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Is Kejriwal an anarchist or an alchemist?

January 27, 2014 15:10 IST

Aam Aadmi Party member Sanju Verma on what constitutes modern-day anarchy and why AAP is the only political party that can make a real difference.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.

-- Mahatma Gandhi

It is incredible how one-sided television debates can get. Irrational biases are rapidly formed based on incomplete information and are broadcast to viewers.

There is simply no point in an “accused” fighting this rapidly metastasising ogre of largely white-collar presumption.

When the accuser, jury and judge roll into one, the verdict is a no-brainer.

All this generate great television rating points for sure, and reaffirms the stereotype. It doesn’t matter that Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal described himself as an “anarchist” in stark irony, right in front of open eyes.

The Goebbelsian disinformation machine got to work immediately because it has been on high-alert ever since a higgledy-piggledy bunch of political tyros started to threaten the stakeholders of the empire of corruption.

While such televised hectoring makes for enthralling optics, it is important to ask the all-crucial question, what exactly is this anarchy that’s been bandied about? Do step back and reflect on what actually constitutes modern-day anarchy. To me,

  • Anarchy is when we have the patience to suffer 60 years of corruption and misrule, but won’t give even 60 days to a band of young, incorruptible and selfless leaders who want to give their life and limb so that a billion sleep in peace every day.
  • Anarchy is when the TV Cassandra presumes, nay decides, that this band of incorruptible leaders does not understand good economics and good politics.
  • Anarchy is when some feel they can shout and holler on television and, voila! transform blatant lies into “truth”.
  • Anarchy is an inefficient government taking economic growth from 9 per cent to sub 5 per cent, causing unemployment and crushing the livelihood aspirations of hundreds of millions.
  • Anarchy is the abject surrender of government after government to crony capitalism whereby the country’s list of billionaires has had the same names for decades -- it’s a system that does not let a thousand flowers bloom.
  • Anarchy is when you find the richest people in the country are its politicians.
  • Anarchy is when corporations set the government agenda instead of people like you and me, which is the antithesis of democracy -- verily, it has been a government by the few, for the few, for long.
  • Anarchy is when India features at the bottom of the global Human Development Index list.
  • Anarchy is when you are the rice bowl of the world and yet your farmers are driven to suicide.
  • Anarchy is when the hopeless in the hinterland starve in utter penury in the 21st century, despite government godowns overflowing with millions of tonnes of food grain.
  • Anarchy is a skewed sex ratio because of rampant female infanticide in this Information Age.
  • Anarchy is gang rapes and molestation occurring 24x7, thanks to brutalised sensitivities of the so-called guardians of law, who are intoxicated and made intolerant by the chancre of corruption.
  • Anarchy is where the system rots so much, the gang rape of a young tribal girl in a state ruled by a woman chief minister invites very little political backlash from the two large national parties -- because they will need a deal post May elections to lord over us again.
  • Anarchy is when children die in relief camps of cold and “mass” political leaders don’t even dare question it or visit the victims -- because they will need a deal post May elections to lord over us again.
  • Anarchy is believing the Indian tricolour is made of just saffron, and trying to erase from popular perception the white, the green and the navy blue of the Buddhist-inspired Ashok Chakra.
  • Anarchy is when snooping is equated with protection, and riding roughshod over people’s right to live without fear masquerades as good governance.
  • Anarchy is when the rulers mock the destitute by declaiming they can have their next meal for a princely sum of Rs 12.
  • And, anarchy is when our overwhelming biases and ignorance prevent us from differentiating between an anarchist and an alchemist.

One could go on till the cows come home, but the short point is, we wouldn’t be talking about these things but for the relentless efforts -- actually crusade -- of the past 15 years of Arvind Kejriwal and others. Far from being an anarchist, Kejriwal is quite the alchemist, showing us where to find the true gold of inclusive prosperity: in that nation of India where the poorest of poor says, it is my country, for I govern it -- and it is governed for me.

Can anyone of us say that today?

National transitions have never been easy. There will be mistakes, pitfalls, false alarms and indeed a few lost causes and disoriented agenda. Some of these leaders will also err more than once, but remember we are all striving to rectify decades of wrongs, and are not persuaded by the typical politician’s motive to aggrandise himself, his party men, his kith and kin.

We are not saying we have all the solutions, but we will put our lives on line to find the best ones, without fear or favour.

To be sure, AAP’s first attempt at governance has been baptism by fire. We are happy it has been so and we know the firefight will continue till the old order changes. We will stumble, we will fall, but we will get up and serve you -- again and again.

AAP is also the only political party in the country today that can look you in the eye, and with hand on its heart, say it will never, ever rob you of your chance in life. Or loot your hard-earned money.

This force for good needs your encouragement and generosity, and will often test your patience -- for all the right reasons.

Sanju Verma, who recently joined AAP, is a widely followed stock market expert who was rated among the best by Asiamoney magazine. The views expressed are personal.

Sanju Verma