Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vote For Your Own Sake!

“A man without a vote is a man without protection.” ...Lindon Jonson.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, often referred to as LBJ, was the thirty-sixth President of the United States & when I received call from Hon Collector of Pune, Mr.Saurabh Rao’s office, for SVEEP Committee meeting, it’s this quote which came to my mind by the US President. Trust me; I didn’t know such SVEEP i.e. Systematic Voters Education & Electoral Participation named committee even exists! I was bit confused why I have been called & what’s this committee is for, but due to my preoccupied schedule I couldn’t go to this meeting , instead had sent my colleague to attend on be my half. What he reported was even more interesting, Hon Collector conducted the meeting of most of the segments of the society & appealed them to reach out as many people they can & spread the awareness about voting by using every means of communication. We, during Loak-Sabha poll have sent a letter to all our customers as well suppler /contractors regarding making their name enrolled in voting list & it has been well appreciated effort; on the same line Hon Collector expected everyone should try their efforts. Actually it’s really a sad thing where people that too grown up educated people have required urging for a basic thing like to vote! But that’s the way we as a society are, we may be very good as an individual & successful in our own field or profession but collectively as a society we are just too inactive!

This time during Loak-Sabha poll we experienced a sea change in attitude of common man towards voting as first time in years, educated people who normally used to turn their back on voting saying “what does it matters, who comes in ruling?”, haven’t gone outstation for a vacation but stood in queue & voted! Well we all saw the outcome of the same at least in change of power; as this isn’t a political column neither I support any party but any change is possible provided we understood it starts from we as an individual! Many said its wave of some one person, many said its outcome of social media, few even said its part of some party’s campaign, yet the outcome was there & which we haven’t experienced in years is a fact! First sign of a healthy society is every segment is aware of its responsibilities & what more & basic responsibility a democratic society can have than to vote! For me it was a sign that after sixty eight years to our freedom we are learning what freedom means! As there were protests for not having names of the educated people in the voting list, never we have ever imagined that the so called white collared people in the society will be so keen to vote! Well people voted though with all the hype & ho hallh, yet the Pune voting percentage was just above 55% which is nearly 10% less than average voting across the country & which definitely a thing which we should be proud off! Agreed it was up by 10% than last few polls of Loak-Sabha yet very much less than even the remote rural part of the country. What it means is the so called backward areas people also are much responsible than Harvard of East & for me as a resident of Pune its matter of shame!

This time the elections are for State & again this isn’t a political sharing yet if at all we think a change is needed or we want a better, responsible Govt then first thing we need to do is to vote. Democracy doesn’t mean just a formality to vote by a few & form a Govt but in an ideal democracy 100% eligible voters should vote & then the Govt which comes in ruling can be called as a true democratic govt. Imagine when hardly 40% people vote & still when some party get to form a Govt even by having 40% votes of entire voting; then in actual its having just 16% votes of entire voters & yet it comes in power! And then we expect this Govt should understand & solve problem of 100% population! Well what moral right we have to expect a good Govt when most of us don’t even follow our own responsibility of voting, that too it’s just a one time job in five years!

Our State is supposed to be one of the more developed states in the country, on the account of literacy as well awareness about our own self; especially Pune is considered as educational & cultural capitol of the State. But its matter of shame that this so called culture has never been reflected in our voting numbers! Rather with the kind of educational criteria & the status we enjoy as a city, Pune should have been topper in entire country in voting turnout, which has never happened. Rather we are far below here, even in comparison with poor & undeveloped towns in the State. Does that mean our literacy or knowledge is just for books as if we won’t use our wisdom for choosing our representatives, then what’s use of it? And then all year long we are writing letters to news papers about various civic problems under the name of “ek jagruk nagrik” i.e. “one aware citizen”, & feel we are very aware about our responsibilities! Remember freedom doesn’t mean just expressing ourselves in the group talks over the cup of tea in Vaishali or Rupali but freedom means executing our right to vote & choose our rulers.

After all, why we vote? We vote because somewhere its sign of our existence, it’s a sign that we are aware about our duty towards not only our own self as an individual but as a society too. Agreed a single vote may not change everything but remember what will happen if everyone thinks like this? There will be no voter & then that’s the victory of bad elements in the society for which all those who don’t vote are actually responsible. In a way voting is a chance given to us to choose our fate itself! And remember when we will vote in more & more numbers whoever comes in power will be having pressure of these votes as so many people have trusted them with their expectations & that Govt will be responsible for all these voters. So they will have to perform as if they don’t then the very same voters will ask them to perform.

One more thing we need to remember that just by voting & uploading our ink marked finger on FB or Whatsap, isn’t going to be enough. If we respect our vote then be awake all five years & see that to whom you have voted is following to what he or she has committed to you. If every single person of the City & the State & the Country will understand this & follow then that will be true freedom for the Country. As they say, “Every big change has started with a small act of courage”, so let’s vote & be the change not just for us but for our generations to come! And as the quote at start says if we don’t vote then it’s like we are throwing our own protection, & the person who don’t care about his own vote, who will & why should anyone care for him?

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

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