I had always thought they obviously were the same. Well, they’re not, not exactly.
In the very first moment, it might seem like an invalid and flawed query- obviously there’s no difference between the citizens of India and her people. It might not strike as a question of legitimacy, because, stating the absurdly obvious, each person with an Indian citizenship is a citizen of India. But it’s more of a moral dilemma- whether or not these very people with their right to vote can in fact practice all the other fundamental rights that come alongside with the Indian citizenship.
I had a great opportunity to get a new perspective on this matter in a rather interesting session with Mr. Amitabh Behar, an immensely well informed scholar in the matter.
To keep any controversies out of the picture, I’d like to play safe and wouldn’t call the right to vote “superficial” in any sort of way, but we need to accept the truth that the practice of this right doesn’t have any real direct impact on the lives of most people. And in many a case, voting is even used as a means of simply putting up a stand against a candidate by voting for someone else – people sometimes have an outlandish choice of supporting someone bad or someone worse.
Many a times the authority in charge, which in most cases is the government itself, is responsible for such crisis situations where people are treated merely as a source of support in critical times such as the ones around elections. Some political groups, sadly enough, have internal agendas that essentially thwart the idea of an informed citizen. Any citizen in his or her right mind will choose someone else over me, someone better – is the thinking of a political leader today, the contributor to the dirty lot.
From this very basic functioning of a government organisation could stem the fundamental idea about the difference between an informed citizen and an under informed individual. An informed citizen knows his or her privileges and civil liberties and more importantly, can practice them to his or her use. By equipping himself with the weapons of knowledge and awareness, a citizen empowers himself to at least challenge the authority in charge; if not completely take it down.
All in all, I would just like to add more weight to the point that a person does not essentially qualify as a citizen as such, (again, leaving out the technicalities) till the time he or she can actually assert his presence in the society by practicing his or her basic rights as a living being.