Give me 10 Votes, I’ll give you a Bike!

Jai Hind!

While watching the live telecast of our 63rd Republic Day celebration from Delhi, the background music of क़दम क़दम बढ़ाये जा, खुशी के गीत गाये जाये जिंदगी है क़ौम की, तू क़ौम पे लुटाये जा (Qadam Qadam baṛāē jā, khushi kē geet gāē jā… yē zīndagi haiñ qâum kī, tū qâum pē lūtāē jā) made me nostalgic and for some time, brought the mighty feeling of a soldier  of the Indian National Army (INA).  On a personal request from Netaji, Ram Singh Thakur composed this  song for the Indian National Army. Way back in 1942, when Ram Singh Takhur composed this extremely patriotic song, he never would have thought that this will make him eternal.

While marching for a free India, Netaji declared his motto “Give me blood, I will give you freedom“. That attracted many Indians to not simply participate in the freedom struggle but even sacrifice their lives for the honor of their motherland. Gone are those days….. India is a democratic republic celebrating its 63rd Republic Day today.

Over the years, many things have changed, so also our “leaders” and we “the people”. Not that all the changes are negative, there are of course many positive ones that have shaped the country. Still, I believe that many more things could have uplifted our status as a welfare state. Today, what bothers most Indians like me is “Corruption”! With the logjam in Parliament and politics over Lokpal Bill, a “corruption-free India” may not be possible in the near future.

Even if a strong Lokpal Bill is passed, corruption is no way going to die in a single day. This is because it has spread to the root of our system, our existence and our blood.  Except a few people, I would say most of us are corrupt and involved in favoritism in some way or the other. Very often, we do not have an option if we need to get our work done smoothly or quickly. Though it is hard to accept, it is a fact.

Corruption during the election reaches its peak. Political parties, irrespective of their national or regional strength are involved in various forms of corruption. In most of the cases, corruption is also closely linked to crime and underworld activities. The power of MWMW (Money, Wine, Muscle power and Women) takes the centre stage. MWMW is becoming the general norm and eligibility criteria for party candidates.

Black money, country made liquors and drugs are being poured into the game from different sources. Even though the Election Commission is very strict and has put many officials as observers, there are several eye-opening cases that come to light every day. Huge amount of cash has been recovered en route to the poll-bound states. Drugs and country liquors are becoming a strong weapon to woe the voters. Recent raids in Punjab and UP led to the discovery of huge amount of drugs and liquors.

With corruption largely being a moral issue, law enforcement agencies have always found it hard to root it out through either force or preventive surveillance. Moreover, sometimes the observers and the law enforcement agents are also corrupt. But the worst thing happens when the common man, the aamjunta or the voter becomes corrupt. If our votes are sold to these corrupt leaders for a meagre cash or a bottle of wine or drugs, then whom can we blame! Neither the Election Commission, nor the Lokpal Bill can bring any solution for this.

For an example, in the recently conducted Municipal elections in Maharashtra, money took the centre stage to buy votes. Many political parties had bribed the voters a meagre sum of Rs 5,000/- per vote. Irrespective of the rich or poor, literate or illiterate, educated or  uneducated, people across the society were involved in this kind of dishonest activities. House maids, vegetable vendors, daily workers, factory workers, auto walas, school teachers, and many others including polling officials went for holidaying or picnics on election black-money. New bikes without registration were kept in petrol pumps; one could take a bike free-of-cost, just on the condition of arranging 10 votes from his/her family and/or friends. The new motto now being “Give me 10 votes, I will give you a bike” !!!!

The actual election process and the common man’s attitude is very pathetic. As long as we do not cure ourselves of this shameful attitude, no legal process or authority can prevent unethical practices like bribery, intimidation and  misuse of office and power. These huge malpractices combined with casteism, communalism and regionalism are going to ruin the election system and the fundamental structure of Indian democracy. It is going to let India’s face down as a world leader in practising true democracy and being its ambassador.

Jaago aamjunta, jaago… This is time to show our strength, and make the system clean and strong. Let’s cast our precious vote not under the influence of MWMW but based on our own conviction – a conviction that is largely based on morale and right knowledge. We need to do some thing unique, which will make our life rewarding and us worthy aamjunta; not an useless and corrupt aamjunta. Let’s respect our dignity and our country. The choice is definitely ours !!!

Jai Hind!

14 Responses

  1. Article after long time.
    Yes, our electoral system is perfect theoretically, to bring voting system to every corner of the country, with almost zero errors, and also monitoring the process effectively. But people are bought before they reach electoral booth, so even if the system is perfect, the right candidates in the competition are back in the race because of we, the people. The problem lies with the get-the-short-term-benefit attitude of most of the people. This attitude is seen among various sectors of the society as well, not to digress though. Unless we change this attitude, there are always some eagles trying to prey on this attitude. Lets change…

  2. Writer is well versed in Politics and in History. Commendable. I believe people like you should join politics and clean the dirt from the system.

  3. why this corruption, corruption di! who will bell the cat? the EC? or Political Parties? or Anna? or BSY? jai hind

  4. Aamjunta strikes again !!

    Well, with the extent of corruption happening, India has two options left – 1. start a movement-with-force like those in most of the middle-east countries or, 2. take advantage of its democratic form to simply vote out a corrupt government. First option is definitely not advisable as India needs to tackle continuous external-border threats, internal Naxalite aggression and other crimes.

    So as responsible citizens, we then have perhaps only one option to eradicate corruption by peaceful means – to evolve as a fully-aware / educated electorate. In this, there lies one major task for all of us – to “spread awareness” among the ignorant masses. Only an educated electorate can choose the right authority for right governance.

    Until then, no system or person can really minimize judicial logjam which is essential to properly investigate offenses and convict criminals (forget about quick justice). Nor is any Lokpal Bill going to help.

  5. Hats off to Dr.Subramanian Swamy !!! Quite reminds me of “Chanakya” :-). Now India needs such able, bold and determined anti-corruption crusaders.

    He has indeed risked his life for the country !!!! I wonder if he will be ever conferred any Award ?! …Of late, most of the ‘Padma’ list of awardees have been really frustrating !

  6. Thanks Shaik, Sridhar, Kiran and Ryka for your comments.

    @Shaik: Yes, after a long time… will publish some more in the near future..

    @Sridhar: Thanks, will definitely think seriously

    @Kiran: We.. including you and me…. will bell the cat…

    @Ryka: Rightly said. Lets wait and watch… UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand… Assembly elections are on card. So also the Panchayat/Municipal elections in Odisha and Mahharastra. “Right to reject” option should be made available in the election process.

  7. Lets hope for a better tomorrow

  8. Aamjunta, read this article in ToI: … No respite till masses are educated !!!! Gifts galore for the poor in rural polls

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your next write ups thanks once again.

  10. Dear Author,

    Thank you for your thought provoking posts. While discussing with my fellow bloggers at IISc, we decided to promote your posts through different means. We would like to meet/call you if you please can share your coordinates.. Waiting for your response.

  11. Thank you. We can definitely meet some time in Bangalore and discuss.

  12. Good work through your blog and look mail to all your posts! Transmit by the superb work!

  13. A very apt commentary! Hard hitting as well.

  14. […] spending more than Rs. 30 to Rs. 50 crores per constituency. I still remember the punch line “Give me 10 votes and take a new bike” – very commonly seen and heard during the Local Bodies Elections-2012 in […]

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