w What my mind longs the electorate to be?

>- Dr. D.S. Sheriff
24 Manickam Street, Salem-636 001, India.
Email: dssherif@md3.vsnl.net.in

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 9 (1999), 177-8.
Majority, Favoritism and Money have become the key players of our lives be it at the level of individual, society, community or a nation as a whole. India is a unique country, which has multiples of divisions of geography, religious beliefs, ethnicity, language, gender, and economic and political status. With the enormous growth in population survival becomes the root cause of social pathology causing disparity, discrimination and inalienation among different sections of our population. The number game slowly spreads its tentacles engulfing people in the process to take shelter in different systems like communalism, regionalism and socialism. The metastatic proliferation of social ills becomes the photogenic material for sale-ability among the media. Once the ills take the front page of our conscience we become reformers of our political process. The emotional sympathy glorified succinctly by the true to the art performance by the stage players of entertainment influences the political process. Taking the concept of every action has a reaction, a stone for a stone, a tooth for a tooth, a bomb for a bomb; a life for a life becomes the meningeal covering of our thought process. We witness the renaming of places, people and cities around us making common man proud of his local heritage. Economic pressures, social needs and struggle for existence make us numb to lead a life of compromise.

Freedom of expression stays goldplated words inscribed in our constitution. "What our boss states is right" acts like a biblical message? Political Will bends to soothe the political party Supremes whose agenda determines the national policy. The leader of the party seems to remind one of the ancient leaders who are not only the ruler but also our religious pundit. With majority giving way to coalition with colliding ideologies political governance supercedes everything though the invisible sword of instability hangs high over the head of the ruler. With a center depicting uncertainty the regional governance shouldered by ethnic regionalism makes a mockery of true democracy. With a malleable political will and policy, every sphere of human activity becomes a commodity whose price is determined with little thought or respect to the value component of our living. Political leaders become gods whose lotus feet shelter those who wash them time and again with no restriction of age or gender whether it is at home or in public platform. Platitudes, encomiums and awards throng the throne of economically powerful making us ordinary citizens look helpless witnesses to the drama of human fallibility. Survival of the fittest the Darwinian Concept has become Dragonian giving very different meanings to the word "it". One wonders what is the meaning of the word "it" is it physical fitness, economic well-being, political power, bureaucratic authority, religious fundamentalism, regional fatalism, philological expertise or cinematic charisma.

Physical Fitness

Thugs with weapon wielding capabilities can undo or do things scales one's strength and qualification to enter into the political arena. Scenes of such macho power are witnessed be it on the street corners or the corridor of an educational institution or the courtroom or even in the police station. But still life goes on in a country with alarming numbers of citizens.

Economic well-being

Human development index - the concept proponent Dr.Amartya Sen which got him the Nobel Prize in Economics may understand there is another economic power that determines the living standard of certain privileged section of people. Black Money Market buys and sells everything including buildings, businesses, corporate companies, human entertainment and weapons including missiles in the market. Who rules the economy not the Reserve Bank of India's Governor but the Dadas developed by Political wizards or politicians supported by such Dadas.

Political Power

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I am writing about the corruption that erodes our value system and culture. The rich tradition set by our forefathers of sacrifice and selflessness in Politics has taken such a U turn we witness people clinging on to power until the last straw in the game of survival. We have seen too many elections in a short period of time with too many Prime Ministers making their verbal orchestrated game ploys to loot the minds of the voters. Can we people stop this number game played by too many parties by making only two party system whether by banning parties that sprout on and off whenever there is a power struggle or by legislating that you could have as many parties as possible, but during the election time the parties could form a coalition creating only two parties each contesting the elections under one single banner? It is possible if every one of us could think and decide to build our nation on the solid foundation of a value system developed by our forefathers. There is no use of a self-proclamation that we are the largest democracy in the world when the basic norms of real democracy is not followed.

Bureaucratic Authority

One of the legacies left behind by the British is our bureaucratic system. Whether the official concerned is a class IV employee or an Officer of higher caliber- it does not matter. People witness and live under a corrupt bureaucratic influence that stifles our economy and growth. These white collared rulers know the rules of the game. They play the game accordingly which will suit the need of the circumstances be it a politician threat or otherwise. The words honesty, integrity, duty, and dedication have become decorative flowers of a political speech. The degradation of moral values is slow and steady in all spheres of human activities that we need to check and prevent further degeneracy of our value system.

Religious Fundamentalism

Religion like one's parent is personal not to be discussed or to be used for material or political gain. Unfortunately the fight for Ram or Rahim or Robert and their togetherness adorn only cinematic canvass. In reality quite a blood shed on the verandahs of many Indian Homes have ignited the religious pyre which like a forest fire appears to consume the fabric of our country. Strength of spirit and valor have given way to doubt, deceit and divided political loyalties.

Regional Fatalism

Chennai, Telugu Desam, Mumbai - what are these words. People have lost their faith in themselves to develop the cultural heritage of the region. Poets, playwrights, dance and music experts through their creations used to enhance and strengthen one's culture. We seem to lack such artists to propagate the genius of our regions. We have taken shelter in name changes depicting our shallow attitude and lack of inner strength. A language or a region develops from contributions made by creative artists. Other acts and actions feign regional devotion. Our research and education need to be global not local and regional.

Language Expertise

Proficiency in local language is necessary. Proficiency alone in local language is inhibitory to the spirit of Inquiry and creativity. Anything that brews in the crucible of spontaneity shines and outshines that is brewed in the name of compulsion. Where the mind is free there human activity flourishes. Philological expertise need not be the criterion for upliftment. Narrow and tunnel vision are virtues that need to be shunned in a world of openness and oneness.

Cinematic Charisma

The Actors with their true life like portrayals of characters ranging from the local goonda to the hooligan, to the romantic hero to heinous villain charm and intoxicate the minds of the viewers. Their deeds on the screen make a mass appeal to the voters who vote and elect their candidates based on these cinematic personalities. No doubt every one of our artists is talented. But they too have their duties to society and an ethical responsibility to show the common man that one needs to exercise one's clear mind in electing a true representative.

We live in a glorious country with great citizens. We need to march ahead and develop in the real sense. We need to keep our sprits high and true. We have miles to go and miles to cross. What we need now is a mind that can freely exercise its free will in all domains of human action. Then only India will truly become the largest democracy of the world.

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