GENERAL ELECTIONS POSTER, PRESS PHOTO, MUMBAI 1967!
This poster was put up on a building in Bombay by the anti-American leftist weekly, “BLITZ”, in support of candidates opposing the then ruling Congress Party nominees. Even after 47 years, the war between Congress and others is still going on…
On this theme, let us reminisce to India’s second Lok Sabha elections, seen through the eyes of TIME Magazine on March 4th, 1957.:
“Elections,” said independent India’s one and only Prime Minister, “are not my profession. My profession is to preach the unity of India and love between all Indians.” But this week, as the first of India’s 193 million eligible voters went to the polls for the second general election in the nation’s history, Jawaharlal Nehru was right there in the middle of the fun, electioneering to beat the band.
“I shouldn’t be here at all,” he said, jauntily preparing to address still another crowd of worshiping voters.
For all the difference it would make to the election, the Pandit might perfectly well have stayed at home. There was no doubt whatever that Nehru’s Congress Party would hold its comfortable majority in the soo-seat Lok Sabha (India’s lower house of Parliament). The three main opposition parties (the rightist Jan Sangh, the leftist Praja Socialists and the Communists) had not put up enough candidates to win even if they swept the field.
But the Prime Minister has never been a man to sit long behind a desk. For three whirlwind weeks before the elections (which would last for almost three weeks) he swept across the nation, traveling by jeep, river steamer, sky-blue Cadillac, and his own Russian Ilyushin plane Messenger of the Clouds (the gift of Bulganin and Khrushchev) to address crowds that sometimes numbered 250,000.
The King. Many of his listeners in multilingual India, though they cheered and clapped mightily, could understand scarcely a word that he said in English or Hindi. Fastidiously avoiding all the local grass-roots issues for which he has no taste—the caste problem, anti-cow slaughter, communalism, astrology—Nehru explained the Kashmir issue and India’s foreign policy to audience after audience of backwoods illiterates.
“Long live Nehru,” shouted the crowds, pleased and happy to have had a glimpse of the great man. To many of them, India, the Congress Party and Nehru were one and the same thing; in tiger-plagued Orissa an election crowd of loinclothed tribesmen and their nose-ringed women startled political reporters by referring to Nehru as the King.
Firmly grasping the coattails of the great man as he swept along to certain victory were the local candidates of his corruption-ridden party. Like U.S. politicians suddenly seeking to “get right with Lincoln” before Election Day, many Congress partisans, grown fat in office, forgot their bank rolls, their comfortable power and their American cars to recall the humility of Mahatma Gandhi. Tailors in a dozen cities found themselves facing a run on khadi, the homespun cloth that Gandhi wore. Untouchables in village market squares were elbowed aside by candidates eager to drink at their untouchable wells. Some untouchables even found themselves invited to Congressmen’s homes.
Everywhere, on mud walls and in expensive neon lights, the Congress Party symbol of two yoked oxen could be seen. Virtually helpless to fight against the incumbent party’s steam roller, all the opposition could do was hope to build, as one of them put it, “a healthy opposition” against the day when Nehru will not be around.
“What is the use of asking that question,” said Jawaharlal Nehru, “when Jawaharlal still stands before you and is ready to work for some time to come?”
And so the Dynasty rule finally ends in 2014.
Neither Nehru nor his shadows are around anymore… The opposition party has finally mustered up enough strength to come into power, empathizing with the reality faced by the majority of people of a so-called democratic nation of India.
For now the corrupt party that stayed in power and out of touch with the REAL MAN for over 60 years is sidelined, India can take a sigh of relief, wait and watch as the newly formed government that promised to take them to greater heights, puts their plans into effect.
ALL THE BEST to both the government and the people of India!
And oh yes! Let’s hope the sore losers do finally relinquish their seats graciously instead of having temper tantrums and outspoken threats towards the new Prime Minister. Let’s start with Mamata Banerjee to begin with… tissue box, anyone???