Mr. Ashby couldn’t vote, for Mr. White wouldn’t let him. Mr. White said that Mr. Ashby was not a settled inhabitant. But Mr. Ashby couldn’t stand this violation of his right to vote. He took refuge in Law, that Blind Lady who resorts to no bias, who judges and delivers justice indiscriminately. And that She did.
That subtle balance of Justice bent in Mr. Ashby’s favour this time. He was granted compensation, for his right to vote had been taken away.
This case is called Ashby v. White, which Mr. Ashby won in the House of Lords.
But have we seen this kind of awareness in our motherland, India?
Delhi saw a voter turnout of 66% this year, and that is a record turnout (2 decade record). Surprising, isn’t it? The capital city of the largest democracy in the world sees a voter turnout of 66% and it is a record of sorts?
In 2009 general elections, the voter turnout was approximately 58%. Around 6 out of every 10 people voted. While optimists would say that we should be glad that the number of people who voted are more than the number of people who didn’t. The voter turnout in 1952 was better! 61%! Shameful, to say the very least.
The Election Commission of India lays down diligently that all parties must avoid malpractices, such as bribing voters. Yet a cash-for-votes scam is not unheard of!
It makes for almost a daily conversation in middle class and upper middle class urban households during dinner, of how this country has no hope, thanks to “politics”, or some variation of it, like “paaltiks”. Once the noble profession of serving the nation, today, politics has become a dirty word. But if you ask the members of these households, amidst their supposedly intellectual conversation about whether they would vote. . . it is as good as a unanimous no, for they say that their vote will not make a difference. What better way to find out than to TRY?
So again, I question the voting and political scenario in our country today. Is it going in the right direction? We can make a difference. And it starts when we vote. Shall we then, India?
About the Author
Aishwariya is an idealistic Law student from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. She believes that a difference can be made by working at the grass root level. She enjoys painting, writing and reading. Her sincerest belief is that India still has hope.