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BBMP Elections: I hope you like MY government

China is regarded as the “will-be” economic superpower of the 21st century. A similar “superpower” tag was bestowed on the erstwhile Soviet Union during the second half of 20th century. Yet for all its economic or military might, we did not, nor do we, see queues of potential immigrants or students scrambling to get a visa for either of these two countries.

People like to live in a free society. Freedom gives us the opportunity to discuss issues and many times complain (this article is offered in exhibit). In India though, a nation full of smart people, we have turned complaining into a corrosive art form and have become a nation of whiners.

Many citizens find the democracy of complaint exhilarating, but a culture of constant complaint which offers no solutions or progress to a desired goal, is destructive.

My solution to the whining? Along with complaining, take time to analyse the problem and propose a complete solution.

Why can this idea be a big success ?

  • It will make us understand why things are the way they are. Problems are many, and resources are few. It is an issue of prioritising and maximising benefits with respect to costs incurred. While I am the first person who will not accept the status-quo, taking the time to study the problem and putting in effort to develop a solution makes us better appreciate the cost-benefit ratios involved.
  • Separating the wheat from the chaff. Constant complaints have jaded our leaders, who also do not have the time, attention or local knowledge. Complaining is easy, hence plentiful. Our customers do it everyday. Ask an IT analyst, or flight attendant or retail counter salesperson or a trades-person or a student; developing a solution is difficult. Leaders are smart and recognise the serious intent of a person or group who has taken the time to study the problem and develop a solution. A solution will increase the priority of your complaint.
  • Generation of good ideas and a sense of ownership. India is a nation of smart people, and Bangalore is the intellectual capital (sorry Kolkata and Kochi). Bangaloreans in the IT, ITES, and manufacturing industries generate and implement great ideas across the world everyday. It is not difficult for any of us do the same for Bangalore, or the company we work in, or the school or college we study in. As a proposer of a good solution you will also have made effort it its development and therefore have some skin invested in its implementation.

I recommend you to visit www.praja.in – a good community activist site.

But all these suggestions are meaningless in the face of one startling fact disclosed to me by some friends at www.smartvote.in.

In the last general election, in Bangalore, only 50% of persons ELIGIBLE to vote registered. Of this, only 44% of REGISTERED voters turned out to vote. On average the winning candidate received about 30% of the total ballot. Therefore the person who we empower to represent us, actually represents a mere 7% of the constituency.

Therefore my vote counted for myself and for 13 others.

I hope you like MY government.

Add to this mix the fact that about 70% of the votes cast, were “influenced” mostly by cash or monetary promises, or by caste, creed, religion, or by party loyalty.

Decisions are made by those who show up, and very frankly, the right to complain belongs to those who contribute to the tree of democracy with, at the very least, the sweat of their vote.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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