Until very recently, all pro-Modi voices scared the bejeezus out of me. I just didn’t get it. I still can’t wrap my head around what could possibly make it okay to side with a fascist, mass murderer. No matter how many bridges he’s built, how many villages he lit up, or how many Gujarati industrialists love him. If there was ever any logic behind supporting him, it escaped me completely.
And then I watched the Rahul Gandhi interview last night, after much hemming and hawing, wondering if I really wanted to watch a bully journo corner a little boy trying hard to be a politician, into taking a stand and accepting the many allegations that he piled on lavishly. But I gave in and watched it anyway. The interview didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know. In fact it didn’t tell me anything new at all. It didn’t change my feelings towards Modi. More importantly, it didn’t change my feelings towards the Congress either.
I’ve voted in every election I was eligible to, ever since I was 19. I don’t know if each one of those votes was the one I really wanted to make, because I can’t claim I understood the true gravity of what that right, placed in my hands, really meant. Don’t waste your vote, they said. And so I went and got myself inked, for having chosen. Just chosen, not necessarily chosen well. As always, it was a tussle — of choosing between the lesser of all evils. Until very recently, I was certain this election would be no different.
Until very recently, I have been trying to pick the lesser of two evils. But the truth is, a lot is different.
This is the first time since the time I have exercised adult franchise that I have watched, read and tried to understand the mechanism of a General Election.
This is the first time I have read, heard, participated and engaged in so much every day, household discussion about the election. I don’t know about you, but around here, we’re talking about it all the time. With my folks, with our friends, with people we meet, with my neighbour.
This is the first I have realised the real dismal state of affairs we are in, and how dreadful it is going to be to have to choose.
This is also the first time that in trying to pick a side — the one that seems less disastrous, as usual — I’ve failed every single time.
I’ve been trying to stick logic, carefully construct reasoning, and just pick a side. Any side. But I cannot seem to justify choosing either the thugs, or the mass murder.
I’ve been trying to psyche myself into the vote-because-you-mustn’t-waste-it way of thinking. But I’m beginning to feel that it is not enough.
Until very recently, I was under the impression that my choices are limited to two large segments of our political make-up, each with their fair share of evil. But yesterday’s interview changed a lot for me. I no longer want to settle for either of just the two. No longer want to exercise my vote just to pick the seemingly less troublesome side. Because that is not good enough.
Until very recently, being anti-BJP automatically meant that you were a Congress stooge. And if you had any brickbats to throw Congress’ way, it automatically meant that you were a BJP follower. Yesterday’s interview changed that for me. Yesterday’s interview showed me how utterly leaderless we are, and how this election isn’t going to just be hard, its going to be bloody painful. I’m looking for the option that really shows promise, not of big outlandish things like empowerment, justice and progress, because we all know those things don’t happen in a day, week or month. Heck they don’t even happen in one term. I want to wait and pick the side that promises accountability. Because I no longer want to keep adding to my own chalta hai attitude that has motivated me to choose in every election prior to this. I cannot make myself justify choosing between power-hungry looters, and power-hungry fascists. So I’ll wait.
Until very recently there were just two sides to choose from — pro-Modi and anti-Modi. There seemed to be some twisted sense of sanity in choosing the anti-Modi, because you know anything is better than bringing a uni-dimensional tyrant to rule a nation as diverse as ours. So, when I encountered the pro-Modi half of us loudly lauding the vast strides of “progress” he has made in the past and promised for the future, as good enough reason to pick him, I was scared. Very, very scared. These are people I know at close quarters, some friends I meet regularly, some I share meals with, invite into my home and assume we have a lot in common with. Suddenly, their opinions scared me. Until recently, they were the only one to be afraid of. But yesterday’s interview changed everything. Now, the pro-Congress half of us scare me just as much.