Saturday, 19 December 2015

Arvind Kejriwal: The murderer of a revolution we badly needed!

It was in the year 2011. Exposes on corruption and malady within governance were at their peak and news channels were riding on a tide of their lifetimes. Suddenly, the nation was rapt with an unprecedented enthusiasm to usurp all evil. A new movement called India Against Corruption(IAC) was beckoning hope for the billion plus people who were now sick of watching more and more scams unearth by the day. The UPA 2 which was brought into power by a resoundingly clear mandate, had turned eyesore and a bunch of bandicoots bleeding the exchequer. The next elections were still far away and in that scenario, IAC and its baton holders provided some much needed succor. Change was everywhere to be seen and felt.

Right from protests staged at various places, to hunger strikes organized by Anna Hazare, to sentiment fomenting speeches by his chieftains like Arvind Kejriwal. My parents had told me how rampant things went during the imposition of the emergency in 1975, and they also told me that the nation is heading towards another revolution. It was never a revolution we sought. We were too lumpen, too knackered and too apathetic. We were powerless and we never really believed in the concept of a revolution that could expropriate those who wielded power. But this movement and this series of events enshrined hope and a very eerie belief that something new was about to surface. A change of government when the last one had proven to be a disaster is obvious. But here we sensed as if the outcome was going to be more emphatic and much more everlasting. 

People joined the protests and the strikes, people bore the brunt of water cannons riddling them with acrid cold water, people took the war to social networks, and for the first time, people seemed to be taking a genuine interest in events that could change the course of a billion plus lives. It was such a radical contrast from the yesteryear when we elected a government and then spent the next 5 years lampooning and maundering about its ill will and incapability. This time, we all thought we should join because we saw a solution that was going to be different. This tribune in the form of Anna Hazare, whose fasts unto death heralded a promise we never felt the veracity of before, was the reason. It seemed as if through public might and the staggering force of non-violence were going to make the government grovel and accede to the demands of our sentries. The battle lines were drawn and now the house was finally listening! Boy, did I get agglutinated to the TV screen when the house finally called an emergency session to pacify Hazare. It felt as if all that sustained momentum was finally bearing fruit. Yes, the government came out with a bungled version of the Lokpal draft but we were calling the shots for the first time since 1979. It was all on track util this self proclaimed harbinger of transformation - Arvind Kejriwal took over. And the revolution which had sprouted after years of hegemony and forced oblivion, was annihilated!
At that juncture, Kejriwal was just another one from those noble men - with huge accomplishments and credentials to his name, and who was playing his part in cleaning up the mess. Hence his meteoric rise within the ranks of IAC was no surprise. He suddenly lurched to the pulpit and became Hazare's henchman. Things in fact looked promising as a capricious Hazare's resolve was now complemented with Kejriwal's knack of things. And then on one fine day, Hazare's ongoing fast was called off on the pretext of Hazare's denigrating health, and a political solution was proposed. The crowds, with no idea what to expect, simply welcomed the move. It seemed as if the non political solutions had now given way to a political alternative and we all were led to believe that the revolution was still alive. That the only thing that was changed was the modus operandi. But in reality, the revolution had been killed; brutally murdered in broad daylight and in front of a billion spectators.
Kejriwal managed to come to power firs,t with his former and now bereaved bete noire Congress, who supported him on the pretext of allowing a non-BJP solution to rule the roost. And later on, Kejriwal managed to sneak into power in the Delhi cabinet with a drubbing both BJP and Congress never imagined shall be inflicted upon them. He has been in power and has done a few good things as well. The odd-even vehicular restriction might actually be a boon given that the proletariat of Delhi has to breathe air which in one day produces the same damage to the innards as smoking two cigarettes. He has brought his own version of the Lokpal as well, which was at the center of all action during the days of this revolution's glory. But while it's yet to be completely ratified, it's a seriously redacted version of the Lokpal people were told was going to emancipate them from the vice of corruption. And last but not the least, Kejriwal has turned into a master of political gimmicks, hypocrisy and media manipulation. In short, at the pretext of ridding the nation of a metastasizing malady of corruption through a political solution, he gave them just another archetypal political outfit which is not very different!

While AK's rise is termed by his hirelings as victory of the common man, no one empathizes with that revolution Kejriwal's maundering killed. The IAC under the leadership of Hazare and Kejriwal and others alike, couldn't force the government to capitulate and drivel to their full blown version of the Lokpal bill. But that didn't mean they had to put up a fight on the political arena. While full credit to them for handing a  mordacious defeat to parties that were pretty carping on AAP; AAP and its own leaders had to stoop down to the levels that are truly representative of the troughs which a lot of politicians have taken the venerable occupation to. And as AAP bequeathed upon itself the legacy of IAC and its maxims of rooting out corruption, the movement itself kept dying a slow death.

A political solution couldn't do more than bringing AAP into power, backed by a genuine cohort of supporters who now had a new choice. But what the revolution  - in case it went on would have done, is simply unmatched. For the first time in 3 decades, an indifferent youth got a reason to get along and fight for the biggest cause - the betterment of the nation. We Indians had such a trademark response to any discussions on nation's problems that we almost always dismissed the agenda blaming the ogres of politics. But the revolution had already brought us out of our convenient cahoots. We were in action, we felt for the nation, and we saw how much power we really had to make things happen. Now, with our power having resulted in no more than just another political outfit, I guess we'd never be bothered about rising again.

That revolution Shri Arvind Kejriwal killed on that day in 2012 when he spoke of forming a party. It was not one we deserved, but one we were just an arm's distance from getting. Incredible things had happened in the course of that year. So many people came out of their safe zones. So many people were enchanting verses of patriotism, and so many people genuinely believed we can bring the government to its feet. Just a little more momentum and just a little more force, and we could have seen Gandhi's principles weaving their magic again. We could have seen the government finally taking a note that its apathy had aroused a ferocious inferno in us and would have acted to do some damage control. But just before we were about to embroil the government and the polity in that phase, our fire fizzled and our wings clipped, and we couldn't even note when. All those Indians who cherished their provenance, and this time not on 26th of January or on Indian winning a world cup, but on seeing that the nation still belongs to them; they were all mandated to go back, wait, and then vote for a particular political party in the next election. Mr Kejriwal, while it's commendable how you've made the behemoths of Indian polity shrivel to your wits, you are, and forever will, be remembered as the killer of that revolution which could have produced magnificent things! Yes sir, you are a murderer indeed!

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