By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD
This article is not about what happened at the election that we have just had in our State and what its outcome was. It is also not about who should have won and who should have lost at the hustings this time. It’s too late for that, because, by this time, we all know who has won and who has lost. But this article is only about what the winners and losers would do well to learn from its outcome, because there is a great deal to learn from it. Yes, a really great deal, mind you! That is why I call it ‘An illuminating election’ rather than ‘A decisive election’ although it has been that too.
That is, if you, like me and most of the people of our State too, think that the level of corruption in the corridors of power was the single most important deciding factor in the way people voted this time. And if the people whom we have elected and we too, as the voters, who have now placed power in their hands, do not learn from it, we are doomed for a full five years of inevitable misrule and consequent misery.
All those who have lost, or are in the losing team, would do well to learn from yesterday’s results, why it was so for them. And, likewise, all those who have won and are now a part of the winning team, would do well to be aware of the fate that can befall them, if they fail to perform, in accordance with the expectations of the people who brought them to power.
We have all seen some very keenly contested elections in our State, over the past few decades, throwing out some very unexpected outcomes, resulting in path-breaking changes in the complexion of our State and we have also seen some, where the end results were foregone conclusions, which did nothing worthy, let alone spectacular, that made any remarkable difference to our humdrum lives. This election seems to have had both these elements in equal measure. And, are we expecting anything spectacular from its end result? I think not. What the common man like you and me, expects out of it, is just very simple; Good and reasonably honest governance and peace all around, that allows people to go about their lives, unhindered.
When you come to think of it, these are the only two elements that can make our State prosperous and our own lives happy. And, this is also what the rest of our countrymen expect from all our State governments, across our country and the government at the Centre too. We should all remember that we simply cannot build a prosperous and great nation, on a turbulent society, that is unhappy and disillusioned by the performance of its government.
You may all be more than a little surprised that I used the term ‘reasonably honest’ a little while ago. But I did it with what you can call, ‘very reasonable common sense’, because, honestly speaking, that is what I call a reasonable and realistic expectation.
Expecting absolute honesty, in India or anywhere in the world, for that matter, is too utopian and therefore an impossibility. And, please note that my saying this is not without a sense of regret and pain, because, I do not endorse corruption in any form or at any level.
But dishonesty exists all over the world, including in the people and governments of every one of even the so-called ‘most honest’ countries and even in those where it is punishable by the harshest possible deterrent measures. Even their inordinately heavy fines, long imprisonments, humiliating and painful corporal punishment and the ultimate death penalty too, have not been able to deter the most determined offenders from their dare-devilry of taking chances! Dishonesty, can therefore be called a part of the human psyche and mindset. But its level varies, very widely across the world. While some countries can be said to be plagued by appallingly high levels of it, others can be said to be only slightly handicapped by its existence. So, expecting to see all those in our government to be honest, beyond reasonable or even tolerable levels, is still a very distant dream, but one which we should all continue to chase.
So, with our refusal to collude with our elected representatives, selfishly, just for our convenience, at the high cost of jeopardising the prosperity of our State, let us not allow them go back to the same days of assuming that all their actions are unquestionable and feeling that the next five years are for fun alone. It is up to us to do it !
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