Kejriwal’s Delhi Dharna – This is not anarchy, Mr Home Minister, This is Revolution

What we are witnessing in Delhi today is historic – for the first time since Independence a legitimate political party has refused to play by the rules that all political parties in India have battened on for sixty-five years; for the first time a State Government has taken on the Central Government at its own doorstep; for the first time a Chief Minister and his entire Cabinet are sitting in protest in their own capital; for the first time their own police force is ranged against them in their thousands.

The immediate reason for this may be the demand for the suspension of five police officials, but the actual reason is more basic, and fundamental to any democracy — accountability of the rulers to the ruled.

Kejriwal fighting the Central Government on Delhi streets

Kejriwal fighting the Central Government on Delhi streets

The rulers are not just the politicians and the bureaucrats – they are also the larger constituency that benefits from the present status quo: the industrialists, the TV and news organisations, the “cognoscenti”, the “glitterati”, the South Delhi socialites, the “intelligentsia” that makes a nice living by appearing nightly on TV panel discussions: in short, all those who are comfortable with the status quo.

They have, with the assistance of disgruntled elements like Kiran Bedi and Captain Gopinath, unleashed a veritable barrage of abuse and condemnation against Kejriwal and his party over the last week, terming him a Dictator, Anarchist, Chief Protestor, Law-breaker and so on.

It is because they feel genuinely threatened by the forces that the AAP has unleashed, the ethical standards that it has prescribed and demonstrated, the personal examples that its leaders have shown. Because they know that if these paradigms become the norm of a new India then the sand castles that these privileged reside in shall come crumbling down in no time.

And so they accuse Kejriwal of not following prescribed conventions, protocol or procedure and thus encouraging anarchy. Let us look at just three of these alleged transgressions:

1. Law Minister Somnath Bharti asking for a meeting of judicial officers of Delhi. What is improper about this? Isn’t the judiciary a part of the government – funded, staffed, appointed by the state.

Yes, it is operationally independent of the government (as it should be) but it is certainly not a holy cow whose performance cannot be questioned, or monitored, by the people of this country through their elected representatives.

The judiciary is meant to serve the people, just as the bureaucracy is, and it cannot have internal accountability only. An elected government has to have the right to review its performance, especially given the pathetic state of the disposal of cases in courts.

In my view Mr. Bharti was within his rights to take a meeting of judicial officers to assess the shortcomings of the system (which is the first step to removing these shortcomings). Yes, he could have routed the request through the High Court, but this was a trivial error and certainly not the grievous violation that the media made it out to be.

To the contrary, the Law Minister should be lauded for his initiative in seeking to address the issue instead of washing his hands of it as ALL LAW MINISTERS OF THIS COUNTRY HAVE DONE SO FAR, as if the collapse of the judicial redressal system was no concern of the government!

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2. Subsidies on water and power to small consumers in Delhi (something for which Kejriwal has been contemptuously branded a populist). Really?

The Central Government dishes out more than 160000 crores worth of subsidy every year on just three schemes (Mid-day Meals, MNREGA and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan). Just about every state gives subsidies on water and power.

Here’s something Mr. Arnab Goswami and his kind should consider: the Golf Club in New Delhi which has about 4000 privileged members (all of whom are now arraigned against Kejriwal) has been given 250 acres of the most expensive real estate in the country worth 60000 crores for a paltry lease of about Rs. 15 lakhs per annum.

The annual return on Rs. 60000 crores should be at the very least Rs. 6000 crores: in effect, what this means is that every member of the Golf Club is being given a subsidy of Rs. 1.50 crores every year! The same is the case with the Gymkhana Club, another watering hole for the rich, the famous, and the now scared.

According to the latest report of the RBI, the total non-performing assets (NPA) of the Banks in India is more than Rs. 1.60 lakh crores.

NPA is just a euphemism for what the Vijay Mallyas and the Captain Gopinaths of the world owe to the aam aadmi (and refuse to pay) while flying all over the world in their private jets and pontificating in TV studios on the correct form of governance. Is it “populism” if indulged in by Kejriwal, and “entitlement” and “economic surge” when practiced by others ?

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3. Somnath Bharti’s (Kejriwal’s Law Minister) mid-night visit to Khirkee village has generated so much misinformation, ignorance of the law, reverse racism and hypocritical harangues that it is sickening.

Shorne of all this, what does the entire incident amount to? Merely this: a Minister, in response to complaints by residents (which are on record, as is the police inaction on them for months) of a locality personally visits the spot and asks the police to take immediate action by raiding the building where illegal activities are taking place.

The police refuse and insult the Minister. This is the essence of the matter.

All the rest – search warrants, lack of female police, racism, urinating in public, cavity search(!) [the latest addition to the shrinking vocabulary of Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi] etc.- are red herrings and a smoke screen which no doubt the judicial Inquiry Commission shall see through.

How was the Minister wrong in asking the police to take action? Is it a Minister’s job to simply sit in an air-conditioned office and write on files? (a question which Kejriwal has asked and to which we are still waiting for an enlightened response from Ms. Barkha Dutt and gang).

Does the police require a search warrant to enter a place where they have reason to believe that illegal activities are going on? Really, Mr. Salve?

If so, then how do you explain their barging into the house in the Batla House encounter and shooting three people, WITHOUT A SEARCH WARRANT? Or their constant nocturnal forays into the poor whore-houses of GB Road whenever they are short of spending money? 

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No, sir, the opposition to Kejriwal from the BJP and the Congress, from the Arnab Goswamis, Rajdeep Sardesais, the Barkha Dutts, the Kiran Bedis, from the Editors of English dailies, from the captains of industry, from the Single Malts and Bloody Marys of Gymkhana and Golf Clubs, does not stem from any illegality or impropriety on his part, or from any ideological differences between them.

It stems from their complete and total failure to comprehend what Kejriwal is and what he stands for. It stems also from the deep social divide between the upper crust of society( who are happy with the status quo where their money, power and contacts can ensure them a comfortable life) and the masses below them who have to daily bear the brunt of the system inspired corruption, harassment, inconvenience and indignity that the present dispensation guarantees them.

This (hitherto unacknowledged and invisible) divide becomes clear when we compare the editorial slants of the English and Hindi channels in the coverage of the ongoing protests: the former are virulently anti AAP and only pop up panelists who support that view, while the latter appear to be more understanding of what AAP is trying to do.

Those who are denouncing Kejriwal for being an autocrat, anarchist, activist and for protesting at Raisina Road are missing the most obvious point of his movement – THAT KEJRIWAL WILL NOT PLAY BY THEIR RULES ANY MORE.

As they say in Las Vegas – you can’t beat the house, because the dice are loaded against you. Everyone wants him to play with their set of dice  which they mysteriously call the Constitution and the CRPC!) but Kejriwal wants to play with his own dice, hence the confrontation.

They want him to pass a joint resolution of the Assembly for bringing the police under the Delhi govt.-he’s smart enough to see that the resolution will be thrown into the same waste paper basket where presumably the Ordinance on protecting convicted MPs was consigned by Rahul Gandhi.

They want him to be a good boy and take his dharna to Jantar Mantar where all civilised protests begin and inevitably end, while the govt. of the day can get on with its gerrymandering uninterrupted-he knows that unless he disrupts the comfortable existence of the bourgeois he may as well relieve himself in the Yamuna for all the difference he will make.

They want him to sit in the Secretariat and be guided by his bureaucrats and lose all touch with reality- he won’t fall for this Pavlovian routine. They desperately want him to become one of them, red light, siren, gun-toting commandos, Lutyen’s bungalow and all- he knows that if he falls for this he loses his USP and becomes just an intern in this hoary club of gnarled sinners.

They want him to follow the script co-authored by all the political parties of the day, not one excluded, because this script contains an agreed-upon plot, wherein politicians make noises but don’t act against each other, wherein corruption is just a sound-bite, where dynastic succession is a silently accepted sine qua non, where no one is interested in finding out whether the hundreds of proved Swiss bank accounts contain anything other than Swiss chocolates – Kejriwal, however, wants to write his own script with substantial inputs from the aam aadmi, not from the Ambanis or the Radias or the Shobhna Bhartias.

They want him to talk about corruption but not do anything about it, something Manish Tewari’s poetic flair would term “willing to wound but afraid to strike”, an attitude as old as Chanakya and Kautilya which offers all of us a catharsis via the good offices of Arnab Goswami and little else- but Kejriwal is no respecter of Machiavelli or Chanakya, his vocabulary is limited because he can only call a spade a spade, he is colour blind because he can only see in black and white (the shades of greys can be left for the likes of Manu Singhvi), and therefore he insists on striking, not just talking.

Is there any cause for surprise, therefore, at why the present dispensation, both in and out of government, is rattled by this five foot four inch “insect” from Ghaziabad? He is neither fish nor fowl, he defies understanding.

The establishment has made the supreme mistake of trying to counter him by quoting the rules of the game (loaded in the former’s favour, naturally!) they are past masters of- but Kejriwal has changed the rules, and now they don’t know how to control him or neutralise him.

For the time being only Kejriwal knows the new rules, and he is springing them on the carpet baggers one by one, catching them by surprise all the time.

Forget the English TV channels-they rarely get anything right. Forget the Manish Tewaris, the Kiran Bedis, the FICCI spokespersons, the Minakshi Lekhis- they are either scared witless or rank opportunists. What they all do have in common, however, is that they have failed to see how the common man-the aam aadmi-are gathering behind this dimunitive man with the perpetual cough.

The sincerity, integrity and commitment of this man is phenomenal, his capacity to harness the anger and frustration of the people is limitless. His defiance of accepted conventions and interpretations is not anarchy – it is nothing short of a revolution. When the people have had enough of injustice, callousness and indignity, they will not play by the rules of the rulers-they will make new rules.

The French Revolution would not have happened if the existing rules had been followed. Tehrir Square would not have happened if everyone swore by the old rules. Changing the rules, Mr. Home Minister, is not anarchy – it is the beginning of a people’s revolution.

The sooner we realise this the less pain in the transition, the less violence. No matter how the stand-off in Delhi ends – capitulation by the Home Minister and the Police, withdrawal of support by the Congress, imposition of President’s Rule, police violence on the protesters and their eviction – one thing is certain: Kejriwal is going nowhere.

He, and his paradigms, are here to stay and haunt our rulers. With his uncanny understanding of the pulse of the people he has re-written the rules of politics and governance.

There are now only two options Kejriwal has left the ruling class – either they change, or the people will change them.

Avay Shukla retired from the Indian Administrative Service in December 2010. He is a keen environmentalist and loves the mountains.....he has made them his home. He blogs at http://avayshukla.blogspot.in/

360 Comments

  • DrSubendu says:

    Hats off to Kejrival sir because he at least initiates a debate…….. Rest is left in the depth of time…….

  • NotSoCommon says:

    Agree with all except with the venue of the dharna by AAP. There is a reason why Jantar Mantar is the only place set up for agitations, or have the citizens forgotten the days when major delhi roads would be blocked by one or the other group protesting. If today AAP takes the liberty to break the rule of the law then today others will follow the same.

  • Markose Abraham says:

    Excellent write-up. Such an explanation was necessary for the outer world to know the truth. Good the AAp is contesting LS elections. Yo must have representation there also. Till elections avoid media glare and concentrate on governance in AK style.Restrict the PRO job to Yogendra Yadav and Ashutosh. As far as possible avoid TV sessions and spat. Weekly letters to the crore-members will give enough publicity for your programmes. Keep the well wishers close to your action and ignore the detractors. Advise AK to remove his cough and look after his health. One month is over and another three to go in the first stage. Then you can open out and take wings…..

  • Shruti says:

    Great thought sir…

  • Sreenivasan says:

    Everything is okay till it affects your own personal interest.
    And you become violent if the finger points towards YOU.

  • Santosh menon says:

    I whole hardheartedly support Mr. Arvind Kejriwal it is true that this is a revolution and he is a revolutionary for a good India we need people like kejriwal but it pains when bad elements are getting added to the family of APP. I do not know why anjali damania is asking Dawood Ibrahim and other bad elements to join APP i want to know what is their in her mind ? whether she is a party to Dawood activities in India and if she has not said such thing then she should come out openly and say or the people will think otherwise.As a aam admi supporter please refrain from criminal and terrorists.

  • Zafar says:

    AAP is alive and kicking in the minds of right thinking Indians , whatever the paid news / industrial media houses scream from roof tops.

    AAP should identify & fight 100 – 150 winnable seats in the cities with good candidates ; they should not decipate their resources ; their message is yet to percolate to the rural areas where caste and religion are still vulnerable to vote bank politics. With 100 seats they can, in the short term, bring about huge changes in governance for a better India.

    AAP should set up a TV / Radio station to spread their message / philosophy , to reach the rural masses.

  • raghavan says:

    1.Anarchy is when the foreign nations offer information on black money slashed by Indians, if India govt requests & the then FM of India replies that he could get a flight ticket for a flight after 6 months only to visit that foreign country (even that visit did not take place is a different matter).
    2. Media is vying with each other to get the best portion of ‘Rahul advertisements’ & 400 crore advt budget announced by BJP. This explains the sudden hostility of Media.

  • Siddhartha says:

    Apart from right thinking Indians, AAP is leaving a mark amongst the common people of Delhi, for sure because they are seeing the benefits first hand

  • Naveen agrawal says:

    Greetings

    A suggestion instead of beauraucrats aap should think of appointing professional proven and practical multitude of professionals for each ministry as advisors for the better alternative to age old laws customs and rules to bring a proper resolution and solution for today and the coming tomorrow

  • SHREEKANT VADER says:

    I wouldn’t comment on the article, because of too much of confusion and chaos.

    What I believe is that AAP should keep their calm, they can only unveil the true power of people by being focused and not being all over at the same time. I truly believe that other National political parties believe that AAP is going to be a failed experiment, which I honestly don’t want to happen

    Few Tips before taking any action :

    What we want to achieve ?

    How does it align to basic principles of AAP ?

    Who will reap the benefits and why ?

    Risks and opportunities?

    Long term and short term benefits ?

    Is that action sustainable over long period of time ?

    Who are with us and who are left back?

  • Manoj Thapliyal says:

    Must read article. Thanks for this info. Well scripted. Both Politics and media need to be cleaned. I can very clearly see english news channels are badly after AK, but AK is one ogf the most intelligent and kind politician where others cant even reach.

  • Dr R s Kulkarni says:

    I feel what’s going on in Delhi is a theatre of the absurd. Imagine tomorrow PM going on hunger strike in front of Parliament if his wish is not passed in the house. If law makers & enforcers break the law is anyone going to follow it ? Mobocracy & my way or highway is not what people deserve. Change for better or for worse is the basic question.

  • Y.C.Goel says:

    spread it like a jungle fire among masses.

  • sayyed faruk says:

    Dear sir,

    Your are the one person the changing politics..

    Great job doing you… this is Government of AAP…

    Congrats sir….

    Sayyed Faruk.

  • S.R.Venkataram says:

    My sincere Prayers for Arvind Kejriwal to get well soon,free from cough. AAP should have good numbers in the Loksabha with sufficient number of intellectual AAPs since any honest non corrupt person is also an Aam aadmi. AAP should be king makers in the new Lokasabha and for this we need to work at grass root level. I live in a high rise building with 107 flats and there are 69 servent maids, and another 100 menials, drivers, laundry fellows etc. I have been personally contacting them and telling them what the BROOM stick stands for in the comming election.Majority of them are not aware of it. It is essential we target them since they constitute 80% of the total electorate for Lokasabha election. I am a active RTI activist and a senior citizen in Bangalore.

  • Aniruddha Mukherjee says:

    I think Mr. Kejriwal has addressed the right point rightly while acting his power in the jurisdiction of a common man but,his direct speeches in the media that too speaking through heart has against the system was in confrontation with the age old corrupt system.Because the system has slowly but steadily made an illegal amendment(unanimous)in the parallel constitution that once a common wins the election,he becomes the authorized “thekedar” to loot the nation.If Mr. Kejriwalji takes another root and try to stick to be at ground rather to fly with a dream of looting to stack “black money” instead of behaving like a public representative then surely the other majority “thekeders: will resist and force him to become a sandwich being in minority.

  • Ashish Raj says:

    What a brilliant article!

  • Surjit Kohli says:

    An amazing piece; blunt and direct. It is kind of strong dose required for the kind of pathetic, anti-national and anti-people politicians. But this is just a tiny beginning, a very long war has to be fought and win over for the betterment of the people and the nation. There will be enormous hurdles on the way and hence a very well planned strategy, cool thinking, commitment to the cause and sheer conviction is required to succeed. God bless the AAP.

  • Venkatesh says:

    You can not bring about Change without challenging the status quo.

    That is what Mr.Kejriwal is doing…. Challenging the Status Quo.
    However, this is a nasty business. People who are mired in political and bureaucratic inertia will find his form of activism unnerving. So be it. If we need to elevate India to a status of a Developed Republic, you cant afford to maintain status quo… Not for 65 years..

    Mr. Kejriwal has promised change to the Delhi Electorate. He is trying to live up to his committments.
    Keep Going Mr. Kejriwal… Your actions might be a bit crude… but you are action oriented.. You will surely learn tact on the way… Dont worry about your detractors…

    If Mr.Kejriwal can clean up the system, we can proudly sing ” Jahan Daal Par Sone kee Chidiya Karthi hai basera….” not only on Independence Day and Republic Day… but every day !!!

  • Nagbhushan Rao says:

    It is clearly evident the way both BJP and Congress are attacking Kejrival, it is showing their weakness and they have fooled the people for 65 years and how long the suffering can continue. People need to support mesiah AK47 and give him nation-wide support. AAP should be given chance to govern with full majority in next elections. Its very very hard for Kejriwal to fight these two parties and these two parties can’t fool people. They are mistaken if they think thaey can foo us for good. All the good and intelligent people of the country should join this movement and creat a sunami.

  • midhun says:

    well said, sir!

  • N. Choudhary says:

    Let Kejriwal first provide decent working conditions to the police personnel before he starts accusing them of all the ills that plague society. As all other politicians he has realised that he needs to have the power of the danda to enforce his writ. That is why he is so concerned about bringing the police under himself rather than trying to bring about any change. He should realise that all said and done,he would not be where he is today if the police had not managed to conduct a free and fair election in New Delhi.

  • BHAVABHUTI SHAH says:

    Can anyone put on a Hindi Translation of this Article for the so called elite in our Society & the TV ( that I gudgingly put up with …otherwise how would I know their mind). The revolution is surely in the making ……..
    R.B.SHAH

  • AVINASH KUMAR says:

    Awesome in a word to define this…….Gr8 thought sir….

  • kamlakar shenoy says:

    It is fantastic mind opener. This needs to be informed in public and create awareness.
    If aam aadmi is equipped with this information no one can save Congress and BJP
    May Swami Nityananda shower his blessings to AK to safegaurd interest of all Indians

  • MJK Shervani says:

    Rajiv Gandhi ( Computer/I.T. revolution) and later Dr. Manmohan Singh had opened a closed DOOR, early ’90s for the good of our NATION without having the remote idea of INDIA descending to a Country again owing to the push & pulls for riches fighting for regional revivifications-in the name of development. Today, if we analyze systematically, we do not require a search light to see that a cluster ( Bikao-Maal, sold products) of visual-MEDIA, Internet-hired- brokers ( Twitter/F.B. etc), M.A.-in SCAMS: politicians and M.A.- in GREED: Industrialists/big traders have tightened a noose around the common man in the name of DEVELOPMENT ( “GHARIBI HATAO” and Desh Ko NATION sai Country Banao)… Yes- this cluster calls the shots at will, alternatively they make or break the popular perceptions within months ( and this is very alarming and threatening): behind the shutter; purchased- buildup of all powers, legislative, executive, and bureaucratic resting in the same cluster taking us from electivity to selectivity… it may just be called the very definition of “tyranny”! As a result we surely have elevated risk indicators across the board…..The door of SATTAYE that Kejriwal is attempting to open will soon be wide opened and our vast population is waiting to enter!!

  • Deepak Negi says:

    agree with you sir, will share it in my social media network, must read by indian intellectuals who oppose kejriwal blindly

  • bhavna shah says:

    mahtma gandhi’s namak aandolan was also a drama. how he can win a fight of freedom with collecting some namak
    you r laughin on kejriwal today,,,,but it will count as a golden leaf in the pages of history

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