Monday, December 23, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal – A new Political leader of India - and AAP


Arvind Kejriwal
Not since the time of Mahatma Gandhi a new Spiritual leader who is also a political force has emerged in India. One who appeared to fit the bill, at least initially was Arvind Kejriwal. His background is that of an ordinary Indian from an ordinary family just as that of Mahatma Gandhi was. He, like Gandhi has undergone the best of Internationally recognised university education our planet has to offer. He is a graduate of the much sought after IIT and most IITians and millions of other Indians wish him success. This author is also a graduate and later a faculty member of the same institute.

Arvind began his career charged with love for the oppressed with a brief stint under the guidance of mother Theresa. In later life, in order to experience and understand the life of poor, he lived for months in slum shanties as one of the slum dwellers, cooking his own meals and washing his clothes amongst the shacks in the open.. His spiritual growth has involved a study of Buddhist Meditative techniques. This author and colleagues Professors P. L. Dhar, J. P. Subrhamanyam and R. R. Gaur took the earliest steps to integrate spiritual studies as a part of the IIT Delhi curriculum as far back as 1980 and Buddhist techniques have become an important part of such studies with time. Arvind also familiarised himself with the life and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi. Arvind has made major contributions to the introduction of Right to Information act in India and various other corruption mitigation initiatives in the past. He is a Magsaysay award winner. Arvind's spiritual leaning cuts across religious and scientific boundaries just as those of Mahatma Gandhi and others who learned about God in the temple of the heart, rather than in a one made by man. His journey has led him to develop a deep respect for Muslim Sufi saints who preached brotherhood amongst all men and the truth that whatever the name used persons of all religions seek the same and one God of the Universe.

Seeped in simplicity, Arvind refuses security, large British time colonial bungalows and other trappings of power that many political leaders hanker for; traveling through the city as an ordinary man sans cars with flashing red lights and sirens, that most existing leaders are very fond of. He wears no symbolic dress of crisp white dhotis and kurtas (traditional Indian dress), symbols of a bygone era that other political leaders forgot to shed; or saffron to advertise a status but dresses in the ordinary street clothes of Delhi, yet his words and actions speak for those who have eyes to see. When the original political leader put on that dress of kurta and dhoti it was to identify with the dress of a rural Indian population where most Indians lived. While they continue with that dress the rural persons, except the aged, in the meantime have shed the kurtas and dhotis in favor of shirts and trousers similar to urban persons years ago.Arvind firmly believes that a man does not become a leader or saint because of a dress or demeanor but becomes so because of his thoughts, words and actions. When he speaks to a gathering, he does not repeat a set of tutored gestures repeatedly and endlessly as many other leaders do.

India achieved independence from the British in 1947. Soon after, a democratic government was established. While the British were in India they insulated themselves from a native population many of them illiterate and poor, with the help of privileges that set them apart and protected them from a periodically hostile population who could not understand why they should be ruled by a foreign population that in the main owed its loyalty to a country and King in a far off land. When India achieved independence the new government inherited the same privileges but there was a difference. Whereas the British tutored in a Victorian morality were to a large extent ethical and corruption free, the new rulers were not so. While with the wealth sucked out of India the former changed the impoverished royal family of England and the kingdom they ruled into one of the wealthiest on the planet during their rule, some of  the latter have enriched the coffers of their own families and those of banks on far away shores. In either case, the condition of the poor went from bad to worse so that the Infant mortality rate of India today is one of the highest of all countries in the world.

India had been on a decaying moral path for centuries even prior to the arrival of the British. The Earliest moral superiority of India dating back to the time of Vedas and Buddha had long disappeared. It is not surprising then that corruption and governance deficit has increased in the sixty odd years since independence. Whereas on one hand it has led to a poor law and order infrastructure it has also resulted in a deficit of basic services such as electricity, water, roads, health and education. Some of the the democratic political outfits on the other hand justified corruption as a necessity for raising funds for elections. However the corruption went well beyond that to the extent that many political leaders and their relatives increased their personal assets by huge amounts during their elected terms as did many of the bureaucrats who functioned under them. All this leads to a condition of grinding poverty for huge sections of Indian population, despite the fact that economic growth has taken place with globalization and economic reform over the last deacde.

A few years ago, the winds of Arab Spring reached India too and popular protests against corruption began to erupt all over the land. Out of these protests emerged a new face – Arvind Kejriwal. In India, because of its democracy there was no dictator to dislodge but there was a system to be dislodged that permitted corruption to persist and flourish rather than uncover, penalize and destroy this evil that sucks the life blood of the nation for the benefit of a few. It did not take Arvind long to realize that the system had become too well entrenched to be cleaned from the outside. The only way to do it seemed to be to descend into the pot to clean it from inside out. A new political party called the Aam Aadmi Party, AAP was created with an appropriate symbol, the Broom, an Instrument for cleaning away dirt. The primary Agenda of the party is to sweep away corruption from the land into the Indian Ocean with the understanding that corruption is at the root of all other problems in India, be it health or education, electricity or water, security or hunger. Existing political outfits mocked at them saying how they would win elections without funds, experience and an organization that existing parties have built over decades. However Arvind Kejriwal stood his ground. His claim was that there is no power bigger than the power of Truth and no security or blessing bigger than the blessings of the Lord. He entered the elections for Delhi recently. His party performed impressively and  he was appointed as the Chief Minister of Delhi State. His party now plans to enter the National elections contesting on most of the parliamentary seats of India (around 500) in a few months time.

As existing political outfits watch with apprehension a voice cries out from the Heavens,

There is no power that is bigger than love and no force more powerful than Truth. It has been so since the beginning of time and it shall be so till the end of time.
Arvind Kejriwal attempted to become an instrument of this force and atlleast initially appeared to be succeeding at it, just as any human who shuns lust, greed and anger and develops love, truth and simplicity combined with courage can become. But, alas, that is something that does not seem to happen to humans very frequently or if it does it does not seem to last.  Soon after coming to power Arvind appears to have made a pretense of introducing a Jan Lokpal bill choosing an impossible route for its introduction whereas clearly a simpler one of amending an existing law was open to him. He cannot say that he did not know the latter course because this author personally communicated it to him and his party as well. He also defended the repeated unethical if not illegal acts of a minster colleague and seemed to act so as to banish democratic functioning from the very party he had founded.

It seems that the hope of all Indians oppressed by corruption in this land, intermittently wealthy or impoverished, turbulent yet charming and compassionate, since the beginning of human civilization must remained unfulfilled for now.


Some seventy years earlier, the force of truth channeled through Mahatma Gandhi had led to the decimation of the powerful British Empire, an empire that had successfully won two world wars and which spanned the globe, first from India and then from across the face of the Earth. It remains to be seen if such a  force  shall emerge again, strong enough to decimate an empire of greed and/or corruption, first from India and then from other places, an empire that has pushed the wealth of the world in the hands of one percent in very many cases while leaving the other ninety nine percent deprived.


UPDATE: Jan 25, 2014: Recent actions of Arvind Kejriwal have been disappointing and as described in a recent post (http://someitemshave.blogspot.in/2014/01/mahatma-gandhi-and-latter-day-temporary.html) whereas, sainthood is rare, a temporary, pretended or hypocritical one is far more common amongst humans. However since the party has been created and has collected many worthy persons as members, AAP can play a significant role in the future of a vibrant India provided it introduces full internal democracy in the party on par with those in developed nations such as UK and Australia so that the members can play an influential role. Without that another political party may just add to the clutter.  For the current elections another strong candidate  - Shri Narendra Modi of the BJP, a traditional party has emerged and he appears to be the peoples favorite. Shri Modi has the assistance of many talented and capable hands within his party BJP; he has the experience, ability and vision to provide effective governance as well as abundant wisdom to realize that he would have to provide such effective governance in order to retain the support of an increasingly vigilant public for future terms. India can look forward to far better governance in the near future than has been available in the recent past under his leadership
For the ruling Congress party that has ruled the nation for the largest part since independence from British, there appears to be not much scope, at least at the present time. Any number of rights and songs of past glories have no impact when it hits you in the stomach as inflation has been hitting most of the Indian public for the past several years. People need food, and an improperly executed rights cause anguish rather than solace. People can neither eat a right nor can they survive on songs of past glory. The age of ruling dynasties is fast disappearing from the face of the earth. People shall not continue to have their money, land and resources taken away by inflation or any other device. Over the coming years if the party can undergo a transformation into a party with full internal democracy akin the those in UK and Australia, it may well resurrect in a new Avatar that can benefit from its long legacy. It will then become free of both dynasty and infighting.  Dynastic rule encourages sycophancy whereas sycophancy discourages talent. Infighting  on the other hand causes disintegration of organizations. Full and sincere internal democracy within political parties is neither idealism nor a luxury. It is a necessity. That is why it is there in developed countries and as the country modernizes it will become a necessity in India too.



You can read a brief article by this blogger about the beginning of civilisation in India based on latest findings at http://www.alienaccount.blogspot.in/2013/09/indus-valley-and-atlantis.html


20 comments:

Hari Chand said...

Let Hope for him to succeed in his endeavor !

ashok said...

I hope so too Hari chand. In him is a hope for a change from the past filled with chaos and court case that linger on for decades in India and lack of regular water to drink for millions.

sonit garg said...

Ashokji,

You can share this article at www.arvindkejriwal.co.in with your credentials.

Regards,
Sonit Garg

ashok said...

Thanks Sonit Ji. Already I have shared it on Arvind's Facebook page. I shall look up arvindkejriwal.com too. In case you could do this for me I shall be grateful and authorise you fully to do it for me. Usually i edit my blog post a few times too adding more info as it comes to mind and after this comment I shall be adding a few lines regarding Arvind's spiritual background. Thanks for your interest.

usha iyer said...

he is part of the aayakar family too though estranged!

ashok said...

Usha I presume you are referring to Arvind's stint as an Income Tax commissioner. Yes that and other details were left out of the article in order to keep it to a reasonable length. Are you the famous singer by the same name? If so a song by you for the new movement would be grat just as Kailasha has contributed one.

Ramakrishnan Ramanathan said...

The reason why he endears himself to people is that he is simple, looks simple,dresses simple,eats simple,lives simple, acts simple, talks simple and offers simple solutions. This is one Aam Admi who has shaken up the political establishment.what a refreshingly different "the guy next door looking" politician whom the Aam Admi can easily identify with.

ashok said...

Absolutely Ramu. Besides his simplicity he has honesty too and truth in what he speaks. According to the Himalayan Master described in my other blog - http://nainitalgoddess.blogspot.com Love, truth and Simplicity are the highest of virtues a human can aspire too.

ashok said...

It took me a few rounds to edit this post because of the scope. In the main the idea was to bring out the spiritual force behind Arvind.

Vinod Khurana said...

History has been created by this person by infusing life into politics and turning it into a movement to reestablish the sacred union between the rulers and the ruled.If social reformation also takes place in equal measure, it can change the course of history of the world with India at the epicentre.The achievements and stature of this man is growing by each passing day.May God bless him more and more.I am an ardent admirer of this great man.

ashok said...

Very well said Khurana. I agree with everything you say. Incidentally you both were in the same service IRS, did you ever run into each other then?

Vinod Khurana said...

Dear Ashok, I have not met him face to face,but i have been keenly watching his work on various key initiatives.He has now set in motion a revolution which should reach its culmination.We could all contribute our bit to ensure that path is made all clear,and obstacles if any are not allowed to derail the process.Can we together work out some effective plan to this end?

ashok said...

Thanks Vinod. Perhaps one could join AAP. I am considering that but I am definitely their supporter now because of their drive against corruption and keeping tainted people far away from tickets and office.

ashok said...

I found this comment late. Hence the delayed response Vinod.

Rohit Mishra said...

It is what i was looking from your side. Thanks for the like otherwise i might miss this informative and worth reading blog.... I would like to have you as part of the story in upcoming blogs. :)
Words of Mr.Ashutos(editor IBN7) who recenty join AAP: " in history of everyone's life a time come when he need to take decision at that time he can't be remain stdy, i had taken my decision (to come in active politics)" :)
Bt apart it, your words are inspration to us keep writting these down!
Warm regards!

ashok said...

Thanks Rohit.

I shall keep writing whenever inspired.It is a pleasure to be a part of any positive change in India or on any other part of our wonderful planet.

ashok said...

Thanks Rohit.

I shall keep writing whenever inspired.It is a pleasure to be a part of any positive change in India or on any other part of our wonderful planet.

Neha Verma said...

Pandit Umesh Sharma is a Member of Aam Aadmi Party and He is standing in election of MP at West Delhi. He is a social worker in his area and do more worke for neede people.
Aam Aadmi Party

Rajan C Mathew said...

The time has come for India to have a political leader who is essentially honest and willing to sacrifice his own comforts and benefits for the larger cause of the country. Developed nations of the world are realizing the need to have leaders with higher educational and intellectual qualities to lead them in today's complex situations. India should realize that Kejriwal is potentially one of that kind. He is potentially another mahatma for India in the making, provided Indians allow it to happen!Read this:

ashok said...

After his initial promise Arvind was unable to live up to expectations. AAP has collected many worthy members and its future hope lies in introducing full internal democracy so that the voice of its many worthy members can play a role. For the present election it seems - abki bar, Modi sarkar :)