The Rise & Fall of the Aam Aadmi Party
I have been a cynic of the India Against Corruption movement right from the beginning. Their posturing of ‘with us or against us’, ‘everyone except them is corrupt’, telling the common man ‘लोकपाल आएगा तो corruption 70% काम हो जायेगा’, telling them one Lokpal will solve all problems of the country and offering it as a panacea! I for one even supported the idea when it formally became a political party in 2013 and fought an election based on principles of transparency and accountability. It was then a movement which had genuine urge to change the existing system which had rotten to the core. AAP had then won 28 seats which was 7 short of majority but the symbolic and moral strength of those 28 seats was huge. It was a wonderful idea that could have changed the way elections were fought in India, but could not live long as it was neither practical nor sustainable. AAP on its part instead of evolving, took a down slide and hence began the downfall of the phenomenon that it was. My cynicism for this movement has only grown with time. I have seen the bright shining light fade each day. With allegation on Arvind Kejriwal, probably that light has totally extinguished.
Being a supporter of present day BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I should probably be happy about this devastating downfall. But something stops me from celebrating this, from feeling jubilant. The reason is, despite all the cynicism I had in the India Against Corruption and the Aam Aadmi Party, I used to see great hope in their volunteers. The idea that a personality like Swami Vivekanand could not find 100 young individuals of character in this country always perturbed me and at the same time challenged me. In these movements I saw huge participation from youth. Movements like these act as a churning process. I have engaged and debated with individuals who supported AAP and vehemently opposed their ideas. We have called each other names and tried to belittle each other. But one thing I have always been convinced of is the passion of these individuals to work for the country. These are individuals of character and integrity. Despite supporting different political ideologies and having contrasting viewpoints on issues, I have not for once raised a question on their love for the nation. These are people who chose to work for IAC or AAP but their purpose was to create a better nation. If I mock AAP today, I am mocking the spirit of thousands of such individuals who wanted to work for India. Political leaders and parties will rise and fall, it is the nation, the civilization that needs to persist. We are mere pawns, links in the sequence that build this civilization. We are the foundation stone that Ramvriksh Benipuri so beautifully describes in his famous essay -नींव की ईंट!
Before we decide to mock AAP, the party, we should question ourselves why have we failed as a country to build individuals of character who could rise above self interest and work for the nation.