Why I am not celebrating AAP’s success in politics
Why I am not celebrating AAP’s success in politics yet, though I support what they stand for.
Among the many books I have read in my lifetime, I would reserve a special place for ‘1984’, by George Orwell.
Based on a totalitarian (and scary) representation of the future, it speaks about a world where the ‘government’ is all pervasive, keeping an eye on every citizen, monitoring their every move, stifling dissent with an iron fist.
However, more than the plot itself, what I really appreciate the book for, is not just its literary content, but its political science insight too. Written in 1949, it rings uncannily true, for almost every political upheaval you see across the world today.
In my view, anyone studying politics, or wanting to make sense of what’s happening around the world, should get their hands on a copy.
In the book the protagonist comes across a book, written by Big Brother’s biggest enemy, the rebel Emmanuel Goldstein, called “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.”
The name itself is an oxymoron… Oligarchy meaning a small group of people having control over an organization or a country. Collectivism meaning joint ownership of everything.
That’s the beauty of it. The implied meaning is that though everyone is led to believe that they collectively control their destinies, the real power remains vested with a few.
If you were to read the book, you would see how pertinent it is to all of us today.
I quote from a chapter in the book, aptly titled “Ignorance is strength”
“Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle and the Low…
… the aims of these three groups are entirely irreconcilable. The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim – for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives – is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.
…For long periods of time the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose their belief in themselves or in their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle who enlist the Low on their side, by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have achieved their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude and themselves become the High.
…From the point of the Low, no historic change has ever meant much more than a change in the name of their masters.”
If you were to analyze this proposition, mapped against the history of Independent India, the analogy is ‘in the face’.
The Congress has followed exactly the same formula for decades.
The present day BJP government has followed it.
And now, the AAP has too.
The path is exactly the same. The only thing that is different, is the ideology they represent and the promises they make.
For the common man, changes in government have never made any difference. For no party, to date, has ever actually alleviated poverty, eradicated ignorance, built a safe and secular environment, shunned religious intolerance, empowered women, taught men to treat women as equals, cleaned up the neighborhood, provided better education, better healthcare, or improved the life of the man on the street.
AAP’s victory is historic. You have to say ‘hats off’ to that. Never in my life, have I ever seen a clean sweep (pun intended) like this. And all credit must be given where it is due.
However, seeing the achievements of various parties that promised change, and delivered nothing, makes you question if anything will improve this time around either.
So I reserve my celebrations for another day.
The AAP has a chance to make a positive change. They could, for instance, change political discourse in the country and actually improve lives of the people who have voted them into power. But they may, very well, get intoxicated by the very same power that has been entrusted to them, and like the last time they enjoyed power, lose focus from what they set out to do.
Statistics prove nothing. A spokesperson on National media claiming that people are happy (whichever party they may represent) is not proof that a government is doing well. People are not stupid.
Congress learned that in the Lok Sabha elections. BJP learned that in the Delhi elections. Let’s hope the AAP doesn’t need to.
Today, the AAP has a got a second chance. A chance to rewrite the future.
But History cannot be changed. History is loaded against them. And History, as you would well know, has a nasty habit of repeating itself.
As proud Indians, we truly have only one possession. That is ‘Hope’!
This time, we have handed it over to the AAP.
Dear Mr. Kejriwal, I wish us luck!
photo credit: Pankaj Pushkar: AAP Candidate from Timarpur Constituency, Delhi via photopin (license)