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Posts Tagged ‘Incredible India’

ashokbhatia

World over, one activity which keeps ordinary citizens delightfully preoccupied is that of exercising their right toelection voting choose the government they deserve. Travel to any continent, and one is apt to find a set of either countries or states which have either held an election, or are gearing up for the same.

Indians had their share of the fun in 2014 itself. Citizens of Zambia and Italy enjoyed casting a vote earlier this year. So did the denizens of Israel, UK, Poland, Mexico, Turkey and Singapore. Those who live in Portugal have just cast their votes. The ones who inhabit Egypt, Switzerland and Canada are just relishing the build-up of election rhetoric in their respective countries. Citizens of Myanmar, Spain and US are surely looking forward to the experience.

The Amusement Quotient

The process of holding aloft some core democratic values is not bereft of its entertainment value. Hapless citizens…

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World over, one activity which keeps ordinary citizens delightfully preoccupied is that of exercising their right toelection voting choose the government they deserve. Travel to any continent, and one is apt to find a set of either countries or states which have either held an election, or are gearing up for the same.

Indians had their share of the fun in 2014 itself. Citizens of Zambia and Italy enjoyed casting a vote earlier this year. So did the denizens of Israel, UK, Poland, Mexico, Turkey and Singapore. Those who live in Portugal have just cast their votes. The ones who inhabit Egypt, Switzerland and Canada are just relishing the build-up of election rhetoric in their respective countries. Citizens of Myanmar, Spain and US are surely looking forward to the experience.

The Amusement Quotient

The process of holding aloft some core democratic values is not bereft of its entertainment value. Hapless citizens who struggle to etch out a living on a day-to-day basis surely deserve as much humour in their lives as they can manage to get. One source of amusement comprises the empty rhetoric and inane promises which get made in almost all the election speeches. Yet another is the tendency of blaming the previous regimes for all the current troubles.

Then we have the ‘simple harmonic motion’ proclivity of politicians who keep changing their loyalties, much like the delicately nurtured whoPGW Garfieldand_friends keep getting in and out of different dresses when taking a saunter down the ramp. Once a war of words starts, Newton’s Third Law of Motion kicks in. Much heat gets generated, but no light.

Some contestants are themselves so very colourful that the speeches rolling off their glib tongues provide enough merriment to last a few weeks at least. It does not really matter which ideology or political party they happen to represent. Their Amusement Quotient (AQ) remains unaffected. The jury though is still out whether a high AQ score translates into a high vote share as well.

Of goodies without tears

Election times not only provide succor to the souls which are perennially tormented by the harsh slings and arrows of life. Often, there is a ready supply of cash and goodies. Free transport to and from exotic locales is readily available. So are free lunches, for a change. The speed at which liquor flows could put a rivulet to shame.

Elections provide great chances of making a great deal of noise. Not to forget the chance of smashing shop-windows and burning vehicles; the sheer excitement of either beating up policemen or pinching their helmets.

Add to this the unique opportunity of throwing rotten apples, tomatoes and eggs at candidates who propound a view which happens to be contrary to that of the voters. No wonder citizens of countries which hold frequent elections end up getting international recognition in such areas as archery and shooting.

Politicians in the Wodehouse mould

Those familiar with the works of P G Wodehouse would fondly recall the select few characters therein having politicalRoderickSpode inclinations – voluntarily or otherwise. Roderick Spode, Comrade Bingo’s revolutionary pals, the Heralds of the Red Dawn, the Hon’ble A. B. Filmer, Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe, Mr. John Bickersdyke, Bertie’s pal Ginger and Stilton Cheesewright would readily spring to their minds.

When they look around the present set of politicians who keep huffing and puffing at frequent intervals, they are apt to be able to identify some unique traits of the Wodehousean characters in most of them.

The deep commitment to the Cause of a Spode. The revolutionary pals who fail to recognize the new-age challenges facing their outdated ideology. The self-assured stuffed-frog charisma of a Filmer. The morally dubious character of a Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe. The never-say-die spirit of a John Bickersdyke. The reluctant politicians in the mould of either a Ginger or a Stilton, on whom political ambition has been thrust by a no-nonsense girl friend.

Carbon credits, humour and mythology – the Indian scenario

The largest democratic exercise anywhere in the world takes place in India. The general elections in 2014 have beenIndia Parliament House quickly followed by state assembly polls. Earlier in 2015, Delhi chose a new government. It is now Bihar’s turn. States like Assam, Kerala, Pondicherry, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu follow in 2016.

In large states, campaigns and rallies based on 3-D holographic techniques are now more of a norm than an exception. Political parties using these can surely claim ‘carbon credits’ for adopting greener practices.

Indian elections have more than their share of humour and spectacle, much like elections elsewhere. Some politicians display their salty wit while some make do with their smiling sarcasm. Some go around chest-thumping and rattling off their achievements whereas some others thrive on their quiet dignity and a Monalisque enigma.

The great mythological epics of India provide an excellent resource base to contestants. Their complicated storylines and character lists provide unique opportunities for allusions and allegories to be drawn, thereby providing a divine touch to the worst of invectives which are routinely hurled at each other. Indian politicians’ mastery over mythology needs to be commended. Publishers of kids’ literature based on these epics surely laugh all the way to their banks.

The potential of Election Tourism

India has the good fortune of having a few state elections every year, the general elections being the blockbusterTaj offerings every five years. Invariably, the sheer magnitude of the exercise leads to staggered multi-phase elections, which offer a unique business opportunity – to those in the hospitality and tourism sector, and also to the government by buoying up its foreign exchange earnings.

India already boasts of Cultural Tourism, Business Tourism, Medical Tourism, Religious Tourism, Spiritual Tourism and the Goa kind of tourism. Time, perhaps, to tweak the Incredible India panoply and include Election Tourism as one of its key verticals.

Some incredible benefits

Consider the following advantages of such an initiative:
• A global platform for all our politicos to display their theatrical and oratory skills.Angelina_Jolie_2_June_2014_
• Rebranding India – from a land of snake-charmers and elephants to a digital-savvy country, what with innovative 3-D holographic campaigns, mobile applications and the works.
• Global promotion of the kind of mud-slinging which goes on, in the name of campaigning.
• A unique exposure to India’s rich mythology and epics.
• Improvement in the country’s foreign exchange reserves, with its attendant benefits for the Indian economy.
• Boost to several sectors of the economy, like travel, tourism and hospitality; the spill-over effect on other sectors.
• Boost to investments from Swiss Finishing Schools which would make a beeline to set up coaching centers in India, aimed at grooming our politicos.
• Political parties could augment their inflows by auctioning the rights to campaign amongst international celebrities. Imagine the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore getting roped in to make selective appearances at public meetings and shoring up the electoral prospects of some parties.
• Some movie moghuls from Hollywood could even get tempted to persuade Julia Roberts to appear in a movieMadrid_-_Congreso_de_Diputados entitled ‘Eat, Pray and Vote’, thereby improving the prospects of even smaller political parties to make a mark.

An exciting global outlook

Once India provides a lead along these lines, several other countries would follow suit. Their GDPs would register a healthy increase. Unemployment rates would dip. Politicos of all hues will get a global platform to showcase their marketing abilities. In the not so distant a future, global auctions could take place, enrolling the campaigning services of international celebrities. Coffers of the parent country they hail from would start getting filled up faster.

Spain, which ranked first among 141 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism CompetitiveHillary_Clinton Index, has an immediate opportunity coming up by way of a general election planned on December 20, 2015. Imagine the delight of a tourist who, while visiting the Plaza Mayor, the Teide National Park and the Museo del Prado, gets invited to a witness an election rally on one of her quieter evenings!

USA plans to hold its next Presidential election on November 8, 2016. There is enough time for tourism agencies to whip up some special packages which, besides offering a trip to the Niagra Falls and the Grand Canyon, include a contributory dinner with, say, Hillary Clinton!

The possibilities are endless. The mind boggles. If Spain takes a lead, it is likely that the United Nations World Tourism Organization, headquartered in Madrid, would soon move to recognize Election Tourism as a responsible, sustainable and universally accessible activity.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/politicos-in-plumsville-part-1

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/politicos-in-plumsville-part-2

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/10/15/invitation-to-a-swearing-in-ceremony-at-blandings-castle)

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