I believe that Mr. Kejriwal was being honest when he said he didn’t know what it means to be an anarchist. He really doesn’t, because if he did he wouldn’t call himself one. It would require that he leaves the government, dissolves his party, stops being a political leader. I believe some political scientists or political thinkers have already made that clear, but the common person would hardly be expected to read their views.
Anarchists do not believe in government rule and while it would in general be considered a compliment to some people to be called one ( such as yours truly under the scholarship of Orwell, among others), the leader of India’s most recent and influential party (when weighted against how long political parties have been in existence to how much the public supports them) is not one.
On the other hand, accepting that one is, without knowing what ‘it’ means, just brings out the sort of significant problem this new political party and its supporters have. The party for and of the ‘common man’ – Aam aadmi, represents him, embodies him. However, it is a party known to have intelligent, educated and most importantly perhaps: non- criminals and in all likelihood well-meaning people as its members and supporters ( does that mean that uneducated people, or petty thieves are not common people?) The significant problem is, a lack of understanding of what actually is significant, what actually is the cause and not a symptom and why acting on impulse is okay when the government is being run by the ‘other’ not so common men and women, but not that okay when you are the Chief Minister of the capital city of undoubtedly, one of the most complex countries in the world. None of the problems of the common man and woman here, are actually simple. It is again the overindulgence in ‘simple’ rules that separates a common man from one who has the clarity of thought and clairvoyance to actually make an assessment and plan for change. Where a common man is allowed to and should, go to the streets and demonstrate for his rights and social issues, unfortunately, the Chief minister and other ministers having attained the uncommon status ( however unwillingly) cannot do so whenever they feel like it and without thought of repercussion.
Why? Because when a common man in Delhi, or even a woman or a group of them think that all Africans are drug peddlers, African women are prostitutes and drug addicts and they are ruining their children’s gentle mind. It is of not much consequence, it is merely a portrait of ignorance and yes, racism. Neither of these issues ( ignorance and racist outlook, I mean) can be solved by direct government intervention, unless the government plans to police people’s thoughts. But when the law minister belonging to the ruling party thinks the same and goes out and makes it public, it is shameful. Not only does it mean that prostitutes are not people ( let alone a common person)- because wouldn’t the minister be responsible for their well being too- had they been that, it also means that simply on the basis of what a person looks like, chooses to wear they can be categorized as such and be robbed off any rights. It also means that being close minded, as a lot of common men feel free to be, is okay and acceptable. There is a reason, the common man should lose his commonness (not so much his muchness, though- that cannot be lost) when he or she becomes a leader.
Yes, I have been away from Delhi a long time, I really don’t know what goes on there on a daily basis. Hence the rather delayed post: I, despite being common, take the seriousness of making a judgment call seriously. However, I will always know a general Delhiite, – what they think, how they behave, easily point them out in a crowd of multinational people. The city and its people hasn’t changed that much. Alas! I don’t mean to be insulting or condescending, I will always be from Delhi too.
So, I know that the fact that having African neighbors bothered the common men and women, would not have bothered them as much had they been Caucasian, and yes, it IS about the skin color. I know that what foreigners wear is believed to influence the ‘conservative’ families and Indian culture, even if, the kids of these families spend all free time in the Malls that, surprisingly, have only international stores. Watch ‘American’ TV shows and in general are not so innocent as one might imagine them to be. I know that the same disparaging attitude exists for the INDIANS who have moved from the north east parts of the country, who, in general and commonly, dress better than any ‘original’ Delhi girl, effortlessly.
I also know, for instance, had I been in Delhi I would have supported the Aam aadmi party, for sure. They are the harbingers of change, they speak up for the woman burned to death for dowry, the tourist gang-raped, the general lack of security in the city. Problems that no doubt need active attention, but of a sort that actually leads to solutions, not merely live T.V hours.
I may even have missed the tyranny in wanting the police to be under the control of the Delhi Government, because now, it is the government of the aam aadmi- the common Delhi man- who may take seconds in his mind to turn a girl into a prostitute and then one minute to undress her with his eyes. But I cannot miss it from a distance. Because it is from here that things are made clear, isn’t it? It is from here I can see that prostitution is not a problem that our Chief minister needs to sit on a dharna (demonstration) to fight, it is the grey area that exists in the outreaches/ fringe of all societies, all over the world. And, even if we consider it to be a problem, it will certainly not be solved by fighting the alleged ‘prostitutes’. The real problem is society looking down at them, so much so they are not even believed to have human rights. This problem of degrading women and the poor, the government cannot solve. This needs a change in the ‘common’ culture, psyche of the common Delhiite, the one we all know, the ones in our own families. However, it appears, the government of the common man CAN certainly aggravate it – many students of African nations are being ousted from their legally acquired rented apartments, leaving them with no where to go! Where is the culture of guests being representatives of God, of treating them well? God knows many Indians have lived in many African countries and such a treatment has not been meted out to them since the colonists left.
Drugs are and have always been available for people who want them and instead of blaming their neighbors, families should be a little more aware of what impressionable children are being impressed with and tackle the situation with sensitivity. The government cannot go in every door, even if – I have no doubt- this particular one would like to.
It is to reform the police department to empower it, to make it MORE independent, that I would have voted for them. Not to turn them more into slaves, this is what it would mean if they are made just another department under the government. Even if the Aam Aadmi party envisions ruling forever, such a transition is unthinkable in terms of logic. The fact that because the police didn’t say ‘how high?’when they were asked to jump by the party leaders, just does not warrant demanding the suspension of all possible police officials. How does that solve the problem for the victims? Stop crime in the future? It can only seem to reprimand police officials to do what they are told to, with the corollary of not doing anything unless told.
The common man belongs to R.K. Laxman. As the great cartoonist and illustrator knows, the common man never actually becomes a leader. His common troubles keep him busy for decades. To be a leader or one of the leaders of the common men, you have to be less common. And, more than one man. That is a distance a leader must travel, to be true to what he ( or them) has chosen as his calling of being the leader of men.
This same party wants to participate in the upcoming national elections. I wonder how many demonstrations a day they will be able to hold, given the size of the country. It should have been clear to them by now, demonstrations do not solve problems, reforms and corrective actions do and they have been elected to bring about those. If they want to continue demonstrating and not formulating policy changes, they should have remained activists. I do not doubt that they can make reform, I only doubt that they will. Everyone can do a lot ( in terms of potential), it only matters if they actually DO it.
I do not really think these people are khaas (special) at all, even though some people claim they are. Too bad!