In India, we celebrate Diwali, Uttarayan, Dussehra, Janmastmi, Navratri, Idd, New Year, Nowruz and a lot more but the ostentatious of them all is the General Election!!
That’s right; elections in India are nothing short of a huge, magnificent, dynamic celebration. Celebration of boosting the local economy by bringing out all the black money that was collected over the past election and spending on gathering people for rallies and late night parties. It’s a celebration of making a mockery out of a common man. It’s a celebration of a coming out party of a candidate with shady background into the main stream public life. Oh! And yes, it is also a celebration of Democracy…or whatever we have it these days.
In a developing democracy like India, different classes of people will have different expectations from their elected politicians (they are far from being a leader!!). The ‘haves’ will expect a leader who is willing to make deals. The ‘intellectuals’ will hope to have a leader who is a university graduate and who does everything ‘right’ and then there are ‘poor’s’ who make sure India remains democratic by coming in masses to vote and in turn our politicians make sure that they remain poor, so our grandeur history of being a democratic society continues.
Come April and 814,591,184* registered voters in India will celebrate democracy by going to the polling stations and voting. Or watching/reading about the exit polls and complaining about the outcomes. Each and every election cycle brings with it the ‘new crop of politicians’ who think about changing the system. Alas, they become the part of the same system by the next general election. General election, we are told, is the celebration of the power of people. But in India it has become the celebration of the power of politics!!
Although a true democracy fails to exist, religious and provincial issues continue to be used for political promotions and criminalization of politics has become the modus operandi, a Common man continues to believe that the upcoming elections will bring the Change they are hoping for.
…to the Hope!! to the Change!! to Democracy!!
*NYT op-ed – ‘Old Fantasies are distorted in Indian elections’. Mar 5th, 2014