Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kejriwal and his times

Kitne baazu, kitne sar, gin le dushman dhyan se, haarega woh har baazi jab khelein hum jee jaan se” went the lyrics of the 1989 not-so-popular film, Main azaad hoon. Protagonist, Azad played by Amitabh Bacchan hits out at the sorry state of affairs and lands up wrangling with none other than the baddies of our life, the politicians. Before being slammed by charges of being invidious, let’s make it clear that what lies at the heart of this plunge is to understand that yes our country is in fact witnessing a peculiar kind of churning, whether we are inching towards our ambitious goals of overtaking the world by 2020 or recapitulating back to the political tumults of the 70s is something which shall become clear with every passing day.

According to the journalist, Ashok Malik, the ongoing phase is in fact India’s share of gilded age when the robber barons and wily political honchos are being challenged publically like never before. America endured it in the years preceding 1900 and has been able to cover many loopholes ever since. Though, Chomsky might pop with yet another blooper committed by the helmsmen, thanks to the travails of the War on Iraq, not to forget the 2008 recession and growing joblessness among the American youth. Times here in India are truly charged up in a similar fashion. At the center of it all is a former bureaucrat who is the Indian avatar of Julian Assange, unleashing slurry of exposes and irregularities at every level, with both the National level parties landing in a soup like never before.

Turmoil like these is however not new for India, for quite long a phenomenon that has recurred is the emergence of a party by grouping of the Congress dissenters. JB Kriplani’s Kisan Majdoor Praja Party (KMPP) in 1951, Rajaji’s Swatantra Party in 1959, Jagjivan Ram’s Congress for Democracy (CFD) in 1977 and the more famous ones being the Congress (O) and Congress (R) in 1969 (with O standing for the old guard being led by Morarji Desai and R standing for the requisitionist or the loyalists of Indira Gandhi), these were factions that wanted to be released from the clutches of the Congress. Arvind Kejriwal in that sense seems to come with no baggage at all. He’s not here to settle any scores the rabble rouser is at the moment making the most of the OB vans to turn the electoral tide in his favor.

The vision statement of his party is nothing less than a soft board replete with many thought provoking stick-on leaflets. It talks about Direct Democracy, getting rid of red beacons for the wining candidates as also establishing the Lokpal, the original idea from where it all began. Now all this might give an ordinary citizen a high for a while one should know that handling the odds of a highly pluralistic society like India has never been that easy.And unfortunately the unnamed party's vision is nowhere near to suggesting the cure of all ills. His supporters might argue for some  more time as the process of building base at the grass root level has just begun. Fair enough only as long as the audience is not bored of the tamasha called public expose.

 So yes my mind does echo the concerns that Mr. Kejriwal should start pitching in his ideas on building the nation. A faint possibility might be that perhaps all that paraphernalia is being saved for the 2014 campaign, would be waiting for you signor IAC!

Arvind is the cynosure of byte collectors these days for the RTI revolutionary has a lot to spell out other than Kejri-leaks.  The only achievement of Kejriwal Inc. shall lie in breaking the omerta of the political circle, that being not to raise a finger at the Gandhi clan, it’s not even half the battle won. Remember our 24*7 channels have recently given us the food for thought, why not have debates in India in Romney-Obama style! Before we can really head towards that, political aspirants as also those who are veterans, you got to have some substantive policies, issues and remedial measures to debate upon. A Candy Crowley for that matter might be stupefied by the hilarious comments our political champs make about sensitive issues such as rape and denigrate women with their archaic outlook.

The battalion of muckrakers should also be aware of the fact that these are the times of coalition politics. Caste still dominates the voter's mind when his index finger is inked. Corruption might not be a relevant issue for every section of the billion population. So the troupe of Kejriwal would have to diversify their approach and harp upon offshoots of red tape, may be even a few unrelated courses too. Definitely, the guttersnipe has a long way to go,as the 3rd rate people watch in anticipation.