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INDIA POLLS: When truth will decide India's elections
Publication Date : 08-04-2014
Who will be elected the next leader of the world's largest democracy and the oldest continuing civilisation? Whoever it is, (he) will either be the fruit of our making good use of freedom gained since 1947, or bitter medicine for failing to do so. For such is this moment, phase and time in the life of this nation, in the making of a millennium that belongs to India.
Whoever wins the election, and its consequences, would be the law of cause and effect in unerring work. As the seed is, so the fruit will be. In the life of individuals and nations, what comes to us is exactly what we deserve.
The storm is coming. An independent media and some grand-standing editors in New Delhi are already feeling the thunder. No more can they say what they want, against a surreal or real political 'wave' supposed to be sweeping the country. The media has started experiencing a preview of meekly surrendering to dictatorial forces with whom disagreement is not an option. Dark clouds are hovering.
Fifteen general elections have gone by. If we as a nation have badly misused our political, media and individual freedom, then the 16th electoral edition could serve as a referendum: do we deserve to continue being a democracy? Or, will we fall under clutches of a leader with strong dictatorial tendencies? He may work pleasing wonders in the short-term, like most dictators; and then, going by the dictator template, he could gradually subvert the constitutional and democratic institutions to a point where he becomes the state, and India again loses freedom.
Hope for the best and plan for the worst, as the general said in a Hollywood blockbuster. Hoping for the best is the truth there is much good in every person. There are no good or bad people in this world, but only people who do good or harmful actions. We can hope that the good in whoever gets elected prime minister takes over. Often, the job takes over the man in key leadership positions of a Dhamma country like India.
But if the worst in a leader takes over, would we see the 17th general elections only after blood has flowed in the streets, and the dictator is overthrown in another struggle for independence? Generous margins for error exist in our gradual evolution, whether as a person or as a democracy. Those margins sharply decrease if we refuse to learn from our mistakes. The law of cause and effect is an inescapable flow. What we experience is what we deserve, not a bit more and not a sub-atomic particle less.
Other guardians can get to work. I have enormous faith in the native wisdom of the humble Indian villager. My late grandmother Alamelu Marudhai Pillai, a resident of Sergudi village, was both illiterate and one of the wisest persons I have met. The simple-hearted, clear-thinking villager is less likely to be fooled by elaborate nation-wide electoral gimmicks, such as in cahoots with corrupt sections of the media, fake twitter accounts, and manipulated opinion polls. Reality dwells more plainly under rural skies. More likely that the truth will largely be harvested in voting booths in India's 600,000 villages.
I have even greater faith in India's young generation. About of half of India's 1.2 billion population is under age 26. They and their children will be shepherds leading India to being a benevolent superpower. How this young electorate votes this summer depends on what options given to vote.
Here responsibility shifts to young political leaders in their 40's. Can they form an alternative, forge a new path breaking away from the filthy, corrupt mind-set of the old. Circa 2004, this young political generation voiced refreshing notes of accountability and efficiency. But they were not given adequate leadership responsibilities, to reflect the electorate that voted the next two governments to power.
Now is the time for India's young political leaders to clearly assert themselves, to break free. They need to ask themselves which matters to them more: their political party, or their country? If they choose the latter, then they have to cut across party lines and form a new alliance, a fresh beginning, a different entity. This is young India coming out of the shadows.
An alliance of young political leaders, and older heads supporting these young leaders, offers a united alternative to young India. This new party can be forged even after the election results. Younger parliamentarians forming a government - the first such mostly made of those born after independence - would place India in a trajectory of unprecedented growth and development.
Otherwise, India could go through a phase of pain, a penance for having been so careless with the hard-won freedom gained 66 years ago. What is happening now is a child of the past. And the choices we make in the present determines what happens in future.