The Middle Finger

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Amitabh shows his middle finger to the nation. Dhoni shows his middle finger to Amitabh. And urban India shows its middle finger to participatory democracy by rocking the vote with abysmal attendance. (Bombay does 43%, Bangalore does 46%, Lucknow does 35% [link])

While there are some arguments (a collection of them here)why this number is deflated (the actual proportion of people voting is claimed to be higher), this is still a rather abysmal.  As an aside, if we had the figures, you would probably find that the proportion of people with high-school degrees who voted in urban areas would be much much lesser than even the 40%]

The real reason most educated urbanites are reluctant to vote is , I believe,  it takes way too much effort to get out of bed and stand in a long line on a hot day. Having spent much of one’s adult life standing in various sorts of queues— electric bill, motor vehicles, LPG—this is one queue where one’s presence is optional. Hence it is avoided.

I do not know how the situation is in other cities. But growing up in Kolkata, the CPM as part of its “scientific rigging” would intentionally play on people’s “lyadh” (Bengali for ennui) and seek to dissuade them from voting through various techniques all which worked on somehow making the bhodrolok’s patience snap. People would be made to stand in the blazing sun and the lines would be “stuffed” by fake voters whose role was to make the queue longer than it was. And when these fake voters would be challenged, more time would be lost in the resolution of these challenges in the process making the bhodrolok even more impatient at which point of time he would say “Durr…..I am outta here”. Of course in Calcutta this would not bring down the polling per-cent as for every person who went back to his Rui maacher lunch, the “party zombies” would quietly slip in and cast his vote. [The per-centage voting in Calcutta is always high and that is because dead people, imaginary people and the same people all vote.]

Of course lethargy is never the official reason for “not voting”. A majority would give the logic as “All the candidates are equally bad.” While this is of course true, it still is an excuse. There is always a choice. There is always a candidate who is slightly less worse than the others. Again not in absolute terms but comparatively.

The problem is we as educated urbanites , and this I am sad to say is a problem which afflicts the less-than-35s even more, are not prepared to invest the time and the effort to do the background work needed to make a choice. Instead there is the intellectually lazy catch-all “I hate all of them” which, sorry to say, is a cop-out.

For instance, if I had been present in Kolkata, I would have been presented with a choice between “Didi” and some CPM stooge (these are the two who have any chance of winning Calcutta South). Now frankly this is like a choice between Agarkar and McCullum on current form and a “I will stay home” seems to be an attractive course of action. However I would tell myself this (keeping it very very simple because I am lazy myself): In as much as I detest Mamata and what she has done for my state, a vote for CPM at the center (this “at the center” is very important) means either of two things. 1) A vote for a Third front Prime Minister like Mayawati or Karat and 2) An unstable coalition partner who would be trying to paralyze the government at every opportunity, to the detriment of the national interest. In this context, my choice becomes clear even though it is a most disquieting decision.

In contrast to urban India, rural areas have and will keep showing a high voter turn-out. First of all, the average life of the villager is much harsher than that of the city-dweller which is why standing in line isn’t that big a deal to him. Secondly a villager, more in need of basic necessities than the “city mouse” is far more dependent on the government and so by extension on his elected representative. With primary demands like power, water and a school, electing  the “right guy” is much more important to the villager than it is for the urban elite who always considers himself to be surviving “despite” the system and not because of it. Most of the time in rural India, the “right guy” is simply the caste brother/sister. The strong caste loyalty, accompanied by the associated expectation of hand-me-downs to caste-mates, makes the emotional connect with the candidate so high that people will do whatever it takes to get his/her vote in. And when the caste brotherhood does not exist (you do need the votes of the opposing caste also) or needs to be “supplemented”, the connect is made through fear of the candidate (If I don’t see your sorry ass at the polling station, you know what’s coming) or small tokens of gratitude (a hundred rupee note or a bottle of country liquor or a blanket).

In the more detached and impersonal urban environment, the candidate is hardly ever worth the effort of voting. (Political parties sometimes try to create this emotional connect with the candidate in urban areas by nominating film-stars, which is something they reason that people in cities do care for.)

Even in urban areas, the poorer sections like migrant labor or slum-dwellers, are far more organized and successful in identifying their “issues” principally because their issues are more well-defined, simpler and more easily pandered to (legalization of their encroachment on private/government land and the continued availability of free amenities for example) than those of the educated elites (typically vague and “unrealizable” things like honesty, security,accountability).

Vimal-da (current MP): ”  I negotiated with the police when they came to arrest the president of Four Friends Boys Club. For what did the cops come? Because he was merely collecting subscriptions in a persuasive way from those big building dwellers. Did Nantoo-da come to help you boys then? No he was not even here in the constituency [Applause].”

Nantoo-da (prospective MP): “Last time you did not vote for me. Look at what happened. The Electric Company came here and cut off your power. Do you know why? Because your present MP, Vimal “Dada” is in the pocket of the Electric Company. I say the “people” have right to free power. [Applause]. This is not stealing. These are your rights [Applause] Vote for me this time and I will hold my ears in front of all of you if any ****** from the Power Company dare enters this colony. [Thunderous Applause]”

Thus the poorer sections of the urban population have consistently exhibited a better understanding of realpolitik and the actual way Indian democracy works. In response to this however, the urban elite petulantly sulks in the corner saying “Our votes do not count. The politician  knows he will get the votes of the slum-dwellers. They do not even bother canvassing in our areas.” Of course he does not. He knows that it is not worth his while to appeal to a group who in any case are not going to vote.

Coming back to the present election, what has amused me is the “we-never-saw-that-coming” surprise at the low voter-turnout this year, an outrage that has found a lot of expression in the media. How could this happen after the public outpouring of awareness after 26/11? What happened to the “No More?” What happened to the “Be the Change”? What happened to the josh of urban youth which manifested itself through candle-light vigils, forwarded email petitions and SMS campaigns? Was this all a “false dawn” of “Jag Utha Youngistan”?

I dont know about you but I am not surprised at all.  I am not surprised that urban security, which was such a hot-button topic not more than 6 months ago, did not become a galvanizing issue, strong enough to bring people in front of the booth. This is because pulp activism, the kind of which we saw after 26/11,  is never sustainable.”Real” change never comes from the kind of retributive violence glorified as the “change” in Rang De Basanti or the kind of touchy-feely Gandhian wish-wash of “Munnabhai”. Fantasy films are all right but then people expect real problems to be solved as beautifully and as quickly. When that does not happen in real life, there is disappointment and a corresponding detachment from the process.

The fact remains that real change and true political awareness comes from education and from reflection, both of which takes time and effort. Now where do urban youth have the time in between Roadies, Mumbai Indians vs Deccan Chargers, Saregama, Om Shanti Om, Iron Maiden concerts, trance parties and “chillin with ma peeps”?And how will people be aware of what the issues are when they open Page 3 first and then move on to the Movie pages?

If any further proof is needed as to how little the urban educated care for politics, look at how feeble the market demand is for serious discussions on the topic. A casual surf through the television channels, even the news ones, convinces me of the fact. Most of the “political” programming that I see are usually very perfunctory, either pandering to pulp activism (“Politicians have let the country down” Text 01 if you agree and Text 02 if you do not) or just mere hot air where an anchor shouts down three or four babbling spokesmen and a few representatives from a mostly clueless studio audience. And this too happens when a ticker runs at the bottom informing us that Aamir Khan just informed the nation that he has a dog named Shahrukh.

So what is the solution?  Making voting compulsory, a supremely totalitarian solution to promote democracy (oh what irony), is definitely not the answer. [The proposed measure has that Rang De Basanti-type instant-effect, Maggi-two-minute flavor to it, which is why it is all wrong]. The solution to this problem I gather, like solutions to all the big problems, will be arrived through slow and evolutionary processes and will necessarily involve education, awareness and a hopeful change of mindset wherein the urbanites realize that when one decides to stay at home and show the middle finger to the democratic process, the process flips the bird back at you.

With double the vengeance.

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109 thoughts on “The Middle Finger

  1. In tribute to one of my favorite songs, let me holler: “I want my Ipod!!”

    But it has to be a special type of Ipod. Colored black and gold. Like the KKR jersey. Then I will walk on the streets totting that and the Sun Tsu book.

    Money for nothing. Cheerleaders for free.

    And yes… Voting should not be made compulsory. I have a right not to vote. But it should done online as well as offline. And people who vote should have a tax benefit. Incentives work. Even if it doesn’t make everyone vote, there will still be a significant increase in numbers.

  2. Unless education spreads through to each and every level, there is very little hope. However, this has quite a few obstacles. Even if the politicians finally attempt to do something about it – and when I say attempt I do not mean empty election rhetoric but tangible and constructive steps, the logistics involved are pretty overwhelming.

    Btw, I love the 3rd para – having grown up in Calcutta myself, I totally know what you mean; surprisingly, when I say this to my friends from other states and countries – they cannot beleive it!

    And the logic you have used for deciding to vote for a candidate (in this case Mamata and some CPM stooge) – you really think the masses think in such a manner or would in the next 25 years?

  3. The last 3 paras were nice.. Comin from Calcutta (Thank God we dont have a Bengali equivalent of Raj Thackeray there who will force people to call Calcutta as Kolkata), I can truly identify with what you wrote about the election process in Calcutta.
    Truly agree that if we dont take some action to effect a change, it comes back at us and shows us the middle finger.

    Some people say: It’s of no use!!

    But: “Hope is not a bad thing, it is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and goodthings don’t die”.

  4. at last, a sensible view on the low turnout. Got really tired of those who are angry at the turnout, those who have a conspiracy theory on the long weekend vote etc.

  5. Voting process should be made faster and easier. And should be held on Sundays rather than weekdays and for longer periods. And one should be restricted to return to his “place” to vote.He should be able to vote at any nearest election booth.

  6. very incisive post on our elections.

    I especially agree with you on the average Bangaali bhodrolok’s “lyadh” factor which keeps him from voting on E-day and then shows no sign of reappearing when lecturing on the intricate nature of caste politics in U.P and Bihar in the morer chaayer dokaan come evening.

    P.S – You took the “easy” South Kolkata seat for consideration only. Why not give your projections on the outcome of all the Kolkata seats.

  7. In Bangalore, as far as urbanites are concerned many are sitting home after being hit by pink slips. They are not in a mood to vote. Some of them want to have Trade Unions introduced into IT, others are baying for their HR director’s blood, who is taking home 3-4 crores. Back home in Kolkata, its “Scylla & Charybdis” as you already know. Moreover nowadays the “gent-eel-maan” without pants from your previous post is the most hated person, but he comes a close second to the unrelenting summer and incessant power cuts.

    As far as newspapers go, links like Seven ways to spice up your s3x life will have about 95% hits, while Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Beharampur will score a meagre 10% probably. And talking about newspapers, do you remember a few days back (post 26/11) these newspapers were promoting the “I don’t want to vote for a candidate” option. Does anybody hear *anything* about it anymore?

    In the circus , oops, movie industry, the Bacchans are arguably the head jesters… the entire family is generously contributing to the cause.

    And there are mercenaries like Rajdeep, Sagarika, Barkha, Tarun, Teesta, and Angana. Also don’t forget, Vituporno, Ghyan-ghyan, Bor-bor Suman, Sabana, Javed Akhtar.

  8. at first i was jubilant at seeing the low voter turnout but then the hard truth hit me like a double edged sword.. low turnout or high turnout.. one of the shit is going to win..

    nice post..

  9. Nice, incisive & thoughtful article. But one factor which should be kept in mind is the sweltering heat wave across the country which has no doubt adversely affected the voter count. Though that’s not supposed to be an excuse, but in case the elections had been in say, February, voter count definitely would have been better, all the other factors notwithstanding.

  10. who said there would be a high turnout? shobha de, rahul bose, ad gurus, socialites, film folks…. i mean are these people to be depended on. do they understand what drives people from different strata to go out and vote?

    i was taken aback initially but then logic returned. there was no reason why people would vote. taking out a candle lit rally on a cool evening is so… .well, cool. cameras are all around, you can shout your lungs out, you can abuse the politicians and get away with it and then, of course, you can hang out with friends till late at night. companies, ad agencies, ngo’s can be represented on the placards.

    voting in contrast is a solitary process, a drudgery, a pain. no cameras, no friends, no cafe’s, no witty slogans, heat and ramshackle infrastructure in ugly buildings. Search for your name in the list, carry your voter id card, stand in a queue, do not carry your cellphone in the booth (imagine!) and the biggest one of all – make a choice. it is bloody difficult.

    since we do not want to make a choice we take the lazy route of calling all candidates scoundrels. it is a typical catch 22.

    politicians don’t want too many of us to vote. can’t remember one political party that pushed the middle class to go out and show its stained middle finger.

    come 7th may, delhi will record its own version of mumbai. the heat here is already oppressive (44degC ). ready excuse.

  11. well written, arnab. Not sure what can be done, though. Another point is that even when there is a good candidate available (like say, Capt. Gopinath in South Bangalore), people will say, “oh, what’s the point in voting for him. It’s not like he has a chance of winning”. I think people should stop looking at their vote as having been “wasted” if the candidate doesn’t win. It is not a waste. It was counted and that’s all that matters.

  12. Arnab,
    Great analysis of the middle class/ upper-class apathy to voting especially in the Calcutta context.
    Couple of issues:
    1. Your faith in Mamata’s stability as a coalition partner will soon be tested if Congress wants to form a coalition at the centre with Mamata as a partner. Her track record of making a “marriage” last is worse than even CPM.
    Or, imagine a likelier situation where, as was hinted by MMS today, Congress and CPM come together again at the centre! Let’s face it; CPM will get more seats than Mamata; so, Congress will need CPM more than Didi. So, will your vote for Didi change anything?
    This is not ennui; come 7th May in Delhi, I will line up in my local polling booth. As you say, even if the choice is between the devil and the deep sea, the choice has to be made.
    2. I have seen data, published after the recent Mumbai elections which shows that Malabar Hills outvoted Dharavi by a good 8%. So, and maybe it is too early to comment, the apathy of the poor is even more than the so called rich or middle class. Or maybe, the same “stuff the lines, stuff the ballot” strategy that you say the CPM practices in Kolkata, works in Dharavi as well.

  13. Have to disagree with you. This time the urban middle class has voted in “larger” numbers than ever. Its the usual vote banks which have stayed away due to the lack of any distinct issue in this elections, hence the low polling numbers.

  14. This might not be contextual GB but I think you contradict yourself when you say that if we vote left to power you bring problems like Mayawati or not so dependable politicians at the centre. You only mentioned that a person should vote for the lesser evil.Lets not bring 32 years in the equation,I have been a voter in the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya era and I can tell you that CPM has very much been the lesser evil in this state post 2001. That man wants to work, Mamata and her stooges wont let him,and then shout no work has been done. Funny right? If the police takes action anywhere its dubbed as institutionalised terror,and if they dont take any action the government is dubbed weak. It is a catch 22 situation isnt it?
    I know it is highly improbable that the left came to the power at the centre,but had it,it would nt let the FDI into a common mans savngs and pension funds. It would nt let your insurance money be exposed to international market conditions. We do need the left GB.It has its follies on which I havent shed any light on,its rigidity to accept a lot of things,its complacency in a few places in West Bengal,and many others perhaps. But it is the party of the poor,it always has been. The middle class and the upper middle class might not relate to it sometimes,the upper class surely wont,but one of the major reasons behind left staying in power in West Bengal has been its acceptability to the poor,and not solely the scientific rigging you talked about.Because there have been worse criminal infested governments at various states at various times. They would have surely tried to do the same, still they never came to anything close like 32 years at helm.

  15. actually I think making voting compulsory (and issuing fines for non-voters) would make a lot of people vote and consequently think about who they want to vote for.
    works in australia , i’ve seen 20 somethings who wudnt give a Duck about the politics, actually taking interest and voting just because they want to avoid fines.

  16. A very good post.

    To add to that, I believe that just voting won’t solve our issue. We need to be part of the political system. Only then we can ‘be the change’.

    If I were in Kolkata, I would have voted for Mamata di as well. The reason would be the same as yours.

  17. Although I personally am not a big fan of any of the politicians who propose to enter either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha this time around, I am guessing the only way that a common man can ever make his presence felt (albeit in the smallest possible way) is to vote. And this is the one message that needs to be drilled into today’s youngters’ heads.

    Being a second generation freedom enjoyer myself, I personally have never ever had to struggle to believe in the fact that India was in fact an independent country, for everyone to enjoy his own beliefs. However, jokers like the ones at Mumbai (against non Marathis) and Mangalore (against women) have stirred in my conscience the necessity for a second freedom struggle of sorts. Am not in any way implying that I am up for something like that, but at least my thoughts are on sane lines.

    I personally don’t know what the solution is, but for sure, I know there is a deep rooted problem which seriously needs to be addressed in a hurry.

  18. @GB: Nice post.But I would like you to comment on the following e-mail I received today. The email goes like this:

    If God wanted us to vote, he would have given good candidate.

    Did you know that there is a system in our constitution, as per the 1969 act, in section “49-O” that a person can go to the polling booth, confirm his identity, get his finger marked and convey the presiding election officer that he doesn’t want to vote anyone!

    Yes such a feature is available, but obviously these seemingly notorious leaders have never disclosed it. This is called “49-O”.

    Why should you go and say “I VOTE NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system… it is seemingly surprising why the election commission has not revealed such a feature to the public….

    Please spread this news to as many as you know… Seems to be a wonderful weapon against corrupt parties in India… show your power, expressing your desire not to vote for anybody, is even more powerful than voting… so don’t miss your chance. So either vote, or vote not to vote (vote 49-O) and pass this info on…

  19. If people want they can choose somebody other than the CPI(m) or Trinamool.
    The third front is a charade. At the end of the day they will join hands at the center to prop up UPA like entity.

    BJP does have very good candidates (based on personal qualifications)in Kolkata seats.

  20. Why do bengalis post comment in bengalis here? This is a fairly popular place in blogosphere in India I would say and it’s not great fun finding sensible comments amidst many bengali posts. I know that the author is a bengali but if we are to have any serious feedback here then should we not talk in a common language?

  21. @Guy above my comment : As much as it is going to surprise you, yeah the 49-O doesn’t exist as the mail claims. It essentially does nothing.

    @GB : I also found it quite strange that every columnist has their own version of who exactly voted in large numbers and who did not.

  22. // Why should you go and say “I VOTE NOBODY”… because, in a ward, if a candidate wins, say by 123 votes, and that particular ward has received “49-O” votes more than 123, then that polling will be cancelled and will have to be re-polled. Not only that, but the candidature of the contestants will be removed and they cannot contest the re-polling, since people had already expressed their decision on them. This would bring fear into parties and hence look for genuine candidates for their parties for election. This would change the way, of our whole political system… it is seemingly surpris //

    Mr. Don Ayan, dont spread this load of rubbish.. theres no provision for re-polling and all tht BS. The 49O votes, wid be counted as invalids and the winner who polls the most among the valid votes wud be declared as the winner…
    theres a petition thats still pening in supreme court, filed by PUCL – the terrrorist friendly organisation – , for declaring re-polling in this case but the judgment hasnt been passed. The case is still pending..

    anyways, 49 O is again rang-De-basanthi.. I am not game for tht. Thanks.

  23. @Deepak Iyer: But he didn’t say anything about the number of foreigners aka “Phoren Babas” in the Non-Playing XI?… Now that’s very disappointing…

  24. It’s about time Bachchan read the book “Graceful Aging: Knowing When to Stop”. Make voting compulsory, eh, in Mera Bharat Mahan? Before the first election is held with that rule, the middle class will work out a deal with their household help or driver or security guard to vote for a whole coop society and get a nice election bonus from the patrons. Those worthy assistants will in turn work out a deal with booth functionaries to look the other way. We are Indians, we subvert and compromise every system.

  25. @rishi khujur,

    Interesting observation. As a proud Jadavpur University alumnus, it gives me great delight that our own JU Professor (Prof.Tathagata Roy) is contesting the 2009 Parliamentary elections from North Kolkata. It’s about time we had such accomplished academics and well-educated Bengali professionals like Tathagata-da (an Engineer and a Law graduate) to represent Kolkatans in Parliament.

    A lesser-known fact about Prof.Roy is that he is a polyglot – apart from his fluency in Bangla and English, he speaks very good Hindi, apart from Assamese (Oxomiya), Oriya and Russian. Some of the readers might have read his articles in scholarly journals, apart from the text book he has published (“Engineering Contracts in India: Law, Practice & Management”).

  26. hmmm Arnabda , this year we hv been shifted under jadavpur constituency , pity that i can no longer vent my spleen directly against didi .. but as you rightly suggested a vote for CPIM would mean a vote against the stability of the government ( 3rd front or UPA marxists will be there at the helm of affairs in either case) .. but u sincerely cannot expect us to send Kabir Suman to parliament can you ? 🙂 so allow me to do my bit in sending a marxist stooge to the parliament , may be at the cost of an unstable nation but definitely for a greater and nobler cause of safeguarding our mental stability and sanity , whatever little is left of it 🙂

  27. media is the biggest stooge of the UPA.. and is very very powerful. It has done well to cover gandhi family’s asses all these years and done an exceptionally good job at demonizing their opponents.
    if it was not for the media, UPA would have gone by now. As long as we have a lopsided media, elections in India will be farce…

  28. @ Dipayan
    You can vote for the other options too.
    Doesnt have to be CPI(M) or Trianmool.

    Maybe, allow the qualities and abilities of a candidate make an impression.

  29. Hmm, You write “Kolkata” but refuse to say mumbai and write “Bombay”. Delibrate? No wonder Raj going to get 100000 plus votes in each costituency this time and sweep next.

  30. Vimal-da and Nantoo-da reminded me of the Yes Prime Minister “Sausage crisis” of the Right Hon. James Hacker, MP !!!

    The Great Unwashed do wield the power of putting a person in the MP’s seat and so long as their population is more than those of the Bhadralok, polling is merely a Door-Darshansque spectacle, like the “Question Hour” in Lok Sabha, which is essentially a shouting match.

  31. All that I ever wanted to say on this topic and more. Couldn’t agree more. 🙂

    As regards the “surprise” on the low turnouts – I am beginning to wonder if we even know what’s going on around us. Here were our “news” channels blabbering about change on the ground, change in the mindset, etc. etc. and ALL of them got it wrong – horribly wrong.

    If we cannot capture something so basic in our main cities right, what is one to expect of “news” we’re fed about the more complex issues of the world – I shudder to think.

  32. @ Kaunteya

    “well if i have to take a guess… may be because they(media people blindly supporting UPA) are jerks?”

    🙂 Naah…there is more to it, possibly. The media is a motley of ideological elements mostly leaning to the left, but what unites them in their support of UPA is their single minded dislike and abhorrence of Hindutva.

    The reasons could be-

    – Academics, especially in the field humanities. A friend of mine who went to JNU and is now in the US in the field of social sciences, feels that most of the humanities departments (which produce the bulk of jornos), are loaded with a particular ideological group, who in turn encourage and further that ideology amongst students.

    – Lack of knowledge of Hindu darshanas.
    The modern generation has zilch knowledge of the Hindu philosophical systems.

    While they get adequate knowledge of the Western socio-political system, they remain ignorant about what is their own.

    The resultant distrust and misinfo is dangerous.

    – Weakness on the part of NDA to project its socio political agenda

    The NDA and its ideological “mother ship”, the Sangh-bjp never developed their ideological language in a intellectual manner.
    While the leftist movement has ready made intellectual material in the form of Hagel’s “dialectic materialism”, the Hindutva movement’s overarching dependence on reactionery nationalism (that outgrew its critical uselfulness in the late 80s), has found it wanting in its ability to affect the intelligensia.

    “DIALECTIC IDEALISM” is the future. And Hindutva fits in it like a glove.

  33. @Dipayan
    Cant agree you more,the lesser evil !!! O let these people come to Bengal and see how our darling Mamata is !!!

    You know,today in an interview in Star Ananda she went on to say that Rabindranath Tagore wrote the poem “Jibon… korunadharai esho” after offering Gandhiji a glass of lemonade to make hin break his post riot hunger strike in Beleghata after independance. Rabindranath alive even writing a poem after independance!!! Well the legendary poet died in 1941 as far as I know. And you are dead right,she surpassed herself in this interview as well. Imagine Abraham Lincoln praising Gandhi!!! Well,didi mentioned this as well.(If anyone is thinking whats so funny, Lincoln died in 1865, while Gandhi was born in 1869.
    You know,this epitomises the failure of the left government. Education!!!
    Have a good laugh guys,so much for our beloved didi

  34. @rishi_khujur : well am yet to spot a BJP banner/wall-writing/campaign-office/rally in our locality and around which actually makes it a tad difficult to get a studied insight into the candidate’s abilities (whose name i only got to know a couple weeks back and no general info is available on him anywhere) .. so yeah if not CPI(M) then surely him , but not for the man himself but the party he represents .. which actually brings us to the point of how to know who to vote for when information availability on most of ’em is zilch (even in this age of information renaissance ) ? 🙂

  35. @Mumbaimerijaan: “actually I think making voting compulsory (and issuing fines for non-voters) would make a lot of people vote and consequently think about who they want to vote for.
    works in australia , i’ve seen 20 somethings who wudnt give a Duck about the politics, actually taking interest and voting just because they want to avoid fines.”

    Nah..it would make most of us puke on the ballot paper. Compulsory voting couldn’t prevent a dick like John Howard from reaching the top and remaining there for eleven long years.

  36. @rishi_khujur: People feel that the media nowadays is infested [edited] Rajdeep Sardesai and his wife, Prannoy Roy, Barkha and ilk. Like so, there is Tarun Tejpal. Don’t forget “‘Dhuti” (though not strictly mainstram media), Angana Chatterji and a[edited] Teesta, Shabana Javed just adds to further woes…
    The problem with BJP is that as far as WB is concerned, how I wish they had a more significant presence… (Safe to say, many others do so as well.)

  37. @aylamrin

    just because they talk about communal harmony?or is it because they condemn people who glorify one religion at the cost of the others? Or is it because they voice their opinion against a party which is a Hindu Nationalist party by definition (go visit its website) but claims not to be a communalist during elections?
    How glad I am that the vast majority of people in WB dont think like you,and BJP here is politically irrelevant,apart from being Mamata’s political partners every alternate elections. You can feel safe to say that a few others think like you are sad of BJP’s status in WB.Many,perhaps isnt the word to use.

    PS: I am not sure whether u r a bengali,do u love Darjeeling?

  38. @abhinab:
    There is no harm if you choose to get on to the sense of warped communal harmony bandwagon as preached by these retards. These people survive by licking of the butter of the ass of the members of the dynasty… They are not alone… I mean if they represent the media, then they are people in power as well, like our ex Home minister who got fired eventually, ( not by a stray 7.62 like an unfortunate Mumbaikar on 26/11, but by his own beloved Momma Mia). Do you even bloody know the difference between Nationalist and communalist other than the way they are spelt? Pray loudly, and God will help you, son… He will guide you through the darkness… Save your back till then, otherwise how can we have your generaous dose of “communal harmony” ?

    How are you so certain that people in WB don’t think like me…? But yes, on the other hand, in WB, BJP does not have a presence indeed… and I wish they had…

    P.S: Am I a Bengali ? How does it matter when we are discussing a national election?
    Do I love Darjeeling? Are you promoting “Gorkhaland”? Else why would you even ask that, and not something like “Don’t you like Sourav, the King?”

  39. @ Dipayan

    As you asked.

    Jyotsna Banejee (BJP- South Kolkata)
    Sanat Bhattacharya (BJP- Jadavpur)

    Only when we vote for someone, will they win, right.

    @aylamrin
    True. But there is a reason behind their being that way.
    Expressed some thoughts about those reasons in my response to Kaunteya above. I could be wrong though.

    @ Abhinab
    Who is a communalist?

  40. I feel there is some calculation mistake on voter turnout or may be immigrants in Bombay were intimidated.

    I dont know about Kolkatta but there are still doubts in many peoples mind if mumbai existed before bombay.

    I feel reason why Raj Thackeray etc can claim bombay is because now it is mumbai …

    Is it just me or others too feel that this years election were step back in democracy.

    Biggest failure I think is that chief opposition party of India never grew up from communal party to a “all inclusive development party”.

    How many non-hindu candidates does BJP have ?

    Did BJP bring up ram mandir issue with election ?

    Was the fight against congress based on personalities or issues ?

  41. Very well articulated views. The turnout in fact seems down not because of more apathy but because of reduction in bogus voting. The city slickers have always been apathetic towards voting.

  42. @rishi khujur
    One who is more interested in his social ethnic group than the society at large I guess. And in India,you can extend the scope of a communalist to gain political advantage by spreading dis-harmony keeping up religion as a prop.
    But you knew that didnt u? 🙂

  43. @ Abhinab

    “Social ethnic group” you said?

    What exactly is a social ethnic group?
    Bodo
    Meitei
    Gurjar
    Koorgi

    I thought its usually the pseudo-secular parties who exploit these differences the msot during elections.

    As for India, I feel Congress, SP, CPI(M) and Trinamool use the prop of certain religions more than anybody else. They are pretty candid about it too.

    Wouldnt you agree?

  44. @aylamrin
    Brother,I guess I mentioned Hindu Nationalism and not nationalism only,so dont bother teaching me the difference between nationalism and communalism. A party Hindu by definition cant be secular can it? Why do u think Gujarat,Orissa,Karnataka or even Babri happenned. Why cant a nationalist party try to think good of the country by its developmental policies alone? And ” warped communalism ? ” Man, if you are for Hindutva,thats your choice,but not at the cost of Islam,or Christianity or any religion. You cant bring down a masjid in civilised India only because Babur had brought down a temple there in the 1500’s.
    And no, I am not in favour of Gorkhaland,and I loathe ur beloved BJP leader who is a candidate there promising the GOrkhas a new state. I luv Darjeeling and would like it to be a part of Bengal forever,its our pride. Dont tell me you dont know why GJM supports your cuddly wuddly BJP in Darjeeling? And I repeat, I am goddam elated most people dont think like u in Bengal. U ask how do i Know? Try looking at the percentage polled in favour of the BJP in Bengal post elections, u will know as well.Or n a fact basis,look at the figures of previous elections. As an ardent supporter of BJP in Bengal, I can wish you all the best, sweet dreams.
    Agree with u on Congress though.

  45. @aylamrin
    Forgot to mention one thing,in case you havent yet understood, I am a Communist. So pray dont give me the may GOD open my eyes crap. I am an atheist. You have your own faith,I respect that.But do try to refrain from giving priestly advices to people who might not be in synch with you.
    Sweet Dreamz.

  46. @ rishi khujur

    Of course I dont, and what you thought is wrong. Communal Advantages are taken pan India by various parties,very true.
    But these are in various small pockets and these dont lead to communal tension usually. The BJP has had quite some laurels in that respect. Think of Gujarat, orissa, Bangalore, Mangalore or even Mumbai. Think of SRS,Shivsena, Ranbeer sena, bajrang dal or the various allies of BJP. They are proud to be Hindus,quite all right, many are. But why would they loathe the co-existence of other religions?

  47. Pingback: Why Have Voter Registration Campaigns Not Increased Voter Turnout in the 2009 Indian Lok Sabha Elections? | Gauravonomics Blog

  48. Arnab,
    You’ve put your views nicely as always but what pains me is that “didn’t we all know all these factors behind low voter turnout in urban areas?” Why does it take a blogger to initiate this and why our media has never raised this? I am talking about the Roadies and other priorities that the youth have.
    And that is what the Jaago Re campaign had tried to address. But the fact that it did not affect a change, and that a sincere effort has gone down the drain, frustrates me. Jaago Re was not at all a pulp activism gimmick. It was a superb campaign but then we are “that” callous that even if someone guides us thru the registration and educates about the myths and realities of the laws that govern voting, we don’t care to go out and press a button.

    I am glad that you have explained the process of making a choice between Agarkar and McCullum. This thought process was pretty straightforwardly understood and put into practice by me but the cosmetic media debates that we have in our country and the so called conscience keepers like Rajdeep Sardesai, his wife and Arnab Goswami misguide and confuse the people who try to gain some insight into politics.

    Really a sad day in democracy. Looking forward to educate people myself now.

  49. I think the idea of making voting compulsorily might work very well. People who have never thought of voting will start showing some interest in finding the least worse politician, which is good. Also, I think weighted voting should be introduced here. Weights should be determined from the education, qualification etc.

  50. A well written and coherent article. Sad for india that people like you are in the US and not in Kolkata- didi has lost a precious vote.

  51. I have been out of Kolkata ever since I have reached my legal age of voting – consequently voted only once in my lifetime. However my mother noticed in all the elections that my vote had been cast much before she could reach the polling booth and never ever I missed a chance to cast my vote. Once she dared to ask a local “Red-Brigade’s-Polling-Day-General” the reason and the answer was extremely assuring – “Amader-e vote tai diye nilam” (if he would have been here he would have cast his vote in favor of us – so we completed the rituals ourselves)

    For my work I have to access a lot Government websites and believe me many of them are quite good and continuously improving – I guess answer to our question lies there. If there is a website where people can block their names if they are absent due to some reason – much of these false voting will come down drastically. In the second step we may think of casting our votes even if we are not present in our constituency. I guess the cost per person would not be that high and at least I am willing to pay for this service

  52. @ Abhinab
    Hindutva doesnt laothe co-existance.
    Hindutva laothes those who loathe co-existance.

    Its a question of protocol you see.

    A theology class and a world history of all major players is a urgent pre-requisite for you.

    Understanding things in a global perosepctive is as important as a local one.

  53. I agree that we need education, awareness and a change in mindset. What I am not sure is what kind of education since most of the non voting metros middle class is educated.

  54. @ rishi khujur

    Did I for once say Hindutva loathes co-existence? I speak of the people who call themselves the harbringers of Hindutva in India. People ransacking Christians in Orissa, The moral police deciding what a girl should wear and should not in Mangalore, People taking revenge of a 500 year old act of barbarism in Ayodhya ( bringing the Babri Masjid down ), people spreading communal riots in Gujarat, are these the true face of Hinduism? The Hindu philosophy might be very strong, but the people spreading terror in the name of Hindutva stand out as people who the ancient Hindu doctrines would not exactly be proud of.
    Go get a reality check man, you really need it more than me getting enrolled into a Theology class.

  55. @abhinab: Reality check for you:
    Orissa: Have you ever heard of any such thing called forced converstion?

    Mangalore/Bangalore: These people are regular goons & thugs and are not Hindu preachers. Hinduism does not instruct what to wear and what not to in contrast to some religeons. BJP does not endorse these people. And without any support, even these incidents do not occur anymore. (I live in Bangalore).
    Babri Masjid:Its no use of talking to you about Hinduism, but just for the sake of argument, have you read the “Mahabharata”? Do you even know why the war was waged?
    Gujarat:The root cause of the whole Gujarat thing can be found in this Wikipedia article. Might consider reading it…

    Lastly, theology class or no theology class, my religion states in very clear terms not to discuss God etc. to a non-believer. Its a sin. As far as Hindu doctrines are concerned there is no greater book than the Bhagavad Gita, learn about true Hinduism before citing out geographical locations. And BJP is not just Hinduism !

  56. Abhinab wrote:
    -People ransacking Christians in Orissa.

    Response:
    Christians (who are just a minority) banning celebratiion of Hindu festivals.
    Hiring Naxalites to kill social workers like Swami Laxmananand just because, his good work was a impediment in the missionery conversion work.

    Abhinab wrote:
    -People taking revenge of a 500 year old act of barbarism in Ayodhya ( bringing the Babri Masjid down.

    Response-
    Should have been brought down by national consenus in 1947 and a temple to Rama, the purusha avatar of Vishnu re-built.
    Just like the Somnath temple was re-built under the guidance of Shri Vallabhbhai Patel.

    Abhinab wrote:
    -people spreading communal riots in Gujarat,

    Response:
    Ahaa… so Hindus decided one fine morning to go out and start hitting their fellow converted Hindus who now follow the Qur’an.

    Nothing happened to trigger that?

    Abhinab wrote:
    “Hindutva stand out as people who the ancient Hindu doctrines would not exactly be proud of….”

    Rishi’s response
    What exactly do you know “ancient Hindu doctrines”?
    I will be glad to hear what you know.

    Abhinab, empower yourself with knowledge.

  57. @rishi_khujur: Excellent response, that had the touch of Boss’ cover drive ! Regarding the Swami Laxmanand incident, here is an article.

    @abhinab: Seriously, how can you even comment on what Hindu scriptures has to say when all you know about them is nada ?…

  58. Rishi Khujur is trying to hijack and brainwash people in this forum.
    Greatbong never moderates the material this guy posts. For a long time I have observerved this.

  59. I feel that Sri Ram Sene is an organisation that is being increasingly supported by the Congress to counter the BJP. Here are the reasons:

    1) Interestingly (much before the Mangalore pub incident), the Sri Ram Sene had put up its own candidates in the 2008 Karnataka assembly elections against the BJP. The Congress hoped to benefit from the anti-BJP propaganda of the SRS.

    2) During the current 2009 Parliamentary elections, the Sri Ram Sene founder Pramod Muthalik has openly expressed hope that “sado-sickular” Congress leader Janardhan Poojary will win the Mangalore (Dakshina Kannada) Lok Sabha seat and defeat the BJP candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel.

    3) Soon after SRS raided the Mangalore pub, Congress leader and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot has condemned “pub culture” and indirectly justified the Mangalore pub attacks.

    4) The day after the Mangalore pub attack, SRS founder Pramod Muthalik was the special invitee of Suresh Kalmadi (the veteran Congress Leader) at a function in Pune. Sharing the dias with Muthalik was Congress leader and Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit.

    5) The SRS continued to embarass and taunt the BJP government in Karnataka, just because the Yediyurappa government put all the Sri Ram Sene attackers in prison promptly. Muthalik was arrested as soon as he returned from Pune.

    6) Most importantly, to help the Congress, the Sri Ram Sene tarnishes the BJP’s reputation by indulging in an unprovoked attack against pub-goers. Only the Congress stands to gain from the urban voters’ anger over the pub-incident. Some mis-informed urban voters (all over India) perceive the SRS to be a BJP-affiliate and decide to support the Congress or Independents, instead of the BJP.

    Brilliant, just brilliant, I tell you… The Congress ain’t as dumb as it looks.

  60. @Mohan..
    The confusion about voting for Capt.Gopinath was that we had heard what he did to make monies when he was the CEO of Deccan Airways like single check in queue, purposely delaying etc etc. All this when he was a small fish at Deccan Airways. Imagine the plight of the common people when this small fish is allowed to become a big shark. Do we need one more shark among the other sharks? So ultimately it led to let the prevailing shark prevail.

  61. @Don Ayan de Marco..

    But still can’t understand why anyone should declare it to the presiding officer. Don’t know which party he may belong to ;-). Why can’t they keep this part also confidential such as a “I am Not Voting” symbol on the EVM.

  62. Well my two cents (And keeping it short)

    Making voting compulsory, as you pointed out, is a bit too draconian for democracy. A suggestion maybe is to indirectly hurt a voter’s economy if he/she fails to vote… Like increase his/her tax bracket for the stated 5 years. A very crude idea and I frankly have no idea how the logistics will work out (given that it is our system we’re talking about).

    But the point is, unless one makes voting a very personal and immediate issue(as a source to a loss or gain) to the voter there’s no curing this mass-apathy. I know people will say that this is a “carrot and stick” approach and may not auger well for a democracy and in a “long run”. But IMO every other approach is a sugar-coated variant of the “carrot and stick”…The trick just lies in coating it well.

  63. @Anonymous: I have seen posts with previous poster’s name when the later poster is unmindful. But people who post as anonymous are a miserable bane to forums.

  64. @Anonymous(May 5th, 2009 at 9:58 pm) : What are you afraid of man? That Rishi will one day brainwash you too. Is it because you yourself do not have firm foundation of ideology?

  65. @ anonymous

    lol..we are back to the good old days of debates between the two factions of inian ideology..all we need now is yourfan 1 & 2, hara hara bom bom, thalassa and the whole horde of pro and anti everything people to come on board

    some of the most well informed & ingenious debates have come thru this forum

    GO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

    maybe anonymous will be happy once the real taliban take over and ban all of us from debate

    once i had got really worked up after 26/11 and ranted and raved that unless India responds and we get rid of pseudo seculars we would face bio/nuclear terrorism..so far it seems i am wrong

  66. Excellent article, this one deserves a comment. Even politicians have learnt that lame spur of the moment rallies and candle marches and other such crap really don’t mean anything. The new generation candle light bullshit has become the refuge of lazy, ignorant, far too fat and secure urbanites who don’t really have the time to do anything substantial but want to contribute “something”. It doesn’t matter that their something accomplishes as much as an elephant farting on the road (global warming and a coverage by India TV) They get out on the street, light candles, and return home 2 hours later, satisfied of achieving something meaningful. And not to mention, they aren’t even bothered about learning anything about the issue concerned – that’s more work than we asked for! Come on! Isn’t there a candle we could light or something?

    And when it’s time to vote, these same martyrs to their cause are too lazy to get off their ass and wait in line. As a matter of fact they may even think that they have fulfilled their obligation by the candle march! I just went on a candle march two weeks back! I’m not going today!

    By the way, I disagree with your shitty solution of wait and watchism. It achieves nothing. People can get more educated, but the level of retardation is not going to change. Your solution (which is a pretty pathetic way to end such a brilliant piece of writing – were you tired or something?) is too passive.

    The solution is in understanding the essential psyche of people. To get people to do what we want, we need to act on a psychological level. The key is incentives. Immediate, solid incentives to vote. What will be these incentives? We need to think about that and figure out a system. It can be reward based or punishment based incentives. What we need is an expert team of psychologists working on a feasible solution – monetary awards? Prizes? A chance to meet whichever retarded celebrity is famous these days? Fines? Public humiliation? Flogging?
    How do the advertising execs manage to manipulate people into buying their stupid shit? We need something similar. Let’s get them on board!

  67. @ vineetgupta
    The “candle light” thing does help mobilise people. But that is only the first step. Whether it is voting, or creating social revolution, mobilization is important.

    The problem is, the “next step” is absent.

  68. Arnab,
    Excellent article, agree with most of what you have to say, but here are my comments.

    First, middle class (and above) urbanites do not vote not because they are apathetic, but because in terms of numbers they know they cannot change the system to suit their needs. However, they do know and exert influence via other means: funding from business houses, influence in terms of media control, etc.. I would argue that this influence is more insidious than machine politics, which merely looks at disbursing benefits for votes.

    Second, what is wrong with catering for the immediate needs of rural voters? American politics was/is based on that, to the extent that McCain campaigned on removing earmarks. Yes, what is good for individual constituents may not be good for the entire country: individual optimality = collectively suboptimal outcome. I think the real problem lies in how the electoral system in India works.

    You were right about the caste politics stuff. I would argue that Indian politics is so fragmented that it is impossible for a cohesive central government to evolve, which can provide collective benefits; instead of helping all coalition partners to cater to their constituents.

    Is it possible to change this? I think there are several ways. I am elucidating only one possibility:

    Introduce vote thresholds– if parties do not get a certain percentage of votes or numbers of votes in different states, they should be deemed regional and not allowed to participate in national elections. If they want to participate in national elections, they can only do so as partners of national parties until such a time that they gain enough support via assembly and/or panchayat elections to become national parties.

    Anyway, my suggestions should not detract from the fact that your blog post had more insight than the ramblings of both Sardesai and Pronoy Roy (combined).

  69. @ aylamrin and rishi khujur

    I could have retorted back with lots of logic against what you are saying has transpired in India in the last 17 years. I wont, one reason being aylamrin doesnt like to discuss religion with a non-believer :-), and the more important being I am sick of fundamentalists like you, especially the ones who feel they and they only are the people who are well read and knowledgeable on the topics being discussed. Still I cant hold myself back from asking you rishi khujur, coz u seem to have read a bit more than me, what made you believe that Christians killed Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati in Orissa? Only because the fundamentalists out there showed it as an excuse to slaughter the Christians? Because official sources, chargsheets,and oh, i forgot, claim of the assassination too indicate the Maoists out there. Since you read a lot, pray take pains to read these as well.

    http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013157221200.htm

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Maoists_claim_Orissa_killing/articleshow/3423908.cms

    Literacy rate in India is 61%. But thats because they can sign their names. Few less than that read as well. Keep their eyes open as well,understand black and white at times as well. Muslims and Christians or any other religion for that matter should be condemned ,if they not as individuals but representing their religion attack Hindus or any other religion. My education tells me that isnt reason enough for the Hindu atrocities on Christians or Muslims, because Hindism condemns revenge in any form,or should I forward you a link? No wait, I should… http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7210/is_200209/ai_n29892584/
    there you go.

    And yes aylamrin, I have heard of forced conversion. Cant be practised in India though. You know why? because the minorities in india are quite aware that groups like Barjrang Dal, Ranbir Sena, SRS will come running after them with their axes and nowadays AK-47s if they try it.
    Have you heard of “Spontaneous conversion given the colour of forced conversion just to buid up communal tension”?

    Omigosh, spoken too much. Sorry, will have to read further.

  70. Abhinab wrote-
    “I am sick of fundamentalists like you”

    Rishi’s response:
    I have not written anything so far that points out my resolute belief in any one particular schools of Hinduism ,ie, Sankhya-Yoga, Nyaya-Vaisheshika, Mimansa, Advaita, Dvaita, or Vishishta Advaita…or for that matter Jaina or Bouddha schools.

    Why would you call me a fundamentalist?

    Just because you have heard this word being used for Wahhabi, Salafi or Deobandi Islamists, in the media?

    Abhinab wrote:
    Still I cant hold myself back from asking you rishi khujur, coz u seem to have read a bit more than me, what made you believe that Christians killed Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati in Orissa? Only because the fundamentalists out there showed it as an excuse to slaughter the Christians? Because official sources, chargsheets,and oh, i forgot, claim of the assassination too indicate the Maoists out there. Since you read a lot, pray take pains to read these as well”.

    Rishi response:
    No brother!! because the Maoists themselves claimed that they were paid by the Christian fundamentalists.
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/maoists-were-hired-to-kill-vhp-leader-orissa-police/374619/

    Abhinab wrote:
    And yes aylamrin, I have heard of forced conversion. Cant be practised in India though. You know why? because the minorities in india are quite aware that groups like Barjrang Dal, Ranbir Sena, SRS will come running after them with their axes and nowadays AK-47s if they try it.

    Rishi’s response:
    Abhinab, you are either very ingorant (which probably is the case), OR you have considerable malice in putting forth this point of view.

    Thousands of Hindus are forcibly converted in India every year. Most of the so called “vigilanteism” Bajrangdal and orther Hindutva groups, are with crude contact weopons, NOT automatic firearms.

    Those my friend, are used by Islamic groups, and some Naxalites.

    And btw, Ranbir Sena is a caste militia and has nothing to do with Hindutva. But I cannot expect you to understand that.

    Empower yourself with more knowledge.

  71. Abhinab wrote-
    “Hinduism condemns revenge in any form,or should I forward you a link? No wait, I should… http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_7210/is_200209/ai_n29892584/
    there you go”.

    Rishi’s response:
    I could not help but smirk that your online search actually brought up an article that was written by the great Hindu guru
    Subramuniyaswami, Satguru Sivaya, whose followers still run Hinduism Today, probably the only global magazine dedicated to Hindu Dharma.

    http://www.hinduismtoday.com/

    Use more material from there to argue with me. Dont forget to donate to them (a proper guru-dakshina) after you have won the argument.

    If you get a chance visit their ashram in Hawa’ii. I found it to be one of the most serene and idyllic places that I have ever been to.

  72. Just a note: I just went through the entire dialogue in the comments section and enjoyed it thoroughly. The ability to argue reasonably and logically constitutes the greatest human virtue. It is this power of dialogue that distinguishes people from animals. Thanks for the flood of new ideas and new things to learn!

  73. One important reason why nobody votes is because nobody cares.

    People are not motivated to vote because they don’t know/care what difference it will make to their lives what party comes to power. Most youth are callous about political issues and want to steer clear of all controversial issues in a dumb “embrace-everyone” philosophy. “We don’t want to take pangas with anyone, and so nobody should take pangas with us” is this kind of spineless attitude. These are the sort of people who will join groups on Facebook and Orkut like “Mumbai: Enough is enough, I want my city back” and the like but not understand head or tail of what goes on really. Many educated, well-off people come under this category – people who want to get by life easily without any jhatkas because they get food, water, education, money and security without trying too hard.

    But there is also one more reason why people dont vote. They have to choose between a bunch of equally undesirable parties. What difference will casting a vote make when the candidates are parties with thugs and criminals in them? When a party’s strength is actually only its muscle?
    In India, politics is all muscle and no mind. To think that politicians in the US have to study politics, pass exams and take an intellectual approach to problems makes India seem like a country run by savages. That the IQ of a Western politician is even a factor in his remaining one, makes Indian politicians who need nothing more than “Hum ABCpur ke don hain” and a bunch of muscly goons to back that up, seem like caricatures(which they most definitely are).
    Of course this does not excuse educated Indians from not following politics, but you have to admit, it is a prettty good excuse!

  74. Hey GB,sample this:
    “I feel that Sri Ram Sene is an organisation that is being increasingly supported by the Congress to counter the BJP.”
    [edited by GB: If you have a problem, then express it in a civilized fashion. If you cannot, then you have no space on this forum]

  75. @ kaunteya, aylamrin, rishi khujur

    Any good scheme from the BJP is bad for media. The media has taken upon itself to show the BJP in a bad light. Let’s take a few examples where BJP’s schemes have benefited India immensely, which the biased EL media is trying hard to ignore:

    a) Ladli Laxmi Yojana scheme – which the BJP wants to implement all over India – was started by the BJP govt in Madhya Pradesh in 2006. In a very short time, it has proved to be one of the most successful social welfare schemes in the history of the state. The principal aim of the scheme is to eliminate school dropout among girl students and to encourage them to study at least upto pre-college level. Under the scheme, the state govt buys saving certificates of Rs 6,000 each year for five consecutive years for every girl born in a family. The girl gets Rs 2,000 after she completes her Class 5, another Rs 4,000 after she completes Class 8, Rs 7,500 after she completes the Class 10, Rs 200 per month in her 11th standard and a lumpsum amount of Rs 1,18,000 after she enters the 12th standard or, alternatively, attains the age of 18.

    b) Kanyadhan Yojna: The BJP govt in Madhya Pradesh gives Rs 7,500 for poor families during the time of a girl’s marriage, and

    c) Janani Suraksha Yojna: The BJP govt in Madhya Pradesh provides all economic & health support to a pregnant woman till the time of delivery.

    This is what I (as an Indian) call development of girl child; unfortunately the media will NOT project this, but will project BJP as Taliban if some Congress-backed Sene beats a girl who goes to a pub only because it happened in a state ruled by BJP.

    d) Speaking of Karnataka, the BJP Chief Minister Yeddyurappa’s budget had encouraging news for several sections of the population — farmers, high school students, officials, researchers, patients, alike.

    His decision to send 1000 farmers abroad on a study tour will expose them to different types of farming methods. Further a provision of Rs 750 crores as a support price for farm produce is good news.

    Yeddyurappa has given a fillip to ornamental fishery and has given an impetus to the establishment of goshalas for the protection of milch cattle. Extending free power to farmers with upto 10 HP pumpsets, introducing e-tendering to bring in transparency, allotting Rs 2 crore for reviving the river Arkavathy and establishing 500 foot bridges in the Malnad to bring connectivity to remote villages, are all heartening to note. The BJP also deserves to be congratulated for providing free health insurance to poor families. Another noteworthy point, is the support given to the development of sandalwood cultivation, green villages and medicinal plants.

  76. 1000 farmers on a trip to “phoren”? Now if the Congress had done that, it would be cronyism and patronage and vote-buying and what-not. Study-tour. Hah ! Decades of IAS officers and IPS officers and politicians have gone on “study tours” at tax-payers expense and we all know what vidya they came back with.

    Of late the saffron people at this forum have started saying that the Ram Sene is supported by the Congress. I wonder what the “source” for that information is. Wait. I get it. The mainstream media is in cahoots with the Congress and so will not report on this. Only the Bengal Voices and the Khujurs, who have a direct connection to Truth, get this privileged information. These are the same people who give us rational arguments in the form of gems like “Rama, the purusha avatar of Vishnu” so maybe I am expecting too much. Or too little.

    I am waiting for the day Shiv Sena and their attacks on Valentine Day celebrations are also blamed on the Congress.

  77. @Pus$* Sissy: How do you know that these Sene d!$%heads are not sponsored by Congress? Just having a Hindu name for your band of thugs does not make one a Hindu activist (or the way you might like to interpret this, i.e. close to BJP & Sangh). Moreover BJP was never patronising him, and the truth is he was a face well recognised in BJP party offices because there was a time when he used to run after BJP bigwigs to earn a place in the party. Now that BJP has distanced themselves after the pub incident (which he did because he was desperate for publicity) he has fallen back to Congress , who were not late to capitalise. You may of course say that some people have direct connection to the truth indeed, coz I stay in Bangalore, and hence, unfortunately, happen to know a few things. Its that you don’t need to be in the Scotland Yard, but its the word on the street.

    Anonymous: Shame on you retard ! Look who’s calling the kettle black ! Civilised rebuttal eh? [GB adds: edited]

  78. The problem with Rightwings like Nirmalya is that they are unable to retort without invective. Note how he starts with calling me a Pussy. If this does not exhibit the Ram Sene attitude of glorified intolerance, then I wonder what does.

    Now Nirmalya, your friend Muthalik belonged to RSS and Bajrang Dal, which as we all know are part of the Congress Parivar.Right? Word on the street?

    That oracular “word on the street” was the ultimate. How does Nirmalya know? Word on the street. You guys do have a direct connection to the Truth.

  79. @Pushy Lejur,

    Inspite of your nickname(s) and handles, I do realise what your background is; so it is plainly obvious why you loathe Indian nationalists

    [edited by GB]

    Sending 1000 farmers on a one-time study tour to get trained in high-yield agricultural methods (like “drip irrigation” etc) to produce more food-crops per hectare that will feed Indians (irrespective of their religion) IS MUCH BETTER THAN wasting hundreds of crores of rupees (tax-payer money) annually on funding expensive “indoctrination trips” (oops..subsidies) to Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem for tens of thousands of people every year, in the name of religion.

    The farmers’ efforts help feed their countrymen, while the latter’s foreign junkets only help radicalise certain sections of Indian society.

    Muthalik was expelled from the Bajrang Dal for his pro-Congress agenda. That is why he started a new organisation (SRSene) to serve his Congressi masters. BTW, the various points I had mentioned about the nexus between Congress and Sri Ram Sene is publicly verifiable information in various newspapers (paper and web editions). All GB readers are free to verify the news about:
    – SRSene putting up candidates against the BJP even before the Mangalore pub attacks;
    – SRSene expressing hope that the Congress candidate Janardhan Poojary would win the elections and defeat the BJP in Mangalore;
    – SRSene leader Muthalik being a special guest of Congress leaders Suresh Kalmadi and Delhi CM Shiela Dikshit in Pune;
    – Congress leader and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot condoning the pub attacks by condemning pub culture.

  80. @ Pushy Lejur,

    While your religiously motivated hatred for the BJP is predictable (as is your obvious hatred for Lord Rama), can you deny the following brilliant, novel contributions of BJP-NDA Govt (under Vajpayee as PM) to help the common man (urban voters, rural farmers, youth and women), whereas the Congress-UPA reacted in a knee-jerk way by either stopping or delaying these projects after they came to power in 2004:

    1) The River-Interlinking Project to create a National Water Grid:

    – This was a visionary, brilliant project to interlink all rivers in India to solve the eternal problem of nature. Ex: “Floods in Assam while a severe drought rages in Rajasthan”.

    – This would lead to many states releasing excess water (during floods and heavy monsoon rains) to other states that need them.

    – This would solve the problems of flood damage and help not only farmers, but also alleviate the drinking water problem for millions of households. Won’t all Indians thank BJP for this?

    2) “The Golden Quadrilateral” project with highways interlinking cities and villages in the North, South, East and West of India:

    Even the National Geographic magazine has lauded this BJP/NDA contribution to India. Please read this 12-page article, Photo-gallery, Videos on the “The Golden Quadrilateral” project:

    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/10/india-highway/belt-text/1

    What the Congress couldn’t achieve in nearly 60 years, the BJP achieved in just 6 years.

    This shows that the BJP has the will and determination for development, not just empty slogans like “Garibi Hatao”.

    The Congress (like the Communists) likes to keep Indians in perpetual poverty, so votes of poor Indians provide a perpetual votebank – which can be harvested by shelling out a hundred-rupee note, a bottle of alcohol and a sari/dhoti to such hapless Indians.

    The only credit the Congress gets is for the Oscar award to “Slumdog Millionaire” – for making crores of Indians so impoverished that they have no way of escaping from slums and moving on to a better future.

  81. @bengal watch
    you are wasting your time
    these pseudo secular morons would rather wait [edited]

    [GB: Communally charged speech will only get removed. ]
    Why do you think we were slaves for a thousand year?

  82. @ Pushy Lejur/anonymous

    You did not understand the reason why I wrote “Ram, Purusha avatar of Vishnu”.

    Ofcourse, I should have known that, because for you to understand history or philosophy is too much of an ask. And you will also find it difficult to find historical logic in words like “purusha” or “avatar”, because the only time you have heard this word was probably in a online videogame.

    Any way, Babur ordered the destruction of a temple in Ayodhya, to reinforce the Islamic nature of his conquest to the local population.

    The temple that was destroyed (and remains of which have been found at the site by ASI), was dedicated to Vishnu and had existed there from around 500 CE. Deities of Jaina tirthankars and Bodhisattva (Buddha avatar as per Mahayana philosophy) from the same period were also found with the primary Vishnu icon. The fact that in Hindu Puranic texts, both Rama and Buddha are considered “purusha avatars” of Vishnu is important to establish the relationship between the 1000 year old Vishnu temple that Babur destroyed and Rama.

  83. @rishi khujur,

    In case you don’t live in Kolkata, here’s some “masala news” for you ….. It might be of interest to you that the earlier website (you had linked to your name previously in this very post) was inaugurated during a massive rally of 50,000 people at Satyanarayan Park in the Burrabazar locality of Kolkata on Friday (just two days ago). So I guess you knew about it a while back… hmmmmm, intriguing !!

  84. Pingback: The Middle Class Apathy Myth » Givvup Only Are There

  85. you know the morning i saw these actors, politicians, policemen flashing their middle fingers in all national newspapers, i thought, i ought to scan all the photos and send them to greatbong! i knew u would’nt miss it 🙂

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