Saturday, 28 December 2013

A Common Man's Politics in India? A special retrospective with reference to the swearing in of the Executive Members of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi

Sitting before television set, looking at a live telecast of a New Chief Minister being sworn in as the Chief Minister of New Delhi, I couldn’t help but be pleasantly surprised! This is a landmark in history of the politics of not only Delhi but the whole country! The zeal and zest could be seen in all the party supporters of the AAP party. There was a palpable atmosphere of  excitement in the air, and everyone was talking about change, an end to corruption. The Common Man’s Party seems to have been formed of ordinary, common people from every day life. What appeared to me most unique about this party was the decision of the C.M. designate, Arvind Kejriwal's decision to travel by Metro to the Ramlila Maidan in Delhi for the swearing in Ceremony.  Somehow, what has marked this party distinct from the other two major parties, the Congress and the BJP has been its ability to identify itself with the common man and his problems. The Aam-Aadmi Party seems to be committed to address the problems of the common people such as inflated electricity bills, insufficient supply of potable water, and overwhelming stranglehold of corruption.
The lesson to be learned by all the National Level parties  for  the forthcoming General Assembly Elections, is that the chances of success will depend on how well their manifestos have been linked to the  problems of the common man! To quote from the Film, “Chenai Express” Shahrukh Khan’s words, “Don’t underestimate the power of the common man!” Seem to ring true! The events taking place in Delhi today, the swearing in of a most unlikely candidate and and equally unlikely party stands testimony to the common man’s hunger and desire for change. With the common man being fed up with nepotism, corruption and rising prices, one can’t predict what will happen in the 2014 General Assembly Elections.
I very strongly believe that there have been a large number of factors that have fuelled this uncontrollable desire for change in the common man. The promotion of the Firebrand young man fighting for the rights of the common man, the young man fighting corruption has been the reason for the success of various films like “Naik” and another milestone revolutionary film, “Rang De Basanti”. One can only wonder whether it is films that make the society or the society that makes the film. The fact is that Indian films and the society are so closely linked that watching of films should be an important task for all politicians. In the film “Naik” the angry young man Anil Kapoor takes on a corrupt Chief Minister, Amrish Puri as a reporter conducting an interview. The battle hardened Chief Minister is unable to answer some of the questions posed by Anil Kapoor and loses his cool. In a challenge, Amrish Puri challenges Anil Kapoor to become the Chief Minister for one day. What happens thereafter is filled with drama. The movie, “Rang De Basanti” voiced the disgust of the Indian youth with the corrupt system of governance. It was a call for revolution, a Gandhian form of revolution against a cantankerous system although it promoted a non-violent form of protest and revolution which is evident in the way the people of the Aam – Admi Party have promoted themselves before the people of Delhi.
The winds of change started blowing from the very land of the Pharaohs in Egypt. Ousting of Hosni Mubarak who had ruled Egypt for decades due to protests by common people at Tahrir square was bound to have repercussions all over the world. Birth of the Jasmine Revolution, its impact on the middle east, including Syria, the ousting of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya were all the result of common people being fed up with dictatorships, corruption, and government policies which didn’t address the common man. The winds of change reached India in the year 2011 when “Big Brother, Anna Hazare” launched a nation wide reforms against corruption and a demand for the Lokpal Bill to be passed by the Parliament ( Check out my earlier posts, links given below  ). That was a year when I had the opportunity of joining the St. Thomas School at Jagadhri as its principal, and I had to spend a lot of time in explaining to the staff of that school that change was in the air , and that they couldn’t afford to be complacent within their shells believing that nothing would happen to disturb their lazy and complacent lives. Jagadhri being in the interiors of Haryana, about 250 kilometres from Delhi, the teachers felt somehow protected from reforms taking place in the field of education. The swearing in of the the New Chief Minister of Delhi is proof that change has finally caught up with all of us, and no one can be free from it whether one lives in the backwaters of Haryana or the NCR region of Delhi! I would like to reiterate what Shahrukh Khan said the the Movie “Chennai Express”, “Don’t Underestimate The Power of the Common Man”! Thus you have today a ruling party in Delhi which is made up of common people from all walks of life and not just career politicians!
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