‘Spare a Thought for Akhlaq’: An Open Letter to My Fellow First-time Voters
Before you press that button, spare a thought for the blatant misuse of power; the normalization of hate; the anti-student, anti-dalit and anti-tribal policies of this govt.
I hope this letter finds you when you’re as conflicted as me or at least as reflective.
It’s an exciting as well as a daunting election to be a first-time voter in. My constituency Nagpur votes today. It has been an INC stronghold except for 2 times once in 1996 and then in 2014.
Election season means almost everyone (no matter how apolitical they are the rest of the year) discuss the report card of the government. So I thought I must do the same with a special focus for problems related to us, the young. A special thanks to Modi jee because of whom I have become quite politically inclined.
Looking back at these 5 years, all I can think of is how the people have been failed, time and again, in all matters of significance as well as insignificance. Those who wanted their ram mandir have also been duped and those who waited for 15 lakhs in their account have also been disappointed.
What has happened to the aspirations of people like us? Everyone, especially politicians, continue to boast about how India will have the largest population of youngsters in the next few years. Sure, that’s great given that there is an opposite trend in many other nations, but the focus is not on the real issues. The question is how do governments, be it any party at the Centre, hope to fulfil the aspirations of this generation? What about their education and their jobs? If these pivotal questions are not answered by the next government then the seeds of widespread unhappiness will have been sown.
I have heard student leaders like Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and very recently Kawalpreet Kaur, talk about the actual issues that affect students in this country. Ironically, we must thank the Modi government and its anti-student policies that have made us look up to youth leaders like them. They provide a resistance to the mainstream politics that fails to even acknowledge let alone solve our problems.
Another very pressing thought I have on my reflective train, is the idea of hate that is being normalized. Closeted bigots have got nothing to fear and they openly express their feelings. Out in the open and in your face, bigots are more emboldened than ever before. Young impressionable minds must see and make a choice; will you vote for hate and religious animosity and sectarianism? Or for a nation that is inclusive and tolerant?
Sometimes, I wish I could scream into the ears of those who say, “If not Modi then who?” and tell them about Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan and remind them how we have failed them and their families miserably.
I am very shocked to see many classmates supporting the regime, who repeat the refrain they hear at home, “if not Modi then who?” Sure, there is an absence of a formidable opposition but I feel anybody who stands for anything other than this jingoistic, institution-manipulating government, is an answer.
So my fellow youngsters, spare a thought for Akhlaq, the blatant misuse of power, the normalization of hate, all the anti-student, anti-dalit and anti-tribal policies of this government before you press that button.
It is not just the question of who wins, but if we don’t choose wisely, we all lose.