An Indian view on history, current affairs and politics

July 25, 2017

Voting decisions. Why and How?

This is our chance! Let’s Vote!

Elections are just days away and everyone is itching for their chance to vote. Those who are still ambivalent towards it need to understand that India’s democratic rights were not a given but were earned after years of a persistent struggle for freedom and rights. There are still nations in the world who do not have a democracy and are oppressed without a voice. We are blessed that we at least have a voice, which is our vote and our voice must be heard and loud this time around. In the early 2000’s, most of us felt India would certainly go a distance by 2020 but in reality, in the last 10 years we have gone further backwards than forward. 2020 is not far and we aren’t remotely there where we would have liked ourselves to be in by now.

Media Driven Voting Decisions!

The main question to ask all the voters is how much their voting decision is based on real facts and how much of it is based on media driven opinion and propaganda. Least to say that if you are reading this article, you must be a privileged citizen of this country who have had access to education and opportunity amongst others and are now in the midst of the generation with access to computers, internet, television, media and social media. This is in a country where still 70% of the population has a problem of feeding itself. It thus becomes incumbent upon us to exercise our national duty responsibly and choose our leaders based on solid personal conviction that is based more on facts than fiction, more on available information than promises, beliefs and word of mouth publicity. When a person responds to a question it is often retorted back to them to explain the reasoning behind the answer. An invalid reason might also mean an invalid answer or a mere guess. While electing representatives for our country who will shape our economic and foreign policies, provide infrastructure, security, progress and welfare over the next five years, voters especially the educated ones need to be more morally and socially responsible this time. This can be only be done if do some diligent homework so that they find real reasons behind their voting choices. That’s the least we can do for our country apart from armchair activism and social media outrage during times of crisis. If you really want this country to do better, start by putting some effort yourself.

Negativity, Negativity and More Negativity!

It must be remembered that although the media has a social responsibility, this is no charity sector. Most media houses are private sector enterprises, those who have to be in business. In order to be successful, it needs news stories that will attract maximum attention. Media need not always be paid media, but they need to sell their news anyways. All of us enjoy guilty pleasures and no one likes goody stuff all the time. Hence, more often than not, the media will constantly engage in highlighting news that is negative. Do you remember the last time any form of media, paper or electronic reflected or presented news from a positive side? They are always on a lookout for a controversy and in today’ competitive world, the volume of negative news becomes maddening. To filter out effective information, one seriously needs to retrospect and dive deeper into issues rather than scratching the surface.

Need of the hour! Truth is in the Details…

Most people have been euphemizing or discarding the Gujarat Development story without even reading about it but relying merely on what is being commonly heard. Most people have been shouting for the Lokpal Bill even without knowing what is in the details. Then there are others who are crying secularism without even researching the track record and policies of the different parties. Educated voters should first verify the facets of information independently. In the age of the internet, most details are out there for everyone to see. It’s an appeal to everyone to put atleast an hour or two into verifying our burning national issues, the election manifestos, the policy roadmaps and administrative track records of the parties and the candidates they are choosing from. Wikipedia is a great place to start. Once everyone gathers the right information, I am sure whatever voting decision they will make; it would be the best one. Let’s commit to this one little service to the nation.

Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee

Sid is a 26 year old Aerospace Engineer working with Bell Helicopter in Bangalore. Originally belonging to Kolkata, a graduate of NIT Trichy and University of Florida, Gainesville. Writing and reaching out to people are one of his passions, apart from reading, music and sports”. His twitter account is @gosiddhartha and for this article he has created a hashtag #VotingDecisions.