Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To vote or not to vote?

‘One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors – Plato

Ok point taken, let me vote.

‘The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election - George Carlin

Oh, then what is the point, let me not.

The elections are over in India. We will have a new Prime Minister soon. We, as usual, witnessed an election with all the elements of a drama – conspiracies, lies, scandals, smears, crimes, and topped with economic recession. If you are a neutral in the midst of this, like me, you will have a merry time laughing all the way. If laughter is good for health, I guess frequent elections have been good for me.

India is the largest ‘demo-crazy’ in the world, and it can get ‘real-crazy’ (get the pun?). Therefore, one would assume that people would be keen to exercise their franchise. But the (sad) fact is that they were not. I guess that only 40% of the population is registered voters and only 50% of them actually vote – which is only 20% of the total population. And the winner at the most gets around half of those votes (10% of the whole, or about 1 in 10), who then governs all 100% for the next 5 years. Ha, did anybody say ‘democracy is majority rule?’

People who did not vote feel happy that they are not responsible for the mess, in the name of governance, that goes on in the Parliament. I asked a philosopher friend of mine if he voted, to which his response was ‘There is an election going on all the time; the Lord votes for you and Satan votes against you, and you must cast the deciding vote.’ I did not pursue the matter further. But the political melee is fast approaching the point where people don't want to elect anyone stupid enough to want the Prime Minister’s job.

Elections have made me a cynic too. It is ironic that we are attempting to pick the least incompetent person, when we should be picking the most competent one. Choosing the lesser evil is still choosing evil. Of the 20% population who actually vote, I guess 95% would gladly select ‘none of the above’ if the ballot paper had such an option. And another 4% would have voted ‘good lord, not him’. The rest 1% are the relatives and families of the contestants. (See the amount of statistics you are getting reading this blog. Statistics, as you know, can prove anything but the truth)

When I was a boy I was told that ‘anybody’ could become a President or a Prime Minister, and I am beginning to believe it. It is also funny to think that we are choosing from just three or four people for Prime Minister of the country, while we choose from atleast 50 for Miss India. A friend of mine confided that he never voted for the best candidate, instead he voted for the one who will do the least harm.

Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first. You can lead a man to Parliament these days, but you can't make him think. Harry Truman once remarked that ‘My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference.’

99% of the politicians give the other 1% a bad reputation. A good politician is someone who gets money from the rich and votes from the poor, to protect them from each other. Sometimes I feel that politicians really don't believe in the script themselves, but have the incredible skill to make everyone else believe in it. It seems the latest new dance craze is called ‘The Politician’ – its two steps forward, one step backward, and then a sidestep.

I find it very amusing that all the events of the last so many months of election propaganda will come down to a minority of 5-8% of undecided voters making up their mind on the last day. I wonder if there is some way that these voters could be identified early and the whole process be run only for them. Imagine the time, money and effort that could be saved. But then, how will be the media companies pay their salaries? Television channels and newspapers are the biggest beneficiary of elections. Now you realize why they are always keen to bring down a government.

On that note do you know the real beneficiary of the last US elections – Tina Fey. Last heard, Tina Fey has dedicated her latest Emmy awards to Sarah Palin. How can a blog on elections not mention the (in)famous 2000 US elections, in which the person who got the lesser number of votes actually won and when democratic power was taken from the ‘people who voted’ and was given to the ‘people who counted’! There is actually a similarity between US and Indian politics – politicians in both countries go to prison before they enter politics; just that in US they are prisoners of war, while in India they are criminals.

I guess the only thing we learn from a new election is that we learned nothing from the old ones. We continue to vote thinking we can make a difference, when we should actually be buying a lottery. But whatever be the outcome of the election, the fate of the common man is going to be the same. Get taxed more!

No prize for guessing who pays for the government and the elections.

20 comments:

Devika said...

oh that was serious matter, Salil...enough food for thought! (I asked for pure humour :(

you didn't disappoint though :)

"....its two steps forward, one step backward, and then a sidestep."

in the sidestep lies the commonality in the politician and the pianoplayer!? :))

Once when too young (seventh standard I guess) I didn't like my father's profession as a politician/trade union (because he was away most days)...I rather liked him as an advocate...and I had just learnt the adage "Politics is the last resort of a scoundrel" and used it on him....I am reminded of the look on his face!! :))

Anyway, Elections in India...I don't care a damn "now"...just focussed on making emough money to pay more taxes! :))

wishes ,
devika

"now" -- because, can't say what I would feel in the next moment!

ബോണ്‍സ് said...

Good One Salil. Liked it

I asked a philosopher friend of mine if he voted, to which his response was ‘There is an election going on all the time; the Lord votes for you and Satan votes against you, and you must cast the deciding vote.’

Hmm..was wondering who this was? Can I meet him??

Arun said...

"I guess that only 40% of the population is registered voters and only 50% of them actually vote – which is only 20% of the total population. And the winner at the most gets around half of those votes (10% of the whole, or about 1 in 10), who then governs all 100% for the next 5 years. Ha, did anybody say ‘democracy is majority rule?’"


Hmm, out of India's 1.1 billion population, 31% is below 15 years of age. And there were 714 million voters in the list. So we have to take it from this that most of the people above 18 years is in the voters list. And 60% is the polling percentage of 2009 election. The winner gets 40-45% of this, which is as it should be (how else it should be?). So your 20% argument is wrong.

"Of the 20% population who actually vote, I guess 95% would gladly select ‘none of the above’ if the ballot paper had such an option. And another 4% would have voted ‘good lord, not him’."

This, of course, is wrong ;-) Majority of the people who vote are political. Otherwise they wouldnt have come to the polling booth in the first place.

There are things about Indian elections we need to be cynical about. However, there are many many good things, and many things are getting better.

Govind said...

For the people who did quote
and then said it was a misquote;
I did stand in a queue to vote,
not that I wanted to promote
the people not worthy of note
but for the fear of being called a turncoat.

Salil said...

@Devika:
Since my voracious readers were crying hoarse, I had to dish out something fast and I looked for current hot topics – the choice was between elections and IPL. And I chose elections, since there are already a lot of funny blogs written on IPL.
By the way, poli‘tricks’ is not a funny matter, my friend. Sidestep, backstep, and in all those steps lies the challenge and success of poli‘tricks’.
Yeah, please pay more taxes so that we can have more government and more elections, and thereby more fodder for sarcasm and cynicism.

@Bones:
Thanks for passing by.
The entire blog is fictional. You should learn not to ask questions, particularly pertinent ones. Though I know why you asked that – no, it is not Santo or Binoi :-)

@Arun:
I like when my numbers are challenged, since I have made a livelihood of churning out numbers and defending them for 15 years now. But I will not get into how 714 million or the 40-45% that you mention are wrong, because I think you are missing the wood for the trees. Considering your numbers (714 million X 60% X 40%) would give 171 million votes to the winner in a 1.1 billion population, which is 16% of the population, or 1 in every 6. That is not majority rule, which was my point.
Also, the purpose of this blog is not to provide accurate data and objective views, but rather to give convoluted data and biased views :-)
Anyways, pleasure to have you here and hope you will be back.

@PRG:
I am at a loss when you throw verses at me, as I am poetic-challenged.
I have still not got out of the awe of how people like you, MIP, Shail, Usha, Devika, etc churn out poems as if by opening a faucet. Now you have started doing a context specific one for all your comments, I surrender, submit, bow, stoop, kneel, before this awesome display of poetic authority! :-)

Devika said...

I take the sarcasm and the cynicism in that response wholeheartedly, my friend

I am taken to those premises often by the world around me...Nobody comes to this world with tricks in mind...but many are made to play..

Many a time I try to hold, but can't help myself in certain mental states..you probably would know what I mean, Salil :)

wishes,
devika

aadi said...

cynicism is a virtue in these dark times.. i don't see what else can put a smile on someone's face when reality is poking on you-know-where.. had written a similar post a month back about democracy.. check it out..

http://the-god-particle.blogspot.com/2009/04/barbarically-democratic.html

shail said...

"It is also funny to think that we are choosing from just three or four people for Prime Minister of the country, while we choose from atleast 50 for Miss India."
Profound! :P

Whats in a Name said...

UPA comes back to Power!!!!!
Seems people decided to vote for a party that could stablize the country...
Imagine what would have happened if Maya , Amar, Sharad Pawar , Lalu had to be clubbed for a majority....
Gosh...

Hey did I tell you that you are blogrolled???
:-)

writerzblock said...

Absolutely true, and extremely well written! Loved the twist of words... 'demo-crazy' 'poli-tricks'. Where do you get such inspiration from?

Ganga Dhanesh said...

Hi Salil, Interesting concoction of humour, numbers and sarcasm :)))

Usha Pisharody said...

Another one to make me actually smile through the results as they come out :) When you put it so, giving us enough statistics to confound [I suppose that is another reason to use them.. :P!], indeed one wonder how the majority got the minority to rule !

You say it true of American and Indian politics. Especially that infamous one of 2000.

Finally profound words:

Choosing a lesser evil, is still choosing evil.

So, would one vote or not. Should one? Maybe food for thought for another post? Reasons why one should or shouldnt?

Unfortunately for those who laugh merrily being entertained by the election, perhaps the wait for the next one will be long.. another 5 years, given the rather pleasant surprise that the UPA got. Not many else though :D!

Salil, your wit is sharp
It makes me want to harp
On how it would be better to time warp
[please change the pronunciation to an Indian one, to rhyme with the words above it!]
Instead of hiding now under the "tarp"
And ignoring looks, so sharp :D!

[Nonsense verse, but I am inspired by Govind!]

By the way, awesome verse, as you say, from Govind :)

Aman said...

Well, it's been a busy election for India and the blogosphere's filled by posts upon post on this matter...But the humor in your blog is what makes this stand out..great post man,glad to come across ur blog...

loved the part about people in India going to prison before politics...Sad but True

Salil said...

@Aadi:
Thank you for your visit here.
GB Shaw once remarked that the power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it. Read your take on democracy. Liked it.

@Shail:
Yeah, that doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it?
I have always wanted the best man to win an election. Unfortunately, he never runs

@Whatsinaname:
Well, as I have mentioned in the blog, I have come to believe that ‘anybody’ can become a Prime Minister these days. As it is said, you can fool some of the people all the time, and you just have to concentrate on them! :-)
Btw, appreciate the blogroll.

@Writerzblock:
Thank you for passing by.
Ha, it is difficult to get me to read things straight; twisted comes easy to me :-)

Salil said...

@Ganga:

It is very easy to make.

Take one or two cups of any topic, preferably current affairs. Mix it with equal proportion of logic and reasoning. Bring to boil and let it simmer. Remove from stove. Add humour and numbers as per your appetite. Voila, the concoction is ready. (I hope atleast now you naysayers will believe that I have started cooking!)

@Usha:

Yeah, the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.

Many thanks for visiting this space
Bringing real delight
And leaving a comment so nice
Making my day happy and bright!

“A man is either mad or he is making verses” - Horace

@Aman:

Thank you for your kind words.
However, it is now well known that men enter local politics solely as a result of being unhappily married.

Gazal said...

don't know whats more difficult...fighting the satan or fighting the politicians ??

this was the second time i was casting my vote..so technically am 19 yrs old...

and came out with the feeling "my vote will make a difference".i believe in the power of positive thinking.

Mampi said...

your trademark humor and such truth..
loved reading it.
but then i had told u the day you posted it.
only late in commenting, was prompt in reading,

Salil said...

@19-year-old-Gazal:
I guess it would be even more difficult to fight the ‘political satan’!
Your vote definitely made a difference – to the life of the auto driver who took you to the voting booth and back.

@Mampi:
Appreciate your insistence on leaving your footprints here.
But geez, 36 pairs of shoes?!

shri ramesh sadasivam said...

//It is also funny to think that we are choosing from just three or four people for Prime Minister of the country, while we choose from atleast 50 for Miss India. //

I enjoyed these lines very much. :)

A Funny Post about a funny system. Enjoyed it with a smile in the lip and a frown in the heart.

Fire Dragon said...

Bạn đang thắc mắc mua hàng ở amazon như thế nào? Thì hãy để chúng tôi giúp bạn giải quyết thắc mắc đó. Chỉ việc liên hệ với chúng tôi chọn sản phẩm bạn thích. Chúng tôi sẽ giúp bạn mua và ship hàng mỹ giá rẻ về và giao đến tận tay của bạn. Ngoài ra chúng tôi còn các dịch vụ khác như gửi hàng đi Đài Loan, chuyển hàng đi Anh, nhận order hàng uk, gửi hàng đi pháp, chuyển hàng đi lào, chuyển hàng từ Canada về Việt Nam, gửi hàng đi Hàn Quốc. Hãy đến với chúng tôi, bạn sẽ được phục vụ tốt nhất và giải đáp được những thắc mắc của bạn như ebay là gì,...