Time To Get Inked

27 Apr

An excerpt from an email I wrote to my friend Anu about the forthcoming polls:

I will be completely honest: gender was not a consideration for me when I picked my candidate, although I did feel glad to see two well-heeled candidates from corporate India joining the fray. If I do vote for either of them, though, it will be on the basis of what they can do for my constituency, not because they’re women.

I am disappointed that nobody has expressly addressed any gender concerns*, but again, in my South Bombay constituency with relatively high levels of education and income, the focus is on infrastructure and safety from terrorism, so I’m not entirely surprised.

The one party I would absolutely not vote for is the BJP because I believe their Hindutva ideology is regressive to the point of slotting women in historically repressive domestic roles and they’ve taken the country back to the dark ages, with their heinous crimes and divisive rhetoric.

Maybe it’s the community I belong to (Parsi) or the ideology I grew up with (secularism and tolerance for minorities), but I’m usually a Congress loyalist. Not because they’re fabulous, but because they were, until recently, the least evil of the lot. Now with more independent candidates joining the fray, I can’t believe our good fortune that we have, for probably the first time, a choice between 3 halfway-decent non-criminal candidates. Now if only one of them would get elected, I’d die happy.

*It may very well be that South Bombay files the maximum number of rape cases, given overall higher levels of education and awareness. Numbers may be telling only half a story in this case.

Updated to add: In case you were wondering about the liberal sprinkling of ‘I’s above, I was expressly asked to give my perspective on several election-related issues. But now that I’ve noticed, I’m cringing anyway.

16 Responses to “Time To Get Inked”

  1. tangytrivia April 27, 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    Hi OJ,
    Came here from a friend’s blog.
    As far as I can gather from the news, it certainly seems to be a great thing with persons from the educated thinking class joining the murky politics with the desire to change the system. It is very commendable that these candidates have chucked their comfortable ,well paying jobs for what they believe they can do.


  2. Priyanka April 28, 2009 at 9:31 am #

    It is heartening isn’t it that we have well-educated and highly-paid professionals joining the political fray? But somehow, I still feel depressed because till date it is still be process of elimination that we vote and not by selecting someone deserving?

  3. Shivani April 28, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    Good point! The first thing that struck me about Meera Sanyal’s candidature was that she is an elite, highly-educated corporate citizen who got into the fray genuinely wishing to make a difference & not that fact that she is a woman.

    I feel exactly like you about the BJP, I’ll go with Congress anyday & rather not vote than vote for a BJP one. And that’s the dilemma I’m facing this year: Of the 3 contenders in my constituency, the Congress one is a known thug, the BJP one on the other hand (though notorious for possession of multiple flats!..ummm, now where does *that* kind of money come from?) has done good work in our locality, really has, can’t deny him that credit & about MNS – less said the better.

    What is one to do? I so wish there were some independent candidates here like the ones in your constituency who would make my woes disappear 😉

  4. kennybunkportmaine April 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    Like Shivani, I am struggling too. Criminal records says one thing; past performance says another; and the party affiliation says a third thing. Nevertheless, I wait eagerly for day after tomorrow.

  5. In love with my life April 28, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Very saddened by the fact that this may not change the outcome as the dynamics of the constituency itself has changed so vastly…South Bombay is no longer ” South Bombay” this election…it is Docks and Sewri and a lot of other areas too.

    I wonder if having two independent candidates will divide the votes- and maybe swing the victory to someone not deserving.

  6. Anamika April 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm #

    Its good to know that you have better people to choose from. Most people I have talked to are in the same situation like Shivani. God bless our country with a sensible coalition.
    Btw as an aside (but also related) the latest issue of Economist has a 2-page article on ‘Miss’ Mayawati and also a lot on how the election process in India is such a farce. Depressing.

  7. Aunty G April 28, 2009 at 11:26 pm #

    Ah, the dilemma of the vote
    All of us in the same boat
    We cast our lot
    On the 16th’s slot
    Lets just be glad some history we wrote!

  8. Orange Jammies April 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    tangytrivia: Hello, Prashanti. 🙂 Call me naive, but I tend to think so too.

    Shivani: I’d go with the good worker, but again, the BJP? I don’t think so. God help us if they come to power again.

    kennybunkportmaine: Hey! How are you? I thought you’d moved. Are you back, then?

    In love with my life: Both very valid points and yes, those are my concerns too.

    Anamika: Hell, life is depressing, hon. But we don’t stop living it just because!

    Aunty G: History was made
    when Obama made the grade
    but here it does look
    like nonsense we must brook
    when leaders are buffaloes in the shade.

  9. Aunty G May 1, 2009 at 1:18 am #


  10. kbpm May 1, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    I have not yet left. Just about to. HAD to wait to vote, among other things. 🙂

  11. Orange Jammies May 4, 2009 at 8:48 am #

    Aunty G: 😀

    kbpm: Oh good! 🙂

  12. Pramod May 17, 2009 at 5:20 am #


    I came to your blog from a news portal. Very understandable to know that you do not like fundamentalist politics. But I would like to add that Anti-BJP party does not mean Pro-Liberal as media portrays rather anti-hindutva may mean pro-taliban as well.

    Voting so as to block a certain party to power is not always a sensible way to exercise franchise as you said it may elect a leader who may not be in foray for development but rather appeasement.

  13. Orange Jammies May 19, 2009 at 6:19 pm #

    Pramod: Credit the electorate with some intelligence, Pramod. 🙂 Anyone with a basic level of education and IQ understands that it’s never black or white, and we’re usually in the position of having to choose what we perceive to be the lesser evil. Personally, my vote went to Milind Deora because I believe in his efforts for my constituency, and yes, his party’s ideology is some shades better than the other options we have. I’m glad the Congress was voted to power. Without having to engage in appeasement games with allies, perhaps they’ll have a better chance at working on development. That said, I have no illusions they will, unless they are held accountable and made to.


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