Politicians and therefore the governments they form divide India into two distinct fragments. On one of them, governments and politicians lavish an amazing amount of attention, with the interest rising as the elections draw nearer. They feed this India to feed themselves. This is the India they are immersed in because it benefits them. This is an India they interfere with because it gives them their power. This is the India whose value lies in the votes that it offers. This is Meddle India – an India that the people in power love to meddle with, an India that cannot survive on its own, an India that is constantly on dole from one government scheme or another. This is an India that even after 60 years of our own government is kept poor because it keeps the politicians rich. This is an India that 60 years after the British left is still ruled.
Then, there is the other India. This is an India that our government and politicians broadly ignore. This is an India that doesn’t vote based on promises – because there are none. (In fact, this is an India that barely votes.) This is an India whose voice is not heard because it doesn’t talk. This is an India that can be found in the cities, but is lost because it has no leadership. This is an India that has dreams, but finds obstacles put at every step. This is the India we live in. This is Middle India – an India that can be the engine for growth but is denied power, an India that can be the workhorse for the world but is denied proper education, an India that can be the entrepreneurial capital of the world but is denied connectivity. This is an India that was born free, but is still held captive by a government that knows no better. This is an India that 60 years after the British left is still seeking not to be ruled but be led.
Every five years, there comes an opportunity for both Indias to speak up. Meddle India casts its vote based on transactional arrangements (free rice, free TV, and now free cash) because that has been the norm. Middle India either doesn’t cast its vote or is forced to choose the lesser of the evils at the ballot box, knowing fully well that it is an exercise in futility.
This April-May, we have yet another such opportunity. And this time, Middle India can make a difference. We are 400 million of us. We may not have one voice, but we have a common dream – of an India with more economic freedom, of an India with more personal freedom, of an India where education matters, of an India where good governance is the norm rather than the exception. This time, our continued silence will not help us. We need to come together and make a choice that takes us forward and makes our dreams come true.
Also see: Atanu Dey’s “An Urban Voter’s Manifesto”