You are loathsome. You are lazy, unthinking, uncritical, and insensitive to the crap happening out there to your own country. Your idea of an intellectual conversation is talking about the sexy, super-powerful engine of Lexus or whatever other car and discussing the latest gizmo that further hastens the decline of your near-zero intellectual ability. Your idea of participating in the democratic process is supporting morons like Arvind Kejriwal and watching staged TV debates. Your icon of free speech is Barkha Dutt. Your idea of reading a newspaper involves drooling over Page 3 soft porn. Your definition of achievement is winning 5 Crores in Kaun Banega Crorepati. Your idol of a clean politician is Manmohan Singh. You don’t know who A K Ramanujan was or whether he existed at all. You think price rise is because of the US economy. You actually believe that the Congress party that Sonia Gandhi heads gave us freedom from British rule. You support Rahul Gandhi because you find his dimples cute. You think secularism is what is still holding this country together. You think the Congress party is a liberal party. You don’t even know what “liberal” means. You think that only politicians are responsible for all this mess you find yourself in. You think freedom in a democracy means allowing people to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
As we see, a little has changed for the better from then to now. And that change has come about not by applying critical thinking but because the Congress has screwed the country to horrendously that anything is better it.
The situation today in many ways resembles the overwhelming support for a motley crew of “united” anti-Congress forces that defeated Indira Gandhi in the post Emergency polls. There are key differences though. The anti-Congress wave back then owed mainly to the physical atrocities committed by Mrs. Gandhi and her blue-eyed monster of a son. However, one legacy of their dynastic Governance remains unsullied: perhaps no other party or Government anywhere in the world has managed to successfully, successively gain power by tugging at the heartstrings of the poor and then using that very power to further impoverish them. Sure enough, there’s a Mrs. Gandhi even today. And sure enough, there’s also a blue-eyed dullard of a son even today. But their 10-year long tenure of atrocities has been far more insidious and damaging than the original destroyeress of Indian democracy. Apart from wrecking the economy, perhaps the greatest damage has occurred in the areas of both internal and external security as well as the manner in which the mother-son duo has held the institutions of public discourse–the media and the academia, chiefly–in their thrall.
Thus it is in this scenario that the desperate and highly pissed off people of India are willing to vote for anything–even a tree campaigning on an anti-Congress sentiment would win. After all, it is the present Congress Government’s pet scheme, the UID, which has issued an ID for a tree, and furniture among other things. One of the classic battle strategies has been to piss off the enemy to a feverish pitch. An angry enemy makes mistakes. And therein lies your victory. If one were to apply this to the decade-long Congress misrule, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Congress-led UPA has made itself the enemy of the very people who it was supposed to govern and protect. And the people of India are mighty furious. And that is what makes them vulnerable and prone to making costly mistakes which could prove baneful to them in the long run. And there’s no dearth of charlatans who would love to package the same Congress brand of snake-oil in a different bottle and under a different brand and sell it to the pissed off Indian citizenry as their solution for deliverance from the Congress misrule. As we have seen in the past with the Janata experiment, people buy snake oil all the time.
Enter Aaam Aadmi Party (AAP).
But first, let’s call things by their proper names. The AAP in reality is a ragtag gang of crooks of all hues: Naxals/Maoists, land-grabbers, seditionists, racists, and misogynists cherry-topped by an Ayatollah of Anarchy whose name too begins with “A,” and who now rules Delhi as its Chief Minister. And his ascent to Chief Ministership has been astonishingly swift, barely an year after he clothed his street side anarchic tactics with the garb of a political party. And his success does not owe so much to any innovation or freshness but to YOUR failure. YOU, who figure in my Most Loathsome list. The success of AAP is the latest illustration of the timeless truth contained in a simple maxim: never underestimate the power of bad ideas. And a corollary of this in the real world: never underestimate the power of idiots in large numbers. Don’t believe me? Let’s consider some home truths, all in recent memory, all in public domain.
Back in 2010, when the Anna Hazare “anti-corruption movement” began, the Congress was at the zenith of its power-drugged tryranny, persecuting its political enemies and innocent peple alike at will. More importantly, it was a time when its efforts to stop the formidable Narendra Modi were at their peak. Given this, it should have been relatively easy for it to squelch an upstart like Anna Hazare. After all, the Congress’ record of sabotaging and putting down mass movements is legendary. But in this case, even the Empress herself after a few weeks condescended to “look into” implementing the Jan Lokpal Bill. What happened after that was a re-enactment of the VP Singh drama where Singh had portrayed himself as the only honest politician in India. We all know how that panned out subsequently. The script in the Anna Hazare–AAP case is not too dissimilar.
To encapsulate the above in a line: YOU have been conned again. This time, the con artist is an Ayatollah of Anarchy.
But YOU take heart. YOU are in esteemed company. The list of those supporting AAP includes corporate hi flyers like Meera Sanyal, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, & co. These are women who the urban young women look up to as role models. And these role models vocally support a party that harbours misogynist ministers like Somnath Bharti. It’s amazing how Digvijay Singh looks like a beacon of virtue compared to Bharti. Divijay merely called a lady a “tunch maal” but minister Bharti made a hapless woman urinate in public.
To be fair to the Ayatollah, he’s been consistent. It is YOU who misunderstood his vile intent and message. Let’s not forget that the Ayatollah was first firing from Anna’s shoulders and after unceremoniously dumping him, jumped in the political fray, something that he “promised” he would never do. And don’t lend too much credence to the latest rage in social media against the Ayatollah: of serially breaking promises or doing U-turns that would make a brake inspector proud. Focus on his core.
This core of the Ayatollah has remained unchanged since the days of India Against Corruption (IAC). That core is a contemptuous disregard of the Constitution and all democratic institutions. The entire premise of the ill-informed edifice of IAC was to “eradicate” corruption by setting up an extra-Constitutional Big Brother body to watch lawmakers and bureaucrats. And now Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is doing exactly that: name one Chief Minister who sat on dharnas, who disrupted public order, who treated the bureaucracy and law enforcement as enemies instead of as enablers. Just one. It is said that a key reason for the success of the thuggish politics of the likes of Lalu and Mulayam was the fact that the unwashed masses saw them as standing up to powerful cops and the bureaucrats. Once in power, even these casteist thugs sobered down–sure, they played favourites with the bureaucracy but they never treated them as enemies. What’s more, one of the greatest success mantras of even venomous casteists like Deve Gowda was his adept cultivation of the bureaucracy. And here’s a Chief Minister who still thinks and behaves in the same manner as he did when he was still a street-level anarchist.
And it is this that we should be worried about the most. Are we to seriously trust this Ayatollah over the collective wisdom of the founding fathers and makers of Indian democracy? These people spent decades debating and arguing over even the most intricate matters before putting pen to paper. It is these wise men and women who painstakingly and at great personal cost built robust institutions. As Arun Shourie said in an interview, not even the wisest and the greatest of these people could in their wildest dreams predict the kind of people that would come to man these institutions. And now we have an Ayatollah whose AAP Quran dictates him to treat even these institutions as mortal enemies.
On the other side, we have a man whose record of development, governance, and law & order is unparalleled in any state since Independence. This man has managed to achieve all this using the same institutions and the same mechanisms. Neither has he given sermons nor started movements to eradicate corruption or similarly pressing problems. He has simply gone ahead and shown the world how he could solve these problems. And the underlying twin mantras he used to achieve this transformation are really simple: getting the right people and leading by example. Whatever the other accusations against him, nobody can accuse Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of corruption. To quote Arun Shourie again, “if a minister’s revealed preference is making money, the babus will teach them how to do it.” Fortunately, Narendra Modi chose to transform his state positively. The results are there for everyone to see. Even if you passionately hate Modi, there are still the examples of the development that happened under the NDA under the stewardship of people like Suresh Prabhu, Arun Shourie, and B.C. Khanduri to name just three. And none in the country can accuse them of being corrupt.
This then is the precise problem. The kind of results Modi has delivered requires patience, decisiveness and hard work. None of these are overnight phenomena. And a nation that has been accustomed to seductive sloganeering will naturally veer towards the likes of Arvind Kejriwal who the critical-thinking challenged middle class is suddenly fond of. While crude sloganeers like Lalu, Mayawati & co appealed to their largely-illiterate constituencies, Kejriwal modified their slogans to suit the tastes of the NDTV-watching middle class and wealthy but ignorant corporates like Kiran Shaw. Anti-corruption is the new caste-based politics.
Perhaps the greatest flaw in the Ayatollah’s brand of….errr…politics is rooted in his own nature: of overweening self-righteousness. Beware of the man who constantly needs advertisements for his honesty and damns the rest of the world as corrupt. That path quickly and most certainly leads to dictatorship.
And YOU are contributing to it by supporting the Ayatollah of Anarchy. Remember you will have only yourself to blame when a Somnath Bharti will order your women to urinate in public.