Thursday 17 April 2014

If you don't vote, you are an ass.

This morning when I woke up, it was not a regular day. Ya know. No college implies no pulling myself away from the extremely comfortable, so-seductive-it-should-be-jailed bed. “It’s a holiday!” ,my brain was somersaulting in the background.  After taking close to 8 minutes to adjust myself to the blinding light of 9 AM and a wide screen overloaded with notifications pouring light to my eyes, “because its election. You get to vote for the first time in your life, beeactthh!”.

Umm yea, so?

Let me be honest, I was not really a person that is so bothered about elections and voting, the state of this country and yadayadayada.
Three months ago, I wouldn't even care. Like really.

What’s the point? 

It’s all the same thing all over again.  The same old parties, the same old corrupt politicians, the same old promises that never get fulfilled. Nothing new, nada. Nilch.

Why should I really vote, know? 

But then my daddy is extremely interested in politics, like majorly. There are days when political talks between daddy and  my uncles, or his friends leads to wars, major wars. Listening to all the talks almost every other evening got me a little interested in big words like democracy and NaMo and Congress and blah. Like c'mon, I am somebody who is blissfully lost in her materialistic world of shoes and dresses, assignment and course projects and Katy Perry and ya know, but he's just so cute! 

So what is that one thing that got me to think? Don't expect enlightenment to hit you in the face through the screen the minute you read it here. Its a simple phrase, something we all have been hearing and reading all along. Its just so cliche.

"Sree, change comes from within. If every single youth of the country thinks and votes, this country will prosper", said one of the uncles in one of the debates with Sree. 
*Sree = daddy.

The depths of his words hit me that day. 

From the past few weeks, we have been hearing  million words - there is BJP and there is Congress, we have AAP and I could list on and on and on, you get it. Opinions are swarming our brains, so many options, so many questions, so little sensible answers. 

In-fact this is what got my bugged with elections at all. 

How do you select that one party/one person when all of them are so freakin' corrupt? How to trust them at all when they come to your door step with notes in hand and sheepish grins on face? What guarantee they'll stick with the promises? When have they ever stuck, at all? 

"I would rather not vote than waste my precious vote for the wrong person. I'll exercise my right of not to vote, daddy", I had proclaimed that day.

"Okay, but next time you come to me complaining about having to leave early "'cuz there will be a traffic jam, daddy, that road is so full of pot holes", I won't join you in government bashing."

"But why will that matter, daddy? Like seriously?", I was offended. 

"It will because if you don't vote, you are not giving anything back to your country. When you don't give, you have no right to ask"

*I'll save you the painful argument that followed, partly because its a lot to type, more because my dad is too awesome, he countered each of my arguments with perfect comebacks. Plus this article is my opinions, though backed by his*

So there he had said it - if you don't vote, you are not giving anything back to your country. When you don't give, you have no right to ask. That was the trigger for me to go back and wonder about how the sorry state started at all. Or rather, is it really that sorry a state?

Every-time we complain about corrupt officials, shouldn't we reflect upon what got them corrupt? Isn't the blame on us, after all? Aren't we the root cause behind corruption?

No, you say?

How many of us has the courage to put our hand on our heart and say, "I have never bribed/cheated in all my life?"

Just don't think big moments, lets start small.

When we couldn't figure out the answer of Q4 in MCQs of Physics, didn't we think of peeping into the class nerd's paper on the right? 

When our vehicles got towed away for parking in a No Parking zone, didn't we have the slightest thought of sliding away Rs.100/- with a sly handshake and a smile to the cop instead of paying Rs.300/- and getting a receipt for it?

When we stood in line the fourth time for our passports/pan cards/any licences/documents, didn't we think of giving away a fresh 500 buck to just get over with it? 

Aren't we the ones to be blamed? If only we had said "No!" the first time, it wouldn't have come to this. If only we had followed rules and stood by them, the rule makers wouldn't be breaking them today. 

In all honesty, how many of us wear helmets/seat belts every-time we ride/drive? Heck I don't. If I know my route well and am sure there will be no main roads/police stations/cops on my way, I freakin' wont wear my helmet. If I have a pillion with me, the helmet will rest in their hand, in case there are RTO officials around you know, bad luck may be?  *I am just being honest, don't get all butt-hurt if you actually wear your helmet/seat belt religiously. Respect to you, if you do*

When things as tiny as this require the officials to force it upon us for our own safety, aren't we giving away all our power? If we aren't responsible for our own safety, do we really care about our country? 

All we do is sit and complain. One of my professors always says, "We Indians are too good at complaining and blaming". I couldn't agree more. Every time something goes wrong, we sit, cringe, blame. Some woman gets raped and dies, we walk with candles in hand, demand the rapist's death. And write blog posts about it. After a few days, it all dies down. And then somebody else gets raped. We hold slut walks. And we forget again. And then another rape and. The cycle never ends. 

Do we ever really sit back and contemplate on the good things that are happening to this country? Or about what we, as individuals are doing for the country? What are we giving to the country that will make it a better place? No, criticism wont make it better.

I ain't asking we go and join parties, you know. Majority of us just can't do it, lets be honest and practical here. We all have our jobs and careers to look into. Plus imagine, 500, just 500 20-25 year olds wanting to be the Prime Minister of India. Ha.

That is why Dr.Ambedkar asked us to vote.To choose someone to represent us. To give a shape to our voice. When they told, "We, the People of India", they meant it.  Because, we, the people of India make this country. We are the living India. Our opinions matter, our actions matter more. We can sit here all day and complain, or we can go make a little change. 

All of you that don't want to vote because "Mine is just one vote, it won't matter", just remember, it takes ten ones to make a ten. Your vote might not matter, but 1000 people thinking the way you do, that matters. Don't be a part of the 1000 votes that could have mattered, be the part of the votes that at-least tried to matter.

Those of you that don't want to vote because "All of them are corrupt, I don't know whom to vote", make use of Research on the candidates. Watch the news. Talk to people who know about it. Talk to a lot of people, garner opinions. Then take your decision. Because at the end of the day, its your country. 

Don't be a hypocrite. Get your bum off the couch and go vote. Do it because you were born here, one of the most amazing countries in the whole wide world. Do it because if you don't, you have absolutely no right to complain. Because twenty years from now if the country is in the same sorry state, you'll be the one to blame 'cuz you didn't even try. Because you vote or not, elections will happen, votes will be counted, governments will be framed. And in your heart you will know, you don't belong here.  

Don't vote because the candidate is of your caste or creed, or he promised you a site. Vote for the candidate you know will bring a positive change. 

Do it because its your duty, the way you claim your rights - your night life and booze, cigarettes and reservations, subsidies and concessions, holidays and jobs, safety and security, and finally, a place to call home, a place to call your mother land, do it because as a citizen of India, its your freakin' duty!!

We don't know what the outcome will be, forget the predictions with a dozen bar charts and pie charts. Be optimistic, have faith. Know that even if 25% of the voters think with their brain and heart, rather than caste and notes, this country will prosper.

Go ahead, be a part of change, make yourself proud :)

Yes, I voted today. Yes, I am proud of myself. For an explanation of my expression, go here.

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  1. Im 26..and I casted my vote for the first time this year :)...I traveled all the way to Kerala on 10th just for the elections...some people call it crazy, but I call it my birth right. The only sad part...why the hell did I wait until I was 26 to vote!!!

    1. Opal, that is so awesome! Anybody can call it anything they want, you know you did the right thing :)

  2. I'm 21 and voting for the first time this year! Tried to use the 'one vote less doesn't really matter' all along but my dad has the exact same reply as yours and I hate to admit this but I grudgingly do agree. Unless we do our bit we don't get no right to complain. And I'm sure if all of us do vote without bias of any sort we might just move a little step closer to being the country we are very much capable of being :)

    1. That's such a nice comment, thank you Sakshi! :)


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