The guiding motto of a government is protecting the weak from the strong; the weak both in social and economic spheres. I am sure 9 out of 10 MPs and ministers do not know this driving dictum.
Let us just take a cursory glance at the way our government has ‘protected’ the weak in the past 60 years.
Election: The pivotal principle of democratic rule is now taken far away from the weak. No common man, even fairly rich, can contest a municipal election, forget the Parliamentary election. The running cost of fighting a municipal election, experience shows, is somewhere between `1 crore and `3 crore. As for the Assembly or Parliamentary election, it is your guess.
Education: This fundamental right of every citizen is beyond an honest earner. While primary education in government schools can be afforded, higher education is a mirage. A technical degree costs Rs.6 lakh upwards. A medical education, well, let us skip it or we will have apoplexy.
Health: The reason for an increasing number of believers in the world is because of the loss of faith in humanity. If you fall seriously sick, God alone can help, for no hospitalisation is within the means of an ordinary citizen. Even the government hospitals have no drugs and you have to buy from outside. After suffering all the ignominy of queuing up for hours, what you get is nothing to speak of. If, by ill-luck, you are compelled to get admitted to a private hospital, consider yourself lucky if you escape without another infection and with your innerwear on, for the rest of the clothes go along with your self-respect and money.
Shelter: Owning a home is a robber’s fantasy. The financiers and banks would take the joy out of your home for you can never sleep in piece with the Shylocks always at the door. No salaried person or ordinary man can dream of owning a decent home. The cost runs into lakhs of rupees. The other day when I asked the price of a 3-bedroom apartment, the salesman coolly replied, “Only 1.10C sir.” And, the mobile fell from my hand.
Justice: On paper, justice is free and it costs little to seek justice. Try that, and tell me the tale. Anyone who has had the misfortune to fight a case, due mainly to government folly, through the lower court to the Supreme Court will advise even his enemies against it. By the time you are through with the courts, you are not only pauper but also a highly disillusioned man. The robed helping hands, the babus in the system, the endless adjournments will take the wind out of you.
Dal and roti: God, you have reached this level! In a Bollywood movie of the ‘seventies there is a meaningful popular number that says, Dal roti khao prabhu ke gun gao (Be happy with dal rotti and sing the paeans of the Lord), but you know by now that dal and roti, the humble food of common man, is one of the most expensive foods on a hotel menu.
Need we go any further? Not necessary. So much for the government’s “protection of the weak from the strong” after 60 years of Independence.
Solution: Discounting armed struggle, the most effective way to make any change is to vote judiciously; not by caste, creed, faith or other consideration, but for innate good of a party and its candidate. Wait, I know you say all are bad, but let us look around for relatively good, if not real good ones.
Tailend: Paying money, booze and sari for vote is passé; buying a colour TV, fridge or laptop is now in the realm of the thugs. But now politicians know that voters have become crafty. A communist leader of Kerala in the ‘90s advised his flocks to accept
whatever anybody offered, for money or goods are useful, much like Gandhi kept the paper-pin and threw away the questionnaire presented to him by a foreign correspondent. “But,” he told them, “You know who to vote for.”
That is probably a sound advice. Because the ill-gotten wealth of the politically ambitious needs to be redistributed, and what better way than this to achieve it?
The writer works for Postnoon.
About the Author (Author Profile)
PK Surendran is senior editor at Postnoon.