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The Ten Messages from the Victory of AAP in Delhi

Delhi Election Result: Dream Victory for Arvind Kejriwal's AAP, BJP Flattened

Arvind means ‘Lotus’ (Kamal) in Hindi. But, the BJP which proudly flashes lotus as its symbol, couldn’t imagine in its worst dreams that one day another ‘lotus’, called Kejriwal – long ridiculed and written off – would totter on the way of its proud victory march and blow away its whole rank and file like a hidden landmine. A new ‘lotus’ is born in Delhi through a historic mandate that would probably never be beaten in times to come. The victory of Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party is stunning, spectacular and full of messages.

The first message is that no one is a spent force in Indian politics. The only thing that matters is the capacity to hang on and to keep slogging one’s way through all adversities. The one who has vision and perseverance to implement his vision would see through the hardship to emerge victorious some day or other. Hence, in politics, just hang in the middle and leverage your opportunities judiciously to be the winner on your day. Arvind Kejriwal, once discredited and ruled out of the fray, proved that decisively. Mind, no one is out of the race – neither Congress nor Lalu, not even the Communists. They’re just biding time to rise from their ashes which one day, they will.

The second message is that key to political success is the ability of a politician to reach to the people in their own alleys. The Aam Aadmi Party had a people-centric vision and they planned things to implement that vision. While the opposition BJP – riding high on people’s mandate and money-power – made all sorts of noises about the ‘promised’ development on the television and social media, the AAP volunteers huddled back to the drawing board, drew a robust plan and went to the deepest alleys in the remotest corners of Delhi to reach to the last man from the marginalized section of society convincing them that they were their last hope. The people believed them because they found them well-intentioned, honest and approachable as opposed to the traditional politicians cut off from the masses and the ground realities. Tea with ‘Barrack’ is definitely important but no less important is to continue tea parties with people as well in the way Modi had been doing during the Lok Sabha hustings.

The third message is that while living in this world, you can’t hope to survive by living on the ‘digital continent’ rather you need to come down to face the people in flesh and blood. In today’s world, social media is a wonderful way of connecting to the people but in no way it’s a substitute of a face-to-face contact. Those who think that the social media and radio contacts would keep them well-connected with masses need a serious re-think on their strategy. Had it been truth, the BJP, with its highest presence in social media, wouldn’t have been beaten so badly in the highly urbanized constituency of Delhi with a cosmopolitan outlook. Hence, the message is – don’t shy; be among the masses to wipe their tears, something that only a hand can do and not a Smartphone.

The fourth message is that the public can’t be fooled long with empty sloganeering and political symbolism. They’re fed up of talks of development, growth, progress and results. They’re ready to wait; they’re prepared to give you time. But, don’t fool. Show honest intentions. Slogan mongering is good for entertaining the audience but they can’t necessarily fetch votes. To win votes you need to win people’s faith which requires honest efforts and plausible outcomes. Hence, the message is – If you promise, deliver; if you say, fulfill; if you commit, enact or else be ready to be swept out of your ivory tower of illusion.

The fifth message is that never trample the ambition and wishes of your grassroot workers. The politicians feel that they carry the goodwill of people. But, that goodwill emanates from the abilities of their grassroot workers, who keep trudging the lanes and by-lanes of hinterlands over years building up the aura around their leaders’ persona and generating goodwill. But, the leaders sitting pretty comfortable on this goodwill forget the importance and relevance of such grassroot workers and insulate themselves from the latter’s voices. Thus, they take arbitrary decisions overlooking their collective interests. The same happened in BJP, which parachuted an outsider in Kiran Bedi into CM’s position, totally overlooking the wishes of its grassroot level workers who had been working since decades in the party. The result was general dissension among the cadre leading to a considerable dent on their enthusiasm. Hence, the message is – abuse abundantly, but respects your men when they ask for it.

The sixth message is that the masses are kind; they forgive your blunders if you approach them with folded hands admitting your mistakes and repenting them over and over again. The same happened with Indira Gandhi after emergency in 1980 and the same happened with Kejriwal now. He bowed his head in repentance and in absolute subservience to people’s judgment. The public conceded the mistakes of Arvind Kejriwal and rewarded him with a handsome second-term. Hence, when make mistakes, admit instead of offering irritating justifications.

The seventh message is that the people, when silent, are most decisive. In democracy, politics is the last refuge of people; if you play politics with them, they will play politics with you. Hence, politicians! Beware of people’s mood and work for collective interest. Time and again, people have expressed their verdict in a decisive manner. Hence, don’t mess up with people mood. When they make up their mind, they punish decisively.

The eighth message is that the marginalized poors, the social underdog and the have-nots are a dominant force in Indian democracy and time and again they’ve proved that when given a free and fair opportunity to exercise their mandate, they speak up with their votes. This constituency, which lied orphaned after the sad demise of the Indian left after the 2009 general elections, was a big constituency to cater to. The AAP has stepped into the void and seized the electorate.

The ninth message is that a strong state, having a formidable mandate of the people will have a better bargaining power with a strong centre. Hence, it will result into the era of a better-run co-operative federalism with a new hope for development.

The tenth and the most important message is that a strong opposition sitting in Delhi is good for the politics as it will act as a constant spectre of defeat in the visions of the central government resulting in curtailment of autocratic tendencies in the leaders. The aura of invincibility around any politician is not a good sign for democracy. The constant fear of people’s whim will be the driving force behind performance. Moreover, periodic defeats are necessary for political parties for much needed course corrections as well as for removal of complacency from their word-views, which creeps in eventually.

Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2015

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Why Narendra Modi would ever remain a hated figure in Indian Politics?

Never in the history of India after independence, there has ever been a man so polarizing in his political appeal as Narendra Modi is. You’ll hate him or love him – you simply can’t ignore him; you can’t walk in the middle or sit on the fence unless you’re a morbid believer in the gospel that politics is the last refuge of a scoundrel. For this man in Indian politics, the zone of neutrality that lies between the two opinions has thinned out. His very name evokes passion – passion of all colours – adoration, eulogies, veneration, idolization, abhorrence, anathema and malevolence. He’s a name whose mere reference makes adrenaline gushing, fists clenching and jaws hardening – with boundless admiration and with fathomless hatred –depending on which side of the rope you’ve grounded yourself.

Modi’s admirers find a dozen reasons to root for him: They find him strong, decisive, articulate, meticulous and spot-on who is a no-nonsensical performer, a tough taskmaster and an inveterate crusader to his cherished causes. His assailants find twice the bigger reasons to lacerate him.

Though, the ferocious Modi wave blowing across the tropical Indian subcontinent appears to be an undeniable fact, an equally undeniable fact is that of an anti-Modi current – blowing on subterranean level, sustaining itself throughout the past decade and expressing itself through the various ideological positioning. The ultimate aim of this cryptic current is one – to nail the hot man of Indian politics on the cross of secularism and to darken his aura with the soot and dust of communal riots. In the nutshell, this subtle current wants to turn the man an eternal hate-figure of Indian politics and to sustain this image till he fades out of relevance.

The question arises why few prominent members of Indian intelligentsia hate Narendra Modi to the hilt? What makes them vilify the man? Of course, these people are not as naive as not to understand the intricacies of the judicial process or are as incredulous as to express their complete lack of faith in Indian justice delivery system. How the members of this intelligentsia, who have been witness to dozens of grievous communal riots happening during their life time that ended in deplorable and preventable loss of life and property and that smacked of governments’ indifference or, at times, complicity, lose its patience with a man, who is under constant gaze of judicial system? Maybe he’s probably the only man in the history of post-independence communal riots, who has been subjected to such a constant, undeterred and focused scrutiny of judiciary and media. Still, why they’re not ready to put up with a man who has worked his way up on the sheer strength of Indian democracy, which vows to empowers even the last man of society sitting on the lowest rungs of social hierarchy?

Modi is the real son of democracy and his rise personifies the strength of our political system. Coming from an extreme humble background and rising through the ranks, he’s achieved a fairytale success which is nothing short of a miracle; this miracle could happen on the sheer strength of our democratic values that provide opportunities even to the person from the lowest strata of society to rise to the highest level in political hierarchy. Maybe, Modi is only the second person in the history of post-independence India after Lal Bahadur Shastri, to have risen from the ranks of extreme humbleness to the highest level in political leadership. He’s a true democrat; all through his way, he got people’s mandate and won resounding victories in successive elections. Thus, undeniably he’s the son of a true democratic tradition. He’s not a dictator, nor a swindler of power; then why a section of the Indian intelligentsia, civil society and media abhor him?

The answer lies in this very power of democracy. The answer lies in the challenge that a section of the intelligentsia faces through the rise and ascendance of a common man in the system. If democracy empowers someone, it cuts privileges of many others – if it adorns some with crown, it cuts many others to size. Exactly this seems to be happening with the ascendance of Narendra Modi to central corridors of power. As he comes within a touching distance of the PMO in the South Block, many feel threatened; they see in it the defeat of an idea – the idea of elitism.

In the upper echelons of society there exists a close-knit group of few powerful individuals who dominate different sub-systems of the society – the politics, the media, the civil society and the cultural institutions; this happens to be a zealously guarded group whose membership is defined by its own subculture and new recruitment to this group is restricted by its own prissy values. This group may be called ‘elite’. In an ideal condition, positions in different sub-systems of society are filled up from this pool of elites that constitutes the upper stratum of society. However, at times, some individual from outside this circle of elites come to challenge the domination of this privileged group of people. This leads to conflict. In those times of crisis, the members of the elite group unite against such individual and use all the firepower in their arsenal to finish the challenger once for all. The members of this elite in politics, media, civil society and cultural institutions declare a war against the person in their own way and use their respective powers to hound him out. They use all their might to make the attack multi-pronged and decisive under the garb of some catchy ideologies like communalism. This is just what has happened by arrival of Narendra Modi on national political arena.

Modi, by throwing a huge challenge to the throne of New Delhi, has disturbed this group of elites, who feel threatened and, at the same time, belittled by his persona. The elite class, which takes pride in its Oxford-Harvard credentials, rich genealogy and impeccable mannerism, is disturbed by a lower class usurper of power whose only credit to success is his hard work and merit. The members of elite hate him because he doesn’t look suave like them, doesn’t talk in English like them or doesn’t behave immaculately like them. Thus, they believe he’s a swindler and use polemics as a weapon to smash him down. The political elite calls him dictator, the elistist media paints him communal, the civil society dubs him intolerant and the cultural institutions brand him fascist. Thus, all of them have opened wars from their respective fronts to debilitate the man beyond redemption. They’re using polemics as strategy and hate as a tactics. They believe in the power of lie and falsities and use it as a massive tool to fight their unconventional war. It’s a boxing with gloves off – a little hit below the belt would do the trick. Afterall, this is a battle of survival; this is a battle against the challenge of a modest man to the might of the elitist class – the values of the latter is at stake.

Thus, no surprises, the elites of India would keep hating him deeper and harder keeping the bogey of communalism and intolerance alive.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

New Year 2014 Wallpaper

As the year 2013 bows out, we’re set to welcome a new dawn – the dawn of 2014. Each outgoing year passes out and yields to a New Year, which is welcomed with customary hope, fervor and panache. People long and pray that the New Year may bring them happiness, peace, prosperity and all round wellness. But, soon the excitement over its newness wears out and people find themselves stuck up in the middle of the same status-quoistic circumstances.

To the majority of us, nothing changes with New Year; a New Year hardly means anything more than changing the calendars and shuffling dates in them. We turn a little older or come up with a little more greying or thinning of hairs, but our material conditions and circumstances determining them remain the same. This, over the years, goes to bring up cynical streaks in our worldview; we grow up into becoming crabby, nagging, and contemptuous humans where cynicism defines the core of our existence and pessimism clours our subtle consciousness.

But, this time around, the New Year has been a different ball game. The dawn of 2014 has been a momentous event in the history of Indian politics and democracy that carries the potential to revolutionize our collective existence in the society. In this dawn, a man has risen from the ashes of 2013 to demolish some of those stereotypes of our socio-political order that make us cynical, pessimistic and hardbitten about our circumstances. Yes, we’re talking about Arvind Kejriwal, the hero of a new-age Indian polity who shows incredible promises to cleanse the cesspool of Indian politics. He has comes up as the harbinger of wonderful changes in politics and society. He’s been the greatest discovery of 2013 and the most coveted gift to the masses of Delhi from the outgoing year. Though he’s won just an assembly election in a tiny state like Delhi – which, crudely speaking, is nothing more than a demi-state fighting for its long battle of full statehood – the tremor of the event is being felt all across the length and breadth of the nation. Afterall, never in the history of Indian democracy a political party has come to power without taking refuge to the parochial slogans of caste, community, regions or dynasty. He’s broken new grounds in Indian politics.

The psychological impact of the victory of the Kejriwal-led AAP is unfathomable throughout the nation. People have suddenly discovered faith in politics and have found meaning in democracy. They feel that governance can be improved, system can be changed and politics can be refined. People have discovered their unfeigned power under democracy and have found their true worth in the system. Now, a good number of people find politics truely engaging. They feel that politics and democracy can be a puissant weapon to take on the numerous malaises afflicting the nation in form of poverty, illiteracy, casteism, communalism, corruption and various forms of extremism. People are excited over the development and feel that soon the dream merchants of Delhi would get their teeth into governance and would never lie down on their job.

There is a sudden burst of hope, zeal and gusto around politicians; there is a growing conviction that democracy can be calibrated to create the structure of a system that can become the proverbial government of the people, for the people and by the people. In the nutshell there is a feeling of renewed hope, expectations and optimism that marks the beginning of 2014. People are in the grip of an exalted feeling of happiness, cheer and bliss. There is an air of feel good and a collective sense of euphoria over the prospects of seeing changes in our collective situations and circumstances around us.

The New Year comes with new hopes, new opportunities and new possibilities.

Happy New Year!

Krishna Kumar @ Thought Pourri 2014

The Pied Piper of Delhi: History Lies in His Momentous Existance in Power

Thousands thronged the historic Ramlila Maidan on the sunny noon of 28th December to witness a great historic moment unfolding; it was a moment that carried the promise of changing the character of Indian democracy like never before. The hero of the moment, Arvind Kejriwal, who had upstaged a stunning debut in the Delhi’s corridors of power, was walking up the stage with six of his chosen marauders, who had slain veterans in the just concluded electoral battle of Delhi. Leading his pack, he climbed up the stage with somber countenance while his mind seemed focused on something far away from the immediate sight. Maybe he wasn’t thinking of the maddening crowd or of their victory chants or galvanizing placards eulogizing him rather he was thinking of the challenges ahead – the challenges that were made bigger by heightened expectations and, far more than anything else, by his own towering moral standards. Soon, he was uttering his oath with grit, determination and scrupulousness; after all, he meant each word of it.

The hero of the moment had well realized that the days of fiery speeches and lofty sloganeering were over and now it was the time to act. He always talked of action; while crying down the government of the day in streets he bandied about thousands of innovative ideas on governance and decreed that a will power to ACT on those ideas are the key to achieve swaraj. And now, it was his time to act on those ideas; it was his time to implement his cherished swaraj. At the moment, it was that element of action that was weighing heavily on his mind.

This darling of democracy had always been reiterating the view that governance is not a rocket science. And, of course, it is not. Governance is simple execution of few commonsense solutions as well as ruthless execution of few daring ideas that carry the potential to ease as well as revolutionize the socio-economic existence of the citizens. It doesn’t require geeks and policy wonks with crude technical expertise to make lofty plans rather few committed individuals with steel in their spines to implement some commonplace solutions aimed at common welfare. Looking at his and his team’s level of commitment to bring about the professed changes, it can be said that it should not be difficult for him to achieve those targets. The political environment is buzzing with innovative ideas; all it needs to have someone who can seize upon them and ACT on those ideas.

Here, the AAP leaders need to step in and prove their worth. The odds are stacked against them – They’ve come up against a hostile opposition, have no majority in the house and are still terrible greenhorns in politics; moreover the onus of governance has fallen upon their unprepared shoulders in the most unexpected manner by a conspiracy of circumstances and not by their own sweet volition. They were not yet prepared for the role; the electoral outcome caught them slightly off guard. Yet, they’re willing to take the bait; they’re willing to shoulder the responsibility. They’re the heroes of a new political order, the rising sun of a new dawn coming over the democratic landscape of 21st century India. They will rise and shine to the occasion. They’re heroes and heroes show their characters in adversity.

Many say they would fail but still they wish to give success a chance. They’re determined to give good governance. If they fail they would like to go down taking the battle in the enemy’s camp. They would expose the opposition; they would expose their unholy designs in bringing down the government. Hence, they have nothing to lose. They’re the proletariat of democracy in the 21st century India who are out to dislodge the formidable czars of power. They’re set to reformulate the political discourses of our time and are destined to redefine the agenda of modern politics. They will redefine the political morality and will dictate the terms of democracy on their formidable rivals in the days to come.

It has been a matter of a great political debate that how long will this government survive. Germs of destruction have been set in its very foundation. Well, the great experiment of the Amm Aadmi may come out to be a short-lived affair but it is going to change the tone and tenor of Indian democracy forever. The politicians will no longer remain the distant figures cut off from their surroundings, the politics will no longer be a byword for sleaze, dirt and scandals and the democracy will no longer remain the fiefdom of few dynastic despots or casteist-communal demagogues; the rules of the game will change forever.

That’s why the ascendance in power of the Aam Aadmi Party, which embodies the collective anger, frustration and disenchantment of the nation, is a unique moment in Indian democracy whose importance lies in its momentous existence in power. History lies in these very moments. It’s outcome is not that important.

The dreams of the Pied piper of Delhi will come to reality sooner or later.

Krishnakumar@ThoughtPourri 2013

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