Straight Talk: Time to Vote

Political empowerment is the need of the hour, and LGBTs should raise their issues with parties, writes Saurabh Sharma

India, post independence, was built on the principles of justice, equality and freedom for all citizens. The universal adult franchise (voting rights for all) was highly remarkable in view of the vast size of the country, its huge population, high poverty, social inequality and overwhelming illiteracy. This made Indian democracy broad based, enhanced the self respect and prestige of common people, upheld the principle of equality, enabled minorities to protect their interests and opened new hopes and vistas for weaker sections. The basic aim was the empowerment and mobilisation of all.

But it could be argued that these instruments were implemented in letter, not in spirit. There’s still a huge gap in reality. For example it was only recently that ECI (Electoral Commission of India) decided to give recognition on voter forms to those who see themselves as neither male nor female. All these years this community was deprived of voting rights because they did not have a box to tick. In my opinion, our society is still not ready to accept them. Thanks to those in the power corridors like Justice Shah and others who have shown their concern and mettle despite the hostility that still exists, there is a ray of hope for LGBT community. You must have experienced the popular support Anna enjoyed last year. He literally forced the Parliament to pass a resolution for enacting an ombudsman. All he did was provide a platform to people frustrated with corruption. His movement was based on a rational, logical and sound ideology. You too have that. Everyone joined it irrespective of caste, creed, race, religion, region etc. I don’t propose a likewise movement for the LGBT community in the near future. But I do believe that political empowerment is the need of the hour. Our society preaches the notion of equality but doesn’t practice it in spirit. It’s a vicious circle. So if you want to change the pattern, beliefs, customs, norms of this hypocritical Indian society, then you have to come out in public domain.

You need to reach the power corridors to put forth your voice. It will give you fresh avenues to get what you deserve. If the whole educated LGBT community strives for it, then it can create wonders, and in my personal opinion, the present LGBT’s share a logical and rational approach towards life, its values, objectives and means of attaining them, as they have been victimized by the ill, outdated and hypocritical laws, values, beliefs of the society. The only way to change it is from above. Just imagine what will happen when your voice will be raised in parliament/state assemblies by your MPs and will be aired on TVs, internet, mobiles etc. You can educate the new generation about your issues in a just, rational and broad way through mass media. You can get bills passed, laws related to your longstanding issues which can accelerate the assimilation of your community in the mainstream society.

But the pre-requisite of this utopia is tocome out. In my previous posts too I have stressed that. At least vote and choose your candidate unanimously. Elections are soon going to be held, parties are always searching for vote banks. You need to make them realize that you are the one that they are searching for. You can bargain your voting power for your longstanding issues. I think parties will not hesitate in extending their helping hand. Why can’t all LGBTs act as one vote, at least to further their own interests, issues? And then slowly and gradually you can choose to fight elections after attaining political maturity.

I know there will be problems, but your unity and determination could sail your boat easily in those hard times too. So first prepare yourself to cast your vote in upcoming state assembly elections, and then use that experience to utilize your power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. It’s a great power at your disposal. It has created histories, but now is the time for you to utilize this power to live your life in a dignified and meaningful manner which is your fundamental right.


Saurabh Sharma
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