Though we are still in the midst of a Recession, there was absolutely no shortage of money being pumped into the Promotion for this year’s Political Elections. All three areas of national interest were involved – Bollywood, the Cricketers and of course our rather compelling Politicians themselves. The circus leading towards voting day was as eventful as ever and feelings of anger, frustration, indifference, ridicule and fierce loyalty clashed against one another and created a furor!!! Great! But what about the voting?
Only an estimated 50 percent of voters exercised their vote in Maharashtra. and just 43 % in Mumbai!! As usual the picture was brighter in the South and disintegrated gradually as it headed towards North India. Though a few more cities are yet to go, I don’t see how this trend will change overnight. Likewise, in Maharashtra, the day began quite disturbingly but developed to see lazy voters crawling out of their homes past lunchtime to ink and get it over and done with. Though the ones vacationing were up bright and early whizzing off to new locales for the long weekend!
The point to be noticed however focuses on the group that’s not mattered much in the past but suddenly is being targeted as a crucial one – The YOUTH. Special effort has been made towards attracting new voters by which one is referring to those between the ages of 18 and 24. And with good reason – It is from this section that the voice to change our country is hoped to be heard…
The youth has always formed a potentially large electoral base, but this time is being given a great deal of attention. Most college campuses across India are conducting on-campus registration of students aiming towards a renewed interest from the youngsters in the country’s political framework. Apart from holding voter registration camps, debates among students about whom to vote for, and what to look out for in a candidate is also being encouraged, sensitizing them about their voting responsibility.
Campaigns sounding like the latest hits “Pappu vote kar…” or then straight from the Reality TV Guru who says “This time I’m not telling you to shut up! Speak out about the elections” are all speaking to the same TG.
But are the efforts paying off? An election officer in Mumbai noted that if there are 100 eligible voters in the age group of 35 – 45, 97 or 98 have registered. That number for young first-time voters stands at 60 or 65. So voting being the second step, the first one of getting registered remained unfulfilled by almost 40 % of Mumbai’s youth.
Well, some volunteers who tried to mobilize young voters on polling day, said that the kids were found confused, some disillusioned but majority I can bet are Ill Informed and Ignorant.
To quote one such well-read youngster “I did not vote and I will not vote”!
Firstly, this doesn’t speak much about commitment and loyalty towards one’s country. To block out reality and go on with life in your own comfort zone is close to committing a crime. Such individuals do not deserve to be a part of society as this type of mentality is dangerously contagious.
Another argument being put forth is that there is no one worth voting for. How does one arrive at that conclusion? Have they studied all the parties in detail, the candidates, their backgrounds etc? I doubt it. It’s just easier to dismiss and blame than get involved and find a solution.
It’s equally easy to criticize the roads, electricity, water, you name it…. without getting involved. So the person, who does not vote, should not be allowed to question the functioning of the country or speak derogatorily towards it. No vote = no voice.
Secondly, no citizen in India claims that any Political Party is perfect. The maturity lies in finding one that holds most of the ideals which you stand for and possibly has an intelligent team working within it. Each member need not be perfection personified. And if we take a painful step closer to Real Life, we can even ask – Who is? That is, how many of us are lucky enough to be associated with the perfect mate, friend, boss, maid… the list is endless. What is important is that we realize the good in each and encourage it. And not define the person (or party) with only the bad. Understanding the political game is not an easy task and very few scholarly people have been able to figure it out. A mere citizen need not speculate on what goes on backstage… It’s a dirty game and it’s the same….. ALL OVER THE WORLD!
It’s due to the complex diversity of our country and the new, emerging media that it seems worse back home. Plus it’s closer.
Added to which, how does anyone expect a perfect leader and system where we are seen breaking rules on a daily basis? Unless we change and learn to respect the laws and abide by them, we will never have a perfect, non corrupt system. It’s the way we sow our own seeds….
Lastly, how can things improve if the youth of our country don’t try to understand it and thereby improve on it? There is no real next generation of potential political miracle worker. Is it from this section of disillusioned and confused youth that we can expect to see some hope? It’s about time the youth proved that they are able enough to take over and do a good job, better than any other generation before them. Now would be a good time kids…