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Aware Citizens. Clean Politics.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” - Anonymous

While India and Indians pride their credentials of being a thriving democracy, one cannot but notice the gradual decline in participation of the masses in the political process. Disillusionment with the credibility of the politician is increasing and the noble profession of public service is looked upon with suspicion and disdain.

This is a dangerous contradiction in our psyche. If we pride in our being a democracy then the role of improving on how we govern ourselves also rests on our shoulders. Democracy assigns an important responsibility upon us. It is natural that every one cannot be politically active, but it is the duty of every citizen to be politically aware.

Only an aware citizenry can be the precursor of a clean and healthy democracy. We hope that your first resolve will be to shed any despair about politics and to make an earnest effort to be a more aware citizen.

What does it mean to be politically aware?

It starts with the judicious use of your power to vote

We must start by believing in the value of this single most important power vested in us. Many of us are falling in to the trap of believing that our vote means nothing. We disagree. Our disappointment is leading to a downward spiral in our politics. While the educated citizens stay away altogether, elections are being won on the basis of votes being bought or being procured through misleading the significant rest of the people. This in turn is increasing the use of dubious tricks in the process of political campaigning. All this calls for a lot of funds, much of which is ill gotten or illegal. This type of funding in turn is coming from dubious and undesirable elements. Hence this nexus of brute force and unlimited need for funds is leading to a gradual deterioration in the quality of our politicians. It is foolish to believe that a nation that produced political giants like Gandhiji, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Lal Bahadur Shastri and B R Ambedkar, can now produce no more. Our experience shows that there are many capable and conscientious people willing to participate, but they need your help. Hence, you must shed the notion that your vote is not important and go and get yourself registered to vote.

Many others believe that it is better not to vote than to choose between evils. Here too, we disagree.

How many of us research the candidates standing for elections in our area? Are we aware of the credentials of all these candidates?And of these, do we not find even one worthy of our vote?

The fact is that many of us do not even educate ourselves with these facts and are only too glad to believe that all options are futile.

The good news is that it is becoming easier to find this information. There is increasingly more information available online and through other resources on the credentials of people standing for elections. (Ciizens of Mumbai can write to us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to know more)

Making a difference really does start with something as simple as exercising your power to vote – intelligently.

What is Eternal Vigilance?

Aware Citizenship continues with demanding accountability

Becoming politically aware is about two parts – intelligent voting and demanding accountability.

Of course voting alone will not solve all the problems. We need to monitor and demand performance against promises and it is increasingly possible to do so according to our interest and ability.

There exist many NGOs and civil society movements that represent, persuade and when necessary demand political action on our behalf. One cannot undermine the role of these forums in important developments in various areas from human rights, children education, and social welfare to environment and more recently in landmark developments like Right to Information Act and the upcoming Lokpal Bill.

Whether your interest be political or purely social, this approach applies to all areas of interest. With the support of your voice these organizations can work with government to ensure policy formulation and implementation to give your cause the attention it deserves. All in all, this elevates the nature of political debate, which is good for the objective of good politics. You can start with something as basic as making a small regular donation or by being subscribed to a group of your choice on Facebook or Twitter. So do not believe that you can only do very little. Research and pick a cause to lend it your support - it does make a difference!

Even with all these focus groups, we must acknowledge that all such changes are possible only within the political process of creating laws and then enforcing them. Despite all public movements, the need for a conscientious and capable politician will remain. It is with this objective in mind that Loksatta has embarked on raising the bar of political debate at the mass level and we need your help and awareness.

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