Skip to main content

Aam Admi Party: We The People

“I ain’t never gonna be scared no more. I was, though. For a while it looked as though we was beat. Good and beat. Looked like we didn’t have nobody in the whole wide world but enemies. Like nobody was friendly no more. Made me feel kinda bad and scared too, like we was lost and nobody cared…. Rich fellas come up and they die, and their kids ain’t no good and they die out, but we keep on coming. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out, they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, cause we’re the people.”
Ma Joad (John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath)


In an interview given hours before announcing his candidacy against Sheila Dixit in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal had given a glimpse of his belief system. He spoke about how it has evolved from a child’s religious leanings into an agnostic life of a youth in the IIT and now exploring a new found faith – where destiny and circumstances lend space and time for a cause much bigger and complex than what mere mortals could conjure up. How else could Arvind explain the phenomenon of harnessing the yearning of a billion nobodies of a nation who have been oppressed and enslaved for centuries to a force that is poised to change the political destiny of India? It’s not any ideology imported from the west, but a tacit acknowledgement of a consciousness he has seen awakened in the battered and the harassed.

Shock and Awe

One could see Arvind engage anyone with a question with absolute clarity of thought and earnestness to share what he thought to a degree of exhaustion. On the other hand you could see the politicians and their proxies squirm uncomfortably at his questions. He hurt their egos like nobody else did. Their sense of self-righteousness and entitlement has been badly damaged when Arvind’s words went straight to the millions of people who were in a quest to articulate their disgust and a way out of the labyrinthine rut of political edifice.

The political class regardless of their size and affiliation are now in shock and their confusion is palpable. Suddenly they are not special anymore. They undergo spasms of self-doubt. Their fear of discomforting possibility of the loss of mystique that separated them from whom they’ve ruled appears real now. Their understanding of the world order is crumbling. For the first time, the ruling class cutting across all brands is scared ever since their original colonial masters, the British imperialists helped establish their brown supremacy to exploit their own countrymen in the garb of governance. The awakening of consciousness in common man is the ultimate threat to the political elite and the sons and daughters of their class like the Rajes, the Scinidias and the Gandhis. The people can now easily see how small these selfish hoarders are and know that they will be brushed aside soon to make way for the future.

The Awakening vs. An apolitical pipedream?

The fiercest critics of AAP, especially left leaning intellectuals harp on the term apolitical to define the movement – meaning the party is a ramshackle expression of faux outrage, cult following devoid of any serious foundation of sound ideology. They dismissed the movement predicting an imminent demise. But the stunning debut in Delhi shook the pundits of traditional politics to the core. They are at a loss to explain the phenomenon.

What ideology better than Swaraj as envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi would suit Indian ethos and model for an equitable and inclusive growth? Arvind himself has written a book titled Swaraj. The common folks in Delhi however have figured it out already. They understand that the democracy in India has a structural problem as highlighted when each case of corruption has been fizzled out at the altar of democratic institutions. They realize that the Constitution of India gives the framework for good governance. They know that there are several solutions to one problem and they have a say in choosing what is right for the common good. They debunked the myth of expensive elections by financing the process themselves. They after all voted in Delhi for a good candidate irrespective of his or her identities such as religion, economic and political stature and caste. Traditional politics with its caste, cash, top down high command calculations and irrelevant ideology have been put on notice.

Politics in India is not a cynical exercise of right wing strategists or leisurely activity for liberal intellectuals anymore. It takes place in the middle of throbbing crowds in markets, places of worship and entertainment in each cranny of the country. They always longed to take back their long lost rights to a just and dignified everyday life from the corrupt and regressive political class. The difference now is they know how!


 Men who have created new fruits in the world cannot create a system whereby their fruits may be eaten. And the failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow. ...and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”


- Grapes of Wrath

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Padmarajan: A Loss in January

[Malayalam Movie director and writer 1945 - 1991]

Padmarajan died in a cold January, untimely. He was in a hotel at calicut, in the middle of a celebration of his latest film Njaan Gandharvan (I, the celestial enchanter), in 1991. It was as if audience of the show was subjected to a dismayed silence, and the show was stalled. I for one who had just begun waking upto adolescence and the charm of his creative genius, felt the void, instantly.

Padmarajan started his career as a writer. Unfortunately I have not read any of his books. I know him from his films. If the literary quality of his films is anything to go by, they must be a world to discover. In fact like most of the films, his first film was based on his own novel Peruvazhiyambalam (The grand roadway Inn, 1979). The movie tore down the mythical fence between popular and art house movies. He pioneered the middle of the road solution for commercially succesfull good films and began a short lived golden period of malayalam films alo…

Kunhunni maash

Kunhunni maash was an archetypal teacher of children and adults who have an open and earnest mind of a child to learn. No one has distilled knowledge and enlightenment to the degree of simplicity that he so effortlessly achieved. It spread like sunshine for decades over many generations of young kids who not only soared in their imagination about the open sky he unleashed, but learned the secrets of goodness and being kind and appreciative of mother earth.

For the twenty years I who read his(Kuttettan) editorial notes and advice to budding writers in the Children's Section (Baala-Pankthi) of Mathrubhumi magazine and having met him under a tree along with other students at school, felt the irrevocable loss of his long shadow. It's not just the charm of old world that is lost; I believe it is more than that. I doubt if we can ever find such fine folks anymore who can clear the gloom and guide your spirit to all that is worthy of life and living.

He was a short man. His poems were …

Ophelia - death by water

One of the most tragic and haunting images from Shakespeare plays that you ever read would be that of Ophelia lying drowned in the still water. She lay in the glassy stream weighed down by the viscous gravity of her tunic, unable to wade through the whirlpool of worldly woes. An image that is so earthy, erotic, deathly and saintly gleaned effortlessly from Gertrude’s soliloquy (from Act 4 Scene 7):

There is a willow grows aslant a brook, That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream; There with fantastic garlands did she come Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples That liberal shepherds give a grosser name, But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them: There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke; When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide; And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up: Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes; As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a crea…