Literature » Society

How to vote ? Whom to vote
By Acharya Tulsi

Every age puts to the hardest ordeal the truth of its own times, while the future warmly accepts the same. One of the political truths is democracy. The history of the democratic system of government in India is not very old. After bidding farewell to the British rule, the top leaders of India accepted the democratic form of government. Was this system inherited from British, adopted with a sense off discretion or out of compulsion? This question compels us to look into the past from half a century or so. A wave of freedom had spread all over the country at that time. The young generation of the country was swayed by that atmosphere of freedom. Gandhi, who was their source of inspiration was a votary of non-violence, he made the country free. The conditions were not particularly favourable to him before independence and after independence he was assassinated. Had he survived he would have probably aroused a sense of discretion among the people to create a suitable atmosphere for democracy. Winning independence was one thing and living by experience of independence was quite another. The citizens of independent India are not particularly in a healthy state of mind even today. On that basis it can be said that the acceptance of democracy was in the sense falling in the line. Even while living in a democracy, they are suffering from a pitiable mentality of an undemocratic system. On that basis it can be said that our acceptance of democracy has been in the nature of following the direction of the current. There was no advance preparation of any kind to live under a democratic system.

We were Thirsty, but water was not available. India became independent before developing the mental attitude to accept the democratic form of government. No one would probably accept this view, because that was the period when we were writhing under the weightless shackles of dependence. Everyone was eager to fly in the wide open sky. I have myself witnessed those times. Even when living in a small town, I had heard songs full of patriotic feelings. Even the adolescents were feeling the anguish of dependence. But the kind of emotional response cannot be called mental preparation. It was a cherished desire for freedom. It was an uncontrollable impulse to make the country free. Preparing for democracy means training the people. Was the meaning of democracy ever explained to the people of India? Were they told of the responsibilities of the people in a democracy? Were they inspired to carry out their responsibilities, while making them conscious of those responsibilities? If the answers to all these questions are in the negative, then it must be concluded that even though our desire for democracy was very strong, there were no provision to meet its requirements. In the absence of an organization, it is not surprising that democracy has fallen to bad times.

Training of the People
Training of the people is life breath of democracy. That should have been done long ago. Who is responsible if this is not happened even fifty years after independence? People cannot be faulted for this state of affairs, because the crowd is not committed to any ideology. Those who manage the affairs of the United Nations formulate the policies and then implement them. Before popularizing any ideology, it is necessary to start by educating the people into it. Had thousands of students in the country been given the training into the principles of democracy, many people would have come forward who would have been in a position to define in detail the principles of democracy and love according to those principles.

According to the interpretation of democracy by the students, they regard it merely as a means to gather votes. Obtaining and giving votes somehow seems to have become part of their education. Not to speak of colleges and universities, clashes on that account have taken place even in schools. Proper training in democratic norms is the only successful and democratic way of coming out of this situation. Some of the points regarding such training can be:

* Who are the people how? How they should behave?

* What is an administrative system?

* How should the system be shaped in the light of the social and cultural fabric of India?

* Who is a vote? What is its value

* Who is entitled to get the votes?

* What should be the qualifications for getting the votes?

* What is the process of election? What should be the limits of the election propaganda?

* How could the election verdict be accepted by rising above the feeling of victory and defeat?

*What is the responsibility of the candidates? Who wins the majority votes towards the country and the people of their constituencies?

There can be many other points that can make democracy effective in the true sense by freeing the electoral process from the evil like fear, temptation, violence and injustice. The whole country has been facing the evil consequences from the beginning in this direction, the lot of the future generations can be improved.

Being Wise after the Event
Those who advocate the training given through education can turn round and ask how we could have doctors, scientists, engineers, etc. if there was no provision of training? It is necessary to consider this point by adopting relative approach. These people do receive training, but it is the training in their specialized fields. It can also be said that they are being trained to amass money. The problem would be solved till they are trained in human values. One also hears about value based education these days. But since its practical side is not being simultaneously developed, the expected transformation is not taking place successfully. We have tried to do something in this field through anuvrat and the science of living. Whenever some work has been done, some possibilities have grown. I am not particular whether the same name continues or another name is given to it. What is necessary is to train the people. Otherwise time would slip through our hands and what should really happen in the biggest democracies of the world would not happen.

The Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are round the corner. At such a moment any talk about training the people in principles of democracy sounds like being wise after the event, since this task cannot be accomplished without long term planning. Not that I do not agree with this view. But it is proper that nothing at all should be done by way of an immediate measure?

Dark shadows have hung over Indian democracy and it has faced crises from time to time. The more recent havala case affected even the topmost leaders of the country. Is this not the sufficient ground for training? If attempts are not made to keep clear of such unfortunate events in physical sense, it would also be possible to concentrate attention on subtle matters.

There is No Dearth of Good People
Some people believe that no candidate deserves their votes. In their view, no candidate is without blemish. All of them are theives. Some are big theives, some are small theives. I do not agree with this view. It is not true that there are no good people in the country. There are many good people. Maybe they are underground. They do not present themselves in public. Maybe they are disinterested and do not take interest in national politics. Maybe they are indifferent and do not take interest in national politics. Maybe they are indifferent and do not wish to get involved in any manipulations. Maybe they are sacred, they are unable to articulate their views. Therefore it is not correct to judge everyone by the same standard.

In a democracy asking for votes is not considered undesirable. The question is: how are the votes solicited and how are the votes given? There is nothing great about reaching the highest position of power by getting votes. What is important is the person who is installed in that position and the manner in which this is done. Voting done on the basis of considerations of caste and community raises the questions about both the voter and the candidate.

In the context of the atmosphere created on account of elections, it is imperative to consider one point. The voter in particular should think about it. Whoever they vote for they should not be guided by considerations of caste, community and the party. The person for whom they vote, should not be addicted to intoxicants. How would a person who openly indulges in wrongful economic activities serve the interests of the people? When a person can do anything to procure votes, how would he hesitate to go to any length in order to save his chair? Dangling the carrot of economic benefits, the use of intoxicating substances, the use of arms and anti-social elements are rampant during the elections at the state and the central levels and they blur the image of our democracy.

Shocks Have Their Own Value
The great country like India is divided today into political parties that have mushroomed out of cultural, religious. Communal and selfish considerations. This is a bitter truth, but the truth far more bitter is the fact that man is fragmented from within. The sources of these sensibilities are drying up. He is beginning to lose his mental balance. Money and power are the main centers of his attraction. How is it possible to put a stop to chaos and anarchy? People have given up hope in this matter. But I have not lost hope even now. The shocks that we have suffered in recent years and are even still suffering can serve a valuable purpose of public awakening. If a person receives a blow on his head and his skull splits, it is said that Dame Luck has smiled on him. If some way has become clear as a result of all these shocks, the dignity of our parliament can remain intact. Parliament and Municipalities have their respective responsibilities. Could there be anything more ridiculous than the fact that Parliament is called upon to perform the functions of a Municipal body? Framing the constitution and conducting the affairs of the nation are the responsibilities of the members of parliament. Even now it is possible to correct all the wrongs provided undeserving persons do not get entry into our Parliament. This would be possible only when the

Riding on The Back of Parliament
Purifying election is one of the programmes of anuvrat. The anuvrat workers are engaged in this activity according to their capacity. All the anuvrat committees in the country are growing aware about this. Attempts are being made to awaken consciousness in the Nagore and Churu districts through anuvrat rath yatras. A symposium on "Democracy and Clean Elections" organized at Ladnun has also created the necessary atmosphere. Our only dream is to create a beautiful and clean image of India. Some people suggested to me that some ardent followers of anuvrat should be asked to enter the election fray. But that is not our job. We have our own limitations. We would not join active politics nor would we give importance to any particular political part or any particular person. We would only call upon the Indian people that they should be fully alert to maintain sanctity of our democracy. If undeserving elements are installed in the sacred place like our Lok Sabha, it would not be possible to maintain purity.

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