Elections and Last Page of Railders' Guardian
For the last several years, I have been writing a column called Last Page in Railders' Guardian, the house journal of the All India Retired Railway Officers' Association, Secunderabad, of which I was Vice President and now Adviser.
The time has come when, with apologies to Robert Browning and millions of his fans,
The lark apes the eagle’s soar,
The snail feigns a sprint,
God looks on with an amused smile
While the devil has his stint.
Witches dance round a cauldron singing the song from Macbeth while they conjure a broth of diverse, unrelated ingredients,
Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
to offer a draught to the populace that, the witches hope, will inebriate them and make them vote for whomsoever they wish to promote. Politicos in this country tend to take the words of Shakeel Badayuni literally.
Nafrat se na dekho dushman ko
Shaayad ye muhabbat kar baithe
(Hate not your enemy, maybe
He’ll soon start loving you)
Sworn enemies embrace each other and bosom friends stand with daggers drawn. Wannabe leaders, their feet still rooted in the sleaze and squalor of show business talk of eliminating corruption and air opinions on subjects about which they know naught. Confused voters, lured by offers of lucre, liquor and worse, end up with rulers only interested in themselves. If we had any doubts, they were laid to rest by a video clip of a newly elected politician’s agenda that has gone viral on the social media. This drama is played out repeatedly, but no one seems to complain. Yet, we all dream of Mera Bharat Mahaan.
Much of what I wrote on this page twelve months ago has come to pass, and as we close in on the day of reckoning – not to be confused with the day of counting – the air is polluted with a cacophony of claims and counter claims, accusations and counter accusations, impractical promises and unrealizable expectations. One wonders why all these promised welfare schemes and economic measures were not implemented all these years. Voters need to remember Peter Marshall’s observation, “Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned”.
The changing scenario in which politicians big and small move randomly from party to party due to expulsive forces on the one hand and magnetic forces in the form of promises of lucre and office on the other, reminds me of a phenomenon known as Brownian movement in Physics. It is defined as, “the erratic random movement of microscopic particles in a fluid, as a result of continuous bombardment from molecules of the surrounding medium”. Of course, it is not a new phenomenon. When it first happened, in the 1960s, they were called Ayarams and Gayarams but with the exponential multiplication of political parties since then, these terms are no longer adequate. Maybe we should call them Brownies.
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