Where every-body speaks about the need to vote, a citizen states his reasons for not voting.

With due respect to the serene democratic tradition of our great nation, I assert my firm decision to stay away from the electoral process this time. I had participated in every election ever since I got the opportunity to cast my ballot. But this time, I simply declined to vote.  I was prompted by many, including my friends, relatives and colleagues and those democracy loving [?]citizens, but I humbly refused. As I have the right to vote, I am equally free to my own will to refuse to vote. My refusals may not interest many, some view it even as part of my supposed objectionable un-democratic and anarchistic sentiments to dare to challenge the core of our liberal democratic system, the election process. But I will stick to my decision to stay away from this swindling ‘self styled’ political system, to expose its futility, incompetence and most significantly its illegitimacy.

512px Inked finger 1 300x199 I Did Not Vote, Even For NOTA, Plead Not Guilty

The Failure of Indian Political System

I have always tried to criticize the deficiencies and vanity of our political system, the elements which constitute the same and the way in which it is implemented, certainly perceiving the very fact that none of the political systems are totally perfect. Even though an idealist notion, it is true that generally political systems are always passing through certain transformations resulting from the internal processes (David Easton’s Political System) and through which the system either tries to clean itself from political degradation or will submit itself to more political decay.  But a political system cannot be below par, putrefied, weakened and dying from the internal strife, domination of corrupt political class and ineptitude of the political parties. On the contrary, it is laudable that our democracy is still running when many of the contemporary democracies around the world are crumbling.  Keeping democracy for 67 years is itself an achievement, thanks to the great leaders of yester-years and to the peace-loving public who are the base of any political system and on the foundation of their optimistic patience, the deceitful political class in our system construct the castle of corrupt cards. It is surprising that our culpable political class dares to count on the patience of our people, even after understanding what happened to their corrupt counterparts in other nations.

Political system models 300x199 I Did Not Vote, Even For NOTA, Plead Not Guilty

A mannequin with the stoles of different Indian political parties on display in a shop in the western Indian City of Mumbai on 10 March

We are proud of our unity in diversity, but may be the same shibboleth is the real reason for our collective failure to voice against the corruption, ineffectiveness and political degradation of our democratic system. May be it is for good that our public, including myself, are unwarlike and want the system to clean itself rather than to force the elements that constitute the system to clean themselves by use of rough force like what we have seen during the Arab spring and continue to watch in many other countries. Our loosely coupled democratic system is exceptional in some way, but what make it deplorable, even at certain times, is its ineffectiveness to throw out the rotting elements in the system which makes it more vulnerable to further degradation. Our system has many qualities of its own, but we can deliberately ignore these goods, even for the time being, [these pros make our system running at hardest times] in order to make it best. Reciting the goods will certainly make the system lazy and swollen with pride, and I believe that enumerating the bad will make it always try to remain good.

The Responsibility of Political Parties

We know that political parties are the building blocks of democracy. It is their responsibility to make the system adhere to honesty, stemming the prospects of corruption, political degradation and political anarchy. Political parties are the guardians of democracy. Parties make leaders who later become leaders of the whole nation. Political parties must ensure that tainted, corrupted, biased and inept leaders must be thrown out of the political spectrum in order to keep the system safe, vigorous and efficient. But we all know, what happens now is just contradictory to what is supposed and assumed to have happened. The curse of our political system, at present, is the subjection of the political parties to root out ills from their own self and this gradually leads to succumbing to the pressures of outside interest groups which are actively engaged to achieve certain goals with the assistance of political criminals among our political class who are intentionally stabbing in the back of our political system.

Reason, inability of those at the helm of the political parties to understand the key issues which compose the political decay and the avoidable cowardice to go through these issues to tackle the same with stern and sturdy decisions and actions. By shying away from taking crucial decisions on the credence of the political parties, its leaders are risking the interests of the nation, its political system and most significantly, the faith of the whole public who willingly participate in the electoral process to keep the system running. Knowingly or unknowingly, the public also helps tainted political leaders to remain at the helm of political power. There is not even a single political party in our nation which is capable of throwing out tainted politicians to enjoy credibility to proclaim that they have a separate identity, an identity of sincerity, authenticity, capability and transparency.

Voter’s Despair

How could I vote for a person who represents a tainted political party with a questionable background, insincere proclamations and rapacious greed for political power and which continue to cherish the identity of tainted and fraudulent politicians only for short term political goals, sacrificing the aspirations of thousands of ordinary citizens, who are looking at these political parties and its leaders for a glimmer of hope to facilitate and equip themselves with resources to enable them to meet their both ends, day by day. Please do not force me, I cannot.

Surely, participating in a democratic process will strengthen democracy. But I believe what we actually see and go through, is not an actual democratic system, the system our great leaders visualized, the system we dreamt. The people, who are to be the core of any political system and to act as decision makers, are not the real decision makers here. The actual power centres in our system are those who play the game of real politics behind the curtains and present certain individuals [sometime even known criminals] as candidates to be elected by the public. The options of the ordinary citizens are limited. They are forced to elect from a small list of individuals proposed by certain political parties. The choice is not determined by the people, but they are only working machinery to elect those opted by other forces. So the real decision makers are not the public, unlike what we are forced to admit through the tactics of certain institutions, including the governments, constituted by these political class. The methods of implementing this style of democracy will be progressive and pragmatic only when the political class who decides the flow of democracy, are totally free from corruption and favouritism.

When the system itself is abundant of corrupt elements which decide the whole prospects of the process itself, I could not find the usefulness of the term ‘People’s Democracy‘ to define our sacred political system. To protect the system from corrupt forces, the elements which constitute the system and its environment in which it exists, must be unbiased, transparent and incorrupt. If the system itself is at odds, it will be good to stay away from the warped procedures of the corrupt system till it finds a solution to clean itself. I believe that I have participated in the democratic process than anyone else and staying away from these warped procedures of a corrupt system does not mean to be undemocratic. It is the freedom in a liberal democratic tradition to stick to one’s believes and aspirations and I optimistically cherish that.

By Ganesh Hariprakash

Also See:
Your Vote Matters – Please Pass It On …
16th Lok Sabha and The Making of the Prime Minister

Image Source: By Staff Sgt. Christopher Allison (Department of Defense – Photo link) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, By Al Jazeera English (Mannequin models political stoles) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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