Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Don’t worry; I am just trying to describe myself.
Actually I am bit ashamed to share this experience with you. To share guilt and failure is inevitable when one is blogging reflectively.

Indian Democracy is creative. With all its limitations, democracy is indeed a fun. Politicians can fool the public and the public appearing very naïve certainly has the capacity to fool the politicians. But still this is the best option.

On 23rd April Pune voted for Parliamentary elections. I tried to find out ‘online’ my name in the voting list, but every time the concerned site gave me ‘unsafe site’ alert, and I did not probe further. Couple of friends gave me some other site options; someone gave SMS service and all that. But even when the date of voting arrived, I was not sure whether I would be able to vote or not.

I do not have television at home. For the last five years, I have stopped reading newspapers regularly. I neither watched nor read anything about the 26/11 terrorist attack on Mumbai, I neither watched nor read about Obama’s coming to office It saves lot of time, anxiety and irritation. My source of news is the group of people with whom I interact. Sometimes I know them very well and sometimes they are total strangers. By discussing various issues with them, I not only get news but get insights into public pulse. A sort of multi-filtered news. It has many advantages. And there is much more beyond what media captures.

I have realized, when people meet, they mostly talk about happenings in the External World, mostly Politics, Cricket, Bollywood, Corruption… We are too scared to talk about our emotions, feelings, ideas, thoughts….is this impact of globalization?

Obviously I did not know much about the candidates contesting in my constituency. But I was aware of certain facts: a) One candidate has kept on shifting his loyalties (party) b) There was hardly any difference in the election manifestos. c) A new party was making inroads in the city especially with youngsters. d) Caste equations were interesting. e) One independent candidate was good, but how many votes he could pull?

Voting always presents a dilemma for me. In the first place local and national issues are connected but the link is week. Secondly, you can’t vote for ‘a good person’ because the parliament functions with party strategies, individuals do not influence parliamentary function. And most of the parties have the same strategies when they come to power. Power makes all of them ugly. Third, the option of negative voting is not practical. I mean only 40% of voters turned for voting in Pune, what would happen if there is a next round of election for the same purpose?

Interestingly, there was no home-visit by political parties, no handbill, no corner meeting. Everything was peaceful around me. I was weighing the options (whom to vote) without reaching to any decision.

On the voting day, I went to the polling booth. Searching name in the list was a big task. People sitting at the help desk were hardly able to help. There were number of lists. My neighbor’s name was in a particular section, but my name was not there. He advised me to search in another section. Couple of guys (party cadre) had the laptops with them, on which through online search they were helping people. They searched my name and gave me section number and serial number.

I had some informal discussion with the police at the booth, when I was waiting in the line. Completing the routine things – identity validation, signature, blue mark… I approached the electronic voting machine! And wow, I was completely taken aback by the list of candidates. The names were totally different (than what I expected). I was confused. Have I come to the wrong place? But the officer would not have allowed me, if I was in a wrong place.

Then I realized that though I am staying in Pune city, I was supposed to vote for Baramati constituency. When and why this change had happened, I was completely unaware of. I did not know the names of the candidates, some of the election symbols were completely new to me…. I could not interpret who’s who on that list. I was just lost, completely confused…. But then had to vote, and so I voted.

What a height of stupidity and hypocrisy!

Next time, I will see to it that I am more informed, and my decision is not instinctive but based on rationality. For sure, when I visit field areas next and talk to villagers about benefits of actively participating in Panchayat Raj …. I will know that there is no greater hypocrite than me.

The avenues for participation in decision making are very subtle. I do not have to look for ‘big occasions’ but make best of all ‘small occasions’ and the continued enriched process will bring the desired change at the higher level. So, I have to change my thinking process, behavior and become a better citizen


  1. But for previous elections your name was in this same constituency - Baramati.

  2. if u 'know' that u r a hypocrite, u cease to be one...

  3. if local and national issues have a 'weak link' as you say, then does it really matter which consitutency you voted for? it is all the same, then ..........which of course i do not think so.

  4. nutan, no, i don't think so, i would have remembered then... but let me check

    Anonymous, no, just knowledge is not enough... one needs correspodning action ...

    Anonymous, yes, u r right in a way... but i should have known it well in advance


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