Musings of a Pioneer: The Funny Business of Elections


We come from an old civilisation, probably the oldest as many now believe. This places on our shoulders a heavy burden of looking after our children. We do not take this duty lightly. We have never been the ones to shirk from our responsibilities.

One such duty is to ensure continuity of values handed down by our ancestors. Out of the many values, one is about the celebration of our festivals. There are a few misguided who feel that our festivals are harming the environment. Can you believe it!  Fear not. We have brigades of vigilantes to ensure strict compliance.

One such festival, though relatively new to our culture, is that of the elections. No longer the good old days when we used to have kings or queens and they passed on the mantle to their progeny. But trust the British to spoil the party. They handed down to us a new festival, which was also to be celebrated periodically, though not necessarily every year. Over the past one hundred years or so, we have mastered the art of celebration of elections.

The fun starts a few months before the announcement of election dates. New alliances are formed, old alliances are broken, defections are engineered. There are a few volunteers, they are now called Chanakyas, who know their role in the scheme of things. A whisper campaign, which is louder than a whisper, is initiated against a few likely candidates who may be considered a threat to the designs of these masterminds. The dirtier the smear, the better it is.

The electorate and the prospective candidates start looking forward to the announcement of election dates, which do get published in due course. Now the frenzy starts. Many of the alliances formed earlier, are once again realigned. The king makers get down to serious work.

The backroom boys must ensure that those elected will toe their line. Behind the scenes negotiations are the most important feature during this period. They must ensure that the top man is only interested in the chair, and nothing more than that. Promises are made to some, promises made to some are broken. Word is sent around to some candidates to step down in favour of others. The smear now becomes a deluge of muck. Manifestos are released which are much more interesting than the Disney fairy tales.

A relatively recent entry to the celebration of elections is the non-resident. He is making his fortune in distant lands. That does not mean he is not worried about the affairs in the land of his birth. This is his land too. He too joins the bandwagon. His expert comments are eagerly awaited. His muck is also the same colour as the domestic muck. It does not matter. End justifies the means.

Dawns the day of polling. Volunteers of different groups are still at work. Last minute canvassing is important. That last blob of mud is yet to be thrown. Food needs to be arranged for those camping in front of the booths. Insincere apologies are to be made to those maligned – it was only in the interest of the good of the majority.

The results are announced. A few candidates win, and the others lose. The winning team has its task cut out – read the manifesto and look up to the Chanakyas, not necessarily in that order. Manifesto! What is that! We did not contest the election to work. The top leader has of course achieved his life ambition. There is nothing more for him to attain. The next election is some time away. A few of the winners are unaware of the roles they are required to play. Before the next elections, these few will start to hear the voice of their conscience and resign for reasons not connected with what they were supposed to have done.

I lost the last elections. What did you think I was talking about? I am a patriotic citizen of my country. Which country? You ask too many questions!

I narrated the events during the recent RWA elections in my society.

But then I realised that this is a national festival everywhere. Did you not witness the recent elections in the USA?

The fun continues.

#funny #lifeisfunny #elections


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