I was honored to stand in front of more than 20 politically active people and talk about how technology can be used in politics and governance. It was an interesting exercise and different experience to me. Should I say quite an eye opening? Let me leave aside the technology topic for a discussion some other time and share a realization I had during the event. Believe me it was quite revealing!
All the people sitting in front of me were either MLAs, local leaders or somehow associated to them. They came from almost all political outfits active in Pune. I had my own bias against politcs and politcal leaders like all (in)active citizens have. I don't want to name any party in particular but people sitting in front of me were all very confident that they were doing a genuinely good job! There was not a single doubt in anyone's mind. They all were crystal clear and the confidence was evident from every sentence they uttered. Wow! Until then, I was very confident that there is none out there who is doing a good job. At times, I also went to an extent, that I felt they all know it that they are not doing a good job but it's just that they don't want to do it either! And here they were right in front, all in one room. Each one of them super confident and proud of their work in individual areas! Quite revealing disconnect it was!
I generally have "opinions". I have opinions about almost everything. I love to write about it, tweet about it, crib about it. Rarely do I move out of our chair to really ask the questions to the right people, nor do I get such chance. But let's face it. Let's agree that not getting a chance to ask the questions to right people, can not be the reason for not getting out of chair and finding them out! Let's agree that by liking some post alone, or by tweeting alone, no kranti is going to happen! If anything, it perhaps is self-ego satisfaction than anything else. My neighbor comes to me and asks me authoritatively every time there is a candle march, if I tweeted of liked some facebook page. If my answer is negative, he gives me a look full of disgrace! Now lately, I have been regular in doing social activism or social self ego massaging! But let's agree, it ain't good for anyone! It affects nothing! It all flashed in my mind while I was standing there.
I was standing in front of the people who believed they were doing a good job, whom I believed never did anythign good. (It was like an appraisal situation where your manager feels that you have done nothing and you feel that you have almost moved the mountain! Here the roles were slightly reversed). Of course, I could not directly ask them since it wasn't Facebook or twitter, and they were actually there to hear it. Man, you got to compose a lot of things in mind before actually asking a question. World was a lot easier when it was only about posting on social media! It sure takes some guts to ask what you want to ask when you have a chance to ask. I posed an indirect question to all of them and was very sure I am either going to be out of my job or out of city if it goes wrong. The answer was very simple though. Because they were always clear.
For all of them, I, part of the educated mass, was silly, unorganized, and an unclear fool. They exactly knew their "vote bank". They did everything for them. They were available literally 24x7 for them. They facilitated, gas connection, electricity, pan card, blood donation, travel assistance and what not to them. The entire crew was always available to sort out the local disputes. They almost knew everyone by name, and each one from their "vote bank" knew them! They were the "goto" guys for every problem and need. Why wouldn't they feel that they are doing a good job? I was proudly never part of it. I was never heard. I never knew such thing existed. For them, I was someone who gathers somewhere, and makes noise about something that can not be heard. Even if I praised, it never reached them.
They don't care about me. That's why I never vote. Because I don't vote, I never matter to them. Because I don't matter, they never care about me.
Do I support the local political leaders creating a parallel governance by bypassing the system and becoming the "goto" person for all the needs? Do I support what's happening out there? Well, it's the later stage of discussion. Let's at least be there to start with. I definitely not support not voting! It's our responsibility to vote.
I just did my voter registration.
They are doing a fine job. Because we are not.
If they are really good, let's not be unfair calling them all useless. If they are not, let's all really be there and be the part of governance. Write back, if you need help in getting registered. It's not that difficult. Let's be aware. Let's make others aware.
... and yes, I am also sad, that there is no Sachin anymore in the cricket!