Why The Indian Politician Promising Trips To The Moon Isn't As 'Out There' As You Think

The upcoming elections in the Madurai South constituency of Tamil Nadu, India, have gained a good deal of viral attention in recent days, thanks to the outlandish promises of one of its candidates.

33-year-old Thulam Saravanan (pictured, right) — who is running as an Independent and who otherwise works as a journalist for a local newspaper in the region, per the Indian Express – has entered the elections offering a litany of amazing perks: "I have promised a helicopter, 3-story house, 300-feet artificial iceberg to make the constituency cool, rocket launchpad in the area, a car to every household, 100 gold sovereigns for women for marriage," Saravanan told ANI News. "Moreover, I also promise to take voters to the Moon. Yes, all these are my promises."

Saravanan, who was filmed by NDTV spreading word of his promises via flyers in his home constituency, first came to international attention after he also posted the details of his campaign on Facebook.

So as the would-be politician makes headlines for offering voters 100-day-long lunar vacations, there is one question everyone is asking: Is Thulam Saravanan serious?

Thulam Saravanan's not-so-subtle message

Western voters are cynical enough by now to know that our politicians lie to us. As George Orwell argued in "Politics and the English Language," the language of politics is "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind," even more so during electoral campaigns, when promises can be made to potential voters with very little recourse if the politician or party fails to deliver once they get into office.

This problem is also rife in India, where, as well as outlandish policies, it is a common practice of campaigning politicians to lure voters into their camp with the use of extravagant events and free gifts, making Indian elections some of the most expensive in the world, according to Vice. 

As such, Thulam Saravanan's campaign — the symbol of which is a wheelie bin, a "symbol of honestly" and of cleaning up the political system, per Dazed Digital – is intended to satirically raise awareness of the corrupt nature of such campaigns. "I made such promises to tell them that they should choose honest politicians without being lured by freebies," he told Vice.