. Money in India can almost buy votes. And the sole reason for that is the lack of education amongst the masses in India. The masses in India don’t even understand what is good for them and what is not! They are kept at such a subsistence level that they keep fighting to make their ends meet and never think beyond. Thus, the slum dweller or the village illiterate never questions, for example, why should young India be ruled by a bunch of opportunistic and corrupt ageing people, whose only motto seems to be to hang on to power till their last breath. These people, therefore, can be easily swayed away by the lure of goodies, or even one extra meal, or simply a few hundred bucks – for which they can do anything... from going to vote to going to attend election rallies!
The only method to break this and encourage people to come out and vote for the right policies is to give them education so that they can differentiate between what is beneficial for them and what is not. And education is the cheapest social service that any government worldwide can provide to its citizens. Yet, we in India have kept our country illiterate. And that’s not because we did not have the money. It’s because we never had the will... because it serves the interests of the political class. It’s only when people remain illiterate that the illiterate can rule, and become Chief Ministers to Prime Ministers. Can you imagine any American or British politician, who is similar to about eighty percent of our ill-educated and illiterate politicians, standing even a remote chance in his country’s elections? Obviously not! Politicians win elections here by keeping the masses illiterate, so that they get swayed away by silly slogans and election songs made on the tunes of hit film music. Keeping masses illiterate, even in the twenty-first century, is a well designed ploy of the ruling governments in India ever since Independence – for our ruling class knows that once masses get educated, the people who will be the first to get the boot will be themselves.
Thus, if the educated in India ever want to be a part of honest politics (well, they can always be a part of mainstream filthy politics as the political parties are always looking for a handful educated brand ambassadors – like Shashi Tharoor, for example – for some key posts etc), the second thing along with a functional judiciary that they need to force the government to give is education... education for every Indian... Unless we have an educated India, the honest educated Indian will have a very less chance at the election battlefield. And the least we should have expected from perhaps the country’s most educated Prime Minister ever, Dr Manmohan Singh, was to leave behind a legacy of education… Shouldn’t we have?
- 18 December 2008 |