“The Buck Stops Here !”   15 comments

– AN OPEN LETTER ADDRESSING THE YOUNG INDIAN VOTERS-

Date: The Near Future.

Place: India at Crossroads.

My Dear Fellow Young Indians,

You and I live in the most populous democracy in the world. Our country, called as the most reckless political experiment in the world, is perhaps the most diverse in the entire comity of nations. One of the many outstanding features which define our country’s diversity is undoubtedly its LANGUAGES.  One of the most visible examples of the intense diversity in our languages is captured beautifully in the ten rupee note issued by the R.B.I. which carries around 15 prominently spoken tongues across India. A normal day in any Indians life is intricately intertwined with many dimensions of language with varying enormity ranging from the language of love, care, command, respect, argument, coercion, compulsion and deceit from our fellow Indians. This astonishing diversity combined with a heavy population establishes the fact that we are polyglots and are able to talk at some length.

The most visible example of Indian Linguistic Diversity.

India is A Nation of Dialects.

Vouching my above claim is the lesser known fact that Mr.V.K.Krishna Menon has the distinction of addressing the United Nation’s Security Council with the longest speech in its history.  Other peaks of loquaciousness have been scaled by Indians and this can be traced all the way back to the Indian mythology containing an insightful conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita and the erudite debates in the Constituent Assembly in the 20th century which shaped the future course of independent India. This undisturbed tradition of indulging in animated conversations, coherent arguments, constructive debates and cultivating opinions with admirable tolerance to differing perspectives acts as a thread connecting an ancient civilisation with a young and vibrant nation.

Bhagavad Gita: The Great Indian dialogue calling for selfless action.

Bhagavad Gita: The Great Indian dialogue calling for selfless action.

This ARGUMENTATIVE TRADITION backed by the ability to shoot sharp questions without maligning the larger picture is not the preserve of the elite alone but cuts across the nation surpassing gender, caste, regional and religious divides. These rich arguing combats in various languages steeped in ancient India turned out to be a blessing in disguise when India became the largest democracy in the world. Modern India inherited this tradition with glee. The founding fathers of our nation went a step further by clothing this gem of a tradition in modern day parlance and enshrining the same into our constitution as a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT, elevating it to a haloed status.

Enshrining the hard earned Freedom of Expression: Our Constituent Assembly

Enshrining the hard earned Freedom of Expression: Our Constituent Assembly.

A democracy, as rightly envisioned by our constitution makers, is incomplete without the freedom of speech and expression. This unbridled right enabling free speech not only has helped us present our views and voice our dissent but also enabled us enrich our thoughts, support the rights and criticize the wrongs of any political decision. This practice made sure all the while that democracy and its institutions went deep in the Indian psyche, took roots and thrived. This argumentative tradition in modern India enabled largely by the universal adult suffrage, free press and media and an independent judiciary with their emphasis on public discussion and interactive reasoning has deeply influenced India’s politics. India pinned all its hopes on this tradition to weather its birth pangs and even its darkest hours and continued its tryst with parliamentary democracy despite its many imperfections and flaws.

INDIA: Unconditionally committed to DEMOCRACY despite multiple flaws and various limitations.

INDIA: Unconditionally committed to DEMOCRACY despite multiple flaws and various limitations because we are democratically oriented.

However, the times have changed and we are living in a world which even though deeply connected, remains polarised on many counts. India too hitched the globalisation juggernaut and opened its doors inviting the west enabled development and modernisation. The ensuing expansion of opportunities and cultural clashes triggered widespread changes in the society, often painful, polarising it into classes adding to the already existing fault lines of caste, religion and region. As an unavoidable consequence the Politicians transformed into an elite class assuming themselves to be omnipotent, the Middle Class metamorphosed into an unresponsive and despondent lot and the Poorest and the Illiterate ones turned into Vote banks. As the middle class became more disenchanted and slowly vanished from the picture, the connect between the scheming Political elite and the gullible Poor became more explicit.

The Race to reach the helm and nestle themselves in the corridors of power saw them shunning accountability and responsibility by the wayside. This made THE VIP CULTURE more explicit.

The Race to reach the helm and nestle themselves in the corridors of power saw majority of the legislators shunning accountability and responsibility by the wayside. This made THE VIP CULTURE more explicit.

The rich argumentative tradition which India boasted took a turn for the worst, lapsing into mere cacophony. The Political Elite resorted to grandstanding and pandering to the whims and fancies of the semi literate citizens to prolong the former’s stay at the helm. Politics thus from being a hallowed profession dotted by selfless social reformers degenerated into an arena for multiplying wealth, increasing prestige and courting power at the expense of the ones who sent them to rule. As the moral compass started its journey south, the alienation of the middle class –the most contemplative of the lot- was complete. Learning from their parents and the society around, you and I: the youth refrained from voting as a mark of protest and renounced meaningful conversations on politics thereby derailing the argumentative tradition and giving it a whole new meaning. And thus the Indian Democracy plunged headlong into her MIDLIFE CRISIS.

The Indian Moral Compass: Is it headed south ? Is it spinning ? or Is it broken ?

The Indian Moral Compass: Is it headed south? Is it spinning? or Is it broken ?

The youth of today, you and I, launch scathing criticism on contemporary politicians emanating out of an apparent disgust for the class as a whole. Our argument, far from the rich tradition, borders on contempt and is clouded by anger blocking reasoning and judgement. The conversations, arguments and opinions of today unfortunately are focused on the ills alone.

The Angry Young Indian: Our complaints become rants.Rants becomes  Tirades. When passion gradually overpowers perception, REASONING goes out of the window reducing the whole affair into tongue lashing.

The Angry Young Indian: Our complaints become rants.Rants becomes Tirades. When passion gradually overpowers perception, REASONING goes out of the window reducing the whole affair into a tongue lashing of politicians.

We brand the political class as morally bankrupt. We tend to cringe about the fact that political parties proliferate in our country year on year without any visible adherence to even a tinge of ideology. We arch our brows in surprise when the same parties field candidates with tainted past without even an iota of concern. We have a tendency to scoff at them if they win despite their serious criminal backgrounds. The anger slowly spills over from the parties to the politicians: our whipping boys. We direct our energies primarily towards their shortcomings. This ranges from their backgrounds, multiplication of assets, their education and the lack of it, their nexus with the Babus, their concessions for the corporates, the magnitude of scams they were part of, their lal batti culture, their unfulfilled promises, their vote bank tactics, their one upmanship during elections, their fake hunger strikes gaffes and last but not the least their increasing age and the apparent disconnect with the youth. Our debate unfortunately stagnates at this point and doesn’t cruise forward.

Our Ignorance has made them more high handed in their behaviour towards the very people who put them in power. They, in short, have become a law unto themselves.

Our Ignorance has made many of the representatives more high handed in their behavior towards the very people who put them in power. They, in short, have become a law unto themselves.

Many amongst us have drawn hasty conclusions and have found varying solutions to deal with the Bogeyman called POLITICIAN. The Pessimistic Indians amongst us prefer to stay as arm chair experts for eternity ruing the plight of our country and its bleak future. The Fabulous Indians flee the country seeking greener pastures overseas, citing lack of commitment and ambition in India, to settle down in posh jobs with disgust for politicians and contempt for the system always lingering in the background. The Delusional Indians just sit back and laugh their hearts out watching the proceedings in parliament and state assemblies ranging from tearing bills, cash for votes, walkouts, shouting matches and jumping into wells. The Opportunistic Indians collude with the politicians and the administration promoting bribes, corruption and moral decay. The Compliant Indians just stay aloof making n number of adjustments in our daily lives hoping that someday change will come along. The Ambivalent Indians spend their lives contemplating whether to react to the blatant violations happening around them and if so how. In sum, we are like mango people living in banana republic traveling in cattle class, crying rivers over rising onion price!

Are we the Mango people living in a Banana republic ?

Common Man is an everyman who grapples with real issues to lead his life amidst decaying moral fiber. But how long can we bury our heads in the sand ?

The end result unmistakably is reflected in the low voter turnout in what is described as the biggest success story of the Indian Republic: ELECTIONS. The Educated, Idealist, Reflective, Wired, Tech Savvy, Free thinking, Energetic, Aggressive, Alienated and Angry Young Indian shows a volte face when it comes to getting the indelible purple dot on their fingers. The consequences are for us to see.

Tainted men register their candidature with impunity despite their increasing tally of serious criminal offenses. Some ageing political warhorses fail to contemplate even about retirement. The cadres, desperate to step into the shoes of their master, fallout and form new parties. In order to grab eyeballs these new parties on the block differentiate themselves from others on the lines of caste, region and religion appealing blatantly to a very narrow voter identity. Their erstwhile godfathers meanwhile would have proclaimed their successors bringing in their sons or at times their dynasties into the election fray. This unavoidably changes the nature of campaigning. In the name of election campaigns they often hit below their opponents’ belt launching scathing verbal attacks which take different hues such as deliberate maligning, mudslinging, character assassination of women candidates and sometimes even communal speeches. In order to arrest the attention of the gullible sections and to win the loyalty of the minorities the parties compete with each other in announcing freebies and populist schemes as part of their campaigns simultaneously. To fund these colorful, larger than life campaigns specifically to outwit their opponents, the candidate and his political party resort to unholy nexus with the corporates and other bigwigs. This marks the entry of unaccounted money into the fray.

The dangerous combination of MONEY,MUSCLE and POWER is a recipe for disaster.

The dangerous combination of MONEY,MUSCLE and POWER is a recipe for disaster.

With illegal money to back them some gather muscle power through local Dabanggs to distribute free liquor, radios, sarees, gold and even money just to ensure more votes are added to their existing vote banks. The degree of spending involved and the ugly fight to stoop to the lowest levels makes even genuine reformers and credible personalities pause and contemplate about the consequences upon taking the plunge into politics. The Bureaucrats and Police being at the beck and call of their future masters are subdued sooner than later. Election Commission’s ability to monitor these activities is curtailed greatly due to various institutional limitations and administrative apathy. Their good works are greatly diluted when people who know English don’t vote deliberately and people who don’t know English go and vote blindly.

Their audacity came to light when they engaged some unscrupulous sections of print media to publish articles singing their praises. The PAID NEWS phenomenon rots Indian Democracy.

The audacity of many of our representatives came to light when they engaged some unscrupulous sections of print media to publish articles singing their praises. The PAID NEWS phenomenon rots Indian Democracy.

When these unscrupulous elements come to power its time for them to return the favours to those who helped them and their parties during the campaigning stage. Arbitrary allocation of coal blocks, blatant violation of environmental laws, contempt for parliamentary proceedings, haphazard acquisition of land and skewed auctions of spectrum and siphoning off funds from development and empowerment projects ensues. The rising inequality, rampant corruption and widespread environmental crisis threaten both the countryside and teeming metros. The instruments to ensure security of women, creating employment, reforming the police force, protecting vulnerable sections, guaranteeing food security remain hanging fire or get shoddily implemented. As their sins mount they come to the light as scams opening a can of worms. They cool their heels behind bars only to come back and enter the fray on a later date. This cycle continues every five year.

They have made the PREAMBLE of the INDIAN CONSTITUTION, which begins with the words "WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA", one of the biggest paradoxes of our times !

Our law makers themselves have made the PREAMBLE of the INDIAN CONSTITUTION, which begins with the words “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA”, one of the biggest paradoxes of our times !

Qualities such as admirable leadership, ethical behaviour and morality stays in the fringe overpowered by Greed. Supreme Court alongside some determined Civil Society members and N.G.O.s carry out lone crusades and notch up isolated but important victories. We meanwhile customarily scratch the surface by cursing them, mocking them, abusing them and sometimes ignoring them. The icing on the cake is our aloofness. Despite the ELECTION DAY being a paid holiday, we sit back and relax at homes distancing ourselves from ground realities further!  Alas! We don’t realize that THE JOKE IS ON US!

Its hard time we sat down and seriously thought about our real roles in Indian Democracy. Let's put on our thinking caps !

Its hard time we sat down and seriously thought about our real roles in Indian Democracy. Let’s put on our thinking caps !

Yes! We should be angry with the state of affairs in our country but we should not let our anger get the better of ourselves. The real trick lies in channeling this public expression of anger in Ramlila Maidans and Jantar Mantars and taking it forward to its logical conclusion eventually culminating in: VOTING IN ELECTIONS. The need of the hour is to convert the Youthful Cynicism which brands politicians as villains to Constructive Criticism. As a first step, let’s just veer away from the run of the mill “ALL POLITICIANS ARE BAD” rhetoric and do some soul searching by asking some basic questions since the elections are fast approaching. Who are we electing really? Why are we electing them? Do we really know what their roles are? What do they do after getting elected? And most importantly why should we vote? What must a typical voter ask his representative and what do we really want from an elected representative?

Its all about learning the basics and shooting the right question to bring about atleast a semblance of accountability.

Its all about learning the basics and shooting the right question to bring about at least a semblance of accountability as a first step.

To clear our cluttered minds on the above questions, our 9th grade civics book can be a good starting point but considering the paucity of time and the magnitude of problems involved we should at least know the roles, functions and differences of (a) Municipal Councillor (b) Member of Legislative Assembly and (c) Member of Parliament. An M.L.A or an M.P. is in no way responsible for fixing roads, water supply or sewers which squarely falls within the purview of the councillor. So next time if a candidate contesting in elections to Legislative assembly or the State Legislature approaches you promising free electricity, water supply and good roads, you can request him with all the authority to quit the race and contest instead for the post of Councillor.  We must asses our M.Ps and M.L.As in terms of their attendance in the house, their credible participation in debates, and their frequency of speaking in the house on various issues discussed. If they watch porn instead of debating or discussing the severity of droughts or shortfall in monsoon you have all the rights in the world to question them since you elected them in the first place.

Contemplation has given way to expectations leading to hasty pronouncements. Let's pause a bit and cool our passions by doing some soul searching  to bring back civility and wisdom !

Contemplation has lost ground to expectations leading to hasty pronouncements. Let’s pause a bit and cool our passions by doing some soul searching to bring back wisdom and civility !

What they do instead of doing their basic duty is to use/overuse/misuse their privileges ranging from free housing to travel allowances only to attend weddings, inaugurations, functions and funerals promoting themselves and their parties. If you spot them in any of these occasions you can ask him what he intends to do with his own fund under MPLADS/MLALADS. We instead blindly believe their empty promises when they approach us saying that they will convert their constituencies/state/country into a land flowing with milk and honey. To temporarily play devils advocate I would say that viz a viz our Ministers, M.Ps and M.L.As are severely short of resources both monetary and human to prepare themselves for debates and arguments of high magnitude on varying topics in the house. They are forced to do a lot of horse trading sometimes winning some and sometimes ending up at the losing side owing to coalition compulsions and what not. It is extremely tough to speak in debates in house knowing that your opponents are all ears and will drown you out if they get a ghost of a chance. The point is that we should refrain from painting all politicians with the same brush and should try to contemplate on our shortcomings too. We should try to revive the real ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN inside us by asking incisive questions instead of blindly courting anger.

Let's revive the REAL ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN in us !

Let’s revive the REAL ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN in us !

Movements which take a grandstanding on politics being dirty and all NETA LOG being terrible should channel their energies in the direction of asking some credible question instead of endlessly waving Tiranga and shouting slogans. The key, my friends, lies in increasing our civic awareness which will help us raise credible questions against politicians when we encounter them. But how many of us are even capable of that? How many of us for instance have watched or followed debates concerning landmark bills such as Land acquisition, Food security, Lokpal, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace et al.  which affects our lives as well as our society deeply? Have you ever thought why the Women’s Reservation Bill has not yet become an act? How many of us know the size of the last union budget? How many of us know which five year plan is currently running and what the planned targets are for at least two or three sectors? Not many!  Let’s not disturb those who think ignorance is bliss. These questions will disturb those who were vegetating till yesterday and will prompt them to sit down and think!

All politicians didn’t land from another planet in the guise of humans and took control of governance one fine day. They are part of our society, our fellow citizens whom we chose from amongst us to represent us and lead the country. The continuous occurrence of numerous scams and violations of various magnitudes are in a manner the reflection of the ways in which our society works. The battle is half won the moment we realize our shortcomings. The next and perhaps the hardest part lies in participating in CIVIC LEARNING and DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT which will help restore the dignity of our Parliament and ensure that our representatives perform their prescribed roles dutifully. The small but significant first step towards achieving this long term objective is to participate in the FESTIVAL OF INDIAN DEMOCRACY called GENERAL ELECTIONS by registering your name in the Voters list and going to the polling booth to CAST YOUR VOTE!

The first simple step towards effecting a greater change and ensuring a better future for India: CASTING YOUR VOTE !

The first simple but powerful step towards effecting a greater change and ensuring a better future for India: CASTING YOUR VOTE !

India unlike other nations is at crossroads now. Till yesterday India was a country which experts reckoned could become the next big thing but for inexplicable reasons stayed the sleeping giant which it was for years. There was always a yawning gap between what India achieved and what India could achieve. One of the ills which always pulled down the country was its IDENTITY POLITICS which gradually pummeled the broad based party politics beyond recognition. Election campaigns by national and regional political parties were highly divisive and votes were cast based on parochial identities ranging from me, my caste, my region and my religion and my other narrow priorities prompting experts to quip that “In India you don’t cast your vote, You vote your caste”.

2014 is a crucial year for India. It can change Indian Politics beyond recognition.

2014 is a crucial year for India. It can change Indian Politics beyond recognition.

But 2014, my friends, could well turn out to be the watershed year which could witness perhaps the most decisive election in the history of Independent India because its outcome could well be the harbinger of new things to come. As usual the men, women, poor, prosperous, mainstream, marginalised, and the minorities would come to cast their votes but what would make the difference this time around is: “US” (no, not United States please). The young, non partisan, fiercely independent and especially the first time voter cohorts who are all set to throng the polling booths across the nation in the 2014 election could alter the nation’s future forever. Born right before or after India’s opening up to the world, we developed our world view in the Liberalisation era. Our views are uncluttered by caste, religion, region, partition, freedom movement, and Mandal Commission and they look distant for us. We could well be the generation of die-hard democrats who believe that protesting is our fundamental right and could effect a change if we go vote! 52% population in India is below 35 years old. 30% are between 18 and 35 years of age. These are huge numbers!  This time it’s our political opinion which should help decide the outcome of 2014 elections. If we could pull this off now we could put the infallibility of vote banks to test, we could mark the demise of the term voter apathy and we could usher in transparency and accountability and eventually put identity politics to its deathbed. In the main, WE COULD SIGNAL THE BIRTH OF A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE! So prepare yourselves to register your protest against corruption and highhandedness by thronging the polling booths and voting this time around. Let the 2014 elections be marked by PROTEST VOTES!

Be the change you want to see ! Throng the polling stations during elections especially the 2014 election. Its our once in a lifetime opportunity to effect a change! So Be there!

Be the change you want to see ! Throng the polling stations during elections especially the 2014 election. Its our once in a lifetime opportunity to effect a change! So Be there!

As mentioned at the outset, India is home to many living languages. They are all ancient with a rich inheritance, a distinct script, grammar, vocabulary and a proud literary tradition and spoken by many millions of people.  Each language is tied up inextricably with the life and culture and ideas of both the masses and the elites. The fact that mother tongue can rouse and move us is beyond question. The very survival of these many ancient languages in India establishes the undeniable fact that we traditionally are adept at building conversations from functional to banter to small talks. Our founding fathers too couldn’t ignore our gift of the gab and after enshrining the right to free speech in the constitution they went a step ahead and created linguistic provinces.

telecom tower

To those who call India a “Tower of Babel” , we only have “Telecom towers” and they are unlike the one in Babel ! For a thriving Telecom Sector in India, Sky is the limit !

This gift of the gab in our times is reflected primarily in a thriving Telecommunication sector which despite its nascent origins has went on to become the poster boy of the 21st century Indian growth story. Cell phones these days are ubiquitous and have metamorphosed from a luxury to a necessity to an empowering device for all sections within a short span. Our country has one of the fastest growing telecom networks in the world. Courtesy: our growing population and our untapped potential. The tele-density is increasing at a frenetic pace because of increasing monthly subscriptions from all corners of the country.

The frenetic pace at which cell phones proliferate is a sign that Indians love to talk ! Despite its many ills, Mobile phones Empower people !

The frenetic pace at which cell phones proliferate in India is a sign that Indians love to talk ! Despite its many ills, Mobile phones truly Empower people !

With change being the only constant feature in the telecom industry which relies heavily on technological innovations and upgradations, prospects are overwhelmingly pleasant for India. As the country hits the growth path again, an aspiring population will upgrade their devices most certainly to smart phones which today predominantly attracts the youth of the nation. What attracts them to the smart phones like bee to honey is the presence of APPS which makes life easier. More than 67% of usage in smart phones are app related and this underlines the rip roaring success of this innovation. We need to hitch a ride on apps to promote VOTING among youth and simultaneously create an INFORMED ELECTORATE by the same means.

Smart phones and apps are a match made in heaven.

Smart phones and apps are a match made in heaven. Adding Youth enhances the zing and completes the equation !

We need to transform the now erratic Indian Youth into citizens with civic sense at the outset. The civic awareness imbibed by democratic engagement will help him make informed choice when he goes out to vote. Once even a fragment of this task is achieved we ourselves can become the foot soldiers of democracy by spreading out into the larger society with the message of “MERA VOTE, MERA DESH”. But this new optimism is not without its pitfalls. Cynics say that this new found enthusiasm is urban centric and is limited to the middle class. They go on to add that since we grew up in the age of malls, multiplexes, SUV and gated colonies our perspective can be dangerously narrow excluding the lower sections and the rural population. But friends, this challenge can be met head on!

The real challenge lies in transforming the population into an INFORMED ELECTORATE. The answer lies in widening the horizons of the Voters especially the Youth. As a first step the real abilities of the erratic youth needs to be harnessed.

The real challenge lies in transforming the population into an INFORMED ELECTORATE.As a first step the real abilities of the erratic youth needs to be harnessed.

The task of widening the horizons of a ROOKIE VOTER must be met by the colleges and universities, who should train them to pause, think and act in the face of uncertainties awaiting us in the outside world. They should go a step further and prepare the students to know, to care, and to act in ways that will develop a commitment to personal and social action as well as knowledge and skills needed to participate in effective civic actions cutting across class differences. It can help the youth come to terms with the diversity in our society and help them unlearn things learned from homes which are parochial in nature. But this is a tremendous exercise.

Universities and Colleges have a larger role to play ! They should help widen the horizons of a ROOKIE voter.

Universities and Colleges have a larger role to play ! They should help widen the horizons of a ROOKIE voter. A citizen without civic sense is a burden for democracy !

Universities and Colleges across India should act as breeding grounds for promoting the feeling of oneness and inject civic sense to participate in elections by clearing their doubts.  As a first step they should reach out to N.G.O.s such as A.D.R.{Association for Democratic Reforms} who have kept up the fight against  money and muscle power in politics by ushering in political reforms and P.R.S.{Pre Legislative Research} who aims to strengthen the legislative process by making it better informed, more transparent and participatory. The colleges and universities all over India should have tie ups with Civil society groups and should brainstorm as to whether they should improvise and hitch on the already existing social apps or they should roll up their sleeves and start from the scratch by going for their own app which could be named “INDIAN VOTER”.

The ELECTION WATCH REPORTER app from A.D.R. which attempts to bring out the activist inside you. [click here for free download]

The ELECTION WATCH REPORTER app from A.D.R. which attempts to bring out the activist inside you. [click here for free download]. We can add features such as Citizen Journalist & Whistle-blower to increase it’s functionality.

Whatever be the choice they should make sure the following ESSENTIALS are part of the existing election and voter awareness apps from A.D.R. or the newly created ones. We can take a leaf out of the book of WE CHAT whose popularity as the “new way to connect” has scaled new heights despite its recent origins. Like “WE CHAT” the new apps should be available across all platforms from Android to iPhone to Windows and should be supported on Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, 4G data networks. Considering the diversity in Indian languages, the app should support primarily ENGLISH and HINDI since they are link languages and should also host the next ten widely spoken vernacular tongues across India.

Truly a new way to connect with friends ! The popularity of WeChat underlines the rise of apps and our insatiable  "app"etite.

Truly a new way to connect with friends ! The popularity of WeChat underlines the rise of apps and our insatiable “app”etite.

The popularity of “WE CHAT” lies in the fact that it integrates at least ten to eleven features which are purely based on their functionality. Likewise the existing app or the new ones for voter awareness too should integrate some crucial features based purely on their practicality. Apart from the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Podcast or SoundCloud integrations which allows the app users to express their views as well as read updates, tweets, watch videos and photos, listen to live relays from the moderator on the go, other innovative features such as Blog, Email, Voice recorder, Photo features, Web/Group/Voice chat et al will enable the sharing of information by users from different parts of the country on good governance, violations of laws, innovations in resource management and  ideas to increase voter awareness. Through these features valuable suggestions, systematic reviews and practical feedbacks about the app can be obtained.

Top Notch : The features in WeChat are in sync with the needs of the youth are worth emulating in any future "VOTER"based app for creating buzz. [click on the image to magnify]

Top Notch : The features in WeChat are in sync with the needs of the youth and are worth emulating in any future “VOTER” based app for creating a buzz. [click on the image to magnify]

The mainstays of the new voter awareness app should be two distinct features namely KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE and VITAL STATS of Indian Parliament session by session. The former should carry information about the number of candidates, their respective political parties, their criminal backgrounds, accumulated wealth and their credentials in public service upon choosing the relevant drop downs on election type and constituency. The VITAL STATS should provide information related to the no of working days in a particular parliament session, no of productive and wasted hours, no of debates, participation rate of members from various states, no of bills passed and delayed with a small description on the former and minimum information about useful legislation. It can also have a feature called “MY M.P/M.L.A”. The KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE feature in the new app would help the electors compare background information of candidates contesting elections and make an informed choice. The “MY M.P./M.L.A.” feature could help us know about our representative in the house. The “VITAL STATS” feature will make us enlightened about the state of affairs in our parliament and will prompt us to question the un parliamentary behaviour of our representatives and lets us reinforce the missing ACCOUNTABILITY part of their jobs.

Strike A Chord with the Youth by creating an app which appeals to their senses. MyNeta app is one such innovation which could be improved. [click here for free download]

Strike A Chord with the Youth by creating an app which appeals to their senses. MyNeta app is one such innovation which could be improved. [click here for free download]

The biggest challenge lies in making these apps more appealing to the youth. The trick lies in making the data clutter free, presentable and attractive. Like WE CHAT the app must have an eye catching app icon, striking interface, easy navigation and flawless data storage which makes the app fluid and doesn’t frustrate the user. At the end of the day the app should work like a dream and fulfill its mission: ENLIGHTEN THE ELECTORATE especially the youth by creating awareness.  Free download facility and “TELL A FRIEND” feature embedded within the app could help the new apps or the existing social apps go viral. Once we have secured the desired levels of awareness among the student community, we should shoulder the larger responsibility of informing the rest in the society by reaching out to them.

Harnessing the available Social Media platforms to spread the message will keep the Indian Youth abuzz !

Harness the available Social Media platforms to spread the message. This will keep the Indian Youth abuzz!

We should harness the available technology enabled platforms such as Google Hangout, Skype, Twitter et al  by creating more hashtags, groups, discussions, debates and youth parliaments on burning issues such as bringing political parties under R.T.I., legislation to regulate political parties to ensure transparency in funding and promoting inner party democracy. Unless we keep rude, partisan, patriarchal and communal comments from making its way on the walls, tweets, comment boards e.t.c., we really cannot utilize the power of social network/apps as a great connector and as a platform for sharing thoughts !

 So always think before you post !

Always think before you post !

We can reach out to other sections of the population with the message not to sell their votes for free Rice, T.V.s or Grinders by one to one interactions, dramas and posters.  The National Voters’ day, on January 25 every year, should witness celebrations in schools, colleges and universities across the country in line with the larger message: “CAST YOUR VOTE”. Celebrities should be roped in to convey the message of importance of Clean Politics and importance of Voting. We can conduct credible opinion polls by collating surveys and thereby prompt the parties to tweak their election manifestos in accordance with real expectations of the electorate. It’s upon us to bring back the long forgotten ARGUMENTATIVE INDIAN to the fore. And who knows, if anyone amongst us will become leaders out of the experience gathered from the grassroots in future !

The A.D.R. SAUDA campaign endorsed by Aamir Khan. Click here for the video.

The A.D.R. SAUDA campaign endorsed by Aamir Khan. Click here for the video.

We stand 3rd in the world in terms of internet users despite the fact that we lag behind the leaders in terms of internet penetration. Our country in the coming years is all set to witness a giant leap in terms of broadband and mobile internet connections as we grow along. This will surely bring down the so called “DIGITAL DIVIDE” in our country. With more than 900 million mobile phone users, 125 million active internet users and 82 million active Facebook users, it won’t be a mistake to pin our hopes on APPS to effect a change in VOTER BEHAVIOUR! I’m not sure whether earth once was a planet of the apes but I’m sure it is fast becoming “THE PLANET OF THE APPS”.

If we, the youth Vote, India wins !

If we the youth Vote, India wins ! Make and Informed Choice ! And Make sure you vote for all the future elections !

Look around our neighbours and we will see Afghanistan fast becoming a tinderbox, Pakistan falling time and again into chaos, Bhutan making a slow start, Nepal showing extreme mood swings, Bangladesh searching for its identity violently and Sri Lanka showing disdain. Amidst all this chaos INDIA, despite being home to many languages never became the tower of Babel but held together against heavy odds by never parting ways with DEMOCRACY. We are on the cusp of a DEMOGRAPHIC DIVIDE and let’s begin by harnessing the same to turnaround the clichéd VOTER APATHY and usher in true democracy because THE BUCK STOPS HERE WITH US: THE YOUTH !!!

It's Now or Never !

The Buck Stops Here and It’s Now or Never !

            Yours Sincerely,

A fellow Young Indian Voter.

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This blog post is my entry for the contest “Indian General Elections 2014 with social mobile apps” conducted by IndiBlogger in association with WeChat. For more details please visit: http://www.wechat.com/en/

If you find problems in Web pages to download A.D.R. Election Apps, please visit this site for more information: http://adrindia.org/

I personally thank both IndiBlogger and WeChat for coming up with such a socially relevant topic. Even though its hard to write an all encompassing post on the same, I think bloggers will enjoy writing and reading other posts !! I really enjoyed writing it !!

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Image Courtesy: Internet, WeChat website.

Statistics Courtesy: A.D.R. website (http://adrindia.org/), P.R.S. (http://www.prsindia.org/), Wikipedia and the Internet.

The usage of the term “The Argumentative Indian” is inspired by the book of the same name by Amartya Sen (2006). =========================================================================================================

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15 responses to ““The Buck Stops Here !”

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  1. Wow ! That’s a winning post..I must say..very informative and well researched . Best of luck ! 🙂

    Like

    • Happy New Year Mam !!
      Thank you very much….. I really dont care who wins or looses but really loved to write on the topic. Thats why the post is awfully lengthy… Its like my pet topic. Would love to see people getting more informative and making their choice after contemplating.

      Glad that you went through the post and commented !!
      Thanks again !!

      Like

  2. Great post, all the best

    Like

  3. I love your post. There are so many things about India I wasn’t aware. *sad
    It is so nice to read about our country and I hope for a change for the better.

    Like

  4. Yes, a very long one as you mentioned, but I could feel your enthu for the topic as you went on.
    A good one in terms of matter and presentation. The highlight of your post was the use of WeChat apps. here.
    All the best!

    Like

  5. very well written& presented an important concept. you are really motivated to win this challenge and bring about a change. all the best for contest.wish you a happy new year.

    Like

    • Thanks Amar Bhai !!
      Thanks for dropping by, reading and finding time to comment !!
      I feel that change is round the corner. We should raise the level of debate first of all for that !!
      Have a happy and productive year ahead !!!
      New year 2014 wishes to you and your family !!
      I cherish your comments !!

      Like

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