So we got ourselves a democratic system of government in 1947 and two and a half years later, we became a republic. It was tough, really tough, to become an independent, democratic nation. Sustaining that democracy is even tougher. And the single-biggest symbol of that process is the vote. Every single vote.
We need to make that trip to the booth today, never mind the heat, the lines, the frustration of not finding names on this or that list or the confusion about what identification documents we need to carry along. For a while now, this newspaper has been running a sustained campaign through who we call our election ambassador.
Andheri resident Girish Gogia, who is a wheelchair user and 90 per cent paralysed after a diving accident in Goa, will be going to vote, like he has done all these years — in his wheelchair. Gogia’s friends will carry him to the ballot box, if need be. Throughout these days, Gogia’s message to Mumbai has been one crisp question: “If I can, why can’t you? Vote!”
In this era of the Google search, information searches throw up trenchant quotations aimed at those who do not vote. One says: ‘In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some diehard’s vote’.
That comes from David Foster Wallace. Another quote, attributed to a Larry J Sabato, says that ‘every Election is determined by the people who show up’. Abraham Lincoln’s succinct summing up of voting apathy says it is not only dangerous to the nation but harmful to the anatomy.
Lincoln has said, “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” Blistered behinds will be especially painful in the merciless Mumbai sun. Avoid being forced to sit on blistered behinds, go vote.