Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just Do It !

What began in 1952, is what defines our country today. Not only was the first general election as resounding success, it laid the strongest possible foundation to an edifice called Democracy. It is a testimony to the farsightedness of our leaders; to the resillience of our bureaucrats; and to the strength of our citizens, that we have been able to build and sustain a democratic edifice

The circumstances then were no cakewalk. The country split into two, some 500 states just integrated into the fabric structure of our country and people were just beginning to enjoy the air of freedom. For the first time, many of the citizens were actually talking and experiencing democracy with no clue as to who, when and from where can come and create disturbances.

I think the single largest achievement of the government in the 50's was that they could peacefully conduct two general elections. To sustain the democratic framework of a big country such as ours is no mean task, and to have accomplished that with such resounding success, is something that every voter and every Indian has to feel proud about.

One look at our neighbours, and we will realize how fortunate we are. Pakistan's trysts with democracy need no new mention here. So is the case with Bangladesh. Nepal recently realized the full fruits of democracy. Maoists themselves left weapons and participated in the ballot war! Bhutan is now a fledgling democracy. China is yet to become a democracy. The less that is spoken about Afganisthan, the better!

Look around, and we will realize how fortunate we are to get the freedom to express, the freedom to choose, the freedom to debate, and the freedom to live! Every general election since the first one in 1952, again and again reinforced our committment to these freedoms. Only once were these freedoms taken away from us, and it was a general election ( 1977 ) that proved that no one can take them away from us!

Each general election was historic in its own sense, and that was primarily because the voters spoke their mind. They reminded to all and sundry that they cannot be taken for granted, and that they too realize their responsibility.

To conduct a general election is no mean task. One look at the number of people, and the machinery involved will make your mind blow! Right from the preparation of electoral rolls for over 70 crore people to manning the more than 8 lakh polling booths, right from filtering the thousands of candidates filing nominations to ensuring security at each polling booth, and right from enforcing the code of conduct to ensuring peaceful conduct, successive election commissions have done a laudable job that will put many such departments in other countries to envy.

Come April 16, April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 13, and our job is to help them in this endeavour. And it is very easy to help too. Go vote.

Or to put in Nike's terminology - Just do it !