Arvind Kejriwal has ushered in hope and belief in the political system for millions of Indians, the students, the slum dwellers, the auto rickshaw drivers , the media., the businessmen and indeed, the entire nation. Is this the first step towards marching towards a clean system of governance ?
India, which had once shown the entire world, a radical way of conducting politics as service to the people, had become extremely quagmired with issues of corruption and extremely dysfunctional governance. We all felt we must do something but the tragedy was we did not know what to do or whom to turn to.
I used to often feel bad that there was hardly anybody worth respecting as a leader in our entire nation. Politics itself had become a dirty word and a murky profession to enter. In fact, we had reached an all time low.
It was at this time that Arvind Kejriwal entered the political arena.
We, at Life Positive, had written about him earlier, before he donned the political hat. In an article that spoke about people the Age of Gandhi (Life Positive, March 2009), we had written about Parivartan, the NGO co-founded by Arvind Kejriwal and quoted Arvind Kejriwal saying that satyagraha and RTI combined can solve all the problems of the country if implemented well.
When I heard about the movement for the Jan Lokpal bill I, like many other Indian citizens, did feel something would emerge from the movement to bring about a change in the way politics is functioning in our country.
The AAP started talking to the real aam aadmi or common people, auto drivers, shopkeepers and people of all hierarchies. Most people were impressed but did not really think the party could actually make its presence felt in such a short time. Still, for the first time, people did wish to cast their vote. For the first time, they were not confused but clear that they were voting not just for change in the party but a change in the way of governance.
Almost miraculously, the party actually won the Delhi elections. People of all classes celebrated the victory not just in Delhi but all over India as they did feel democracy was functioning at last.
Gandhi had said “What we mean and want through Poorna Swaraj ……is an awakening among the masses, a knowledge among them of their true interest and ability to serve that interest against the whole world, ….. harmony, freedom from aggression from within or without, and a progressive improvement in the economic condition of the masses”. Arvind Kejriwal says in his book, Swaraj “The decisions on what to do and what not to do should be taken by the people. Political parties, political leaders and government agencies should only implement them.”
Arvind Kejriwal also says in the book, “Today there is complete control of corrupt leaders, corrupt parties and criminals over the Indian politics. That control will start to wean. (when we have Swaraaj) Then people will start to have direct control over politics and governance of this country. This will bring about all inclusive progress, remove unemployment and eradicate poverty.”
Apart from the political dynamics, there is another development on the personal front that we should take note of. Arvind Kejriwal, who was an atheist earlier, is now a believer in a higher power. He says it would not have been possible to go from where he and his party were they are today without divine support. Apart from his belief, this clearly shows us when atheists turn into believers, they are the most pristine ones. They believe in a higher consciousness for the right reasons and not petty, selfish ones.
Will Arvind Kejriwal continue to win in Delhi ? Will he also carve a national presence ? Will politics change for the better soon ? We do not know.
However, all we can be sure right now is his intent. The intent of ushering in a new era of politics. The intent of stepping into murky waters that politics is today to clean up the mess. The intent of ushering in swaraaj into our nation.
Isn’t this what makes him a leader and karmayogi and not a self serving politician ?
I do think Gandhi would have given him a pat on his back.