The politics of India, these days, is being looked by many with plenty of cynicism. Though over the years people had shown great faith in democracy, they are fast losing faith in people manning it. Looking back, India’s struggle for Independence succeeded because the elite of the time had come forward to lead the masses and public supported them, well, en mass. After attaining Independence, over the period, both elite and the public left ruling to the handful of people. They in turn consolidated themselves into class of their own and excluded the rest out of governance. The rot in the polity started with advent of our first lady Prime Minister, who broke her grand old party into two, so that her writ could run large. That was beginning of the end of inner party democracy and era of joining politics for selfless service towards the nation, as well. Ironically, the scion of the same family is trying to restore inner party democracy and bring semblance of morality into the party.
After the grand old party of freedom movement had broken into two and one part had withered off, the degeneration accelerated. Soon the polity of the nation was hitting nadir with each passing year and was surpassing it to find another new low. Leaders will stoop to any level to garner votes and then to stick to the power at all cost.
After fifteen Lok Sabhas people’s faith in Indian political leaders stood shaken. It is expected of them to tell brazen lies, twist logics and act in irrational and banal manner. Corruption, naked lust for power is a given. Indian democracy has got limited to voting in elections once in five years. Politicians resort to inane methods to lure voters and later blamed them for selling their votes. India didn’t experience real democracy. What we got instead was replacement of white rulers with brown ones, who were not less white than the whites themselves, sometimes, even literally. Candidates won by 20% to 30% votes and didn’t represent majority of the voters. The parliament became fiefdom of few families who shored up their defenses and made it very difficult to a new honest person to enter. The rebels who did manage to break through the high entry barriers quickly learned the ropes and sometimes outdid the veterans. There was a clandestine understanding between the members of this one large family. Parties avoided defeating important leaders of their rivals; they made sure not to take substantial action apart from mandatory lip service to halt other party’s corruption streaks. Public at large was divided and sub divided further and further into fiefdoms to be ruled by their masters. While voters tried to change their fate, in vain, through ballot but the political class was well entrenched. The nexus between money and muscle power, corruption and crime ensured that political elite stayed in their elite circle, much against the wishes of common man. The force of ballot didn’t make a difference because one leader is no different from another. One party is not different from another, except for change of face and few superficial differences.
Agitated voter are placated by throwing in a hospital here or a school there, crumbs that fell out of the overflowing plates of politicians. No great idea or scheme is introduced that can really make the difference to the reigning problems of the country. In ancient China, there used to be a Doctor in every village. His job was to ensure health of villagers. He was paid collectively by the village and when someone fell ill, he did not receive his fee. As his job was to ensure that everyone stays healthy and well. I believe that is Government’s job too. Why there is no comprehensive planning and implementation on important issues like health or education? There can be various plans. For a state, as an example, assessment can be done as to how many hospitals and health centres are needed to keep whole population healthy. These can be then opened according to a well laid out plan rather than on whims and fancies. Why health minister of the state opens medical college in his constituency and why administrative prudence is overtaken by populism? Why basic necessities are not available to common man at their door step and why can’t these utilities run on auto pilot? Because governing class is not interested in providing good governance to the people. Why is India still not fully literate, maybe because Government is not serious in providing literacy to everyone. Same goes for healthcare, employment, basic facilities like water, electricity, etc and basic infrastructure. The ruling class is weary of doing anything that is not vote catching. They have managed to subdue peoples mind to the extent that they are compelled to vote on lines of caste, creed and religion. Even educated ones have difficulty resisting, when they heed the call of their religion or caste being under threat. Public memory being short, cannot recall that they had been called in the similar manner during last elections too. Even if they do remember, they fail to sift genuine from fake sometimes. The call if it’s not in the name of religion could be in the name of development, depending on the flavour of the season. But still voter fail to hold their leaders accountable. They desist asking them to give a record of promises made last time. Voters don’t ask why providing water is a poll promise, why it is not a given, for any Government?
In this milieu voter got corrupted too, self interest took precedent over national interest and voters colluded with political masters for petty gains, in turn sacrificing the greater good. However, the misrule, bad governance and corruption was reaching a crescendo when Anna Hazare’s anti corruption movement came as a fresh breath of air. People gravitated towards him as all had suffered and are suffering from the insensitive system at one point or the other. The politicians in their smugness ignored him in the beginning and their apathy towards common man reflected on Anna movement too. Fortunately, Anna survived the movement which gave birth to a new party. The Party was based on principles of common sense and promised bare minimum of right governance to the people. However, due to paucity of sanity and sincerity in political discourse, the new party attracted lots of educated well established persons in the society and the common man. The right thinking people who wanted to serve the nation but could not due to high entry barriers in polity, gravitated towards it.
Till the time of Delhi election all major political parties had smug confidence in their underestimating voters and at the political barricade put up by them. But the results astonished those without the ears to the ground. One major party got decimated, another’s juggernaut was stopped midway. They got people’s support in Delhi as they gave hope to people. When they jumped into Lok Sabha election political class was apathetic in the beginning, however, later they were insecure. The new kid on the block was not like them. It stayed away from power and pelf and was incorruptible. Whole hell broke loose and in the ensuing din the real issues were again drowned. The new party was trying to increase awareness about the right way the democracy should be practiced and it wanted to ensure people’s participation in it. The model of swaraj is to ensure that some of the important issues that concern common man are addressed by him with the help of government. Instead of providing key to governance to someone else and to pray for justice from them, the people could take decision and ask government to implement them. It was next logical progression for democracy which antiquated self serving general politicians had no intention of doing. Another issue was removal of corruption from the system, which had been acknowledged even by the Prime Minister of the country. Third was the removal of VIP or VIIP culture from society, which is conveniently confused by the critics with basic, dignified living. Politicians like any other public servants are definitely entitled to good pay and perks but it is the attitude of being the ruler of the masses that ought to be removed.
These and many other issues and awareness about them were being generated but the din was created by the conventional politicians to ensure that only threat to their well developed fiefdom is nullified. Common man of the country can see through the din, and it is ardently hoped that this new brand of politics is accepted by him. As far as educated few are concerned, they would prefer to fight over the nuances conveniently ignoring the big picture, so that the brand of politics they are used to is not disturbed.
Over the year apathetic treatment of important issues of general masses by the Political class has resulted in development of lots of pressure in the polity, and the public has found a safety valve in the form of new political party aptly abbreviated as AAP meaning You. If the opportunity provided by emergence of this new party is not availed and the idea is not helped to grow, all would be lost. People will go back to being cynical and ruling class will go back to its disdain of common man, smug in the thought of their own invincibility. And it would be a very long time before someone again emerges to cleanse the system. And the institute of democracy may take the hit, in the time being.
This is an opportunity for bloodless revolution in a noble democratic manner and should be availed, by supporting the new party.