Can we all get along?

With the parliament elections on, a political mayhem is rocking our nation once again. I don’t recall being so involved in politics ever before in my life. I wonder if it is just a side effect of age; or being in Delhi is to blame for it, because this city seems to be stuck in a never ending cycle of elections.

The good thing is we are seeing a much higher participation from educated folks. And, their involvement is not just limited to discussion; they did help improve the voting percentage in recently concluded Delhi elections. I think I can safely attribute this to two important factors – Modi and AAP. Without commenting much, I just hope this phenomenon is here to stay.

Citizens actively involved in making a responsible choice sounds absolutely perfect, but what worries me is the “political extremism” I witness on a daily basis. Supporters of one party wish for complete annihilation of other political parties. Some go on to the extent of bad-mouthing not just the leaders, but also the supporters of other parties. The heated exchange between friends over their differing political affiliations is a common sight on facebook.

I wonder why? Why do we feel so strongly attached to our political disposition that we are ready to sacrifice our friends? Why can’t we just speak your mind politely and cast our vote to whosoever we want, and allow others the liberty to do the same? After all, isn’t democracy about multi-party system?
Is it ego? Someone challenging our strongly held beliefs (religion or politics) makes our heart bleed. After all, how could we be wrong?

Or, is it insecurity or embarrassment of our candidate losing that makes us react in somewhat passive aggressive way?

Or, do we really fear the other options are so evil that our world will become far worse that what it is today?

Or, is it our helplessness of five years that makes us desperate when we get the only chance to give a better direction to our democracy, our vote?

No matter what the reason for our strong attachment to our political dispositions, one thing is sure – voting in India is a gamble after all. A roulette table to be precise – where you must put your belongings on the table and pick a number (or name). Then, the dealer decides your fate. The worst part is the stakes of losing are extremely high, because you may lose even if your number strikes; the candidate you vote for may turn out to be just another rogue chameleon. [So, we may be losing our friends for nothing.]

Am I saying there is no point in voting? Or, NOTA is the best choice?

Not exactly. All I am saying is – though it is important to rely upon our best judgment – let’s not put so much emotional energy into it, because elections are just a means to an end, an extremely important one though, the democracy. But, democracy only begins with elections. The real democracy must play out over the course of next five years.

Let us say I vote for AAP, another friend votes for BJP, and yet another friend for Congress. No matter which candidate wins, we three are still equal citizens of this country, and that MP or MLA must care for us just the same. Now, given the high ratio of politicians who default on their promises, it makes it important that no matter who we vote for, we must stick together. We must stick together, for if our leaders dare turn their back on us, we can drag them off their throne and rip them apart.

I know we are not there yet. But then, we will never be unless we step beyond our religious, political and regional boundaries.

So, while we ask ourselves ‘Who is the best candidate in my area?’ or ‘Who is the best candidate for PM?’ during elections, the important question we must ask ourselves for next five years is ‘Can we all get along?’.

If we can’t, we will continue to lose every five years.

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