As Bal Thackeray once said, Indians don’t just cast their vote.
As Indians prepare not to cast their vote but “vote their caste”, as Bal Thackeray once said, our sadhus and sanyasis, mahants and maulvis, pundits and preachers must be rubbing their hands in glee.
Folk faith was common in the West too until the Age of Enlightenment and then the new economic order introduced by the Industrial Revolution led to mass education and material advance. That precursor of mental development encouraged the masses to aspire to elitist heights of thought and culture. In contrast, our elite is sinking to the level of the masses. India may lead the world in Information Technology and be able to send a man to the Moon, but the influence that the successors of Dhirendra Brahmachari and Chandra Swamy are increasingly gaining suggests that the intellectual revolution that is the essential key to modernity has passed us by. (via Sunanda K Datta-Ray: Voting your caste).
Caste by another name …
Advanced West vs ignorant Indians
Now the US votes on the basis of gender (more women voters do vote for democrats), color (more Hispanics and African Americans generally vote Democrats), age (younger voters are traditionally democrats in larger numbers), religion (only one Catholic has become a US President), race (only WASP – White Anglo Saxon Protestants allowed real power).
Now Sunanda Datta K. Ray is a bad case of vacillation – sometimes pathos and sometimes bathos. Some of his columns (Have you eaten?) is memorable for its breadth – and then you see this kind of ignorance.
In US societal divisions are called demographics and is a matter of high academic interest.(click on this link to see an interesting device to gauge demographic effects in US elections). In India, the West uses a pejorative called the caste system. The US system has ensured that the US voter gets more (Republican) or less (Democrats) of the same swill. What choice does the US voter have? The Indian voter has created a choice for himself by voting for a wide range of issues, agendas and parties.
But then the Indian voter is unlettered, ‘uneducated’ and does not speak English – and Sunanda K. Datta Ray is possibly vernacularly challenged!!
Change in Voting-Age Population (VAP), 2000-2007: Selected Battleground States in 2008
||Total VAP increase
||Hispanic VAP increase
Share of Total VAP Increase
|Selected racial/ethnic groups
|Traditionally Republican States
||47% in Denver
||African Americans: 23%
|29% in Raleigh-Durham
25% in Charlotte
African Americans: 21%
Asian Americans: 15%
|47% in Northern Virginia
|Traditionally Democratic States
African Americans: 24%
Asian Americans: 20%
|40% in Philadelphia suburbs
African Americans: 19%
|19% in Miami-Fort Lauderdale
16% in Orlando
14% in Tampa-St. Petersburg
||African Americans: 15%
|35% in St. Louis
20% in Kansas City
15% in Springfield
||African Americans: 26%
Asian Americans: 14%
|43% in Columbus
34% in Cincinnati
Note: Data for African Americans and Asian Americans are for non-Hispanic members
of these groups who did not identify with another racial groupSources: Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from U.S. Census Bureau,
"Annual State Population Estimates with Sex, 6 Race Groups (5 Race Alone Groups
and One Group with Two or more Race Groups) and Hispanic Origin: April 1, 2000
to July 1, 2007," accessed online at www.census.gov/popest/datasets.html on
May 31, 2008; and "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population by Selected Age Groups
and Sex for Counties: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007,"
accessed online at www.census.gov/popest/counties/asrh/CC-EST2007-agesex.html,
on Aug. 31, 2008.