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India 2050

elections 2009 india 2050Aah, it is that time of year again. When roads are laid, flyovers get completed, the garbage actually gets collected and storm drains get cleaned. Just what exactly is the magic that causes all of this to happen? No, it is not the road pixies or the garbage troll, it is the humble Election Fairy. That magical, mystical and maybe soon to be mythical creature that ensures we have a democracy, ostensibly of course. 

Quite apart from all the election perks that we get to enjoy, which ironically enough is what we rightly deserve throughout the year, these elections got me thinking. And before you ask - no the Apocalypse isn't just around the corner, this just happens to me sometimes. I try not to let it interfere with my life as I know it, but this is one of those times. So just bear with me all right!

Now what was I saying? Oh yeah, the elections got me thinking. Just for this achievement they deserve a medal, but I digress. With all the election posturing on TV and other media going on, this quote just popped into my head (another nasty habit of mine, says RS)
Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve. - George Bernard Shaw
So, I asked myself is this what we deserve? Politicians making hate speeches, pitting one group against the other on whatever flimsy grounds their fertile imagination can come up with, promising all the things that we do not want or need but just because it is what they think we need, oh and the list goes on. 

As if the divisions of religion, caste, class, sex, education et al that we had before weren't enough, they come up with new ones all the  time. Now we can look forward to hating each other on the lines of state, language, dress, why even on the basis of the urban vs. suburban vs. rural. Kind of makes me wonder, what next? Maybe the smart vs. the stupid, the honest vs. the dishonest (wait, don't we already have that in the form of the public vs. the political class?). I have full faith in my political leaders that they can come with even better ones or worse ones depending on how you look at it, of course.

If this is how far we have come in the last 50 odd years, I shudder to think what's in store for us in the next 50. Exactly at the time when we all need to work together in the face of innumerable global crises (environmental degradation, economic instability, water scarcity are a few that come to mind), we still continue to bicker like little children. 

Right from the international arena where we cannot even reach a conclusion on agricultural subsidies, within countries where states cannot share water resources peacefully, within states whose people want yet another state, to neighbors who cannot share a boundary wall without dispute, we still continue to view the world as a perpetual war of us vs. them. Never mind who falls within the ambit of us or them, because we need a them against whom we can define an us (just like god needed the devil).

To be continued...


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