Adult Franchise & My Rant About It

It's that time of the time when elections are held in India, unless Deve Gowda/VP Singh decide to do a quick round of musical chairs and make a fool out of the entire country - aka Elections..and mind you - this is not just 'yany' election - it is the BIG 'UN!

My rant today is about the ridiculous thing we have in our country called 'Adult Franchise', which was initiated by Rajiv Gandhi, for quite obvious reasons, aka youth vote bank - educated or uneducated, is again a question in itself.

Quite interestingly, my initial thought was to introduce the concept of 'Adult Franchise', and therefore, like all other things, I decided to Google it, when to my surprise, the first result that was thrown up defined it as follows:

Voting age lowered
From 21 to 18.
Victory of youth.
Victory of democracy.
No, No, No.
This is not so.
It is the conquest of the politicians.
We are merely contraceptive condoms.
More condoms in the hands of politicians.
They use us for their gains
And throw us in a vacant dustbin
After the use.

Anyway, not sure what the message was there, but a quick definition of 'Adult Franchise' is - the right to vote once a person has attained 18 years of age. I have 3/4 points against this concept, which I will list down here quickly. A quick disclaimer though - one argument presented here is that all the points denote the narrowing of the voting population in the country and might not necessarily be something that any government in India will be able to do in a million centuries, but they're my thoughts on what it should be/have been. Please bear with me.
  1. Attaining 18 years of age does not necessarily certify you to be of 'sound mind'. Nowhere in the definition of this term is mentioned about the fact that you at least need to be of 'sound mind'. Therefore, a retarded person/mentally challenged person also has the right to vote. I wonder how accurate this person's judgement would be.
  2. You cannot get married at the age of 18. The underlying reason (apart from the fact that you should be studying) is that a person cannot handle the pressures of supporting a family at this point in his/her life. Ok - am in agreement. But, does this mean that at the age of 18, this same person is expected to handle matters of the nation by electing a suitable representative?
  3. Why is '18' such an important number. Why have an adult franchise based on age at all? Why can't the adult franchise be based on the education qualification of an individual. We have tests for IPS, IAS, Law School, IIMs, heck - even before we get admitted into primary school, we have to give a certain test. It's funny that we are being asked to choose the leaders of our nation and yet the government/constitution doesn't care what is the caliber/capability of this individual? People should either be asked to give an IQ test before voting (a quick 3-question test), or anyone who has graduated from high school (class 12 equivalent) should only be allowed to vote.
  4. Better still, more logical, but narrowing it further down (which might not necessarily be bad for the country) - why shouldn't only the taxpayers be allowed to vote and choose the people who are going to handle their hard-earned money that they pay in the form of taxes to the government. This would constitute only ~4% of the population, but clearly, this is the population that funds the country. Why should a person who swindles all, earns cash/doesn't earn at all be given the right to decide who should handle the taxpayer's money and what should be done with it?
Would love to hear your thoughts. Blurt now!


Amit Agarwal said…
I agree with thought process and the problem but not necessarily with the solution. Literacy and education are two different things. High school pass does not necessarily mean a more informed citizen than a illetrate but aware citizen. I do not have solution either but education seems to be the only hope.

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