Education of public opinion!
Aam Aadmi Party: before and after the Delhi Dharna!
An appeal to the Indian middle classes and the Indian youth!
Is this the Indian democracy you wanted?
To fight corruption and usher in good governance?
This is not a political journal. This is an education journal. As such we have to be clear that our education is far and wide. It covers the education and creating an awareness of the common man, the citizens and the various classes of people, the aam aadmi, who form the bulk of the population, who live not just in cities and slums but also in the rural country, here again the bulk is not fully literate, there are various stages of illiteracy and literacy and so we have to look at public education and public awareness of the vast majority of the population.
Now, when it comes to the education level of the people, we can have detailed statistics.
In the latest book by Professor Sumanra Bose, “Transforming India: Challenges to the World’s largest democracy”(who teaches at the London School of Economics) he gives some broad picture of what India’s population size is and what is the size of its middle classes.
In one line, of India/s 1.21 billion people on date, by about 2030 India could be the rising economic power, as China is today “as per the US National Intelligence Council for long term forecasting.
So, now with Arvind Kejriwal revealing his true intentions, how far we can take for Aam Aadmi party’s declared aims to emerge as an alternative governance option?
He is neither an anarchist nor a serious ideologue of any other description.
He might have won the Delhi Assembly elections in a dramatic manner.
But to take him seriously as an alternative party leader is very premature, at best and very shallow at worst.
The Indian media, specially the electronic media, has gone overboard to give all the time to him for the simple reason that he is good draw of viewers and that is why he is looking larger than his real size.
The print media has already noted that this time when he sat on dharna in the Delhi Street he didn’t draw as much public crowd, the middle classes and the youth too didn’t come forward in any great numbers.
We have to wait for some time before critical assessment of the crowd might come in. Already, some preliminary data (as done by the CSDS data) shows that if an election to the Lok Sabha is held the AAP might not get more than 4 per cent of the votes.
Yes, it might be very small players when the chips are down. The point is that anyone can start a party in such a large country, a large democracy and fight an election and even win power in some contexts.
As already M.J.Akbar had pointed out in a TV interview that in fact the predecessor to Kejriwal is Mamata Banerjee in W.Bengal where she diplaced the 34 year hold of the Left rule. The pity is that she replaced, again, in a dramatic manner, in a street-fighting manner and won the admiration of many sections of the people, including disproving such intellectuals like Amartya Sen who, in an irrational and unexplained manner always stood by the Left rule in his home state.
Why the poverty and backwardness of the state under the Left rule didn’t stir Sen’s conscience?
Even now, the real pity is that Mamata too, in a very similar manner, is not proving to be a good alternative to the Left’s many misdeeds and holds her state to ransom, in an ironical manner.
The poor human development index for the state, the state of infant mortality, malnutrition, lack of primary education and other essential services like electricity, drinking water etc doesn’t stir the conscience of great minds!
That is the tragedy in India. The tragedy of insensitivity and power-hungry nature of the average politician in India today. The political class in India belongs to this insensitive category. That is why corruption flourishes in such uninterrupted manner under all regimes. There could be exceptions.
In fact, many such instant parties and instant victories we have seen in India. TDP, Sivasena and many such caste, racist and separatist parties and outfits.
Tamil Nadu is a case in point for such instant parties, emerging and merging and disappearing!
At the all India level, new parties, new labels have a long history. This history starts with extremists of the Right and the Left, as well as to sound ideological parties of great leaders from Charan Singh to George Fernandez, V.P.Singh and even such veterans like Ramakrishna Hegde, not to speak of many others. They experimented with new parties party splits and even succeeded and yet they couldn’t hold on for long. So, the question arises: how long Kejriwal would hold on? And, in this fashion?
In the case of Aam Aadmi party, it simply doesn’t have a firm ideology. It is not firm on any basic issues like economics, society and religion and even the very nature and belief system of politics.
You are neither right nor left, neither democracy nor parliamentary democracy. You say direct democracy! How is that possible in a country that for the past 67 years is functioning on a parliamentary system, there is a written Constitution, secularism is our core belief and there are very many other rights and freedoms of the citizens, quotas in education and jobs.
There is basically the rule of law. You take oath under the Constitution, pledging your commitment to defend the Constitution. Within days of taking office, you stopped with cutting the electricity rates, providing drinking water and then? You take to the street in a fit of crisis when one of your ministers was found to have done some unpardonable things.
What the entire society, the country, the middle classes and the youth of Delhi think of your style of governance?
There is a long history of democracy, parliamentary democracy. There are long histories of political parties in other mature democracies. The British, American, French and German parties are more than hundred years old, as the Indian National Congress.
Also, there are Constitutions, now they are there in almost every modern country.
So, now for you, a new entrant, to come suddenly, as if from nowhere, some of the new enthusiast, yes, they are activists with good intentions and after winning a state assembly elections with less than needed number for an absolute majority, your third or fourth day is given to this drama of sorts on the public roads of Delhi makes you what?
A symbol of seriousness or a symbol of playful chaos and also creating such violence and injury to the unsuspected youth and the middle class members.
May be in the days to come your real intentions might come out.
But one thing is certain. You have to fall in line. You can’t be a law breaker for long.
Indian state is very sound; its laws are very well-established. Its governance traditions, with all its limitations on par with international practices.
The whole world admires Indian democracy.
If at all, we, Indian citizens have only to look at how the India’s neighbours are grappling with their own democracies, we needn’t name them all. Why, even in distant countries, in South East Asia, in the Middle East and why even in Europe, in Russian neighbourhood, people want to live in democracies without foreign interference.
Democracy, with free elections and Parliaments, free media and with many freedoms, religious freedoms etc people want to live in dignity and freedoms.
For all these countries Indian democracy is a great inspiration.
Also, more important, India is a big country. As we pointed out in the beginning India is compared with China and USA and Japan seek our strategic partnership for ensuring international peace.
In such a broad scenario the AAP seems a minnow!
Yes, the AAP is mere squeak when compared with more established parties.
Please do realise the enormity of the task and the challenges ahead Mr.Kejriwal!