As elections begin in India, expectation hangs in the air as to what will happen. For a long time the Indian people have felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. Elections meant choosing the lesser of two evils.
Corruption was considered a part of life and we just had to live with it.
The only choice was between UPA or NDA, but most people felt hopeless about either government bringing about any radical change in the life of the common man.
But this time around AAP has changed the rules of the game.
It has called out both giants of Indian politics, Congress and BJP, to be corrupt and self serving. It has offered an alternative to the Indian common man.
Arvind Kejriwal appears to be the savior of India who will sweep the corridors of politics clean with his jhaadu. The big old powerhouse politicians might dismiss AAP and Kejriwal in public, but it is clear that they are scared of this new development in the game.
Just looking at the amount of money both Congress and BJP have spent on advertisements shows how desperate they are to prevent an upset.
I don’t think anyone believes that AAP can form a majority government at the center in these elections but they can spoil the game for BJP, whose turn it was to ride the carousel of power this time.
But let us hypothesize for a moment that the Indian common man, desperate in his hunger and poverty, was to bring AAP into power in a miracle victory. That would certainly be revolutionary for Indian politics and it might even herald an era of change.
But would that truly end corruption?
Can AAP deliver on its promises? Can AAP truly be our savior?
As much as I want to believe
that Arvind Kejriwal is a godsend to help us all, I can’t help but recognize certain failures and discrepancies in their words and actions.
When the CM of Delhi went on dharna, it was a revolutionary sight but certain hypocrisies came out. Among other things they were asking for certain policemen to be suspended while an investigation is carried out on them so that they can’t influence the investigation. On the same logic their own minister, Somnath Bharti should have also resigned because he was under investigation as well.
The bigger demand was to get Delhi police under the control of the Delhi government and at first they went to the height of calling themselves anarchists and disrespecting the republic day. But then the dharna just fizzled out once a few policemen were sent on leave.
Their government in Delhi also fizzled out a few days later. I’m not convinced by the argument that one failed attempt in the assembly to present their bill was enough to quit from the government in Delhi.
Since then Arvind Kejriwal has followed the spit and run policy, claiming tall claims, blaming everyone in sight, and then a few days later changing his focus on some other scam or corruption.
No doubt, like most Indians I too believe that most of his accusations are right. We all know about paid media and industrialists funding politicians but it seems like Arvind Kejriwal just raises these issues to get media attention.
His antic of announcing to the media that he would change his yatra’s itinerary and go visit Narendra Modi and ask him 16 questions regarding the progress in Gujarat was nothing but a PR stunt. No intellectually honest person, no matter how ardent a supporter of AAP, can call it anything else with a straight face.
It seems like despite claiming to be different, AAP has a similar strategy when it comes to election campaigns; point out the mistakes and deficiencies of your rivals.
But let’s give the benefit of doubt to AAP and Arvind Kejriwal. Elections are not won on logic and reason. Maybe all these antics are necessary to get to a place from where some real changes can be affected. Let’s forgive all mistakes of AAP as the learning curve of a young party. Let’s assume that at least Arvind Kejriwal, if not all other members of AAP, has the best of intentions at heart.
But even with all these assumptions it’s not right to call AAP our savior.
That brings me to the main point of this article.
Why do we need a savior? From whom do we need to be saved?
Maybe our religious traditions have ingrained in us the desire to wait for a savior to reincarnate among us, but who is the villain here from whom we need to be saved?
Corrupt politicians? Corrupt bureaucrats? Rich industrialists? The CIA? Or the corrupt system?
It seems like the system is the main villain, but who has made this system? Who is upholding this system?
The answer of course is us, we the people, the common men and women of India, the public.
They say in a democracy, people get the government they deserve. If the last Satyamev Jayate episode of 30th March was right, it is our own fault that the system is so corrupted today.
Now you, the reader, might be an outstanding example of a good citizen who has never participated or tolerated any form of corruption, but you’ll still have to accept the blame as you are just a part of this entity called “the public”.
But the fact is that we need to be saved from ourselves. And that won’t be easy even for a real reincarnation of God to do. That can only be achieved by us. Only we can save ourselves from ourselves.
When it comes to talking about politics and corruption we all say that it’s bad for the country, bad for us as individuals, immoral, unjust and simply wrong in every sense of the word. But come election day, we sell our vote for a very cheap price.
Sometimes we do it in the name of caste or religion, in a distorted sense of filial loyalty. At other times just to get a few thousand rupees or a biryani and some rum.
If we just stop being so silly, we can solve half of the problem ourselves. Parties give tickets to criminals because they win elections. That is a fact. These criminals win elections because we vote for them. That’s another fact.
If we want to be saved we don’t need to put our hopes on AAP or Arvind Kejriwal or anyone else. Even if he truly is a messiah he won’t be able to do anything unless we change our ways.
So can AAP save us?
Not unless we save ourselves first.
Even god only helps those who help themselves.
Is the Indian voter a moron?
Let’s hope not.
Aditya Thakur is an ex marine engineer who quit his sailing career to pursue his dreams of being a writer. Now he freelances, blogs and writes short stories all day long.