Next Story

Vox pop: 'The power and wisdom of the wretched of India'

Send Push

A selection of what citizens—a diversity of them, both prominent and 'common people'—had to say on the day we learnt the results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, online and in private musings:

image Mallika Sarabhai (photo: Hindustan Times/Getty Images) Mallika Sarabhai, dancer, actor, choreographerThis morning, I walked lighter, for democracy has been reborn in India... in spite of everything the PM and the BJP tried, in spite of the large-scale fraud that happened at many booths, in spite of the intimidation and bribes given to the Muslims in my city (Ahmedabad), INDIA proved that sometimes the truth wins. Mr Modi might remain the PM but it is against the will of the people. I pray the alliance sticks to values and justice and plays out its promises even from the Opposition benches. image Geetanjali Shree Geetanjali Shree, writer in HindiIt is a momentous verdict and a proud moment. When we feared the worst, ordinary women and men have, with their maturity, wisdom and courage, created a chance to arrest the destruction of democracy in India. They have done more than what we, the literati, thought was possible. They have provided a chance to restore our democratic institutions and dignity of life. What is made of this chance will depend on the good sense, integrity and humanity of the political class, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, the media. They must fulfil their responsibility, not betray it. image Danish Husain Danish Husain, actor, theatre director, dastango, poetThis is a pushback by the marginalised and excluded, the non-beneficiaries of Modi’s ‘development’, those threatened by Modi’s lumpen elements. It is a rejection of the authoritarian, fascist turn the country was taking, an endorsement of and a nudge towards the constitutional path. This nudge could have been a shove had the media been fair, and the institutions uncompromised. If the BJP thinks they can take their NDA alliance partners for granted, and simply continue from Modi 2.0, they’re in for a jolt. This time, the alliance partners have more teeth, the Opposition is stronger, and the citizens more vigilant. Herald View: Why it smells like victory image Lubaina Bandukwala, children’s authorFor the past few years, the Modi government had acquired an aura of invincibility. It seemed that one by one the institutions that governed our daily life had either become entities that created illusions (media) or entities that instituted oppression (universities, workplaces that would shame dissent). It was suffocating and fearful. I voted but it felt like a futile gesture. But as the first results started trickling in, I felt like a weight had rolled off my heart—I couldn’t focus on work, I kept going back to the counting. The little bloom of happiness grew through the day. I rejoiced not so much in the victories of the Opposition (that too) but more in the intelligence of my fellow countrymen who politicians can take for granted only that long, that far and no further. Voice An allegory

The story is of a girl who was unable to sing for a decade. She felt her voice being throttled, her throat felt as if it had many hands around it trying to strangle and silence her. A mob of people wearing orange robes and scarves was never too far from her. At the helm of this mob were a few men who dealt only in the currency of hatred and untruth. The mob was in thrall of the orange men and was made to believe they were invincible.

Then one day, after sustained effort by courageous truth-tellers who worked to unite a divided people that could not even see their own penury, a little light was visible at the end of what had felt like an unending tunnel.

There was a new spring in the step of people whose blindfolds had been taken away and there was the redolence of hope in the air.

The girl cleared her throat to try and find her voice again. She could not produce a faultless note yet. So, she thought she would learn to breathe again.

A deep breath.





SABITHA SATCHI is a writer and art curator

image Prabodh Parikh Some of us had internalised the scenario of living in a world radically different from the one we had inherited. The authoritarian regime had succeeded in silencing some of us with a fear psychosis. We accepted the fractured sense of being citizens of a nation that we were born into but could barely recognise anymore. We retreated, we learnt to play safe. And then, the citizens of this nation, from distant corners, from familiar neighbourhoods, with one stroke of their independent sense of humanity, brought us back into the world that felt like home, where we could begin to speak our minds without feeling cornered. As a young friend wrote, ‘The air is lighter since yesterday.’ Prabodh Parikh, poet and short fiction writer in Gujarati, visual artistAs I walked around, I could hear vendors, grocers, daily labourers, neighbours, caretakers, helpers, friends debating the results, responding like alert citizens, almost as if we were returning to the original vision of this nation, walking in the presence of Gandhi and Tagore, Ambedkar and Mandela, Buddha and Martin Luther King. I could hear myself singing: “Hum laaye hain toofaan se kashti nikaal ke/ Iss desh ko rakhna mere bachchon sambhaal ke...” Afterpoem

In the aftermath of the elections, seeing the darkness between the lights, I scribbled these lines, inspired by the Guatemalan poet and revolutionary Otto René Castillo’s poem ‘Apolitical Intellectuals’.

At last
the apolitical smartasses of our land
are interrogated
by the poorest voters of the Gangetic plains. They ask
what they did
while the nation
was humiliated, divided, looted, raped
and slowly extinguished, like a sweet fire,
small and alone

ANVAR ALI is a poet and lyricist who writes in Malayalam

image Aashya Abubaker-Kar Aashya Abubaker-Kar, curriculum designer at iTeach SchoolsJune 4 felt like the bursting point of all the anxieties and fears we’ve harboured for the last decade. I think seeing the results restored some faith in our democracy and our people. We have a long way to go, but I’m glad to be a part of this fight. Irwin Allan Sealy, author, most recently of 'Asoca: A Sutra'Mythology is the nightmare from which my country has awoken. image Hemant Divate Hemant Divate, Marathi poet and independent publisherThe 2024 Lok Sabha election result is satisfying. Maharashtra is rooted in the legacy of Shivaji Maharaj, Shahu Raje, Mahatma Phule, and Dr B.R. Ambedkar; Maharashtrians are born with the thoughts of these mahamanavas. We are born fighters—we fought against the Mughals, the British, and against all those who eroded our values and pride. The people of Maharashtra were resolute in their mission to remove the BJP and BJP-aligned Shinde Sena and Ajit Pawar’s NCP from Maharashtra to protect the Constitution of India. We thrive on our inclusive culture and multilingualism. We embrace the values of secularism, multiculturalism, democracy, communal harmony and mutual respect. We oppose all who attempt to divide and rule us. For those outspoken critics who live and fight by their pen, the words of the saint-poet Tukaram come to mind: ‘Witness the word/ He is God/ I worship Him/ With words’. We have proved again that Maharashtra will fight for India’s democracy. And that ‘democracy’ is not an empty word. image Denise D'Silva Denise D’Silva, co-founder, Hyphen BrandsI’m proud to see the return of democracy in the way we voted. Bharat Jodo was an exceptional idea and its effects are truly remarkable. This election is a moral victory for many of us and it shows that the power of the people cannot be underestimated. Bharat Jodo Yatra impact: Congress and allies gained 41 seats image Maaz Bin Balal Maaz Bin Bilal, poet, translator, academic2024 is a year of renewed hope, if not fulfilled desires. It teaches us, and hopefully the demigods too, some humility. That there can be victory in defeat and vice versa too. It reminds us of the power and wisdom of the wretched of India. That the struggle goes on, in words, and on the ground. That united we are stronger in diversity. image Timira Timira, educator and arts-based therapistAs an educator, I have always had open conversations with teenagers about news, politics and social complexities. Recently, a very troubled 16-year-old asked me, “Miss, do you really think India is a democracy? Do you think the people even understand what it means?” It hit me hard when I realised that a teenager in today’s ‘Bharat’ saw no reason to believe in democracy. On 4 June, I felt overwhelmed to find that our people had worked so hard to prove to him that we all understand it and own it with pride. image Venita Coelho, a novelist, screenwriter, artistModi may form the government—but democracy has won. The idea of a secular India that rejected all the venom has won. Those who want this government held accountable have won. The civil society that fought to keep this election untainted has won. A man who put in the work, who walked from one end of India to another, listening to the people, has won. I’m celebrating! image Sameera Iyengar Watching the analysis as the votes were being counted, some things leapt out at me. Rural India had voted for INDIA. Seats where Dalits had strength, where Adivasis had strength, voted for INDIA. Metros were overwhelmingly BJP. Sameera Iyengar, creative producer and theatre personThe contest was gripping, exciting and hope-giving, especially for those of us who desperately wanted a non-BJP/ NDA win or, at the very least, a strong opposition. We got what we wanted—but it’s important to recognise and acknowledge who got us there. Not us, the ‘educated’ elite of the country, but the most marginalised, the people who get the least care and concern. That’s something to reflect on. Herald View: Why it smells like victory
Loving Newspoint? Download the app now