The Aam Aadmi Party, as a concept, represented, for the first time, a hope for this nation to finally see the light of honest politics. Arvind Kejriwal and Company seemed to say all the right things at all the right times. With the likes of Yogendra Yadav and Prashanth Bhushan on board, good politics seemed to find the right strategic thinking. But, if the men and women at AAP are as smart as I think and hope they are, now is a time for a little soul searching.
The Reality of the Common Indian
India is a country that grapples with critical poverty of good thoughts and attitudes. The biggest challenge to the implementation of welfare policies is not corruption, but the lack of alignment of thinking at various levels with the principles behind the policies. Corruption emerges, because once the welfare policies are perceived as a joke and a non-necessity, opportunistic minds want to make the best of the situation. However, the underlining issue remains that for the ordinary Indian, concepts like equality, women rights, equitable distribution of income and wealth, are neither easy to understand nor easy to implement. Save for being abstract concepts on the pages of our constitution, these concepts seldom translate to ways of life on the ground. Heart of heart, the ordinary is a good soul, whose goodness has been forced to go underground by centuries of difficult circumstances. Given a choice, the Indian wants to break free of the shackles of misogyny, consumerist behaviour and selfish ways of life, but doesn’t know if it is the right time and lacks the skills for freedom of this nature. The need for leadership emerges in this context and ever since our independence, we have seldom seen sustainable leadership of this kind emerge to address this need.
Arvind Kejriwal did a fine job of representing the fatigue Indians feel about conventional politics. But, he is still a man who has much to learn. Humility and Simplicity, which was the USP of his campaign, was never tempered with assertiveness and passion, which is one of the critical traits of a good leader. His attire, appearance and way of speaking have therefore inspired humour, instead of inspiring a following. While many accused our own Prime Minister of toeing the line of the Senior Congress Leadership, Kejriwal stands charged with the analogous offence of toeing the line of the people, without standing by his own values or by the rule of law and the constitution.
A Movement Out of Control
However it is the next leg of my argument that will perhaps be controversial. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP is proving to spin out of control by making it a movement of the masses. By opening the doors of the party to anyone willing to join, a Pandora ’s Box is open for the anger, rage, discontent and disgruntlement of the Aam Aadmi to come out and find access to the weapon of numbers. Any movement, built on anger and rage, is bound to fail, because positive change cannot emanate from negative schools of thought. Kejriwal, sans passion and assertiveness, cannot reign in these bunch of vagabonds and therefore the clashes with the BJP workers, I suspect, is only the start of a lot of mischief to follow.
Let us understand that the ordinary common man is not a born leader. The ordinary common man in this country is in fact a victim of authoritarianism and tyranny, at home, at school, at college and at work. For him, AAP can represent means of displacement, a way to feel power and assert control in a lifetime spent grappling with the lack of them. The Aam Aadmi is not sensitized about the constitution or the rule of law. This is one of the significant reasons why he is both the victim and the perpetrator of all the problems that we face today. Gandhi, being the man of foresight he was, saw this and was therefore unrelenting in his response to the Chauri Chaura incident. But the Aam Aadmi Party, in its endorsement of the likes of Somnath Bharti and the workers who clashed with the BJP, have strayed far from the path of moral high ground and continue to nurture this anger, all in the hope of garnering votes.
What India Needs
Mr. Kejriwal wouldn’t have the courage to suspend his campaign the way Mahatma Gandhi suspended the Non-Cooperation Movement (1/2) — Chashme Baddoor (@ImChashmish) March 6, 2014
How is this any different from the cheap manipulation that other political parties indulge in? What I want to see in the Aam Aadmi Party is a strong and aggressive reprimand for the actions that led to the clashes with the BJP party workers. What India needs is a leader bold enough to tell the population when they are wrong. I want to see a leader who never shies away from telling the population to either fall in line with the constitution or face the music. To summarise, India needs a leader of calibre, who can balance his duties towards the population on one hand, with his duties towards the values on which this nation was founded. In that leader, lies salvation for our masses. If Kejriwal is listening and reading, are you that leader, sir? By Ashok G.V. Also See: The People Want Honest Leaders – Reader’s Voice An Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal