A Reminder To Ourselves
In a world where basic human rights are threatened—witness the rising crimes against race, religion, gender and caste—lack of participation and silence, some feel, is not just being complicit, it is a blatant act of privilege. This should be a reminder for us in India this election season.
How often have you heard people you know take pride in being apolitical? Some are plain disinterested in the political process, aren’t they? Voting, for them, is an encumbrance—perhaps they would outsource their duties as citizens to those who are willing to take the trouble, if they could. I know, I know, there are very compelling reasons for this deep apathy. But no matter how poor the choices seem, how alienated, disenchanted or hopeless our politicians make us feel, how enraged we are watching them manipulate and exploit us, political disengagement is simply not an option.
The cost of indifference can be grave, often ruinous, as citizens in some parts of the world have discovered. The goal of a democracy is to reflect the will of the people, but dwindling voter turnouts are seeing the emergence of undemocratic governments that do not truly represent the citizenry. The rise of corrupt, dictatorial regimes that manipulate the electoral process but cannot be held accountable, is a reality. In a world where basic human rights are threatened—witness the rising crimes against race, religion, gender and caste—lack of participation and silence, some feel, is not just being complicit, it is a blatant act of privilege. This should be a reminder for us in India this election season.
But like everything else, you need information before you can make a sensible choice. One of our key mandates at Reader’s Digest is bringing you facts and data, which, in this case, can help us all be better citizens. In our cover story this month, India’s pioneering pollsters, Dr Prannoy Roy and Dorab R. Sopariwala, decode the current elections from their four decades of experience in the field. There is also a glossary that you may find helpful.
There are some lovely, heartwarming stories in this issue—‘A River Runs Through Us’ and ‘A Dog To Heal Us’ are my favourites. Do not miss the Bonus Read: It’s the saga of the Berlin Airlift, a grim reminder of the ravages of war and how a dictator once held the world to ransom by unleashing hatred and a state-sponsored genocide. Happy reading!