Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Mock Election for Real

Venue : Village School,Khairadeep,Aurangabad,Bihar
Date : A Month of April Probably,Year 1993
Time:Classes Resuming after Lunch Break

HeadMaster : We shall study the The Chapter of Bal Sabha today.
(Bal Sabha is a concept that was introduced by Bihar State text Book Corporation to make primary students familiar with election process in a playful manner.)

As was the custom,students read one paragraph each followed by Master Saab explaining
the paragraph.The concept of bal sabha was thrilling enough for these 4th standard Kids who were not even in there teens.Mohan,a student of the class was feeling restless to say something.He was the topper of his class and a favourite of Master saab.

Mohan : Master saab,can we organise Bal Sabha in our School?

That's how it began,the kids were about to have their first tryst with something called election.Excitement was in the air.Hurriedly,whole of the school was summoned inside
the only hall or room in the school.Kids were happy to have got relieved from studies for the remaining day.The process was explained to everyone,everybody had to write the names of the candidates they wished to endorse.

Master saab asked for candidates to come forward.Mohan being the one who proposed was the obvious choice,a girl surabhi also came forward and the process kicked off with 100 odd voters and two candidates for the post of Prime-minister of Bal Sabha.
Counting was done by master saab himself and mohan emerged winner.

HeadMaster:Boy's a prime-minister is helped by his cabinate in carrying out his duty.We'll have our cabinate too.

Some posts were created by Master saab for the cabinate and he himself handpicked the post-holders too.The posts were :
Bagwani Mantri
Safai Mantri
Prarthna Mantri etc.

Surabhi was Made Bagwani Mantri and Bal Sabha started funcioning from next day onwards.Surabhi,being the bagwani mantri ensured that she collected all the varieties of flowers available in the small village and get them planted inside the school premises.Safai Mantri took care that school campus was properly groomed every morning and ensured the participation of each student.He also proposed "Leepai" every thursday for the campus(Leepai is done with a mix of cow-dung and water on the bare soily surfaces,considered auspicious).This was the most popular move,as every student
involved in leepa got a official permission from master saab to have a dip in canal flowing by so that the students could get themselved cleaned of cow-dung on their bodies.Swimming in canal was always a popular activity among those school kids.

With flowers blooming and the campus cleaner,the mood in school was festive.The kids found their first encounter with the democratic process called election more than good.However,they were told by Master Saab that it was a mock election and they should see the real ones too.

A few months later,assembly elections took place in Bihar and the same school was choosen as polling booth for a couple of neighbouring villages.The kids having grown a little older were eager to watch this 'real election' with the memories of the
'mock election' still fresh in their mind.

A few gun shots,hooliganism and extremely tense faces,this is how the real election marked their first impression on kids.As they grew older further,more of such 'real elections' were held. The memory of Bal Sabbha\Mock elections gradually got replaced by that of Real Elections.

After some 16 years later,on the eve of another real election,one of the kids
remembers his first encounter with election(though a mock one) and wishes
"If my first impression could have been the last too".

P.S. : Mohan ---> The Author

1 comment:

nP said...

that is how life is. but being an escapist is neither good, nor practical. you have to face it, with all it's wrath. obviously, you don't have a choice. Maybe it's Mohan's turn to change a few things around.