Apoorva Joshi

PhD student - Information and Media; Environmental Science and Policy @Michigan State University

Independent journalist -

Environment, Science, International

The People Who Govern Us

I just got back home.. and happened to think that I'd get some studying done, so I went to pick up a book and found a laminated random thingy lying on the table. I picked it up, and it turned out to be my Voter Identity Card from the Election Commission of India.
After, and I'm being very honest when I say this, going through absolute CRAP to ensure that my name gets on that voters' list, I registered on Jaago Re.com and ran around the city trying to find out where exactly my form was to be submitted. Then found out the centre was wrong, then went to the right one, got the things done there. They said come back the next day. So I went back the next day, then they said I'd not filled one other form (which wasn't even on the list of forms to be filled) so I asked what it was for and they said it was for a voter identity card. I happily filled it for it meant I would not have to come back to fill it later on. And yes, the centre was none other than our very own Maamledaar Kachehri. The LAST place any girl should go alone. Especially for stuff like this. apart from having to stand in eternal lines, you have to defend yourself from eve teasing weirdos interested in everything apart from voting! Jabbing them, making sure your form doesn't rip, and keeping a calm head so the "authorities" don't categorize you as troublesome for being rude to them.. is quite a challenge.
Im not bragging when I say that.. I did all that on my own. All because I really do think every single vote counts. But what I dont understand is, the government behaves like they're doing us a bloody FAVOUR by letting us vote!! My Voter Identity Card, for instance, has my name spelled wrong, in both Marathi and English. It has my birth date printed as " XX/XX/1990 " - what the heck would you make of that!? I feel like a "do not disclose birth date" category! My address, is also wrong! They've randomly changed the name of my house!! So I now live in some 1223, Shukra!! Sheeeesh!
These people have to do ONE thing right. And that also they mess up. They claim voting is as simple as a 2 step process. My ass! It's downright torture to have to go through all of that nonsense, and then get an IDENTITY card that gives you, the WRONG IDENTITY!!! I want to scream into that piece of paper wrapped up in plastic, that this is not my name!! If you're going to screw it up, then why offer to do it on such a large scale anyway?
I mean, there must be thousands of other harassed people, like me, who went through madness and the result wasn't even correct! We wasted our time, AND our votes for a completely incompetent governing body. So WHY should I vote for the local elections? WHY? So the next round of new comers can get false identities too?
It's double torture now, because I now have to go back to that stupid place and stand in yet another frustrating line to say that this is all wrong, then fill another form, stick another photo, put in another 3 hours, and then again... wait.. for all eternity.. until someday, they have it right. Maybe, when I'm 43! But by then I'm sure.. I would not want to vote. So they can keep it with them and do whatever the heck they want with it.
Maybe it's a small thing.. but at the end of the day, it's VERY annoying to know that you were all that excited and you believed in what you were doing only to become someone else according to the Election Commission of India!
Verdict : Downtrodden state of affairs. Politicians, and the government could both do well to step out of those tinted glass, air-conditioned houses and cars, and take a look at a lay man's life in this country.

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