Disclaimer: I was part of Anna movement, in the heat on the streets and in the marches, so I know 70% of the movement comprised of Sangh Parivar men and women.
India is a cultural construct, a civilization, more than a modern “nation” bounded by geographical instincts. The nationalism in us is more modernist than existential, but today’s generation indeed has high awareness of being Indians first. BJP and Narendra Modi, in particular, deserve huge credit for this national consciousness and self-esteem.
The Silk Road connected us and carried our economic products far and wide and along it carried our way of life. It also carried our message of mutual-coexistence, seeking truth within, of a soul which is transmutable and the karmic call for action to win over adharma. Our consciousness transcends boundaries – we meet Asians (Right from Middle East, Central Asia, China, Tibet, Japan, South East Asia, Russia and so on) and we come alive to the fact that they carry, within themselves, a part of us i.e. world’s first culture created out of values of sheer humanity.
Any “Movement” has revolutionary instincts – being “Anti” something. For a movement to take shape and attract the masses – it has to be about something which the common man deems important – also, it has to have an enemy symbolizing evil. But Governance requires one to be “Pro” and “Giving”. One has to follow the law and be seen as doing the “Right” thing, or dharmic according to Indian ethos. One also has to set an example by one’s words and actions. Character, then, matters a lot. Legitimacy gets built by supporting deeper truth and giving solutions, all the while taking firm stand seen as “Morally impeccable”!
Because India has a long civilizational memory based on belief of man-to-man contact and changing and assimilating even diverse viewpoints, there can never be a “Revolution” in India, in the true sense. We have truckloads of patience and willingness to wait for generations for positive change to come about. However, since we are a most forward looking and an accepting race, we would always demand change, but in today’s world – within the democratic framework i.e. by voting for change.
When a seer (enlightened soul) goes all out to propagate human values, he or she risks creating a cult or an exclusive group, hindering assimilation of masses. Our Guru’s were mindful to this and advocated universalism of these values by the mantra – “There are many paths. All lead to God”. This is True “Secularism” as ensconced in Hinduism and a powerful aspiration of this has been termed “Hindutva”, by Sangh Parivar. On the other hand, Islam can never be secular since it holds the concept of Kafir sacred and considers only medieval 700 AD rudimentary practices as its core. Neither can Christianity be, since it advocates conversions, and is hence – exclusive.
Anna movement had huge equity, drawn from widespread support from respected Leaders like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Kiran Bedi and Gen V K Singh. The movement was seen as being on the side of “Truth”, since the common man knew rapacious corruption of the Congress and use of force to quell the genuine protest.
Let’s compare it to two other movements – V P Singh’s anti-corruption symbolized by Bofors and BJP’s anti-communalism symbolized by Ram Mandir. While V P Singh metamorphosed into a Casteist vote-Bank politician (Mandal) and could not deliver on good governance; BJP delivered handsomely through Vajpayee’s NDA – It showed the way by leading to widespread prosperity. This is a classic example on importance of a positive ideology through tested Leadership and an agenda driven by being “For”, rather than leftist “Anti”. Now, all the sagacious people of the Anna movement have endorsed BJP – What message does the common man get?
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was formed by one Anna movement man Arvind Kejriwal.
Isn’t AAP’s brew of “No ideology”, of clubbing filthy rich (e.g Meera Sanyal) with anti-development (e.g Medha Patkar), one of the primary reasons for killing of the equity drawn from Anna and his team? Isn’t being proudly “Anarchist”, a sure shot way to put off an intelligent society?
Bill Clinton had famously said “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”. People can live with protesting against something on the streets, but at the end of the day, each one of us, the common man, requires security, Electricity, water, house etc – Development/ Governance! Accomplished leaders like Vajpayee knew this and hence could convert the Ram Mandir movement into a pan-India organization devoted to the holistic betterment of Indians.
AAP failed on economics. It offers extreme populism, even more rabid than 10 years of Sonianomics, which has run the Indian economy aground. Anything “Free” has fine print, someone else is paying for it and the common man is not foolish to ignore that.
Key reasons for devaluation of the movement:
- AAP formed Government in Delhi with Congress – the same party against whose monster corruption and vendetta the Anna movement had fought. Kejriwal didn’t even approach the BJP! A government with BJP would have been in a huge majority (60/70 seats), rock solid and issue-based, ensuring Janlokpal. But common man knows AAP didn’t want BJP to get credit for it, no matter AAP ensured all Congressmen involved in billions of dollars of corruption went scot-free! Sheila Dikshit, involved in USD 10 billion (Rs. 50,000 cr) CWG embezzlement, was spared. No case was filed against her and other Congressmen. She went on to become the Governor of Kerala.
- Water was offered free upto a certain limit in Delhi, but the populace couldn’t ignore that only 19 lakh homes in Delhi have water meters!
- Unauthorized colonies were given the dollies of authorization, but then no planning on improving the sorry state of infrastructure was done or executed.
- 50% cut in Electricity prices, announced prior to finding any faults by CAG Audit and never budgeted for! And the cut didn’t even come through.
- Announcing Government hospitals/ schools but at the same time appeasing contract workers (of Government Schools/ DTC/ DJB etc) by promising to make them permanent, thereby removing the only way by which the Government bodies offer good quality services.
- Licence Raj and obnoxious Government control e.g. regulating Private School fees.
- Gross religion/ caste based vote Bank pandering by announcing reservations for Minorities! AAP has taken the path of the Congress thence pandering to them as a vote Bank but hides this blatant communalism by calling it “Secularism”. (Thankfully, the country is alive to the risk of this politics.)
- Then after 49 days, AAP left the Government, thereby massively eroding the faith reposed by the public.
Other important factors which led to retarding of the “Movement” characteristics:
- No candidates against Congress big leaders, the fountainhead of corruption – coming from a party which professes anti-corruption, it revealed their alleged tie-up with Congress.
- Dharna (sit-in protest) by its own Delhi government against its partner Congress’s Central Government, but when contract workers sat on a dharna for months against AAP, Kejriwal said “This is no way to behave”!
- AAP undertook a 4 day visit to the most developed Indian state of Gujarat, to “inspect” development. This has been widely acknowledged by the common man as politicking since BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi is ruling the state – the public noted that AAP didn’t criticize a single Congress-ruled state.
- AAP has been in cohorts with leftist Media. On Aaj Tak, Kejriwal was seen as conspiring to manipulate the middle class – The anchor is seen as proclaiming “Krantikari, Bahut Krantikari” (Revolutionary, Very revolutionary) – This is the true colour of Communist “Revolution”, which AAP is carrying, people realized.
- Delhi was proclaimed as the “Rape capital” post the Nirbhaya movement. AAP did no good when its Law Minister Somnath Bharti, who is 4th largest spammer in the world and in business of selling Porn, went to Khirki Extension, roughed up Delhi Police and showed his bias by typecasting African women living there, as prostitutes.
- AAP resorted to blatant appeasement of Auto drivers, promising them dollies but end result of this was that the Auto Union took a stand of not supporting AAP in any election.
- SMS’s were sent to AAP volunteers to reach BJP office and mindless violence ensued – common man saw through the organized goonism and desperation to seek media attention.
- AAP has taken a stand to support long-regressive social practices of Khaaps, Sati etc, thereby making a mockery of most Indians who are literate and liberal.
- Shazia Ilmi, AAP candidate, was on video accepting cash for tickets – AAP later gave her a “Clean chit” from “Internal Lokpal” (sic).
- Yudhvir Singh Khayalia, an IAS who closed all corruption cases against Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, has been given a ticket by AAP
- Medha Patkar, who caused billions of losses of infrastructure projects, is standing on elections on AAP ticket.
- AAP has taken anti-national stand on Kashmir
- Kumar Vishwas, another AAP candidate, is fighting against Rahul Gandhi, on an anti Gandhi-dynasty platform but AAP has conveniently given tickets to Gandhi and Shastri family
- Sabyasachi Panda, a Maoist who instigated Kandhmal riots, and with Rs. 5 lac reward from the Police, is fighting on AAP ticket.
- Binayak Sen, a Maoist was made the head of the Police Reforms Committee!
- Naked vote Bank politics by giving Rs. 1 cr compensation to wife of a slain police constable
- Kejriwal got his volunteers to rough up the Media when they reached to take his bytes – This coming from a person who reached BJP office in Ahmedabad with a horde of Mediamen and levied wild allegations!
- Kejriwal proclaimed in an Islamic gathering that “Communalism is a bigger issue than corruption” – He followed this with Minority appeasement like taking a break in between his rallies during time of Azaan. AAP also promises reservations for Muslims based on religion in its Manifesto – Common man, meanwhile, watched aghast.
- Kejriwal quit Delhi government equating himself with Lord Ram, but people see through this as politics of convenience since he hasn’t vacated the costly government accommodation till date
- On the issue of Gas pricing, AAP revealed its sense of economics, or lack of it – people want more availability, abundant supply-side action and understand economics to know that AAP’s proclamations on anti-private business were a bunch of crap
India has seen very few movements in its history of 10,000 years – most have been “For” establishing Dharma, or rule of law. None has been a “Revolution” in the western sense.
- Shivaji’s kingdom which dominated India and drove the Mughals out, was based on religious / cultural pride and an ideology of Indian-ness based on Hindu values
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kingdom which drove out the Mughals and British, again based on a cultural context
- Vijaynagar kingdom in South India
- 1857 war of independence based again on religion (Against Christian evangelism) and to protect Hindu lifestyle
- Gandhi’s non violence, supposedly the basis of independence, was actually an actualization of positivity of Indians, even towards its aggressors – reality is Britain was weakened by WW2 and exited 50 colonies alongwith India. However, Congress has taught a history glorifying Gandhi and strategically postures “Non-violence”.
In short, “Anti” anything does not succeed with the oldest civilization, which has “seen all”, “knows all”. I told this to my close friend Manu Taneja 20 years ago. India can never have a revolution, and for its own good only. Movements, however, may come and go, given an ultra-charged, demanding, aware, activist modern generation and methods of communication like the Internet and Social Media.
The only revolution we can have is by the power of Ballot, electing BJP 272+ and a Congress-free India.