Friday, May 1, 2009

Jaago re Maximum City Mumbaikar !

I was traveling overnight by train from Bangalore to Hyderabad on a chilly 26th November 08 and the train screeched to a grinding halt before time in the wee hours of the morning before day break. Sooner I reached home I happened to switch on TV to see unprecedented video clips of a police vehicle shot at out side the Taj Mahal hotel. A scribe shot at with bleeding hands and a telecast to unfold visuals of smoky clouds bellowing from the historic Taj Mahal.

Soon I sunk into my bean bag with a hot cup of filter coffee only to be confined at the edge of the beanbag as several heart rendering moments unfolded the next full week. Marathon coverage of all leading TV news channels aired the angst of the Mumbaikar aside heart felt tributes paid to some of India bravest officers on police and military duty whose sacrifice in the hour of crisis of the nation unforgettable.

Every Indian in my view would have wept a silent tear and suffered a broken heart bleed considering the enormity of the attack killing so many civilians and brave men guarding the nation. A certain Shobha De kicked of a rhetoric of “Enough is Enough” which unleashed a smoldering hate wave on politicians. Add to it the politicians one after one flabbergasted one an all with their suicidal speak and audacious acts only to add petrol to an already blazing flame of smoldering anger.

I was certain that the Mumbaikar and every other Indian was instigated enough to turn his anger into a wave of sweeping change at the upcoming elections. So many candles burnt and so many abuses hurled on the politicians, it was a forgone conclusion that Mumbai Indians were charged to exercise their adult franchisee and this time for a better person to guard them against dastardly attacks like 26/11 voting a resolute government with the resolve to quell terror in a city ravaged by attacks regularly in the past.

Alas on 30th April 156 days hence, it seems “Enough wasn’t Enough” a long weekend was sufficiently luring for the Mumbaikar to get out of the city for a blast at the sun kissed beaches of Goa. Or it was sufficiently cozy at home to flick TV channels and dig into the hot doorstep delivery of a sizzling vada pav, may be watching highlights of IPL “Mumbai Indians” blaze away against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Only the pigeons at Taj seems to have fluttered leaving their feathers ruffled.Many a stains of the brave blood still remain as scars on the freash wounds of the martyed souls family. Seems like 56 % of Mumbai kars werent moved to wake up to the call of social consiousness..:-(

When every one yelled Vote Kar Mumbaikar, when there was Bomb by the Bay 156 days ago; when time to vote came over half of the population were MuM Bhai! Voting yesterday was a potent chance for you to voice in change. On this Labor Day this is a severe labor pain of a still born democracy. Only 43 % voter turnout is adding insult to 26/11 injury. May be we must heed to the AD vani of making voting compulsory!
The Great Abraham Lincoln once opined that “The Ballot was stronger then the Bullet” and yet when all of Mumbai was up in arms lighting candles post 26/11 crying change and accountability from the politicians they elected last time why 57 % percent citizens of the most vibrant and bustling city stay home muted at a time they should have been voicing their vote for change.

“Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man and a nation” – Oscar Wilde.

Why haven’t Mumbaikars channalised the unprecedented discontent into powerful vote bank ringing in change that you so desperately want? Are only 43 % of the citizens of Mumbai owning up to the responsibility for electing the next responsible government?

Has the compassion for the fellow citizens orphaned or widowed and seething anger against the terrorists of the Maximum City dwellers melted away along with the candles in their hand which they lighted with such great purpose weeks after 26/11?

One of India’s best cities and the one aspiring to be the next Shanghai, Mumbai is integral and far too important to the nation to sulk in an attitude of non participants in the democratic process so vital to nation building.

The Financial Hub of the country wails in protest every time goons from MNS thrash north Indians or when self appointed moral police attack women , pub culture and valentine day celebrations. The voter forgot that this very sainiks and goons hardly squeaked on 26/11.

Mumbai to India is a potent and highly visible example and such abysmal voter turnout will certainly mire the urban consciousness in other parts of the country. For now I am relieved and happy that down south of India at Hyderabad the turn out was 70 %!

Candle Light Vigil may be symbolic, but stepping out and respnsibly voting with 100 % turn out is a REAL way to show support to a terror struck maximum city ! Else soon it many become a minimum place of hope !

So next time we go to vote! Let’s usher in a few changes to bring in viable change on deciding who works for us at Parliament.

· Making voting compulsory in India.
· Allow negative votes so that the criminals don’t get in to govern in the first place.
· Don’t hold elections in summers.
· Experiment with casting of voting from home with bio informatics enabled internet voting. ( So much for the sophisticated urban lazy bones)
· Postal voting.

Lets Hope !

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