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Election and the village woman
A Ganesh Nadar in Panickernadarkudirepu, Tamil Nadu
The largest democracy in the world goes to vote next fortnight. And it is a nation that lives in its villages. It is the villager who decides who will rule and it is always the city folk who use the MPs and ministers for their own benefit.
Deep down south, in interior Tamil Nadu, the fields are green, the folks are gay. Since it is winter, the Sun God is controlling his fury. The villagers are enjoying an unusually cool winter.
A young girl, barely 18, has two leaves pinned prominently in her hair. They stand out among a few flowers. The two leaves symbolise the AIADMK. Obviously, elections are round the corner.
Yet, some of the women didn't even know about the fall of the United Front government. Others turned aggressive the minute you mentioned politics. But most had already decided who they would vote for.
Murrukku paati (grandmother) said she always voted for the most popular candidate. "I will vote for whichever candidate most of our villagers like," she said.
Muthu said, "I'll vote for Sonia because she is a woman." Obviously, Jayalalitha does not fit into that category.
Though married, Kasthuri always votes for the candidate her father selects.
Prabhadevi was in a bitter mood. "This vote will not change my fate. I am not going to vote," she says.
Janaki was confused, "When are the elections? I didn't know there were elections. I always ask my husband. I don't know anything about politicians."
Geetha said, "My husband always decides. I think, this time, we'll vote for the BJP."
Jyothi said she wasn't going to waste her time voting.
My wife said she'll vote for Sonia. "I feel sad for her."
Uma was also going to vote for Sonia. "She'll be the next Indira Gandhi," she said confidently.
Sumathi was going to vote for the BJP because her husband liked that party.
Chandra was going to vote for the DMK because "the Congress is useless,"
Bhupathi is a traditional Congress voter. Why? That's something even she does not know.
Jeyam is waiting to see the candidates before she decides.
Rasathi: "I'll vote for my husband's choice. How can we support different parties when we are one?"
Selvi said she would vote for the DMK, her mother wasn't interested.
Avaduthangam shooed me away as she was busy milking her cow.
Bama always goes to vote. But she hasn't made up her mind yet as to the candidate as yet.
Rajakani and Periamma said they had better things to do than vote. Kala, Kilavi and Vasumathi also agreed that voting was a waste of time.
Dhanam and her mother said, "How can you ask us about voting when we don't know our candidates yet?"
Chellama will vote for the BJP, because her husband is a VHP worker.
Dhanalakshmi likes Sonia.
Asupathi hasn't decided, while Sowmya prefers Jayalalitha.
Devi said, "I'll vote for Jayalalitha, though I hate all politicians."
Rathi said, "I'll vote for whoever puts a street light near my house." She probably thought the panchayat elections were on.
Revathi had some strong words, "I'm not going to vote. They are all scoundrels. Why should I help them to rob the people?"
Suppamma had a similar retort, "Why should I vote? Are they going to feed me?"
Swaying the female villagers's votes wasn't going to be easy. It is the age of satellite television and they seem to know the facts, yet are too lethargic to do anything about it. Getting them to the polling booth will require a lot of effort.
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