"And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite."
The Economist has taken sides and made a recommendation. It looks as if the world is worried about the choices India is making. I am sure a lot many will question the weekly, criticize it and the die-hard fans will want to hang the people responsible for the latest editorial. It is a different matter that they would have quoted it extensively if the recommendation were to have been the opposite. The Time cover on Dr Manmohan Singh was much used by the same lot that is criticizing the weekly now. But I wouldn't event attempt a debate with the bhakts. My problem with the Economist's assessment comes from its hypothesis.
It has assessed our leaders but ignored us: We, the people.
The Economist may not know, but we are a nation of hypocrites. We are vocal about change, but vote for status quo. We are an entitlement driven country at each level—from an unemployed worker to the owner of a billion dollar company. At each level, we vote to have our entitlements increased, at the cost of others. We may not need them but will still demand for them. None of us gives up any thing, even if it is a waste of resources.
When we vote, we don't necessarily go for the best candidate that would be fair, give us justice, improve our living conditions, provide us security and a transparent administration. In fact, transparency will expose most of us. We vote because we want a person from our caste, our religion. Or a known person directly or indirectly.
We want our influence directly or indirectly, at every place where fairplay would go against us. We want to retain the power to get things done and undone to bully people around us. Fairness and justice are decided based on what we personally gained or lost. We don't mind injustice to others as long as we gain in the bargain. We want every one around us to contribute to our personal well being. We want others to be taxed and our taxes to be reduced; we hate poor getting subsidies even for survival out of our taxes. We hope to become a powerful nation by spending on arms and ammunition, flexing our muscle with weak neighbours. It does not matter that thousands continue to die of starvation and many farmers commit suicide. We are more about chest-beating than about a big heart.
Corruption is not an issue with us. Our leaders are known to have amassed billions and continue to win elections. The more corrupt the leader, the greater the chances of victory. The bigger don wins over the smaller don. The bigger criminal wins against the smaller one. The bigger actor wins against the smaller actor. The big parties also distribute tickets on the basis of these qualifications. We vote on the size of the personality, not his character. We believe more in criminals than in police; in khaps than the judiciary; in Ponzi schemes rather than banks; in confidentiality than transparency; in favours rather than fairness.
We vote on our insecurities. It is Hindus vs. Muslims or Jats vs. Muslims or Forward vs. Backward castes. Like a million gods, we have a million insecurities. Our insecurities have been deeply etched and ingrained in us by our leaders. In fact, our leaders fan our insecurities and we happily latch onto them. We simply cannot go against the decision of our leaders, our clergy, our priests and mullahs.
We vote on an immediate gratification or a promise. We vote for Rs.100, a bottle of Arrack, a tax break, a concession, an assurance, a promise. We know they will never be fulfilled, but live in hope. It doesn't bother us that we suffer through out the five years—in fact, for life—in the bargain.
In the last 65 years, we never voted with our conscience or our heart. We never voted for our next generation, not even for five years. We never go by our convictions, our beliefs. We are scared of 'wasting' our vote. We pick a winnable candidate and a party likely to come to power. The honest and silent citizen doesn't have a chance in hell to get our vote. The decibel levels in an election decide our vote. And we don't mind trying the same thing for the next 100 years. We are risk averse. Every five years, we prove our potency by changing the government. It is a different matter that our vote makes us impotent for the next five years. We are in a rut, even know how to come out of it, but prefer the stink. We can not live without the rut, the stink, the violence, the violation. We want a government of molesters and we vote them in.
We vote to get these leaders. We have done that repeatedly, in many elections. We like the status quo. We don't like change. We are like this only! We are in a hole by choice. Don't worry about us. We will get a leader we deserve.