Friday, 27 March 2009

Perceived Power (and apparent free will)



It’s back, the farce.

Expect the usual this year. No, I’m not talking about the contestants (yet).

The smart kurta-clad, unshaven do-gooders who really care for our society. Them folks.

“If you don’t vote, you don't have the right to blame.” “Your vote counts.” “Only you can make a difference.” “You owe it to the country.” “If you don’t like it, why don’t you do something to change it? Like, VOTE.” “Wakeup, wakeup, wakeup, wakeup re.”

Ha. I say.

Why so pessimistic? Here’s why.

Every election, at its best, 60% of the populace turns out to vote (and that’s a celebration-worthy figure, I’m told).

The party/candidate that wins, gets, let’s say, 40% of the vote share.

So this candidate is representing 40% of 60% of India. So far, so fair.

Now, to make the curry interesting, spike it with coalition conundrum (the inevitable “future” of the country, I’m told too.) Which means, the party/candidate for who “40 of 60” voted for, might not go on to represent anything or anyone nationally.

THAT, my dear friend, is decided by who won how much in the other part of the country, and who amongst all here, is willing to shake hands with that party; but isn't that the same party who the “40 of 60” originally voted against, by not voting for them

Net result, I’m governed by a DD national integration commercial of people of varying colours, accents, and head gear. A few who I haven’t heard of. A few I never want to. A few I can’t understand. And a few I can’t stand.

So, I’m stuck with a government I didn’t want; the one who is making policies without asking me; and who is then telling me I chose them. So suffer. (Not to forget, this after I chose to vote).

Of course, all this while we are assuming that I had a valid choice in the first place (which I didn’t). It was the good 'ol democratic “least-worse” syndrome - choosing someone who’ll screw me least/gentlest, that’s all; and that too was based more on hope rather than any left-brained thingamajig.

So where’s the power I seemingly wield with my unfortunately-not-middle-finger? Where’s my choice? Ours is not a US-based presidential democracy, where basically the whole country chooses between two parties/candidates. (But that’s another story.)

No sir. This is the great Indian rope trick, and you won’t realize when one got wound around your neck.

What’s the choice, you ask. What other option do we have? Well, I don’t know. I don’t see anything changing any soon. Only a deus ex machina can probably save us. Probably. No one’s vote, no matter for whom, or for what reasons, is ever going to matter till then. We might as well sleep watching a movie.

Disclaimer: This is not to discourage anyone from voting; go ahead, stain your fingers. I’ll too; and then cuddle up in some corner hoping they’ll be gentle.

5 comments:

single40grey said...

well...now uve got us wondering if its all actually worth it at all.
keep going!

Jandy said...

strong writing, salil... makes for a good election speech ! ;-)

slash\\ said...

@M: never thought it was worth anything at all. each subsequent election, it gets worse.

@Jane: an election speech to discourage voting, that'd be a fine first.

Jason said...

There you go, you make my one vote seem so powerless...

For some reason, i feel like they are trying to make the voting thing the most happening thing to do, something like the latest statement or the newest trend or something.

Its good in a way, because you will have a bunch of youngsters who will vote because John Abraham does it, and because its the coolest thing to do, but with no conviction or awareness about why it is important.

It is sad as well, because no one really knows which is the least evil devil they should opt for :) no one knows what they are doing!

So we may have a monster government we had not even ordered and after reading your post, we should not be surprised why... We can vote and we can hope :)

Saltwater Blues said...

Fantastic post bro. I couldn't agree more. Brilliant!