Sunday, December 29, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal Must Fail

Arvind Kejriwal asks for ten days to solve the problems of Delhi! 

He is a novice in politics: One never says when one will do something one does not intend to do. But what if he really wants to solve the problems?

Problems such as corruption, VIPs cornering everything, police standing by as women are harassed, rising water and electricity charges while convenient arrangements ensure unlimited and free provisions for rich men's farmhouses. 

But we have always been told that these problems can not be solved. We just have too many people. And, it is people who don't want to follow the rules. It is their fault: What can the government do?

We have been told, for last sixty years and more, that it is best to have democracy for a day. You vote and you go home. You leave governance to those who can. You vote again in five years. We have got used to being governed: We are too messy, too incompetent, too poor - besides, we are just too many!

The only way out is a strong leader: Someone with a 597 feet megalomania perhaps! Or a matriarch, or a family, needed just to remind us that we have no hope in ourselves. We always must be told what we need to do, how we need to live, what we can realistically expect. As a permanently infantile nation, we must be led.

Therefore, Arvind Kejriwal must fail.

And, he sure will, we are told. He is just riding the waves of anger, towards the callous incompetence that led to the rape and murder of a woman a year ago. He is just a middle class fantasy indulged into by an unusually urban electorate. He is just a novice making promises he can't keep, pulling together a ragtag coalition of amateurs who will eventually disintegrate. It is easy to make promises when you don't have to govern, but now that we have manoeuvred him to the Chief Minster's office, he would publicly, terribly, completely fail. And, by making an example of him, our seasoned politicians will prove that there is no hope for the people of India.

Otherwise, he presents a big problem. Just imagine if people really start believing that they can demand accountability from those who vote in. What if the electricity can actually be cheaper, because of the efficiency savings of cutting corruption? What if everyone can be granted the right to safe, free, drinking water? What if the roads could be made safer, so that rich men's sons can't harass middle class girls with impunity? What if people are shown they can solve their problems themselves?

The only issue our politicians need to work out is how they make him fail. The usual, straightforward method of withdrawing legislative support, which the Congress will eventually do (because that's their house style), will not work right away. They must subvert his message first. This is where they must have all hands on the deck, regardless of the colour of one's politics. This is, in a way, politicians and their sponsors versus everyone else!

Subvert his message? Yes, because he is saying that he is just a common man, his whole team is, and that they would solve the problems of Delhi together. But we must hear the message of old politics, conveniently sliced and served up by the media: That HE would solve all problems in ten days! He would be the big guy. We are used to big guys, aren't we? 

For once, it is up to us to know the message regardless of the messenger. This is our moment of hope to waste. This is our time to grow up and be responsible for ourselves. This is our time to stand in a queue, be respectful of others, pay our dues and do our work: This is our moment to govern ourselves. This is when someone gave us a voice, and ours to assume the responsibility to speak up. This is the moment of democracy: Fragile, frightening, but laden with the promise and the possibility of freedom.

If we must, we fail together.

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