Aam Arrogant Party

I hope those who had proudly proclaimed their endorsement for Aam Aadmi Party are wondering what hit them. The last few days of AAP has been nothing but scandalous. It is, in a way, hard to believe that such a spectacular movement has reached such an absurd state. Those who are wondering what has really happened now to warrant such a statement, here we go:

Characteristically, it all starts with a gang rape. One unfortunate evening, a Danish woman becomes the victim of Delhi’s gang-rape culture, that too, under the watch of the Aam Aadmi Party! And all hell breaks loose. However, since Nirbaya happened during Sheila Dixit’s time, it was the CMs fault and since the Danish girl’s rape happened in Kejriwal’s time, it’s the home minister’s fault, or, worse, the Delhi Police’s fault, as they are ‘uncontrollable’.

So, in order to prove that he is vigilant, the law minister of the government goes on a midnight raid himself!

Sadly, he doesn’t realise that conducting raids are not in the job description of a law minister. His job is to draft policies related to legislation governing their jurisdiction. Clearly, Delhi police is not under his jurisdiction and therefore he cannot dictate orders at the police. This is no different from what we see on the movies where a minister calls a police station and ‘orders’ the cops to release a criminal. Taking the media with him to ‘demonstrate’ him commitment was far worse. This is as disgusting as Karunanidhi arranging Sun TV to live-telecast his midnight arrest.

Then they raid the houses, drag the women out, and make them urinate in public to take their samples. Then the law minister retorts angrily at the opposition by threatening to ‘spit’ on their leaders.

And then Kejriwal comes on TV to defend all of these. And what’s his defence? He says all policemen are corrupt and therefore these actions are justified. And how does he plan to make them not corrupt? By severely punishing a few errant officers. Bring the stick and they will all fall in place! You see, it’s that simple.

As if that was not enough, suddenly he decides that he needs to do more. He needs a new protest movement. Next morning, unbeknownst of anyone, the entire Delhi cabinet comes to the streets to protest. Not any ordinary street by the side lanes, but the down-town of Delhi, at its heart, a few kilometres from where the republic day parade was to take place in a few days’ time. Never mind that there’s a curfew order, never mind that thousands of commuters are stranded, never mind that the already maddening Delhi traffic has become a snarl-up, never mind that if they don’t vacate, parade rehearsals can’t take place and that would lead to a crisis. Never mind even that the home minister had agreed to an independent enquiry by a retired judge of their choosing. And to add salt to the wounds, one of the AAP leaders, Atishi Varlena, compared this protest to the Quit India movement. The less we speak about this remark the better.

If the idea was to arrive at the resolution, Kejriwal would never have come to the streets. The idea was to instigate chaos; in his own admission, to cause anarchy. ‘I’m an anarchist,’ he proudly proclaimed during the dharna. I’m not sure if he really knows the meaning of the word. Anarchism is an eighteenth century political movement in Europe that believed in creating chaos in order to shake-up governments. Anarchists are against democracy and against formal governments. The Greek word anarchos, from which the term anarchy derives, means ‘one without rulers’ (an-archos). Considering Kejriwal is an IIT-alumnus, we should expect that he would have known what that term means.

So these anarchists set out to disrupt the republic day, come onto the streets and protest. The irony was lost on everyone that these anarchists are indeed the archos, i.e. the rulers themselves. They had taken oath on the constitution to respect it, abide by it and protect it. And here they were, trampling it and making a mockery of it.

Leave alone the fact that they did not have any serious plan to reform the police, other than bringing a few new sticks. If indeed they needed to reform the Delhi Police, there were so many constitutional methods of achieving that. One clear option is to contest the Lok Sabha elections, get some sufficient numbers in the parliament and fight their case there. If they think that’s too long a process, so is fighting the state elections in Delhi and taking over the government. Democratic means are always lengthy and arduous. The only possible quick solution would be Naxalism, where a gun would bring everyone in order. If you listen to a Maoist or even their representatives such as Arundhati Roy, you would be completely convinced of their cause and utterly sympathetic of their grievances. But would you endorse their means? Maoists are murderers and if they become the rulers tomorrow, it would be the rule of blood. I am not saying it, someone who is far more enlightened and a supreme human being did say it more than a century ago.

In response to the extremist freedom fighter Madhan Lal Dhingra assassinating a British officer in 1909, Mahatma Gandhi wrote,

‘Even should the British leave in consequence of such murderous acts, who will rule in their place? The only answer is: the murderers. Who will then be happy? Is the Englishman bad because he is an Englishman? Is it that everyone with an Indian skin is good?…India can gain nothing from the rule of murderers — no matter whether they are black or white.’

So here we are, believing in anarchists who themselves don’t seem to believe in governance, who apparently happen to stumble into democracy and are wondering what’s all the noise is about. As Gandhi feared that black murderers would throw away the white murderers and take over the country, we have thrown away the corrupt and handed over the government to the anarchists.

Forget reforming the police, which is not in their control. What about the other departments which are indeed in their control in Delhi? Surely, the public works department is corrupt? The transport corporations are corrupt? Regional transport offices are corrupt? Revenue departments are corrupt? And all of these departments are directly under AAP’s jurisdiction? What of them? Does he have any credible plan for ‘reforming’ these units? Why go berserk for a team that you don’t have rather than work on the teams that report to you? We agree that if you get hold of the national cricket team you’ll surely win us a world cup, but you’ve got a university team now. Why don’t you make them win a few trophies?

Is that because they made too much noise during the Nirbhaya case despite repeated pleas from Dixit that she doesn’t control the police, and now they can’t afford to be seen as keeping mum? We don’t know.

What we know is that democracy is not a reality show. Governance is not a movie, where the justice is delivered within two hours, give or take a few songs. Especially in a country like India with its diversity and resulting complications, the semi-literacy of its people, regardless of whether someone has a college degree, the rampant moral, cultural and financial corruption of our people, with all this, quick fix solutions don’t work. It is indeed easy to sit at the pavement to announce the ‘dharna’ – the protest – but it is extremely difficult to sit at the secretariat and govern; make policies, bring in reforms, make people agree to your policies and abide by them. And prevent them from corrupting the system and ruining your policies. It’s a great challenge; an immensely difficult one. Eighteenth century anarchism doesn’t offer solutions to these problems.

Finally, in order avert the crisis of cancelling the republic day parade, the central government has caved in and yielded to at least one of the protesters’ demands: two police officers have been sent on forced leave, a step short of suspension. Now the anarchists have all gone home. They will report to the secretariat tomorrow.

As Arun Jaitley quipped, the Republic Day has been saved, but the republic itself has been weakened.