Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Cast your vote responsibly for your future

Fr Paul Lelen Haokip
At this crucial juncture of Indian history, when citizens are to cast their votes for the 18th Lok Sabha election, it is pertinent to reflect on the ‘systems’ we have now and forget our personal ‘issues’ for a moment. Nearly a billion people are going to vote this year in India. Let us reflect on C Wright Mills, a prominent sociologist known for critically analyzing societal power structures and institutions. His work often delved into the intersection of politics, economics and social structure. If the renowned American sociologist was alive, perhaps, he would ask, ‘Are you (a) morally autonomous, (b) subject to the morality of other men, or (c) morally adrift?’ Our moral strength to decide our future through adult franchises will determine if we are morally autonomous, subject to others, or unstable. These are hard questions that will affect our future.
In terms of politics, Mills argued that power was concentrated in the hands of a ‘power elite’ composed of government, military and corporate leaders. He believed that this elite exercised significant control over society, shaping policies and decisions that often served their interests rather than the general population. Mills’ critique of politics was deeply rooted in his broader social structure and inequality analysis. He saw politics not just as a system of governance but as a reflection of more significant social dynamics, including class divisions and unequal power distribution. Overall, Mills’ work on politics emphasised the need for a critical examination of power structures and the role of elites in shaping political and social life. His ideas continue influencing sociology and political science, informing discussions about power, inequality and democracy. Mills says, ‘In a society in which the ultimate weapon is the rifle; in which the typical economic unit is the family-farm and the small shop; in which the national-state does not yet exist or is merely a distant framework; in which communication is by word-of-mouth, handbill, pulpit – in such a society, history is indeed fate’. History will repeat itself, and doom is the ultimate result. To avoid doom, do not be neutral but take a concrete position.
Being neutral
Trying to be neutral equals siding with the oppressor and closing one’s eyes against the plight of the ordinary people. Pressing NOTA is not a solution because a ‘simple majority’ is enough for a person to be elected. You should take a stance and cast your valuable vote for the good of society. Decide to uphold the preamble in letter and spirit – the soul of the Constitution of India. The Preamble to the Constitution reflects the core constitutional values that embody the Constitution. It declares India a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic and committed to Justice, Equality and Liberty for the people. If you are a true citizen of India, you should stand to uphold the ideals of the Constitution. Decide to vote and vote responsibly for the values enshrined in the Constitution.
For whom to vote
Vote for someone who is intellectually sound and aware of the socio-historical structure of the present time. Vote for truthful people ready to learn, adapt and transcend their ethnic lines. Vote for people who will walk their talks, respect others and have a collective dream for all citizens of the country. Vote for peace and collective prosperity. Do not vote for people who play with your life and property. Do not vote for parties that misuse their power against the ordinary people. When you vote for the right people, then ‘systems’ will change for the better and your personal ‘issues’ will be addressed within good governance.
Decide your future through your vote. This parliamentary election is a battle between good and evil, democracy and autocracy. The 4th of June 2024 will tell whether you voted responsibly or not. Don’t be tempted by the sweet talk of liars. Judge them by their actions and not by their words. Do not sell your life for a few thousand rupees. Be costly and indomitable this time. Your vote can change India. Instruct and help those who are less educated than you. Your enlightenment to someone will be your service to Mother India and secure the future of 1.4 billion people. Jai Hind!
(The author is a PhD research scholar, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Christ University, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. Email: paulhowkeep20@gmail.com)

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