Vote while you still can

This is for all of us who don't vote. The reason we don't vote is because we take that power for granted. We have it, we think, and it is not going anywhere. So we figure we will use it sometime, somewhere, when it is convenient. Or not use it if we have a headache or something.

What's the hurry, right? Guess what - the hurry is now. The ability to vote is exactly what is at stake. Maybe not for you, but for those who might be declared "doubtful citizens" if and when the NRC happens. The nightmare scenario that we are faced with right now is that what those in power are essentially trying to do is create voters who will vote for them and disenfranchise voters who are likely to not vote for them.

In the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election, less than 45 per cent of Mumbai cast its votes. The lowest amount of voting happened in Bandra and Colaba. Similarly, in Bengaluru, voter turnout remained less than 50 per cent in multiple centres. However, coastal regions where the BJP has a strong base, recorded higher turnouts.

The Right Wing is not gaining ground because it actually has a mass supporter base. It is winning because you - the urban, educated, liberal youth of India - are sitting it out. We should be happy to lose a fight if our enemy is stronger than us. But to lose because our friends did not turn up to fight with us is just disgraceful.

Because while we choose Netflix over the opportunity to exercise our democratic duty to vote, guess who does go out and vote? The people who want to shoot people for speaking up against oppressive laws - they vote. The people who think governments have the right to prevent people from expressing dissent - they vote. The people who want to use state machinery to actively hurt innocents and the poor - they vote. They vote and everyone who agrees with them and claps at their hate speeches - they vote.

To not exercise your right to vote in an atmosphere like this is to actively support all the disgusting things that make your skin crawl. If you value your freedoms, if you take pride in India being an open, liberal democracy, if you do not wish to see your country turned into a theocratic state, do your part.