Atanu Dey (http://www.deeshaa.org/) has written this beautiful critique on Indian voters. Whereas we Indians typically like to bask in the glory of our past, this is a slightly different prespective. He makes a valid point, though I think the helplessness of Indian voter is partly due to the lack of reforms in our electoral process.
I am never quite sure why people insist that the Indian democracy is so great. To me it appears to be the greatest curse imposed on India from up on high. It is totally politically (sic) incorrect to take this view, of course. But I don’t apologize for believing so and I am convinced that the Indian voter is corrupt.
Rajesh Jain’s blog has an item on lessons from India’s elections which got me thinking. The claim made by Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express is that India’s voter has become smart.
Compared to whom? I ask. Compared to Shekhar Gupta?
I guess so since Shekhar Gupta claims that the Indian voter has become smart. For I don’t see any reason to believe that the Indian voter has changed in any substantial way. The Indian voter continues to be a narrow-minded, ignorant, casteist, bigoted, vacuous idiot it has always been.
Here is my reasoning.
Exhibit A: I look at the politicians of this country. To a first approximation, they are ignorant, bigoted, casteist, vacuous idiotic criminals. These bunch of unspeakable criminals (where I use the word in its literal sense) are consistently voted into power by the Indian voter.
Fact B: A population of wise, informed, well-meaning, broad-minded, intelligent voters cannot continue to vote a bunch of corrupt ignorant bigots as their political leaders.
Major Premise C: Voters reveal their character by expressing their preferences at the polls.
Minor Premise D: Leaders are endogenous to the group, that is, they emerge from within the group and so reflect the dominant traits of the group. Mr Gupta writes that the voter is not swayed by charisma. Well, how would we know? We need charismatic people first and then if the voter is unmoved, we can say that it is true.
We do know that the Indian voter is swayed by “big names”, though. Why else would they trot out an uneducated chap (Rahul Gandhi) as the Congress mascot unless they were confident that the Indian voter will be swayed?
What else explains the tenacity with which the entire Nehru-Gandhi clan is totally into getting into the highest political positions? By their indomitable courage? No. Their astonishing brilliance in academics? None are really even educated. Their thorough understanding of the problems of development? Never done an honest day’s work. Their undying dedication to the hard task of nation building? Shirley, you jest. Their selfless sacrifice demonstrated by their social work? Not a bloody chance in hell.
What then explains the astonishing idiocy of the Indian voter to continue to vote the Nehru-Gandhi clan to power?
Let’s face the facts. I would have loved to report that we are a great democracy. We are not. If we were, we would not be facing the prospect of having an Italian aupair as the prime minister of a country of 1000 000 000 people. She says that she is loyal to her adopted country (never mind that she did not apply for Indian citizen for over a decade). Well, I would ask her whether she has any loyalty to the country that she was born in. No? If a person has no loyalty towards the land of one’s birth, I would not pay a tinker’s damn to any other oath of loyalty that the person takes. If you change your allegiance once, it is all too easy to do it once again. Indians who don’t understand that simple concept are idiots and I don’t care how accomplished they may be in their respective fields. If an Indian says that Sonia’s origin is not an issue for the prime minister’s seat, I would say that Indian is a moron.
I have met only a handful of politicians personally. I have known some of them well and all of them—every one of them to the last person—has accumulated vast sums of money through bribery and corruption. It is a random sample. I have no doubt that the vast majority of Indian politicians are corrupt. Politicians are endogenous to the population. They are random samples drawn from the underlying population. In other words, the sample characteristics give an indication of the population characteristics. The corruption of the politicians is the single most damning evidence that the voters are corrupt.
That is the law.