Thursday, April 24, 2014

Every vote can make a difference!

The country is engulfed in election fever as India votes from April 7th to May 12th to constitute it’s 16th Lok Sabha, Indian Parliament’s lower house comprising of representatives of people from 543 constituencies country-wide. While this is the one of the important issues facing the adult world, our younger kids couldn’t really be bothered much!  Nevertheless, Abhay was intrigued as we headed out last week on polling day (April 17th) including wheeling our 96 year old granny (which made national news!) to the polling booth to cast our vote. Since Abhay is now at stage where he can comprehend news and current affairs, I did read him a couple of articles on elections reported in a child appropriate manner vide Child Friendly News, a fortnightly newspaper for kids. I am not sure if he understood fully, but it is never too early to instill the importance of one’s own contribution towards a better country.  It is disheartening to see that while people don’t lose an opportunity to criticize or fault with the present state of affairs, they don’t make use of the opportunity afforded to make a difference. Of course, one may have a genuine reason for not being able to cast one’s vote, but going on a vacation taking advantage of the Easter weekend is certainly not one!

I was looking for a story to read on the value of one’s vote but couldn’t find one on the eve of polling day in Bangalore. But this week’s  Young World, the children’s supplement of "The Hindu" carries a story in its Quick read section on the importance of voting titled “Let your vote decide” by Ramapriya Ayyer. As elections were round the corner, Mr Gupta was busy reading the newspaper when his eleven year old son Anuj asks him as to what difference does it make if Mr. Gupta votes or not. Just then an altercation broke out downstairs owing to the new watchman Bhim Singh’s negligence. Many residents of the apartment complex were not happy with the appointment of Bhim Singh in place of the earlier watchman Sakharam, who Anuj felt was more efficient and helpful. On a complaint to the apartment association, the association decides to hold an election on the issue of the appointment of the watchman. Mr Gupta who was in favour of hiring back the earlier watchman Sakharam was hoping to garner enough support for his cause, including that of his friend Mr. Shekhar. But the election was evenly poised with many supporting retention of Bhim Singh as the apartment’s watchman. As all the members cast their respective votes and the counting process came to an end, Mr. Shekar was nowhere to be found. The Secretary then announces the election result to be a tie, to Mr. Gupta’s dismay. What happens after that is a vindication of the fact that each and every vote is important and does make a difference! With the sixth phase of elections being held across twelve states today …..all you Indians …..go out there and get inked!!  

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