So, will AAP change things? As the cliche goes, nothing changes overnight.
Is there hope? Yes. Arvind Kejriwal and his closest ally currently come across as people with
- Genuinely good intentions (rajniti badalni hai)
- Strong integrity (hum desh ki seva karne nikle hain, satta paane ke liye nahin)
- Understanding of practical day-to-day things (agar aapse koi rishwat maangta hai to mana mat karein, de dein, aur corruption hotline par phone karein)
- Willingness and ability to get their hands dirty (the entire process of forming the party, facing the initial ridicule, still fighting the elections and winning).
If I see obstacles, it is not because I imagine Arvind Kejriwal giving a monstrous laughter sitting on CM’s chair in the privacy of his office that he has fooled the entire nation (barring the few clever social media supporters of older parties). No, I don’t doubt his intentions and integrity failing, and hopefully, neither those of his closest colleagues. I am not worried about bureaucrats impeding his war against corruption in Delhi either. If a bureaucrat or an activist tries to fight corruption, he is really too powerless. If a CM wants to do it, the obstacles will be surmountable.
The problems that would come are the problems of democratic process.
- Democracy, AAP and Kejriwal want to do what aam aadmi wants. Problem comes when
- AAM aadmi doesn’t want the right thing: If the media would stop conducting polls amidst urban elites and go to all the aam aadmi’s of the country, what would the majority think of legalizing homosexuality? Will AAP support what aam aadmi wants? Or will it take a high moral ground? The humility that makes Kejriwal and his colleagues so endearing, will it let them take that high moral ground over the sentiments of majority of aam aadmi? Will aam aadmi still accept them if they did so?
- Two sections of AAM aadmi’s want different things: What is the right side on an issue like reservation? Those who opposed increasing reservation quotas were no less of aam aadmi’s than those who favoured it.
- I will repeat what Will Durant says Plato said: Aristocracy ruins itself by limiting the circle of power too narrowly, oligarchy because of its scramble for immediate wealth. Democracy is also a problem because people are not properly equipped by education to select the best rulers and the wisest courses. They have no understanding, and only repeat what their rulers are pleased to tell them. Ultimately the most unscrupulous flatterer rises to power. If in simpler matter – like shoe making – we think only a specially-trained person will serve our purpose, shouldn’t we look for the service of the wisest and the best for ruling us. And not the handsomest, or the most eloquent one.
Indian politics, after independence, was not always devoid of principles and good intentions. A constitution of the kind we have, universal suffrage, fundamental rights, well balanced arms of governance, these could not have come our way if we didn’t have well-meaning politicians. And yet – like other forms of government, democracy destroys itself, by being too much of itself, by being too democratic. How much and for how long will AAP be able reverse the decline?
Despite the concerns, I am not predicting doom. Not in immediate future anyway. I am looking forward, very curiously, to the changes AAP is going to bring. Because we haven’t found the perfect form of government despite so many thousands of years of trying. Until then, we have to do with democracy. And so long has leaders have strong moral fiber, there is hope. When damnation of democracy takes place again, well… we will see.