Dear Friends, I am delighted to say that ToI blogs will now feature some of my posts on politics, history and related topics on their site. Here is the first one, which went live earlier today..Enjoy and pl do share any comments – either here, or over at the ToI blog. Thanks for your unstinted support and encouragement as always..Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!
ENTER THE POLITICIAN: Arvind Kejriwal’s Coming-out Party
Amid the high-drama, turnarounds and volte-face by key members of IAC in the last few days, one thing has become clear: that the “split” in the movement is not really a “split”; It is in fact, a “coming-out party” of sorts for Arvind Kejriwal.
This is good news.
Good because fellow political activists (as opposed to those married to social causes or focused on improving civic affairs) can now talk to Arvind and his supporters, without the baggage of rhetoric, and without fear of being tarred by the “all politicians are crooks and evil” brush.
I wish Arvind good luck in his efforts to form a new party – and wish we have a thousand more like him – who realise that there really is no other alternative.
The surest way to keep a pond permanently dirty is to sneer at the dirt from the sidelines and dismiss those who are valiantly trying to step into the muck to clean it. With his latest announcement, Arvind has joined us in this muck-cleaning. This must be good news for all.
But more – a lot more – needs to happen. For one, Arvind and his team need to get rid of seemingly simple but positively misplaced ideas about corruption, poverty, “rights” etc.
Add the word “protests” to that list too.
What has unnerved me most the past few weeks has been the apparent readiness of Arvind to announce a protest every time he sees a “wrong” around him – whether it is the arrest of a cartoonist in Mumbai, detention of IAC activists in Bhopal or plans to generate nuclear power at Kudankulam.
Protests have their time and place – and indeed are a vital part of democracy. But if Arvind aspires to be a leader (which I am certain he can be), he does need to move beyond “protests” to policies. And while he is at it, he also needs to think why in the world’s largest democracy, politicians and political leaders are treated with utter disdain and contempt.
For now though, there are more pressing matters.
Such as making it clear that the fight is not based on a single-point agenda. And a Lokpal bill is unlikely to make a dent in the mega-scandals that now come out with such “regularity” that we have become “immune” to them.
And matters such as “clarity of thought” – which is at the heart of every good policy. Clarity of thought that humans are not born equal; Clarity of thought that “equality” will always be a chimera. Clarity of thought that “Equal Opportunity” is what we must fight for; Clarity of thought that a government that essentially lets people be, is perhaps the best thing for people’s creativity and entrepreneurial talents to flourish.
And clarity of thought that the poor do not need pity; they are not weak, or stupid, or helpless; but they are chained by circumstances. Let’s focus on educating them, ensuring their health and imparting skills to them. If we do can do this, poverty in India can be wiped out in a generation.
Arvind now needs to show he is a true leader. A leader does not depend on surveys to tell him what course of action to take – a leader has clarity of thought. That is what we expect of Arvind. I hope he lives up to his reputation and rises to the challenge.
Here are my final words of unsolicited advice to someone who has given all of us hope – and confidence – that change can come.
This is going to be a long war. It will be impossible to fight this alone. We will need clarity of thought, unflinching resolve and infinite patience, not to mention courage. Anger will generally not help. Joining hands will.
Let us work together. India needs you – more than India Against Corruption – and hundreds more like you. Together we can win.Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!
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