- Posted January 20, 2014 by
PARADIGM SHIFT IN INDIAN POLITICS
Read the full article here http://wp.me/p4bnqR-19
Read an account of changing political wave in India from the lens of a common man.
October 15, 2010. Graduate School. The University of Nottingham, UK.
The classroom buzzed in excitement to welcome the new Professor who was a member of EU commission, had several accolades to his credit. A highbrow thinker and an Environment Science & Policy strategist, he was my first choice for graduate thesis. Sharp 10 AM, the class rose in honour as he walked in. I was seated on the second last bench. Blessed with shortest stature in the hall, I wished for a moment, if all my friends dropped down like drunken flags in defeat, I could then possibly make my presence felt to him.
He was kind enough to briefly introduce himself and then asked students to give their introductions too. Well this is exactly what I was waiting for. A million thoughts flooded my mind to frame the best introductions ever, after all ‘first impression is the last impression’. I was flabbergasted with Prof’s knowledge of the historical trends and the latest happenings in remotest cities around the world, as he added his piece of mind to 22 nationalities represented in the lecture hall. I was bouncing off the wall, when it came echoing in my ears – “Next”. I stood bright eyed and bushy tailed and said “Good Morning, I am Rashmi. I come from incredible INDIA. I have 3 yrs of work experience in environment consulting, project management…” - 1min 15sec, he looked at me in appreciation. I knew, I did a good job, until I heard him say “That’s cool. India is an exciting country. Well what’s your stand on the latest Common Wealth Games Scam (CWG) in Delhi? ”, and there it came down hitting me hard on the face. In a fraction of a second all my excitement had crumpled to dust. I mustered courage and sheepishly said, reaffirming my own faith “India has and will always remain an incredible part of the world, for Indians nurture true values. CWG is a clear reflection of lousy and spineless leadership, which is running insane in greed and ambition. It’s true that corruption has infected our very basic political framework and I am ashamed to acknowledge this”. Prof. looked at me in deeper appreciation and acceptance and signalled me to take my seat. As I settled down, 53 pair of unconvinced eyes smirked disrespectfully at my very existence. I hung my head in shame. After this, every second spent in the hall seemed like in hell.
Tears swelled & blurred my vision as I isolated myself in a deserted corner in the library, after the lecture. Several random thoughts filled my mind but the bigger question was, ‘Did I really believe in what I said?’
I was raised in a middle class family, in the capital city of Lucknow, U.P. Born to simple , devout and pious parents who laid firm foundation in the power of goodness. The family values that nurtured me and my three siblings were in alignment with the ancient Indian Culture. We also learnt about the practical nitty-gritties of life, which helped us to be patient and live happily with our surroundings. If rains flooded the main roads, we carried a pair of rain shoes in the hand bags. Never made fuss about the 3 hrs long train reservation queue, for I always had a good book in hand. Mom often burnt ‘Guggul’ (Indian Bedellium) in the evening hours to keep away the flies and mosquitoes, which after the sumptuous feed on the 50 meter away garbage heap came to our house to rest. Sleepless sweaty nights in hot summer, without electricity, was fun; we slept on terrace with mom’s cotton dampened saree covering us from head to toe, giving us enough cool to get into the lap of sleep by 2 AM, before we rushed to school early morning.
I had learnt life’s deeper lessons of patience, forbearance, optimism and co-operation. YES, what I didn’t learn was to Question the system. My ’30 yrs of PRIDE’ in Indian values, culture, tradition and diversity never seeked answer to bigger questions – Why even till date that road still gets flooded? Why in this electronic age 3 hrs are needed to get a train ticket for 1 hour travel? Why even after 6 decades of independence we don’t have 24×7 power & water supply? Why corporation removes society garbage just once a month? Why people still die of cold & heat in India? Why the most sacred rivers in the country are the dumping ground for the city’s untreated waste? The list is endless…
Mind you I am not the only one, but every Indian has a story to tell, story of helplessness, forbearance, injustice and exploitation…
Yes its true, I didn’t believe in my own argument, presented in the classroom as I never questioned the wrong in my surrounding instead learnt to live happily…how could I then just blame the leadership? I think it was a mere ingenious excuse that came to my rescue to defend my own identity…
... But something astounding has happened in 2011-2013 in India. A social movement ‘India Against Corruption’ turned into a political revolution giving birth to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP-Common Man’s Party). The fledgling party soon captured the imagination of Indian masses and formed Government in Delhi in December 2013 and now all set for 2014 National Elections.
Read in detail how, why and when on AAP’s emergence here http://wp.me/p4bnqR-19
As AAP effect is evident and fast spreading in the Indian sub-continent, it is setting the performance bars higher for other ruling parties. The question is not whether they will win or lose National election but what does AAP’s emergence means to India ? Trust me, something remarkable has happened in Indian society -
• AAP’s emergence brought a paradigm shift and redefined Indian politics by changing the rules of the game. The very definition of politics has changed from dirty game of prowess, arrogance and might to humble service to the nation. AAP instilled faith in people that politics, transparency, ethics, humility and good character can co-exist.
• It has made politics more interesting than cricket in India. Political discussion which was once a favourite pass time in long distance travel and over evening coffee has now become an integral part of people’s life as it’s skilfully shaping people’s ideologies. Indian Politics will never be same again.
• We have grown up listening to the stories of Indian independence, freedom fighters and spiritual leaders like Swami Vivekanad have deep rooted values. We always drew our inspiration from the stories of the yore. Now we are part of India’s second war against freedom and I am not only witnessing history but making history with my little drop in the ocean, which will inspire the generations to come. AAP through its idealistic approach & humble leadership has raised people’s consciousness strengthening national character.
• My generation which was also taught to accept things without raising a finger, was now asking questions and demanding accountability – this is sure to strengthen the very roots of Indian democracy. Every Indian now wants to participate in nation building by either being a devil’s advocate or an active agent of change. We are now moving slowly & steadily from representative to participatory democracy.
• People have become more conscious & responsible towards their surroundings. Several stories such as these are everyday news headlines these days – Common people helped police in traffic control in Punjab; People bent their body and mind and cleaned barren areas to be used as function area by the poor & needy, which was earlier left at the mercy of the Govt; many others have volunteered to do survey and evaluate the pathetic condition of Govt in Delhi; People protested against the rape cases happening in their cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Bhopal and Delhi…its about rising social consciousness of people. This change is infectious.
Truth about my answer – AAP’s emergence has proved my argument to be correct that I presented in the classroom in 2010. I can now vouch that it was not a mere ingenous excuse but the voice of my conscience which found expression that day. Being actively involved with AAP has not only helped me reinstall my faith in the lost pride in being an Indian but also made me a better Indian.