Canvassing at the NSA Election In 1968, As a Result of Which the UHJ Dissolved the NSA And Requested a New Election – Guest Article

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The process of Baha’i elections, as we all know, is completely different from the methodology and practices of elections in other political systems. At least, it is what the Baha’i authorities usually explain. The Baha’i Guardian has stated that if politicians’ election methods are followed, misunderstandings and divisions would occur, turmoil and confusion will result, mischief will prevail, and God’s confirmations will be shut off from that Baha’i community. Given these dire warnings, wouldn’t a devout Baha’i go to great lengths to ensure that the purity and spiritual integrity of Baha’i elections be preserved? But, regrettably, we view things differently. Although we see these things occurring in the Baha’i community with every year with every other election, the only difference is that measures are done just once in a while.

A former counselor explained that somewhere in the early 70s, there was a huge canvassing in the NSA election. UHJ wrote to counsellors that they should decide on the problem right away. Because of the gravity of the situation, it was decided that all of the Counselors should travel to India. The five Counselors met with India’s National Spiritual Assembly to assess the tragedy’s impact and organize the next Convention’s convocation.

The news was then relayed to the public, culminating in the announcement of the Supreme Body’s penalty against Dr. Bhargava, Mr. Vadji, Mr. Lad, and Mr. Tripathy. It was the clear instruction from the Supreme Body that the reasons for the reconvocation of the National Convention and the re-election of the NSA should be defined, and the delegates to the Convention should be told of the sanctions imposed on them. Mr. Rahmani and Dr. Salmanpour also joined the meeting, and the matter was fully explained after the inspection was done. It was written to the Supreme Body that indeed there was ‘corruption’ and ‘collision’ of monetary machinations in India, with a direct link to Mr. Vadji and his utter humiliation.

The absent delegates’ ballots were one of the major elements publicly recognized by NSA members. The center of canvassing is the area where the majority of delegates are illiterate, either completely or partially. Traveling instructors are frequently hired to accept ballots, and it is here that electioneering, canvassing, and other nefarious activities take place. If a lot of delegates from the south of India want to attend the Convention, they will have to travel three days by train to New Delhi, necessitating at least a week to travel and remain in Delhi. For laborers, growers, and low-wage staff, this is exorbitant. Despite the fact that the NSA covers all expenses and lodging, the delegates from the South will have a difficult time attending the Convention. Bhopal and Gwalior are home to the majority of the delegates. They are greeted by visiting teachers. Unfortunately, there are a few illiterates within this group. Electioneering’s multifaceted ramifications may clearly be sensed in various areas. It was also thought that Mr. Lad would initiate entangling activities and contemplate to gain an accomplice in his venture. And Dr. Bhargava would recede presently, but finally, he would join Mr. Lad and create trouble, particularly in regions such as Bihar and Gwalior. It was also said that looking at the potential of these two members, there should be consideration and tact so that these members do not react. So, where was the spirit of Bahai Election, it shows “Mighty wins the Race.”

The same practices are still rampant but with the knowledge of the Supreme Body who sees that if the desired members are elected on the NSA, they overlook it. But if undesired elements are elected, then they ask for their resignation citing malpractices.

Mr. Oliya was being elected on the NSA for many years with all the above-mentioned malpractices, but he was still allowed to continue. However, Dr. Ahmed Ansari was an undesired member, so he was asked to quit.

Mrs. Farideh Vahidi and Dr. Moghbelpour were also considered undesired members and were asked to quit.

It should be mentioned that the preceding occurrence occurred about 50 years ago, and no such action has been taken since then. If you ask any Baha’i, they will tell you that similar things are still happening around them throughout the election season, but no one is doing anything about it. When you observe certain inexperienced or immature Baha’is participate in electioneering, whether publicly or surreptitiously, it is the job of the Counsellor present to stand up and aid in the eradication of such inclinations and the purification of the Baha’i community from such bad influences. Rather than being drawn to mimic them, you should resolve to help in the eradication of such inclinations and the purifying of the Baha’i community from such bad influences by right administrative means. Only then will we be able to cleanse our system of such atrocities as Baha’is.

-Former Member of NSA OF INDIA

Reference : The Caravan, Volume 6, Edition 1

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