Wednesday, April 15, 2009

To Make People Vote

A couple of days back, when I was just skimming through channels, I came across this news item in one of the news channels: Some schools in Maharashtra award 2 marks as part of internals to students for the subject Civics if they ensure that their parents exercise their franchise. This initiative is as part of creating awareness among students to make their parents cast vote and hence take part in the democratic process.

When I landed in the channel, a few students were being interviewed and almost all of them voiced their opinion that their parents ought to vote, it is wrong on the parents’ part that they sit at home and enjoy the government holiday on the election date and hence they would urge their parents to get out of their cozy chairs and do their duty! It seemed interesting and I continued to watch the item. Then came the part which said that if parents do their duty their children would be awarded marks in the Civics internals. Would at least this initiative force people to exercise their franchise? – That’s how the news item ended.

And that’s what set me thinking. It is a good initiative in the sense that children would ask questions at home if parents do not vote. Parents may have lost their hopes on Indian Democracy but is it right that children are made to lose hope even before they do their duty? So perhaps, at least to convince their children a few parents may actually vote (whether to the ‘right’ party or the ‘wrong’ one is subjective and forms part of a separate discussion/debate). They would at least not sit idle on the election day.

But then one other thing started eating my head! Is it right that children be awarded marks for parents doing their duty? Isn’t it like bribing…mm.. the parents? That if your children should get those 2 marks, you have to do your duty? We are in such a pathetic state of affairs that we see corruption everywhere – even to the question of whether to do your duty or not to do your duty! But still… this ‘awareness initiative’ brings in a new dimension! Reminds me of the Kamal Hassan starrer movie “Indian”, where the Indian thatha claims that Indian corruption and bribing is different from the ones in many developed nations in the basic sense – In those countries, people are bribed and people bribe to NOT do their duty, but in India people are bribed and people bribe even TO DO their duty! Creating awareness among students is good but to actually make it part of curriculum and award marks for the same – a little too much.

Is this ‘awareness initiative’ right? Perhaps it is because children are involved in their parents’ (in) decision to vote or not and they are ultimately the country’s future. But then, perhaps it is not because we are in such a sorry state that even to make people do their duty, we have to adopt such measures as ‘bribing’. Still… thinking back I feel, the positives seem to outweigh the negatives here, so as always ‘chalta hai’ – ‘naalu perukku nalladhunna, edhuvume thappu illai:) :)