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Friday, September 7, 2012

Indian Democracy

A couple of months back, inaugurating the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of election Commission of India in which a wide spectrum of political leadership joined, the President of India observed that The Election Commission of India has helped strengthening of Democracy at home.

The Vice-President Mr. Hamid Ansari said: “The EC deserved appreciation and gratitude for making our soil more fertile for the seed of democracy”. He however lamented at the unaccounted election expenditure by the political parties and their candidates, leading to distribution of freebies, liquor and cash during elections and media related malpractices of “Paid News” and “Coverage Packages”. He observed them as a “Blot on the Democratic Process” and on the objective of free and fair elections.

The Chairperson of UPA called for challenging the influence of money and muscle power [in elections] and strive for greater transparency.

The Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and the speeches there at remind me of the relevancy of a story I read in Telugu a few decades back, which runs as under in English Translation. I pray the copyright holders not to take offence at the violation for it is meant for the current generation to read and appreciate the author’s agony and his concern for a well meaning democracy in India, which is alive even todate.

Long Wait

Original in Telugu : Sonthi Krishnamurthi

Translated by GRK Murty

“Are there any for me…?” asked she. In that very asking, Chandrakumar could sense the echo of hesitation, shame, despair, and hope.

“None”, said Chandrakumar. She went away in despair. As she walked away, Chandrakumar looked at her in surprise.

“What for is she looking forward?” wondered Chandrakumar. It is two months since Chandrakumar came to that village as a Post Master. Her coming daily to him asking, “Are there any for me…?” and returning in despair have all struck a wonder in him.

It was a branch Post Office. So, there was no postman in it. Sorting of letters and their distribution is all done by him. The villagers used to collect their letters by coming in time to the post office. It thus reduced his work considerably. If any—one or two—are left out, he would distribute himself at his convenience. Chandrakumar also helped villagers by reading and explaining the contents of their letters or by writing letters for them. Without any hesitation, he would help all the villagers in whatever way he could.  He knows how to speak pleasantly with everyone of them. In the evenings, he would also read newspapers and explain news to them everyday. He is a quiet man indeed. His salary is fifteen rupees. And the designation is post master! A postal runner’s monthly salary is more than that of a post master. Yet, Chandrakumar has a liking for post master’s job.

After she left, he took up the newspaper that came in the day’s post to read. But, his mind is still focused on her.

Daily she comes at the appointed time to ask, “Are there any for me…?”

“None,” he would reply to her. With that answer, she goes away in despair. Alas! What is this waiting? What for this looking forward? Nothing occurred to his mind. Many a time he wondered what could be the reason.

He could not however ask her. Chandrakumar is shy to speak to women folk; he even hesitates. Fears too. Fear doesn’t mean that they would beat him, or would curse him, but a reasonless fear.

She is a little older than him. Looks beautiful too. She has a charisma. More than the charisma, it is her ‘long wait’ that struck as a wonder to Chandrakumar. While handing over the charge, his predecessor told him: she had been coming like this to ask daily. He didn’t however say about the reason.

Alas! Is the husband overseas? In the military? Is she asking for his love letters? That could be the truth, felt Chandrakumar. Women are truly good people. They are good at heart. Their heart is filled with overflowing love. Men are bad. They don’t have heart. They look down upon women. They persecute them. Why is that husband not writing love letters to her? Is he bad? Doesn’t he have love for his wife? Tomorrow, I shall ask her. Shall know the truth. I shall help her in whatever way I can, felt Chandrakumar.

Next day she came. Having come, she asked, “Are there any for me…?”

“None, but…,” said Chandrakumar.

With widely dilated eyes, she looked at him as though asking, “Yes, tell me”.

“Pardon me…a question…hoping you would pardon me, I am asking. Don’t take it otherwise. You are coming daily. What for this long wait…would you please tell me?” asked Chandrakumar with a little fear.

She said: “Ah! Nothing much …two years back I had cast my vote. They promised me to send a money order, hence the daily visits.”

"Am I falling from the sky?"  felt Chandrakumar. 

 Key words: Elections in India, Bribe in elections, Money power in Indian elections


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