Sudhanshu Shekhar for BeyondHeadlines
Arvind Kejriwal resigned; The Aam Aadmi Party government tumbled down quicker than its ascent. The Twitter and FB are full of jokes about AK, even the new show decided this episode elicits more laughter than the double meaning jokes. DRAMA, ANARCHY, BHAGODA are the buzz words. A twitter search on AK currently will put Justin Bieber to shame. The Government is gone but the tongues haven’t stopped lashing. The AAP claim it a moral victory, the spurge in donation as proof, the detractors have come all guns blazing especially the NaMo brigade. They sense it as a chance to remove and discredit the last obstacle to victory.
Was it Martyrdom or was it Hara-Kiri, or was it a planned systematic murder?
Mind you … I am not here to defend AAP, though there is no denying I identify with AAP more than any political movement in a country. I use the word movement than a party as the latter limits the scope and vision that needs to be associated with leadership.
For the second time in this country, there was a movement mainly stemmed from the dissatisfaction and angst against the political setup of the Country. For the second time it failed (though it’s premature to term AAP as a failure, it sure has been halted). The system has emerged stronger than those who oppose it. The JP Movement was against Indira Gandhi’s autocratic and seemingly unconstitutional reign. They triumphed and the Janta Party government was formed. The second movement was fuelled by unrestrained charges of corruption against the incumbent Congress government and rising aspirations of Indian citizens. They were triumphant in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal formed the Government amidst expectations and criticisms.
We all know this, let me try to draw similarity between what followed and reasons for the downfall.
- · Reluctance of top leadership to govern: JP, though the supreme leader did not want to be associated with power. He was the sole unifying leader and with his reluctance the dissatisfaction within the party grew. Anna had already distanced him from politics and it was very evident that AK will face challenges when it came to leadership. One can recall a similar incident when Gandhi refused to be the political head of Indian Government. The question that arises is whether the reluctance of such leaders to get involved in politics a setback for such movements. Do they create an image of being above the politics? Does the reluctance of getting their hands dirty send a message that “Politics is a dirty business”?
- · Questions on inability of common man to rule: This is a question that needs a lot of debate. It has been debated for centuries and will be debated for eternity. Jealousy and Leg pulling creates obstacles for leaders. Monarchy and dynastic politics somehow seem to overcome this (unless of course there is a French Revolution).
- · Inertia to change: Despite the discontent and cry for change, the society is set and gotten used to the existing system. Some work it to their advantage while others learn to exist. A change in the system creates a panic. People view change as disruptive, when the change in larger in magnitude people term it “Anarchy”. The same people who want change, will resist change when it happens.
- · Setting Goals that are difficult: As it always happens, a party that comes to power after a change, sets goals that are drastic and impactful in nature, which not only requires greater effort but can also seem very disruptive.
- · Promise to change the system: Aaah this is the basic premise for change. However the most difficult as well. It also ends up being a witch-hunt. In 1997 Indira Gandhi was the object and Sheila Dixit and the Congress in 2013. Such acts derail the movement and opposition creates obstacles for the government. Both Janta Party and AAP tried to indulge in activities that implicate the former government with two objectives. In their attempt to bring out the truth, any implication of former government sullies the image of its leaders, while it acts as a boost for theirs. It also creates an impact and increases it popularity.
- · Resistance by political system: Greater the resistance to change, greater will be the force required to make it happen. Arab spring was an example, the bloodbath in Syria continues. They are all cry for change. Some succeed some do not. The ultimate symbol of change the French Revolution was not just bloody, it changed the entire discourse of the human story on this planet.
After the Berlin Wall fell and Cold War ended, by 1991 the world was becoming unipolar. Meanwhile in India the political world saw a paradigm shift, the rise of BJP made it Bi-Polar. So while the resistance in 77 was from Congress alone, by 2013 it was double pronged.
However can we accuse the political parties for it? I do not think so. They did what anyone for do for their survival.
However in attempt to do that they tried to kill a movement that was sustained by ordinary citizens who felt marginalized by the system. The citizens of this country were just used as pawns in the power game. They used get a chance once to vote and rest of the 5 years to reflect if they had made the right choice. The elected representatives neglected them for 5 years and expected them to be silent spectators while the government indulged in corruption, criminalisation and mis-governance. They protested and succeeded. However the political class was angry at the intrusion. They felt it was their privilege to govern and make laws and they could not share that privilege with the cattle class of this country. They reacted and created obstacles. Every move was not only criticized but also thwarted.
Then the Aam Aadmi gave up and the government fell.
Was it Martyrdom or was it Hara-Kiri, or was it a planned systematic murder? The jury is still out.
The story still continues. The common man is trying to get back at its feet again. The political class is more than prepared to crush it again. The critics are out with their swords.
As I said, Greater the resistance to change, greater will be the force required to make it happen. Luckily for India, all such attempts have been peaceful for we are a peace-loving country and peace-loving people. However the country feels marginalised and the anger is brewing…
[Views expressed are personal; not necessarily reflect editorial policy.]