Dr Gopee

Civic Duty

 

— Dr R Neerunjun Gopee

 

At over 75% of eligible voters having cast their vote, we must be proud as a country that our citizens have performed their civic duty, said my friend. After completing my own duty, I took him along as I had promised I would. Like me, he too was received with courtesy, and the matter was quickly over. Later in the evening we sat down together and watched TV, listening to accounts of what had gone on at the various polling stations around the island.

Normally I do not see TV for any stretch of time, but since this was a special occasion and I had company, I allowed myself the indulgence.

 

 

Well, if you say so, since you are the expert, I will accept that, I replied. In fact, it was reassuring to learn that the voting had gone without any incident of note, in other words very peacefully, and this speaks for the maturity of the electorate and that of our democratic set-up too, as several of the candidates observed when they were asked to give their impressions of the manner in which the day had rolled out. This view was shared across the political divide, and it is healthy that this divide does not cross personal boundaries. For indeed, one could see candidates of opposite camps standing side by side and chatting to each other as reporters approached them for their views, which they gave spontaneously and each claiming that they were bien confiant to win. They, and we too, know that only one can win – but on the whole, if it is a win-lose situation for the individual candidates and their respective parties, we must pray that for the country it is always a win-win outcome.

 

Astere…et faire travail la marcher!

That was the comment of my friend. I am done myself, so I cannot contribute actively but definitely those who now assume the responsibility must see to it ki pays la continuer roule bien. In spite of his experience, he wouldn’t venture to play psephologist he said. What is that? I asked him, puzzled at this strange word! Well. It’s people who make it a job of studying how people vote, and then they try to make predictions. Go ahead then, I prodded him, make one!

He declined, saying that any number of times, he had seen such predictions going totally haywire. He gave the example of when the BJP lost in India, when the psephologists had given them a comfortable win because of the ‘Shining India’ slogan on which they had campaigned. And yet the defeat flummoxed even the most seasoned psephologists. Hence his reluctance to pronounce himself one way or the other. He also recalled the results of general elections here too, saying that sometimes there are surprises which cannot be fully explained. So be it, I told him, and he acquiesced, adding that what was more important was that after it was all over, what all citizens wanted was for the country to get back to the daily routine and for people to continue to perform their work with the same sense of duty and with as much discipline as they had shown when they went to cast their vote.

I do not think that anybody would quibble about that, for indeed the work must go on because there is always so much to do. The challenges are many, and we must all the time carry on building and improving on whatever progress we have made. It is in our own interest and that of future generations.

We must not forget that there is a demographic scenario unfolding that may affect us adversely, namely that the proportion of the elderly is increasing — look at myself! pointed out my friend. And continued that we must therefore make sure that we create the right conditions for retaining our younger generations and attracting those who leave to study abroad. In a globalizing world, opportunities may be expanding in different places and in several new fields, and it is not going to be an easy task to convince those who look at the greener grass elsewhere to suddenly develop an acute sense of patriotism. But as a country try we must, because that is the only way for us to ensure a better future for all of us.

He has three children, and all are settled abroad. So I guess he knows what he’s talking about! Point taken, I told him as I bid goodbye.

 

RN Gopee

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