The IAC movement started at a time when I had given up on India, believing that we are going to turn into a total hellhole and become some third world country magazine story of unbearable despair before anything changed – mostly because there wouldn’t be anything left to suck out of people.
I’ve been skeptical that a political party can bring change. Mainly because our government does not operate in “constitutional” ways. The facade engaging with people talks pretty while putting to work anonymous affiliates to erode the demand in other ways. And it is hardly something limited to Arvind Kejriwal. Remember the mega back stabbing on the Freedom of Speech protests? Remember the tribals vocally reject Vedanta only to have to protest again after their outright refusals for Vedanta’s mining anywhere in the Niyamgiri area were “declared that their religious and community rights were confined to their villages and did not extend to the entire Niyamgiri hills range”?
It is hardly an isolated case. Nationwide, people’s movements are protesting something or the other. And long and hard battles get reverted to status quo on whims of the powerful entwined with media and mega corporations.
Whoever believed that Aam Aadmi Party could just waltz in and everything would change overnight was hallucinating. It is going to be a long struggle fought every inch of the way. Anything else would have been done already.
So I am not really bothered about “exposes” about how Pakistan and ISI fund the Aam Aadmi Party or how Somnath Bharti was a porn site dealer or how changes brought about by AAP are being reversed. The latest being the electricity waiver.
If the existing power cartels wanted it to happen, there would be no need to form Aam Aadmi Party. So the reversals and declarations of “Unconstitutional” don’t bother me. I know who amends the constitution and I know who can amend the constitution if need be. It is hardly to be expected that people interested in hoarding power would make it “constitutional” to distribute it to people. Of course many things will be unconstitutional, and there will be ways around them too.
A new reality is being written. To expect that it will have “out of the box” support is absurd. Much hacking will have to be done to ensure that democracy 2.0 is compatible with citizens.
The Aam Aadmi Party has the resilience to not take the “unconstitutional” to mean “impossible” and you see them returning in different ways approaching the goal from various angles. Sooner or later something will be constitutional and will stick. See the 4 year struggle for the Janlokpal Bill. See the numerous ways it got approached. See the radical choices made in its pursuit from joining politics to walking away from power and now contesting National Elections. And know that “picture abhi baaki hain”. Sooner or later, they will return with enough numbers for their vote to stick. Sooner or later they will return in enough numbers to parliament that “unconstitutional” hurdles can be amended.
And it is no use pretending they are conning people. People have known all through what the party wants, and the delays are only raising impatience and increased determination among people to push it through.
At one point I had believed that India couldn’t be fixed without armed revolution, and perhaps not even with it. I had not expected it to happen in my life time. To even see credible attempts sustained at blocks designed to wait out any impetus for change is euphoria. And it isn’t just me. All sorts of people are engaging with the party. Every new round of accusations brings new sign ups. Every defeat brings more donations. Every weakness pointed out finds experts emerging from the masses to shore it up and raise the bar. And the Party is continuously seeking knowledge.
It would be a mistake to continue evaluating AAP as a normal political party. It has managed something strange. It continues to be a movement. It is now activism for governance sweeping through the country and uniting all with a simple promise – of letting them speak for themselves. You have Kashmiris intersted in AAP as you have tribals and the anti-nuclear activists. You have media professionals and businessmen involved and retired Army officers. There are all religions and no religion takes any particular importance. The candlelight marchers and the autowalas they haggle with. Musicians and comedians. For once, the focus isn’t winning rights against someone, but influencing country to thrive, and encouraging all to thrive. Never mind the politics, I have yet to see any spontaneously formed organization able to accommodate so much diversity of India without even noticing it is doing anything special.
As I write this, the news is fresh that Lt Gen H S Panag has joined the Aam Aadmi Party. So what was that criticism about security again? You think he can help the policy evolve?
That is how the party is growing. Like Harry Potter’s admission letter from Hogwarts. One fails, two arrive. Two fail, four arrive and so on, as long as it takes, till all there is, is the message.
As someone who observes the social and political space in the country, I think there isn’t enough serious analysis of the impact of the Aam Aadmi Party on the nation beyond the few parties yammering away at headlines. There is more potential and there is potential to replicate such models in other aspects of the country as well.
Ever thought of crowd funded television media or open content medical research that can rapidly be collaborated, improved, peer tested, challenged transparently and manufactured with full “capitalistic” competitive market? Who knows what is possible if we let go of the “known devil” that isn’t working?