Update : Well, I am not sure if I would still prefer Mayawati over Advani but her recent mis- deeds like spending crores of taxpayer money to build her own statues, the recent attack on Ms Bahuguna's house etc clearly indicate that I was wrong! However, the gist remains the same (minus Mayawati) so i am not deleting it! :p
Check out my friend Meera Sapra's cartoons on Mayawati
I know speaking in favor of Mayawati is considered a blasphemy by the literati (my bro recently asked how an educated person like me could support her ! ) but lets get some facts straight.
India has generated wealth enough to propel an Indian to being the richest man in the world (even if on a very short term) but its also home to a third of the world's poor. Don't you think something is grossly wrong? Aren't economic status, caste distinction and power-share interlinked ?
As The News Week has pointed out, caste-based division in Indian society is far more deeper and larger than the racial divide in the US. Post election we are most likely going to have a very fractured mandate, tribals and other indigenous population in different reagions are up in arms against development plans and Naxalites rule over a large swathe of land extending from Nepalese border to Andhra Pradesh. If you think all is well with the current system, you need to seriously introspect.
Finally, this is a transitory phase in Indian politics, so maybe we should look for ways to redistribute wealth and political power equitably. In fact it is political power that is the key to social equality in India in the present time. Affirmative actions like reservations have helped economic upliftment of Dalits but socio-politically they are still pariah, returning them their share of political power is the only way to achieve social equality. As for many of the apprehensions that Mayawati may make drastic reversals in foreign policies etc, history bears testimony to the fact that once installed on the seat of power, even the most vitriolic leader starts behaving responsibly (Modi is an exception but NDA policies during its term is the most befitting example) (Also its what Peter Parker's dying Uncle says to him "with great power comes great responsibility" :) )
And yes, we do need sort "movers and shakers" that momentarily upset the established class-based social structure. If this sounds preposterous then let me remind you that the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi, Mandal were 2 issues that changed the face of Indian politics forever without hindering the pace of development in any way. It merely shook the foundation of the seats of power of feudal lords-turned-politicians who considered themselves invincible because of their command of primary loyalties of sundry groups, evoked by emotive and often parochial and almost always non-progressive issues. The period was pretty chaotic but so is the case every time a new order is in the making.
If you look at the number at the number of Naxalite attacks on polling centres this election it seems quite ominous. Call them brigands and robbers as P Chidambram does but the simple fact is that farmers, craftsmen, foragers do not take up arms unless there is deep-rooted discontent and rage against the established order, within their bosoms.
P.S.: I have been thinking of writing on this since a long time but couldn't get around to doing it. However, while leaving a comment on fellow blogger/twitterer Aakriti I found that I had enough content to post as a new entry! So here it is :)