Did you know that the General elections to the first Lok Sabha of Independent India was held in the year 1951 and the polling station for this first general elections ever, was set up at Kalpa in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh?
Meet Mr. Shyam Negi, who retired as a government primary school teacher in 1975. He has fathered 10 children and is now 97 years old. Mr. Negi is the first voter of independent India and presently the oldest voter alive. Mr. Negi in this video says, "Today is a very special day, an opportunity to do a great work. In those days, there was a lot of heavy snowfall and here in the cold weather, the roads got closed early. That is why our turn came 6 months before any other state. Even today I can recall, that happiness, that feeling of pride which I had felt that very day. Whether it is snowing or raining, I fulfill my duty every single time and even today I feel the same happiness and pride, I had felt before."
Mr. Negi, he doesn't need glasses but is hard of hearing. He is an old man and even so he walks to the polling station every single time to vote. By far he has voted 15 times for the Lok Sabha and 11 times for the Vidhan Sabha elections.
Seeing a person like him makes me question. It makes me question about us, the first generation Indian voters, are we playing our part? Are we taking up the responsibility of making this nation strong and united?
We all know that most of us have already lost hope in India. Many of us feel like nothing can be done. Many of us sit at home on the voting day with the "India ka kuch nahi ho sakta" attitude and bawl about how badly India is degrading. We try and count the number of uncountable murders and rapes taking place in various parts of our country and complain about how these murderers and rapists are not put into trial. We loath the Indian police for failing to take responsibility and stand as the voice and protector of the innocent. We feel helpless looking at the powerful who like to gamble with the lives of the underprivileged. We seldom feel like a sheep, our hands and legs tied up with an iron chain, being muted by the throat and a butcher slaying us slowly, one tiny stoke at a time. Each day we bleed, pain stricken and voiceless, our hearts full of fear and misery. We are slowly dying and the only solution we come up with is to get out of this country as soon as we can to live a better life, in search for a voice and the democracy we have been denied.
They say, India is the largest democracy in the world and that the Constitution of India is the longest constitution in the world. It proclaims to be a sovereign, democratic and republic but being a first generation voter myself, whatever happened to these proclamations I wonder.
Nothing can be done to this country...So why should we vote, you ask??
Well, today I'm not only talking about my views and opinions but I'm also backing myself up with some facts. I request you to understand that if we do not step up today, tomorrow will be too late to take action.
According to the Association for Democratic Reform (ADR), India the following facts have surfaced:
In this diagram we are able to see that in the Lok Sabha there are a total of 543 MPs out of which 162 MPs have pending criminal cases against them. That makes about 30% of MPs corrupt in the Indian parliament.
In this diagram we are able to see that in the Vidhan Sabha or the State assemblies, out of 4032 MLAs about 1264 have pending criminal cases against them. That makes about 31% MLAs corrupt in the state assemblies.
Now you might probably wonder if these criminals who decide the way we should live our lives have been punished or not. My friend, the answer is NO. All these criminals who are given the utmost right of making laws in this country, who are chosen to bring justice in India are themselves criminals in the eyes of justice. They have not only violated some major rules and regulations of this country but also have done some serious offenses like:
The shock and the irony of it all is that these criminals who are charged with all of the above mentioned serious offenses only have mere charges framed against them but no FIR have been registered in their name. Now you can imagine if this is the state of Indian government and the law makers of this country are the corrupted ones themselves than how can the normal people looking for justice ever get justice?
Be the voice!!
I remember as a child I used to read in the books that India is a developing country. 21 years of my life has gone by but even now India is still developing. The Gross National Income of India is 4.749 trillion PPP dollars and out of 180 countries in the world India ranks 53 from below. During election time we complain about the corrupted using their money power to buy votes through their vote banks. They promise to give mobile phones, refrigerator, color tv, washing machines. Hell! they even go to the extent of paying off all the bills of an household in order to get their votes. They normally target the poor underprivileged parts of our society. Another fact, according to the World Bank, about 32.7% of India population fall below poverty line of US$ 1.25 ( i.e. 75.01 INR) per day while 68.7% live on less than US$ 2 (120.01 INR) per day.
Facts like these are insane and makes me wonder that if these leaders are actually gaining from and taking advantage of the poorer groups of the society by forcefully taking away their fundamental rights then why on earth would they ever think of developing these parts of the society? People being poor is an advantage to them so they can mute their voices and take away their most basic fundamental right through money power!
Change cannot be bought at once, change is a gradual process. If you want to change the system than be the system. Be the voice and make a change. Make people aware, organize campaigns, impart free education and awareness to the less fortunate sectors of India. To the children, to the youth and to the old. When we are aware, we can make others aware. I know its not an easy affair but it is definitely possible. If only 1 person out of 10 vote, than how can we expect a change?? Is it even logical?? If 10 out of 10 people vote than we can ignite a tiny spark. Another 10 people's vote will ignite another tiny spark and slowly, if each and every one of us make our voices heard we will create a fire. A fire of change.
Is it understandable now? How much one vote is worth? How much of a difference one vote can make? How much potential we have as voters to make a change in the Indian map? Elections are approaching, there is an immense stress on the importance of choosing the correct leaders. Please let us pledge to vote friends, its now or never. If you've ever watched the movie V for Vendetta you'll understand this: "Isn't it that beneath this wrinkled well-fed exterior there lies a dangerous killing machine, with a fetish for Fawkesian mask, viva la revolución!"
Be the change. Make the change. Vote.