If you did not vote

If you did not vote this year,
  • - You have no right to preach at your local tea shop about corrupt politicians.
  • - You have no right to be outraged because the local MLA took bribes and allowed the neighborhood to become a brothel. That is precisely where you belong.
  • - You cannot complain of vote bank politics - someone who at least cares to vote is the right person to appease. If you are whining so much about people playing up to the minorities, it serves you right that the minorities go to vote in the majority.
  • - You were also whining about how reservations are ruining the country, right? Well I think the reservations are good. People who vote should have the right to get stuff reserved for themselves at the best places.
  • - You should not forward that email about how 30% of people in the Parliament are criminals, half of who have murder charges pending against them. I know that is the only thing you're good at: forwarding emails. But seriously, save those precious fingers of yours. You know where they can be used best.
  • - Stop preaching about how the society doesn't care and stop finding fault with the "society" for every misery, every poor family you see around yourself. You did not move your fat ass a single inch to go and vote.
  • - And when the bomb blasts happen in your city, go and ring bells, sing praises to God, and give pujas to all the deities you know. You are alive at least, aren't you? Thank God someone voted the right politician to power who completely kept you safe from the blast by his divine speeches.
I know that you went and watched movies, strolled around with your boyfriend in the park, took care of the unfinished dry cleaning at your house, but did not find time to vote. You deserve it... you deserve every bit of the shame and humiliation that you go through when you are brow-beaten by some politician's goon. You deserve to shell out the thousands in bribes. And you deserve every single time to be made to stand in sweltering heat because the minister is going to get his son-in-law from the airport. Shame on you, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai - you are really examples of what the new India is looking like.

Comments

  1. What about those who are not home and can't vote? There are plenty of us Indians who are not around...wish we had something like early ballot or something to record our opinions.

    On the other hand, after voting in last elections and seeing the unfolding drama later and being thoroughly disgusted by people I backed, I realized my vote or non vote won't make a difference. Those who want the right to complain should first jump into the circus and try to make a change, coz otherwise all of them politicos are the same...

    Just my two cents
    Sky

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  2. All this sounds great in theory, but... and this is a big but...

    I entirely disagree with your premise that every vote counts. It doesn't and the individual voter who uses his discretion is at a huge disadvantage when compared to the vote-bank politicians who rely on mass-voting by communities/caste groups.

    India's democracy does not support proportional representation, so there are hundreds of thousands of votes that go wasted because it doesn't matter if somebody won by 500 votes or 100,000 votes, a win is a win, rendering the whole voting system a farce.

    Universal adult franchise was a mistake at a time when India's voting public was vulnerable to political manipulations.

    Hence, I guess everybody has a right to complain even if one hasn't voted.

    Your article falls into the usual trap of being overly sentimental about democracy.

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  3. Hey, hang on - Calcutta hasn't voted yet. Wait till the 13th evening, sir!

    J.A.P.

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  4. Supremus, :) thanks.

    Mishellechiramel, welcome onboard! And thanks.

    Sky, oh yes... absentee voting would definitely turn the tables. But then lots of false votes will be lost, wouldn't they? I don't think the politicians are in a hurry to implement that.

    And like we talked about your second point yesterday, your vote does make a difference. Also see my comment below.

    Hari, at first glance, my post does seem like a sentimental outburst about democracy.

    I for one, entirely agree that every vote counts. Like I said in my post, if you are a person who votes, you belong to the vote bank. The only reason vote bank politics work is that almost everyone from the minority goes to vote, and armchair preachers like us do not. If you were a politician, in whose favour will you make laws and create sops... people who count or people who don't count?

    The voting system would be a farce if in spite of someone winning by 500 votes, the other candidate gets elected because he represented a bigger "proportion". If you really think proportions should count, then maybe the proportions should also come and vote and make their proportions felt. I think it is very fair that among the people who voted, if the majority of them thought candidate A is the best, then he wins the seat.

    While I partially agree that we as a nation may not be ready for a complete democracy, I think it is a way better solution than an autocracy. The moment you begin to think that a certain criteria should exist as to who among adults should be able to vote, you go back to the time when women suffrage was not implemented, with the simple explanation that they aren't educated, ergo their votes do not count. What, if anything, would you advocate as a measure of deciding who should be allowed to vote and who shouldn't.

    In summary, if you are an educated well-earning member of the society and complain about a basket full of things from your armchair, then the kind of politicians you is precisely what you deserve. Because it is not you alone who makes up the society. People around you who've cared to vote have elected someone, who you pass judgement about - they are also there, and you happen to be a fortunate minority with a different pedigree in the name of your caste. If you want things to change, vote for someone who seems likely to cause the least damage.

    P.S. - Please don't take the "you"-s above personally... I meant it about people in general who don't vote. Also, I would strongly suggest you read this: http://greatbong.net/2009/05/04/the-middle-finger/ - it echoes a lot of what I had to say, in a more mature manner.

    J Alfred Prufrock, I am honoured to have you comment on the blog. My bad about already including Kolkata on the list. I meant some other cities. But if we go past any reasonable number this year, I'll be proud to cut that name off the list. Of course, welcome onboard.

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  5. I always vote. I voted in the previous elections as well.

    But as I said, I am not convinced about your arguments that "every vote counts".

    You said that a person who gets voted is actually the person preferred by the majority of voters in that area. Well, you're wrong.

    Let's say A, B and C stand for elections in constituency X.

    X has 2000 voters.

    A gets 800 votes and wins
    B gets 700 votes
    C gets 500 votes

    Well, in this case 1200 people voted against him and only 800 for him and still A wins. How is this fair?

    I ask you to consider this point. The "first past the post" theory has its flaws and is fundamentally unfair.

    How can you say that the voting system is entirely fair?

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  6. Hari, the question in an election is "who do you want to elect" and not "pick one person who shouldn't be voted to power". Given your scenario, I'd say although more than 50% of the people did not vote "for" A, they did not vote that he shouldn't be voted either. To get it fair, there should be two elections - pick one who you want to vote for, and pick one who you don't wish elected. The candidate who emerges with the highest difference should be elected.

    Until then, I think the system works. Because a majority of the people thought someone needs to be voted to power. And here is the best part - at least they voted! If you did not vote at all, you don't get to preach about who should have been voted for and blah and blah and blah.

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  7. I am still not convinced about how the majority chose A as a winner, because this kind of voting seems to be negative.

    I also don't agree that everybody should automatically fall in line to agree with our present elections system or lose all rights to criticize. After all, Freedom of Speech goes far beyond the mere electoral rights of a person/group.

    Theoritically why should anybody be compelled to vote at all if the disagree with the fundamental premise of the electoral system?

    In a true democracy, the people should even get to choose the method of choosing their leaders.

    So I am going beyond your argument and questioning the present democratic system itself, which has produced only crooks and criminals for leadership positions.

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  8. I did not vote.
    Don't look shocked. I'm not allowed to.
    But I agree with you.

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  9. I'm very dejected, even though I cast my vote, because there have been widespread reports of cash-for-votes in our state.

    Democracy is reduced to a farce when political parties cynically violate the rules and buy votes for cash among the lower income groups.

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  10. We have a system of voting. We have to make the best use we can of it. The present system does not allow us to vote against someone. That is negative voting. Our system says, vote for the person/party you want to elect. Our system says, the party with the majority of the votes should form the government. So if 1200 out of a total 2000 votes did not go in favour of A, then that does not mean those 1200 votes were made against A.

    We may have the right to question the 'present democratic system itself', but questioning is only the first step. To do something about it, you have to roll up your sleeves and dirty your hands: you have to join politics. Once you do so, to do something about the system, you have to be elected. To be elected, you have the support of the majority. To get the support of the majority, you need them to vote. So, if the disgruntled voter who has voted thrice only to find a monster replaced by a tyrant does not vote the fourth time, you don't get elected.

    Thus voting, though not compulsory, is essential, however disgruntled disillusioned despairing and whatnot you might be. Until you can make a hands-on difference yourself, the trick is to keep voting hoping to finally elect one who can.

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  11. Excellent post!!!

    However, can reservation be made for the half-billion voters!?

    If that be the only reservation, it will really be great.

    Best regards,

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  12. Hari, I think my brother (Arunava) has answered your comment better than I could have - its exactly what I wanted to say. At least I'm glad to know that you voted.

    Monorina, :) thank you. And welcome onboard.

    Arunava, :) like I said above, well written!

    Dr. Kushal, I'm not sure what half million you're talking about. But the only reservation I'm in favour of is the one that judges based on economic status and not your surname. Welcome onboard, by the way; and thanks of course :)

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  13. very brilliantly written.
    however, it would be better if you wrote about men who didnt go to vote for in the entire country it was women who gave a better voter turnout. so kindly amend your sentence to, STROLLED AROUND WITH YOUR GIRL FRIEND (after of course she had voted)
    just an idea, dont follow it though.

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  14. Mampi, thank you. Naah, its implied - whether its your boyfriend or girlfriend, if strolling with them is what prevented you from voting, then shame on you! I can't be politically correct all the time.

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  15. TheOnlyOne, Unfortunately, I wasn't at home to vote this year. The only time I was there at the time of an election, I have proudly voted. Welcome aboard, BTW.

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