‘Velfies’ (Selfies of people who have voted) are the trend in India now. So here is mine. That little, blue-black, ink mark is put on the left, fore-finger of all who have voted in India’s 5-week election marathon. It is non-erasable and will stay there for the next 7-10 days. There are café’s that are promising customers 10% discounts on their bill, if they flash their inked fore-finger at the cash register. A small reward for being a ‘good’ citizen I suppose. Though I don’t know how they can tell if it’s really the election booth that has put that mark on the finger. Unfortunately, even ‘good’ citizens in India have the tendency to cheat, lie and steal!
Take my neighborhood for instance, full of ‘good’ upper-middle and upper class citizens, many of who were in the voting queue with me at 6.30 a.m., complaining about ‘bad’politicians. Now I know among them were some ‘good’ neighbors who happily pay the gas delivery man a little ‘bribe’ to deliver someone else’s gas to them, because they’ve run out of theirs. Who cares if that inconveniences the other people who have followed the rules, and made the effort to book their gas cylinder ahead of time! Or the odd way my land-phone connection, and the broad band that comes with it go dead and don’t get fixed for 10 days, during which time some other ‘good’ neighbor has paid a little bribe to the phone service man to connect my line to their house. So at the end of the month, I get a massive phone bill for a connection that was dead for half the month! And then there are plenty of ‘good’ neighbors who never bother to buy a cable connection because they know some wise guy who hijacks someone else’s for them for a small fee.
It’s not that people in my neighborhood cannot afford cable, gas, phone, or internet. Most of them shell out 4-5 times what they’d have to pay for the monthly cable fee, for one dinner outing at a fancy restaurant. And of course they’re chauffeured there in their BMWs, and will casually fish their credit card out of their Gucci to hand to the waiter. No the reason even ‘good’ citizens in India steal, lie and cheat, is because they can! The idea is, if it can be stolen why buy it?
So it does not surprise me, that almost 50% of Indians surveyed recently said, they’d vote for criminal politicians, if they felt they would serve their purpose one way or another. The reason this is significant is because more than 30% of politicians serving in the Indian government, have serious criminal charges pending against them. In fact after the 2014 elections the number of politicians with criminal charges has risen to 34% Charges of grand larceny, rape and murder. Every political party has a large composition of criminal elements, and with each election their numbers get higher. Is it any surprise that crimes against women, and all forms of corruption have reached unbearable levels in India?
Fed up of trying to clean out government and political parties, the Supreme Court for the first time in 2014 have given Indians the option to vote NOTA (None of the Above). This was an option to reject all political parties on the grounds that we as citizens will not be forced to accept or choose between parties when we recognize that they are all housing criminals! If a large number of citizens would vote NOTA, it would indicate a serious social momentum that is intolerant of institutionalized criminality.[CLICK HERE FOR MORE]
Unfortunately, most Indians think otherwise. Of the 500 million voters who voted in the 2014 elections, only about 6 million voted NOTA. That is only about 1.1% of votes even if it is more than what some of the contesting parties got.
The majority of Indians think, if the criminality of a party does not interfere with my functioning, or I think they’ll be helpful to me, even if they are criminals, then I’ll vote for them! At a very base level, this is where the mentality that also pilfers phone, cable, internet and gas lines is rooted! Crime is fine, as long as it serves me!
But this is not fine by me. So I voted NOTA.
My vote is a rejection of this system, citizens, politicians, and government that are deeply, corrupt, dishonest, greedy, and destructive.
My vote is a demand for change from all political parties, the government and fellow citizens.