Me writing a political post – a certain first in my blogging history. As someone who keeps rationalizing life and putting it into mathematical models, I always loved Bhatia’s policy – fight illegality. Ultimately for good governance, that’s the only way you can really maintain fairness. We bring in morality, and propriety to serve our own needs, but in the long run, maintaining legality is a solution that brings lasting convenience and quality-of-life.
Imagine the difference between paying off an electricity officer for some favour, vs. if the electricity board actually did what their charter is, and you wouldn’t even have to think. One of the reasons I pay my taxes is so that I can hold myself on a moral high-ground when demanding returns from the government. I dare the Income Tax department to audit me! Do your worst! Heck, there’s a significant possibility I’ve paid more than my share. Here again, we come to legality – whether or not I think taxes are high or low doesn’t matter. If I disagree, I should fight the law and elect someone who will have a better law passed. That’s my right. No citizen has a right to ignore the law.
When we complain of uneducated leaders, and when we show cynicism towards our political candidates, we do so because they don’t have a good track record. This person, for anyone who’s lived in the city long enough, would know at least has a track record of openness and honesty, if not “propriety”. This is the moment you choose. All you educated people, you farmers who’ve been betrayed by every single party in the last 50 years, all you students who will pass out of college in 5 years and who hope towards a better city, this is your opportunity. Use it.
I was cynical about Bhatia getting elected because the good thing about India is also the bad thing about India – we all have our finger in the pie. We all have some illegal construction, or some tax evasion, or some “favour” we used. And it means that for the entire ecosystem to survive, we need to elect someone who isn’t entirely blameless because that allows us to go on living our pitiful lives without worry. But maybe it’s time to change that. Maybe if you got a leader who actually made the bureaucracy follow procedure when approving your house plans, you wouldn’t have to bribe someone and construct it illegally. Maybe if you got a leader who gave you power and water for the lot of money (most) of us pay for it, you won’t have an illegal wiretap. I’m hoping against hope that this happens.
Still pessimistic about him winning? Don’t be. The numbers are on our side. Only about 40% of the population votes. That means a lot of that 40% is divided amongst 2-3 major parties and then a significant portion goes to smaller parties or independent candidates. If there are disillusioned, frustrated, angry, and hurt people in that large 60% untapped pie slice, then here’s your chance. Get off your butts and go to the voting booth. It’ll be hard, there’ll be loads of sheer incompetence there, but well, vote once and you may change all that in the next elections. Think about it. If this fellow is voted in by the people, they can’t transfer him, they can’t get rid of him. With one guy like him, maybe others will step up. He’s breaking the chicken-and-egg chain. You wanted a blameless candidate? You’ve got him. Now go prove to the country that Pune can change the course of history – Americans did it. Vote in someone who passed out of high school, who can read and write, and who will be open about his agenda and follow through.
Here’s wishing him all the best, and a prayer for him and his supporters. May the force be with you all.