Going beyond the election number
Dr Pravin Togadia
In some parts of Bharat, the winter is still chilling and in many areas, now the days have become slightly warmer while pre-sunrise morning time is yet pleasantly cool. Trees have long back started shedding their leaves and now that Vasant Panchami has just gone by, mango trees are full with flowers that will eventually turn into some sweet and some not so sweet mangoes. Hard shelled jackfruit starts giving delicious chunks. Birds like koyal who are silent round the year start singing seasonally.
… and with any season change, many types of fevers and allergies begin. Some fevers vanish in three days, some linger longer. Some allergies go away with no medicines and some need medical intervention. Pollens, dry climate with scorching sun further aggravate the health conditions of kids and the elderly. Even the young face excessive sweating and pollution. Consumer product companies start aggressive advertising for their cold drinks, ice creams, cool soaps, sun screen lotions, air conditioners, coolers and what not claiming immediate relief and comfort, etc.
Well, who says that the seasonal change occurs only these ways? Climatic seasonal changes take place every year almost as a routine with a few exceptions due to global warming etc. But in our nation that is Bharat ‘seasonal changes’ happen every five years (with a few exceptions) in states and at the Centre. These changes create not only hot ‘fevers’ but also extremely aggressive marketing.
Watch the charged up ‘seasonal fevers’ now itself. Leaders, who were silent for 5 years, suddenly start shouting from the top of their voice telling public what all they did for the welfare of the public. Just like koyal’s seasonal tune, they too start singing but it’s mostly own praise. Some go beyond that. It is said that a little before an earthquake (yet another environmental change as even the crux of the earth is an important part of the environment) crows start loudly crowing, many sensitive animals start either making noise or suddenly look bewildered and other birds start aimlessly flying here and there. Similarly just before the elections some political leaders knowing very well from the bottom of their heart that the upcoming elections would be like an earthquake for them, start making baseless claims of the work which they never did, they also throw humbug allegations on the Opposition and the social groups that sympathise with the Opposition and some even go a step ahead manipulating media through advertising to plant mind boggling stories about the rivals which even kids don’t believe in.
Fevers, sore throats, allergies and heart burns due to climatic seasonal change can be handled either naturally or with medical intervention. But this seasonal change every 5 years is volatile and gets almost all parties and leaders engrossed into heated arguments on the TV debates, marathon rallies, gathering / mobilising public for rallies as swollen figures of the crowd in the rallies assures the parties sure success, big photos and news coverage, FB likes and Twitter TRs, flying here and there in sponsored choppers (here, some do it planned and some are aimless like the scared little birds before an earthquake), marketing sure electoral success to the party workers, over-selling earlier work and promising the moon (and perhaps all existing and non existing galaxies!) to voters – the same way as the consumer companies do at every season change—and so on.
It is voter’s amusement time. Just like the kids who enjoy mangoes, jamuns, jackfruits, ice creams in the summer despite seasonal fevers and exams, even voters now enjoy such pampering by the leaders who otherwise do not even look at the public for five years. It is time for all those socio-economically important groups – like farmers, laborers, teachers, students, Government employees and many such – to put forth their long pending demands. Political parties are more than graceful during election seasons. Home makers get extra cooking gas cylinders, suddenly every leader starts realising that majority in ‘India’ is poor and then many lollypops are doled out to the poor while leaders throw jumbled figures at them (as if the poor are like kids writing exams as parents promise rewards for better grades).
Voter who is otherwise a simple faceless and voiceless entity even in the largest democracy of the world that is ‘India’, suddenly gains importance in this seasonal change. Feverish attempts are made to connect with every voter using all types of gimmicks. Without using the word ‘vote-bank’ for own voters, leaders and political parties high level teams burn midnight oil (or now midnight CFL) listing booth wise ‘vote demographics’.
Part two of this is blaming the Opposite party for treating voters as a ‘bank’ while all do the same. Hindu votes, Muslim votes, Christian votes, so and so caste votes, so and so language votes, so and so trade votes… Unending exploitation! Voter’s lists start getting updated and again percentages are flashed all over. ‘56 per cent youth voters to be targeted’ (forget 44 per cent non-youth voters) as some party shouts; the other party meekly, in a shrill voice says, ‘but even 58 per cent women voters must be connected with.” Seasonal fevers! In rest of five years, nobody bothers if the youth has jobs or academic facilities or loans for businesses. They don’t bother of whether women are safe, respected and have mental peace to plan budgets.
These days, election seasons have a new species mushroomed. That is of the election surveyors. Market Research has this new political tone treating voters as not only ‘customer’ but also a ‘commodity’. 68 per cent voters say ABC should be the PM, 12 per cent say XYZ and 0.33 say DEF as PM. Population of ‘India’ is 125 crore. Surveyed people? Only 5,000 that is Only 0.000004 per cent. This represents all Bharat? Standard market survey sample size must be minimum 3 per cent per international standards. ‘Bharat’ is not America that TV channels like CNN; CBS etc drive the voters to certain party! Bharat is a vast country with very limited access to TV. This time accuracy maybe a bit more (or, so we want it to be!) but this new seasonal survey fever virus has no remedy as yet until credibility has no value in public communication.
Crux of the matter is that this is the time for all to rejoice. Voters for one reason, socio-economic groups for another reason. And this is the time for media to rake in the advertising revenue. This is also the time for all political leaders and parties to go on a feverish spree to win win and only win. It is however an important time for those who value ideologies and not just ideas and its carriers. Societies and nations are built and stay steady on the solid foundation of ideologies and sound value systems. Seasonal changes do create some little breezes but the foundation of such nations does not depend on mere figures and seasonal fevers. It is therefore important for each voters to introspect, find out own real face in the crowd of faceless vote banks, come out and exercise own right to vote as a socially and nationally responsible person. Even one vote can be a cause for a positive metamorphosis and then the smaller seasonal changes will never cause allergies and irritating fevers. Bharat needs to think deep and then vote without fear and without hallucination.
(The writer can be contact: [email protected])