Monday, May 16, 2016

Girinagar Memories – Election Day

Humor in Democracy

Assembly Elections are going on in some states – and I saw a news item on TV about allegations of liquor being distributed to induce people to vote – and – I remembered this story.

ELECTION DAY IN GIRINAGAR
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE


ELECTION DAY IN GIRINAGAR – A Spoof By Vikram Karve 


This happened many years ago when I lived at a place called Girinagar near Pune.

“I want the day off,” Sushila, our maid, asked my wife.

“Why?” my wife asked.

“We have to vote. Today is election day,” she said.

“That’s good,” I said.

I was quite surprised at Sushila’s eagerness to vote  because Sushila was totally illiterate.

Yes  she lived just a few kilometres away from a modern city like Pune (often called the “Oxford of the East”) – yet  like so many others  she could not read or write.

But her keenness to vote indicated what a vibrant democracy we were.

“Who are you going to vote for?” I asked, in jest.

She told me a symbol – “I am going to vote for XXX symbol,” Sushila said.

“But why?” I asked.

WE have decided,” she said.

WE” meant her husband.

Apparently  her husband had gone for a “meeting” – and it was decided that the entire neighbourhood will vote for XXX symbol.

“So you vote for XXX symbol every time,” I asked her.

“No  last time we all voted for YYY symbol,” she said.

“Why?” I asked.

“Because “WE” had decided,” she said.

Of course  she did not know anything about the ideology of the  political parties to which the symbols XXX and YYY belonged.

It was none of her business.

Before every election  it was the men who had a meeting  and it was decided who to vote for in the election  and  the women dutifully complied.

(Of course  the men had a “leader” who guided them in these matters)

Like Sushila’s husband  most of the men in that area were drunkards who lived off their wives’ earnings.

But all that did not matter.

In the patriarchal society that prevailed, the women dutifully obeyed their men, even if the men were good-for-nothing drunkards.

So  in Sushila’s family of 7 voters (she, her husband, her two sons and daughters-in-law, and unmarried daughter)  all would be voting for the symbol XXX which had been “decided”.

Added up  it was quite a large number of votes in the locality  and since they all of them voted en-bloc for a certain “symbol”  it was quite a sizeable “votebank”.

A few more such solid vote-banks could ensure victory in the election  as the victory of the XXX candidate proved.

Around 3 PM in the afternoon we saw Sushila standing near our gate.

“Have you voted?” I asked her.

“No,” she said.

“Voting time will be over soon. Why didn’t you vote in the morning?” I said.

“They haven’t come to take us,” she said.

They haven’t come to take you? What do you mean?” I asked.

A friend of mine who had come over and was hearing the conversation said to me: “Don’t you know? Someone has to come and take them to the polling booth in a vehicle. And then – they have to be given some inducement to vote  here the incentive is mostly a bottle of liquor for the men – these guys and their families will vote only after the men are given a bottle of liquor.

After some time  I saw a van arrive near our gate. 

The van had come to take all them for voting.

In the evening we saw Sushila’s husband and her sons lurching in a drunken manner on the road.

We observed that most of the men were drunk that evening after consuming the liquor being distributed freely on election day as an incentive for them to vote.

It was obvious that liquor was flowing freely on election day (though strictly speaking  it was a “dry day”)

At night  when Sushila came to work  we saw tears in her eyes.

She said that her husband and her sons were drunk after drinking all the free liquor distributed on election day.

Sushila’s husband had thrashed her  he bashed her up – as he always did when he was drunk.

And now – one of her drunk sons had beaten up his young wife too.

“See what you did?” my wife said to Sushila, “you voted for the person who gave liquor to your husband and sons – and what did you get in return – your husband got drunk and he beat you up – in fact  most of you women must have voted for those who are causing you more harm than good.”

What an irony!

Why did Sushila vote for someone who caused her more harm than good...?

Yes  why do people vote for someone who causes them more harm than good...?

That is the moot question of democracy.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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WOMEN’S VOTEBANK – A Distant Dream?  first 
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