Many of my friends are ardent supporters of AAP. They see a hope in the meteoric rise of AAP– portrayed by likes of Arvinds, Somnaths, and Kumars—to power. I wondered right from the beginning of Hazare’s movement against corruption whether it represents any sociopolitical thought or is just an expression of collective frustration and gullibility of the propel. A relatively more self-righteous and ambitious faction of that movement formed AAP which is revealing their abysmally low level of ethical development and understanding in Delhi in the full glare of the media these days.
Democracies are supposed to run on the public will. But public will by its very nature cannot be unified and unidirectional. It necessarily involves contradictions, differences of opinions and differences of forms of good life imagined. The forms of good life a khaap member, a sophisticated university professor, a bureaucrat, a poojari and a maulvi imagines is not necessarily the same. Nor every citizen of a democratic country has the larger vision to see the contradiction between his/her own imagination of good life and the possible collective ways of living in a democracy that provide space for realizing individual/group aspirations in a regulated sociopolitical space. Therefore, all democracies require at the least three things to function properly:
1. A normative rational framework to decide acceptability and limits of public aspirations and acceptability of imagined ways of living. A moral and legal framework.
2. A procedural framework to implement that accepted legal-moral framework. (The constitution defines both these frameworks together)
3. A critical mass of people who understand and have conviction in that constitutional framework.
We as a nation do have that constitutional framework. What we lack is critical mass of people who understand this and have conviction in it. Our political parties—-Congress, BJP, various left of the center factions and regional fiefdoms, all–continuously demonstrated a lack of conviction in the democratic norms; of both procedural as well as moral nature. They have depleted the critical mass of people who have democratic convictions and understanding in any robust sense. An average Indian is a non-thinking self-seeker. The rampant corruption is only one of many manifestations of this lack of conviction and understanding.
AAP came to power in Delhi on the promise that it will remove corruption, which will lead to proper functioning of the constitutional framework, resulting in providing unbiased just space to people to realize their aspirations. The frustration of the public with political parties developed an extreme form of gullibility, and the people did not examine the capability to understand and strength of conviction of those who were promising to remove corruption and make the constitution function properly.
The AAP leaders’ limitation of understanding, lack of conviction and deep dishonesty is a matter of daily display on the roads of Delhi these days.
Many people knew that Arvind Kejriwal was never an honest person who respected any legal and procedural norms. His non-compliance to service rules in IT department and refusal to pay back to the government salary for two years leave clearly shows that he was never averse to using public funds for his personal gain—-the main form of corruption in Indian politics. So he was as corrupt in his limited capacities as any other Indian politician.
Lately he has shown his complete disregard for any legal and procedural norms by going on dharna. Somnath Bharati is declaring himself law unto himself, declaring people criminals, wants to be judge, jury, prosecutor and executioner rolled into one. Some obscure figure called Kumar Vishwas gets cheep sexual thrills when a nurse feels his pulse and therefore recommends ‘unattractive’—in his view—‘kaali peeli’ nurses, who can be seen as sisters.
All this shows the wretchedness of their ways of thinking, abysmal lack of ethical development and arrogant self-righteousness. These certainly are not the ‘new netas’ who can serve people and uphold democratic norms. They are thriving on promises and lack of critical thinking on the part of the public. This only proved that any bunch of self-seeking idiots can project themselves as saviors of the public in the present Indian political climate. And the gullible frustrated public will lap up any hope thrown at them by media mechanisms.
This is the death of democratic India’s newest hope. The nation still has to awaken and construct more robust hopes, and they can emerge only through intense churning of ideas in the masses. Can Professor Yadav pay attention on producing that churning rather than pinning his hopes on this by now notorious mindless self-righteous brigade?