Monday, February 09, 2015

Voter Independence

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

India since its independence from the UK in 1947, has always been a young nation.  The population well over a billion, the nation continues to be a very young nation.  Today much of its population is the young voter base, and much of it is the internet and telecom generation.  Indians by and large have adopted quite well to telecommunications; mobile, television and internet is a common practice with Indian life today.  All but in less than a generation, but the country is well connected, and well organized with its connectivity.

The country also continues to be urbanized and youngsters going to school and getting educated, and also becoming mobile; not just with devices but also with employment and seeking opportunities. Education, jobs, work, opportunities, communications are reasons that drive the mobility of the population, and India has been quick to embrace the mobility aspect of life.  Indians also enjoy the multilingual life that most populations don’t experience.  Even with minimal education or no education, most Indians are exposed to multiple languages and learn quickly to communicate in more than just their mother tongue.

There is a lot of chatter in the political circles and the media about dynastic politics in India.  Granted that the country is young in years of independence but quite old with its history and culture.  Dynasties ruled the greater India for centuries and the culture and history of the land is as old as the human kind.  People ruling the vast land is not something we see as something strange, we are as people used to having a king or a queen; better yet emperor.  Our history is tied to the rulers of the land and when dynasties ruled, it is implied that father, son and so on will continue to rule their kingdom until such time the dynasty ceases to exist.  So dynastic rule is something the greater India is used to.

The term referring to dynastic politics after 1947 is probably relegated to one single family in India; referencing to the first prime minister of India; Jawaharlal Nehru.  He was a long standing leader in freedom struggle prior to 1947, and was the chosen one to lead India post 1947 freedom from the British.  He was the leader of the country until his death.  There was a gap from the Nehru family as Lal Bahadur Shastri was anointed the prime minister after the death of Pandit Nehru, and only after his death Mrs. Indira Gandhi (daughter of Pandit Nehru) became the prime minister. So, certainly there was a break in handing the leadership to Mrs. Gandhi.  She had to wait until after Mr. Shastri’s demise before taking over as the leader of the nation. Since Mrs. Gandhi we have had successive governments and multiple prime ministers of India, including Rajiv Gandhi son of Mrs. Gandhi, where Rajiv Gandhi came into power after the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi while she was still in office.  But the country has voted others to lead the nation, outside of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.  We now have Mr. Modi, who doesn’t belong to any dynasty and comes from a really humble home.  So, simply clubbing the nation’s leadership as dynastic politics is not completely true.  There is quite a bit of family worship with the Nehru-Gandhi family, but there are several instances the public simply voted to what they feel is the right thing for the country rather than voting for a dynasty.

The country itself keeps it self politically active and also picks the leaders that represent a hope for tomorrow.  India no longer is a docile nation.  The young are well connected and well aware of the needs of their own families and their nation, and very capable of making their choices without looking at the dynasties of yester year.  They are well informed and well connected and also well aware of their nations ever increasing demands.  They will continue to make choices based on what they see best fit, rather than vote based on legacy.

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