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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chp 483. Mizoram Elections - the great divide

So Mizoram Assembly Election 2013 is finally over, and after extensive coverage by the Indian Media franchise (sarcasm much), we now know Congress (INC) has retained their political power back home.

The final tally:

INC – 33/40
MDA (MNF + MPC) – 7/40
Others – 0/40

The result shocked many, because none of the leaders of any of the political parties other than INC won in their constituencies, and apart from that not even a single candidate from the extremely hyped ZNP (Zoram Nationalist Party) won a single seat! ZNP could be what one would say an equivalent of the AAP back in Delhi – not because of AAP’s agenda of rooting out corruption or a party formed out of people’s frustration with the government, but rather as a third choice for the people to choose between the two main political parties in Mizoram – Congress and MNF/MPC.

And yet, ZNP didn’t win a single seat.

If one was to go by the mood of the online Mizo presence, one would have assumed ZNP had already won the election. They fielded candidates who weren’t strangers to the public. Respected men from respected professions.  In fact, from many of the online polls conducted where people were asked who they’d like to see as the Chief Minister of Mizoram, from a list of Lal Thanhawla (INC), Zoramthanga (MNF), Brig T.Sailo (MPC) and Lalduhawma (ZNP), an overwhelming majority voted for Pu Lalduhawma. And yet, as we saw from yesterday’s result, he didn’t even win in the two constituencies he contested in.

That revealed a lot about us, I must say.

First of all, let me just say I’m no political analyst. I’m just a simple blogger in Mumbai seeing this whole election process from my own point of view. This is nothing but a personal opinion.

What I’d like to point out is, there is indeed a GREAT divide between Mizos who are online and those who aren’t.

As some people said, INC won because of their NLUP scheme. A majority of voters who voted for INC aren’t your typical internet savvy user. Well, typically speaking, your average internet user isn’t exactly the type who would require an NLUP scheme, but this is democracy, where the majority matters, and one cannot ignore the need of the majority.

Whether NLUP is good or bad for the development of Mizoram in the long run, I am not getting into that debate here. What I’d like to point out here is about the immense buzz created by ZNP in the online world. Facebook groups were abuzz with the ZNP wave, pages and profiles dedicated to various ZNP candidates were created on various social media networks. And this wasn’t any such “Cobrapost Blue Virus sting” types at all, this was done by people who volunteered for free. I personally know many of these people riding the ZNP bandwagon and they did this out of their own volition.

Sadly, most of these people I know are also staying outside Mizoram, hence making them nothing but armchair activists. And in the end, what matters the most are the people who ARE in Mizoram, voting. Pooof, burst the ZNP bubble.

Later, after so much campaign followed by such a shocking defeat, one of my closest childhood friends whose dad also contested under a ZNP ticket and lost, posted this status update…

Literal translation: The ZNP hurricane blew across Mizoram so hard that it blew away every ZNP vote :D

Though I feel sorry for him, it’s really nice to see him taking this in the right spirit. Wishing his dad all the best in the next election.

What we can learn from this election is that, it really doesn’t matter much voicing our opinion on Facebook, because the online world is not a reflection of the real world. If one needs to change anything, rather than wasting one’s time online, it’s better to go down right to the grassroot level and be there physically to make the required changes for the people.

This is quite different when it comes to Delhi. Before the election, the comment section of various news sites were flooded with AAP and BJP supporters. Congress supporters hardly made any noise. And as we all saw from the Delhi election results, BJP and AAP made that same noise with a good number of wins. The online-offline reaction is consistent in that case, but when it comes to Mizoram, we still have a long way to go to bridge the gap between the online and offline world.

My friend Benjamin here in Mumbai wrote this status update and I think he really hit the nail right on the head.

I guess what I found the most amusing about the Mizoram election results was reading all the comments regarding the Mizoram election at various news sites… Most of these comments were made by people who have never been to Mizoram or have no idea what life over there is like, but they will nevertheless run their mouths off.

But then, I wasn’t that jobless and had no time to respond to the negative comments… I mean, if we let our time and productivity be affected by everybody on the internet, we’re not going to progress at all. These two images still make me smile today :)

Today being a slow day and I happen to have some free time, I thought I’ll quickly round up some of the ridiculous comments I saw yesterday and day before yesterday… I cannot find most of those comments now, maybe they have been deleted or I’m looking at the wrong sites, but here are some of them…

I think it was at TOI where somebody commented, “Not surprising the Anti-Hindu Congress won, because Mizos are Christians. They don’t even allow Hindus to celebrate Diwali in Mizoram.”

This is partly true and partly a gross slander. Slander because the Mizo govt. had never banned anyone from celebrating their main religious festivals. Partly true because in Mizoram, all loud crackers and rockets etc have been banned permanently 24/7. Back when I was little, I still remember how we used to light crackers, bombs and rockets on Christmas and New Year. The Govt had banned that too, much to the disappointment of many Christians. So, the issue here is not the religion, but the fact that this loud noise pollution disturbs the old and ill, hence the ban.

Another person commented, “It’s high time Mizos wake up and stop these Hindu haters from coming to power. What are the other parties in Mizoram doing?”

This is so freaking funny, because currently, Congress is the most Hindu friendly party in Mizoram. The commenter had no idea what had been happening in Mizoram for the past few months, where the opposition MNF and MPC had been continuously protesting about the Chief Minister for putting a “tilak” on his forehead at a function, breaking a coconut at another event and celebrating Hindu festivals with friends. The CM calmly defended his action, saying India is a secular country where everybody should respect every religion. Many people also said one of the main reasons why MNF/MPC lost, apart from the NLUP, was that people were tired of them trying to play the Christian card in order to appeal to the masses, which apparently did not work.

And then of course there were the ground realities, like the fact that since Mizoram is a small state, a Congress win would hardly make a dent in the Centre. True, but then, the way these trolls stated it out can be quite insensitive to us…

I also saw a couple of comments like “NOBODY CARES” as the top most voted comment on posts related to Mizoram Election updates, which are now deleted. Kinda reinforces the fact that instead of bringing Mizos closer to mainland India, people are just alienating us further and further away.

This one is priceless…

Dunno why there is so much hate on us “converts”.  Urrmmm… does the commenter have any knowledge that long before the missionaries came and converted us, we ever NEVER Hindus? We were headhunters who worshipped spirits, the forest, the sun etc. Animists. We fought regularly with other clans and chop off the head of enemies which we then proudly displayed at our homes. The guy with the most number of heads was considered to be the bravest and most respected warrior in the village. The missionaries came and educated us and civilized us. Sure, if people hate us converts that much and want us to go back to our former beliefs and practices, I actually don’t mind that. Would be cool to be a headhunter once again! Urrrrmmm… may I chop off your head please?


So that was it, my small observation with the Mizoram election. Wish I could comment on many of the other such comments about Mizoram Election currently there on the internet, but like I said, I’m not wasting my time every time somebody is wrong on the internet. Lolz.

Have a nice day, cheers.


This Mizo Girl Says said...

An interesting read yet again. Thumbs up.
I had to laugh when I saw the two pictures about someone being wrong on the Internet cause I too spent a lot of time being irritated and trying to reply to the comments of the non-Mizos who made false and bold claims about Mizoram and the Mizos. It's ironic that some people think they know more about Mizoram than actual residents :)

Unknown said...

well observed...did you have any help??? but urrrmmmmm...headhunters??? Not!!

Mizohican said...

@ Rini Tochhawng: No help :P and yes headhunter :P

@ Sangi Chased: Thanx for the comment :) and yes sometimes it is irritating, but one cannot correct everyone all the time.