On elections

From Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a few thoughts on the 2009 Indian elections.

Parliamentary elections would be held at the end of April, and middle- and upper-class people, especially young people, were registering to vote in record numbers. Affluent, educated candidates were coming forward with platforms of radical change: accountability, transparency, e-governance. While independent India had been founded by high-born, well-educated men, by the twenty-first century few such types stood for elections, or voted in them, since the wealthy had extra-democratic means of securing their social and economic interests. Across India, poor people were the ones who took the vote seriously. It was the only real power they had.

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