Thursday, 30 April 2009

Mumbai elections - the Excluded Vote

By Mumbaikar

Election Day is finally here. And no , I did not vote. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was not allowed to. My name does not appear in the voter list despite several attempts to feature there.

"Did you vote?" I asked a few of my friends. Back came the reply - "No.. our names aren’t on the list." That made me realize I wasn’t the only one. Then as I switched on the News, the ticker read "Kashmiri Pundits lathi-charged on protesting their exclusion from voter list", whilst the screen flashed campaigns of eminent actors urging the youth to vote. Then it was all suddenly crystal clear to me- ‘secular’ politicians don’t want the Hindu vote to meddle in their filthy plans which is why they have figured out this clever way to ensure the ‘minority’ votes. Recently, Varun Gandhi (great-grandson of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru) was arrested for allegedly making "speeches with an intention to create enmity among people on the basis of religion." In short, for voicing his concern about the future of Hindus in this country also known as Hindustan. But nobody ever objects to the ruling party making pro- ‘minority’ speeches all the time. Hypocrites.

Then comes the issue of buying votes. I remember asking my dad once “Why do the poor come out in large numbers to attend a party leader’s speech? Why do they roam around all the day as part of political rallies? Don’t they have bigger things to worry about?
“Things like, “How do I earn money for my next meal ?” I had answered my own question. Free food, even clothing is handed out as a reward for the support.

Mumbai (South ) is the richest constituency in the country. But the middle class doesn’t care enough to vote. A good portion of the youth demographic is qualified and well educated. But all they want to do is leave the country in search of better prospects abroad (It’s unfair to complain of brain-drain unless something is done to retain these brilliant minds here). It’s commonplace to hear an engineer say ‘Iss desh ka kuch nahi hoga…vote karo ya na karo.. ‘ (This country will never change…whether you vote or not). For young India, politics is synonymous to a feeling of cynicism and disgust a sense of apathy and powerlessness.

With every election that comes my way I can only hope that I get to cast my vote and pray for a better tomorrow.

This blog is from a guest writer. It should not be presumed that I share all or any of the views expressed in this feature.

Mumbaiker is a pseudomyn.

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