On elections and being parochial.

Another long overdue post! Life is so busy I do not have time for self-indulgence! How terrible is that? No time to pump up my ego and think of myself as a world-changing writer 😦

These last few days I have been in and around the criminal neighbourhood of South Auckland carefully making my way inconspicuously through the dregs of socio-economic losers in case someone wants to mug me or snatch my bag. Shame some of the houses are lovely and the parks quite nice, the artworks and creativity busting to be acknowledged. Nah! Just kidding. Melissa Lee, the National Party candidate for Mt Albert by-election,  said it all two weeks ago and much has been made of the motorway-keeping-crims from South Auckland-away. So I shan’t diss her no more.Only point out (or say I said so) that just because one is an ‘ethnic’ or coloured or a minority does not mean that one believes in equality and justice for all. That is a state of the mind. An ideology. Right-wingers can come from anywhere even the poor.

Election campaigns are always entertaining and all candidates talk bullshit at some point. I immensely enjoy elections and campaigns. And nothing more entertaining than Indian elections.

At one level I feel stupidly patriotic and proud that in spite of naysayers and doomsday prophets India has continued to confound the world by the relatively smooth electoral process that takes place every four-five years. It is a massive, complex operation in a huge and diverse country. It has to be transparent too. Indians do it over and over again. As if there is an inherent need to believe in democracy even though it may not work the way we want it to. Am I making sense? When surrounded by chaos, terrorists, military juntas and communists-the way India is-the only thing to believe is in oneself, the right to choose and be free. This time the election results were so decisive that the right-wing Hindutva will have to think hard about killing any more people and building temples. Not that the Indian National Congress is innocent or blameless. There is a lot of work to be done and we really should get over to being an American minion. In order to be a real global player we have to have our house in order, look at health, education, environment, the arts, representation of minorities and women. Like all Indians I have an opinion on how things should be done but my theory is not yet well-formed and I don’t have an answer/solution to all the problems. The only thing I can say is that we have to build the country on peace, love and inclusion.

Which gets to me to the point of parochialism. A professor of English who recently read my blog asked me how I could be supportive of Raj Thakeray (see Frogs In A Pond-I) when I advocate multiculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand. Naturally I was appalled. Gosh! I thought my politics were pretty clear.  While I acknowledge that there are issues in Bombay/Mumbai and particularly in the Marathi areas, the solutions offered by Raj and Co are not.  What Raj and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena are doing is to work up the fear factor and to make people insecure instead of inclusive and broadminded. Mee Marathi but that is not my only identity and I recommend it should not be of other Maharashtrians either. That MNS candidates ate into the BJP-Shiv Sena votes in Maharashtra, particularly Mumbai goes to show the unfortunate support it has amongst Marathi people. How that is going to play itself in the upcoming state (Vidhan Sabha elections) is anybody’s guess.

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