Thursday, November 28, 2013

I support AAP

On a recent Delhi trip, the following comments were heard repeatedly - 

"Politics is a dirty game played by dirty people"

"Yeh saari parties ek hi jaisi hain, imaandaari se yahan kuch bhi nahin ho sakta" (On the sting operation against AAP before EC gave the clean chit) 

"You are a fool if you believe that yeh saare ke saare honest hai"

Yes, i am a fool. I am an optimist, a romantic and a person who has not given up.  Politics is a crooked game has become the tautology of our times. AAP has taken this challenge to counter this statement If you ask me name just one reason why support AAP, it is going to be this one. 

A few months ago, a lot of people including me would not even dare to enter politics, leave alone the case for running as a candidate. From the economic angle, it seemed that one must be atleast a crorepati to run for an election. From a social standpoint, this mere thought was a nightmare primarily because of its security concerns. Harassment calls, death threats are a norm. One can prepare for a security threat against oneself but when it happens against your near and dear ones, one begins to question everything. For those few who are able to brave the social and economic fronts, the third dimension, the most fundamental one, the ideological dimension is the most complex one to choose. To a wanna-be volunteer or candidate, there is no hope here. 

The Pragmatic Reality
The days of ideological politics are long gone. There are no more debates on right vs left wing, no more arguments on big vs small government. The mantra has changed to - "Whatever it takes for us to get reelected". This short sightedness and inability to make the tough decisions has brought a sense of resignation. It is amidst this backdrop of faithlessness that AAP offers a solace. I am tired of choosing lesser of the two devils. I abhor the fact that it has come to this choice in the first place. The ideology of AAP does not fit the classical definition either. As the postmodern philosophy movement is evolving to a more pragmatic and action oriented one (see Pragmatism) , AAP is following a similar trajectory. AAP understands that no matter what ideology you adhere to, corruption does not fit in it. Infact, to put it the other way around, as long as there is corruption, there can not be any ideology. We can no longer side-step this menace and hope that over time it will go away. This is the pragmatic reality of our times. 

Democracy is an experiment and it always will be. It lies on an assumption that people know what is best for them and they will participate together to decide on their future. But, this assumption is no longer true for the times that we live in. Politics and our value system are at opposite ends. The quotes above tell a tale of the level of distrust that we have towards our institutions. The irony that it is these institutions who govern us is lost on us. Over time, our repeated disillusionment has turned into a silent resignation. 

Trial and Error
AAP is challenging this thought. It has taken decades to reach this pessimist conclusion, it will take more decades to get out of it.  AAP provides a viable alternative, a way back to reclaim how things should be. To bring back the notion of trial and error in this experiment called democracy.  Is AAP perfect? Is it going to succeed? What if it fails? What if these candidates succumb to power and the temptation of greed? These are all valid concerns and the answer to all this is there is no other way to know than trying. But we must try. If it fails, it will be demoralizing, but then we would have learnt one more mistake to not repeat. The cost of not doing anything is too high. It has always been and it has its own inflation rate.

In this process of trying, we should do our best to avoid repeating known mistakes. We should create institutions and processes that provide the necessary checks and balances. We must be self critical. We should open the doors of transparency, of open civilized debates. We need to change the dialog from a negative, criticizing our opponents, to a constructive one wherein we do not discuss problems, we discuss solutions. It is our thinking that has to change. We should stop glorifying, our "sone-ki-chidiya" past and we should stop crying over the "all-corrupt" present. Our discussion should take the form of "is this the best that we can do?" 

Why AAP?
I support AAP because i agree to what it stands for, for the most part. I agree with its principles of no corruption and decentralization. I like the way candidates are chosen to run from a constituency. I felt delighted when i heard that they are asking people to not contribute any more money once their desired figure was reached. They disowned a candidate when he failed to openly disclose known pending cases against him. The concept of Mohalla Sabhas and letting people decide what is best is something that i believe in. I had also reached a similar conclusion through my own academic readings and research. I respect people who are in the core committee and i have a fair amount of trust that these are sincere honest people who want to do good. I feel the same enthusiasm that Indians felt when they asked people Nehru, Patel and Gandhi to decide our fate in days leading up to our freedom. AAP's motto of 'Swaraj' feels apt again.  Lastly, i genuinely believe on these two lines of Dushyant Kumar, which AAP has rightly chosen to be its anthem - 

सिर्फ हंगामा खड़ा करना मेरा मकसद नहीं,
सारी कोशिश है कि ये सूरत बदलनी चाहिए

1 comment:

rakesh said...

Somehow all of this whats happening out there reminds me of Rang De basanti..

In the movie those 4 people died to give the youth a call for corruption free government and In here It is Anna Hazare who gave the call ...

Movie ends with youth saying that they will take responsibility to ensure a corruption free government ... and It continues here .. youth making their move.
I personally think if there ever was a Rang De Basanti II , this is how it would have started .. This is how It would have been.