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Yesterday, someone asked me to give three reasons to vote AAP. I understand that there is a lot of invented confusion, controversy and general mud slinging about AAP. The latest is BJP workers supporting pamphlets showing Arvind Keriwal as Osama Bin Laden, while Modi sly speeched him as AK-49. All this does sway minds. But there is plenty of verifiable information that no amount of fooling can hide. Luckily it is also the most important.

Here are five to ponder.

The birth and composition of Aam Aadmi Party

Aam Aadmi Party was born from popular discontent from existing politics. It aims to address the sources of frustration. It is easy to call concerns about price rise populist, but we have seen protest movements worldwide from the rise of inequality. The varied in intensity and result from the Occupy Movement to the Arab Spring, but the middle class has never risen so strongly in a long long while. The needs driving this are real. You can fool someone into thinking something. You cannot fool people into giving up comfort and contributing money and effort day after day for months on end without any guarantees on the end. There really are enough people who see the need to change the politics of India before it is too late.

And you see the difference in the composition of the party. Congress and BJP are offering you the same kind of candidates while promising better government. As Albert Einstein said...

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

What difference in corruption does BJP or Congress expect to deliver if it continues to offer a similar number of candidates accused in crimes, riots, and scams? What is the meaning of selling tickets or helicopter candidates that local teams oppose? Who will those candidates represent?

Ending corruption

This is such a cliche that I cringe to list it here, but I have to. Aam Aadmi Party in its short lived government took countless actions that removed corrupt officials from access to their established opportunities. Helplines against corruption, improvement in admission procedures, drastic reduction in bribery and more is of immediate relevance to you.

The FIR against Ambani, though it would achieve little in terms of punishing the collusion in increasing prices nationwide, served to draw attention and raise the alarm, which allowed the action of preventing the immediate price raise that would be sneaked up on the people to become public and be stopped till after the elections. Undoubtedly, it will not happen if Aam Aadmi Party comes to power, and whichever party comes to power will have the responsibility of their actions, but this successfully and I think for the first time allowed people a taste of direct democracy - of voting in their interest on issues that impact them. Do you think the price rise is appropriate or not? Vote accordingly.

There are very direct actionable things that are already hitting corruption where it hurts. So, unlike other parties, a BIG difference is that you don't have to vote for Aam Aadmi Party for it to fight in your interest. It will fight with whatever authority it has. As the government, it made officials accountable. It filed a cheating case as a way of attacking wrongs beyond its reach. Out of any authority, it approached the Election Commission to prevent a drastic price hike and at least give people the chance to fight it, instead of being "automatically" upgraded to inflation. It will fight with whatever it has in hand. It will fight as much as it can reach. It has no intention of stopping. It is YOU who has the opportunity to give them more authority and reach, if what it does is useful to you. I mean seriously, fighting inflation is not useful to who? Which other parties are even attempting to discuss such a serious issue and talking actions that will go into it instead of grand promises?

Tremendous tenacity

This is one dog that has sunk its teeth in the fleeing thief and it won't let go. They are unstoppable. I have come to believe this after fully expecting them to be defeated several times, and I have just accepted that they refuse to be blocked with the same tenacity that the political power cartels refuse to let go of exploiting the country for the profit of a few. They flow. Blocked one way, they try another.

This blog was formed to see potential for the common man with limited resources reaching beyond limits. One thing that won my respect was the Delhi Government punching way above their weight class with the FIR against Ambani. It has no authority over gas pricing. It has no control over how the country deals gas resources. So it got creative. It does have the power to act against their citizens being cheated, and the higher prices than due was cheating citizens. And they went with that, instead of moaning about what they would do if they were in power. That shook everyone and his cousin in the power cartels. The time to finesse corruption with sophisticated talk had run out abruptly.

So you have a new avalanche of the evils of AAP. Because it no longer remained about merely a Lok Sabha Election - which no one likes to lose, but isn't the end of the world, as it will happen again in five years. It was now about the death of a cash cow. It AAP was reaching beyond limits this bad as Delhi government, them coming to power would leave little left to loot by the time five years were done. Not to mention Ambani is a proud sponsor of the two parties attacking AAP as well as many of the mega TV channels. So the vitriol against AAP is not merely about the Lok Sabha Election, but about the whole business model collapsing.

Which is how you hear big questions about AAP targeting BJP instead of Congress, but when was the last time BJP threw ink on the Rahul Gandhi they hate so much?

That is the AAP effect. Much is at stake in stopping them, and they are unstoppable. And more and more people are coming to realize it.

The candidates

I am not going to feed you any statistics here. I urge you to look at the quality of candidates. How many scam accused have got tickets again? How many accused in serious criminal cases have got tickets? How come those accused in riots (that coincidentally consolidated Hindu and Dalit votes against Muslims) got tickets to contest elections? What popularity are they tapping into? How exactly are these parties offering to end corruption with the same kind of people who have allowed it to thrive year after year? How many are hand in glove with big business interests? How many have been accused of crimes against women? With the same formulas of triggering riots, hate, false slander about opponents... is this not the ugly India you were fed up of?

I am sure someone is going to bring up Somnath Bharti. I am not going to defend his actions in the drug and prostitution raid. I have criticized them on this blog. However, I am not convinced of the accusations leveled against him by Ambani's lawyer, Haresh Salve. The videos or witnesses do not speak of any public stripping of the women or being forced to pee on the street. The videos clearly show police presence. The action was still unwise, because people do not need precedents of leaders leading large mobs against women - even if the actions were not criminal, because the actions it sets a role model for cannot be predicted.

Regardless, a party that fields riot accused being all sanctimonious in this instance tells you all you need to, but I leave it to your judgment.

Somnath Bharti is not the only candidate AAP is fielding. Nor is he the only one to be accused of anything. Several candidates have been withdrawn in both the previous election and this one, when proof of illegal actions by them reached the party. Role holders in the party have been removed when it was found they sold tickets. The party is making a clear and transparent effort to offer you only the best.

Most of the AAP candidates are local to wherever they are contesting. Barring a few high profile "helicopter drops" - Arvind Kejriwal included - to challenge prominent candidates they want to defeat, all other candidates, to the best of my information are local people fighting for improvement wherever they are. You have civil rights activists, RTI activists, child rights activists business people, entrepreneurs, innovators, victims of state atrocities, journalists, and as of this morning, a Nobel Prize nominee. The mix is as diverse as the needs of the people they hope to represent.

It is up to you to decide who represents you better. All parties are offering. Take your pick.

Defeating existing power cartels

Regardless of who runs the country long term, at this point, you have most of the donations to political parties unaccountable and opaque. The donations accounted for include a large number of entities that have also profited significantly from government policies. There are politicians with businesses, business houses sponsoring candidates and parties, business houses owning stakes in channels and also channels affiliated with political parties, you have business journalists getting corporate jobs and vice versa, you have journalists entering politics and returning, and you have them mobilizing over and over to promote specific kinds of decisions. To make them in the Parliament, to opine on them in media to influence what people think is in their interest, to incentivize the whole thing well.

In a country of 1.2 billion people, media caters to the realities of 1%, influences the rest to believe that those are in their interest. People who earn well and dismiss inflation as reason for caution do not realize that as long as inflation grows faster than their salary increment, they are in reality getting poorer year by year, though fat incomes don't show weight loss that easy.

You have scams exposing these incestuous relationships over and over. You have scandals and leaks showing how law was manipulated. There is no illegality in these exploitations of the country. laws and processes are designed to give some the advantage.

You cannot break this while participating in it. This is why the existing parties may offer the moon on corruption, but they cannot end it, because you cannot pick up the stool you are standing on. You have to get off it first. What they can do is spin pretty words and tell people that it isn't such a big issue, and what they are offering is better than some dubious upstart party with god knows what ancestry. They can raise questions about evils done by its representatives to shake your faith. For example the "Somnath Bharti porn domain dealer" or "Somnath Bharti spammer" episodes. They are not true. But even if they were, how is it relevant to the country whether someone sent spam emails ten years ago? Particularly when it eclipses far more serious actions AGAINST the direct interests of the people of the country - like the reports on paid news, like the reports on Social Media to create unrest and trigger riots, like the rigging up of poll surveys to fool people into thinking some parties are more popular than they really are and some are less popular than they really are?

Do you not think with elections coming up, this is of more immediate and serious concern to a democracy? Illegal actions that may hijack people's voice expressed as votes through disinformation, danger and outright prevention?

It is time to rise, people, Aam Aadmi Party is a new party. If it goes wrong, there are enough crazies in it to rise against wrong doers within as well. They have done it before and they can do it again. There is no entrenched power here. There are no opaque funds serving undisclosed interests. What you see is what you get.

The question is, do you have the courage to take it?

An argument with a friend had be angrily declaring that schools are intellectual lobotomies and are turning a country with a rich heritage into the world's backend, and then into nothing. My views on our education system are no secret, but I am no enemy of knowledge.

I see the school system as a process of creating templatized people. "Masses" of literate people who can be put to work. Schools don't create geniuses. Geniuses found in schools are not the product of that school's education. They are the product of their own innovation that they managed to do in spite of spending time and energy on school.

Some examples off the top of my head.

Expelled/rejected from school/institution:

  1. Mobashshir Sarwar - India's youngest RTI activist
  2. Alan Moore - talented artist, famous for illustrating comics.
  3. Vybz Kartel - Jamaican dancehall artist, songwriter and businessman.
  4. Peter D. Ouspensky - Russian esotericist
  5. Karl Marx - German philosopher
  6. Albert Einstein - inventor, physicist
  7. Charles Darwin - theory of evolution and other scientific studies
  8. Steven Spielberg - need he be introduced? Perhaps to the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television - they refused him admission three times.
  9. Michael Jordon - rejected from his high school basketball team
  10. Dhondo Keshav Karve - 19th Century Indian reformer for women's welfare

Did badly in School/hated school:

  1. Isaac Newton - mathematician and physicist
  2. Thomas Edison - inventor, remember the light bulb?
  3. Winston Churchill - Nobel Prize winner, twice elected Prime Minister of UK
  4. Dick Cheney - became vice president of US
  5. Robert Sternberg - psychologist, President of the American Psychological Association.
  6. Charles Schultz - Peanuts comic strip [couldn't get any of his comic strips published in school yearbook]
  7. Ludwig van Beethoven - violinist, composer [including 5 symphonies after becoming deaf]
  8. Elvis Presley - singer, musician [also failed to impress music teacher]
  9. Rudyard Kipling - Nobel Prize winner, poet, novelist of Jungle Book fame.
  10. George Orwell - English novelist and journalist of "Animal Farm" fame

Dropped out or otherwise rejected formal education:

  1. Anand Bakshi - Bollywood lyricist
  2. Helen - dancer, actress
  3. Bill Gates - Microsoft founder
  4. Walt Disney - cartoonist
  5. Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of US [attended school in brief spurts on and off.]
  6. Lata Mangeshkar - singer
  7. Sir Jamshetji Jejeebhoy - Parsi philanthropist, merchant, Sir J J Institute of Applied Art, Sir J J College of Architecture, Sir J J School of Art are named after him.
  8. Charlie Chaplin - actor [he went to a workhouse at age 7 - school of hardships 🙁 ]
  9. Rabindranath Tagore - Bengali polymath, transformed regional literature and music, author of Geetanjali, founder of Shantiniketan
  10. Swami Dayanand Saraswati - Founder of DAV public schools

In other words, it is okay for your child to have more purposeful interests than school 😉

5

A collection of interesting quotes by various people and from a wide range of sources ranging from books to speeches and even Twitter on occasion.
misty idyll forest ukraine
misty forest in Ukraine. Image: Balkhovitin

More important than the quest for certainty is the quest for clarity. — Francois Gautier, French writer and journalist

So, my position is just that it would be immoral of me to preach violence to anybody unless I’m prepared to pick up arms myself. But I think it is equally immoral for me to preach nonviolence when I’m not bearing the brunt of the attack. — Arundhati RoyFebruary 2011 interview with Guernica

This cocktail of religious fundamentalism and a crazed, irresponsible, unaccountable media is becoming a very serious problem, in India as well as Pakistan. I don’t know what the solution is. Certainly not censorship! — Arundhati RoyFebruary 2011 interview with Guernica

Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about. — Prof. Randy Pausch,Last lecture: Achieving your childhood dreams

What other people think of you is none of your business

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. — Martin Luther King Jr

You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea. — Benazir Bhutto

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty! — Che

You cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that caused the problem — Albert Einstein

Well, I would like to tell you the rat race is over. The rats have won. — P. SainathLecture: The Importance of Citizen Journalism

Growing insensitivity is often the baggage of deepening inequality. — P. SainathDregs Of Destiny

If we draw a baseline in the last Ice Age, everyone’s conditions have improved. — P. SainathDregs Of Destiny

Read the press on rural India. You’ll be struck by the fact that—in the press—the rural poor almost never speak. They invariably ‘lament’ or ‘plead’ or ‘cry’ or ‘beg’ for attention. Sometimes, they even ‘wail’ or ‘weep’. They rarely just ‘say’ things the way the rest of us do. Because we have decided that that is the way they are. — P. SainathDregs Of Destiny

How agonized we are over how people die. How untroubled we are by how they live. — P. Sainath,Globalizing Inequality

As famous last words, those rank along side the Tarzan’s “Who greased the grapevine?” — P. Sainath,Globalizing Inequality

Then there are the ideologically insane. The members of the sect have no interest in either farmers or agriculture. Only in upholding their Gospel.For them, farmers are dying because they have not been reached by free market reforms. If more of them keep dying after they are reached, it’s because the “reforms have not gone far enough.” It hangs a halo of righteousness around wanton ignorance. — P. Sainath

Always speak, write, live your highest truth. That is how you grow. And if you get lynched for it, at least you have that glow. — Vidyut

None of us can do curing. We are not medical people, we don’t deal with curing. And by the way, they can’t cure either. — Moshe Feldenkrais

No matter how ruthlessly you curb free expression, truth survives breathing in between those bruised lines. — A S Raghunath @asraghunath

The death of our civilization is no longer a theory or an academic possibility; it is the road we’re on — Peter Goldmar

i like my people like i like my coffee ~ rare beans in broken cups — Angad Chowdhry @angadc

MEDIA is a crime scene – ALWAYS take screenshots — @barbarindian

Individual victims get vilified and denied justice in a macabre tug-of-war when elephants fight comprehensive battles in the courtyards of puny mortals. — Vidyut

The opposite of consumption is not frugality, it’s generosity. — Raj Patel

When the man moves on, the woman is the slut. — Vidyut

“media objectivity” seems like a fictional concept, like the Yeti. — Srikanth R,https://twitter.com/_R_Srikanth/status/156806745061203968

Democracy runs on public debate — Subramanian Swamy

With a sudden gush of mist winter arrives, streetlights ogle with sodium eyes — Madhavan Narayanan

In a democracy if two people agree on everything then one of them is redundant. So we have to learn to agree to disagree. — Subramanian Swamy@Swamy39

You see her body. I see her courage. You see her morality. I see her priorities. — Madhavan Narayanan,@madversity https://twitter.com/madversity/statuses/138134884668542976

Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires. — Re

Man is the creature who does not know what to desire, and he turns to others in order to make up his mind. We desire what others desire because we imitate their desires. — Rene GirardViolent Origins

My soul would have no rainbow, if my eyes had no tears — Aisha ChaudharyThe INK Conference

My suspicion is that we as a society didn’t want any change, and didn’t have the guts to refuse to change. So we put in systems that wouldn’t work. — Vidyut

Violence in the home normalizes violence in the street and in foreign policy. — Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem on Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It

It’s been said that the woman a man most fears is the woman within himself. Men are punished by being cut off from human qualities denied to them as “feminine.” — Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem on Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It

Because we genderize the study of childrearing as “feminine” and the study of conflict and foreign policy as “masculine,” we rarely see that the first causes the second. — Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem on Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It

No society is beyond reproach or beyond repair. — Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem on Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It

We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. — Whitney Houston

There are always alternatives. We like to pretend there are none, so that we can blame someone for our inaction. — Vidyut

Nations are composed of societies. Societies are made up of families. Families consist of people. The human being thus becomes the determining unit of life. — Vijay SimhaA Nation without mentorshttp://tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws060711VSinsideout.asp

The one function that TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were. — David Brinkley

There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it — Bertrand Russell

If you can conceive of morality without god, why can you not conceive of society without government? — Peter Saint-André

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. — Albert Einstein

Man is certainly stark mad: he cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen. — Michel de Montaigne

Civil disobedience, that’s not our problem. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem. — Howard Zinn

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. — Anatole France

When you philosophically oppose an entire power elite, you cannot help but sound like a conspiracy theorist. Social power is by nature a conspiracy. — Tom N

Our world is faced with a crisis that has never before been envisaged in its whole existence… The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe. — Albert EinsteinBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May, 1946

To reach a port, we must sail – sail, not tie at anchor – sail, not drift. — Franklin D Roosevelt

The job of the editorial writer is to go down into the valley after the battle is over and shoot the wounded.— Murray KemptonNew Republic

Opinions founded on prejudice are always sustained with the greatest of violence. — Francis Jeffrey

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. — Isaac AsimovSalvor Hardin in “Foundation”

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. — John F. KennedyIn a speech at the White House, 1962

There are always survivors at a massacre. Among the victors, if nowhere else. — Lois McMaster Bujold,Ethan of Athos, 1986

A “reality” that is unjust needs to be changed, not accepted. It should be no one’s fate to be taking abuse and giving care. — Vidyut

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. — John Lennon

Everybody pities the weak. Jealousy you have to earn. — Arnold Schwarznegger

I have been in a heterosexual world all my life and I have not been influenced by heterosexuality, how do heterosexuals get influenced by my sexuality so easily? — Harish Iyer

Never mind that the British decriminalised homosexuality 46 years ago, we’ve still stuck with their ancient law with the dogged enthusiasm of an engineer on his fourteenth IIT attempt. On the bright side, the corollary to that is that it must also mean that it’s still okay to call Mumbai Bombay. — Rohan Joshi,http://www.mid-day.com/columnists/2013/dec/141213-idiot-penal-code.htm

I measure the progress of a community by the degree of freedom which women have achieved. — Babasaheb Ambedkar

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self. — Babasaheb Ambedkar

History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them. — Babasaheb Ambedkar

I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity. — Babasaheb Ambedkar

Indians today are governed by two different ideologies. Their political ideal set in the preamble of the Constitution affirms a life of liberty, equality and fraternity. Their social ideal embodied in their religion denies them. — Babasaheb Ambedkar

If I find the constitution being misused, I shall be the first to burn it. — Babasaheb Ambedkar

 

On the 26th of January 1950, we are going to enter into a life of contradictions. In politics we will have equality and in social and economic life we will have inequality.

In politics we will be recognizing the principle of one man one vote and one vote one value.

In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value.

How long shall we continue to live this life of contradictions?

How long shall we continue to deny equality in our social and economic life?

If we continue to deny it for long, we will do so only by putting our political democracy in peril. We must remove this contradiction at the earliest possible moment or else those who suffer from inequality will blow up the structure of political democracy which this Assembly has so laboriously built up.

— Babasaheb Ambedkar 

I do not want that our loyalty as Indians should be in the slightest way affected by any competitive loyalty whether that loyalty arises out of our religion, out of our culture or out of our language.
I want all people to be Indians first, Indian last and nothing else but Indians.
 — Babasaheb Ambedkar

 

In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas. If the Vedas do not support the actions, instructions must be sought from the Smritis, and if the Smritis fail to provide any such instructions, he must follow in the footsteps of the great men.
He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought.

— Babasaheb Ambedkar 

Lost rights are never regained by appeals to the conscience of the usurpers,
but by relentless struggle…. Goats are used for sacrificial offerings and not lions.
 — Babasaheb Ambedkar

Free speech includes freedom to talk randomly and sound knowledgeable while being clueless. There’s a whole tribe that specialises in this. — Madhavan Narayanan