Monday, 12 May 2014

Our Dysfunctional Democracy

Your right. Your responsibility.
“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” At the stroke of the midnight hour, a torn blouse, a frantic scream, a red stain on white sheet. Just a mile away, the tryst with destiny had begun.

The largest democracy in the world was always a troubled daughter. She was the pinnacle of glory and culture, revered by the world. Then she fell from grace, and her body was torn apart by emperors and rulers out for blood. This went on for far too long. And just as she could smell a hint of relief, the British came in and entered her coasts, ravaging her, violating her dignity for centuries.

Then, in 1947, it happened. She finally gained the right to be ruled within herself, by her own people. Little did she know what was to come. The Lotus and the Palm fought for control. Every five years, they would fight for her love. And every five years she would choose – unconvinced, yet aspiring.

This year too was no exception.  Flags and banners lying everywhere bear testimony to the struggle that has been campaigning. Accusations and denials became routine. The country was, for the past few weeks, defined by the chants of “Gandhi” or “Modi”. Amidst the din of all this, a new brand tried its luck over India. They came sweeping in their brooms, armed with noble ideals, but were swept away just as soon.

Today, the 12th of May, was the last voting date. In two hours from now, India’s fate for the next five years will be final. The television is abuzz with news of disharmony in various polling centres – including news of four people being shot. The troubled daughter watches on as the adults slay their way to her soul. How much will truly change? Will it be beneficial to the daughter over a longer period? They don’t care. They want to own her for five years.

The ruling party and the opposition will take their place in the Parliament. They will disagree on everything, notwithstanding its effect on the country. And five years later, the Lotus and the Palm will once again fight for control. They will fight for India’s love. They will promise her the world. They will point the finger at each other.

And the confused daughter will watch. Unconvinced, she will choose again. Life will go on still, in our dysfunctional democracy.

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