Political Revolution, Evolution

Political Evolution, Revolution

December 9th, 2013

Most criticism, discussions and praise about the emergence of the Aaam Admi Party seem to miss an important implication. The indication of a paradigm shift in the philosophical and political aspirations among a considerable number of Indian citizens. A number no longer limited to an academic or intellectual fringe group but one that can significantly affect a democratic facility , perhaps limited at the moment to the National Capital Territory. This is not another piece that seeks to validate or criticize them any further.

Sheer rebellion and dissent towards the non-performance and mounting sins of the big players, cannot be the only factors that led to the need for an alternative party, nor can they be the only reasons that propagated the idea of AAP in such a short span of time. I am not talking about the media fertile environment or the wider popularity of the Anna Hazare movement either. Without giving the party too much credit, I personally feel that this emergence reflects an evolution and personal re - negotiation of sentiments, rationale and expectation on what Governance and Politics personally mean to it's citizen. Though this claim can easily attract quick retorts as far fetched, nobody can deny that, ideally, it is this inward change that brings about collective evolution within any social construct. It also indicates the reclaiming of political responsibility and a rising awareness of cause and effect among the otherwise distant, cynical and apathetic citizen. This argument is to be seen within a more wider backdrop of phenomena such as the Occupy Movement, the Arab Uprisings, the Wiki Leaks  and the slow and fractured economic growth of the Indian nation in comparison to its erst while contemporaries such as Malyasia, China and Thailand.

The staunch traditionalists and political veterans continue to comment on the AAP with a sort of diplomatic arrogance, by limiting their praise to the superficial, such as the technology and strategy they employed rather than pointing to the possible shift in political expectation and how they realigned to it.  Another faction of young cynics smell a socialist clout and dismiss the AAP, and the older tend to point to the lack of a core ideology. Yes it could be true that this shift only captures the imagination of small group of people, it is true that the AAP doesn't really carry the experience and infrastructure at an organizational level, nor a long legacy of social work and narrative in the collective consciousness of the public, but that itself could be the most important shift that everyone stumbles to point out. The changing priority in ones personal politics, which is no longer in favor of legacy, communal identity and nationalistic ego but more towards a rationally driven collective well being. One that can be simplistically equated or misunderstood as the aspiration for ' Development and Progress ' , which is not the explicit core mandate of the AAP, but perhaps that of another popular and emerging force.

Narendra Modi talks of an outcome, an easier pitch to digest and get excited by. Perhaps, the AAP signifies the inter mediatory process that is inevitable for a sustainable end result, an ugly truth that cannot be easily marketed. One could say that this avatar of the BJP conveniently devoid of its Hindutva aspirations carry a common vision shared with AAP, of an efficient India ( if not corrupt ) However then the BJP could seem to be in advantage, carrying the same noble intent along with the organizational might and legacy to realize that vision. A convenient split personality that can unite the factions that appreciate and crticise the AAP to join the same bandwagon as that of BJP.  But then again one misses the personal politics at play. What makes the ideal leader in this time and age ? How does it reflect the collective archetype and sentiment of the Nation ? Is it confidence, shrewdness and efficiency or is it humility, approachability and ethics ? Well these attributes are limited and purely for illustrative purposes, however it attempts to roughly differentiate and draw comparisons between the two archetypes in this playing field.

But the important question is, are we seeing the dawn of a much awaited form of rationally driven politics and governance ? An amalgamation of the various historical narratives and value systems, a redefined reflection of the contemporary Indian, a crowd sourced governing body that acts in interest of its people, free from the confines of an overbearing centralized ideology and baggage, except that of constitutional principles , fearless of identity driven vote banks, in sync with the insecurities of the rural farmer and an urban technologist, incorruptible by the interests of business conglomerates, agile, transparent, fast, firm, humble, self critical and adaptive  ?

That could be a naive and distant dream for reasons unknown, or a dystopian future with a spine less, shape shifting leadership for some.

In our immediate reality, we still see individuals and mobs that exercise politics on survival instinct, insecurity, self interest and nepotism without one bit of remorse. As an optimist I have been asked to be happy with the current agenda that has caught everyone's imagination. One that is apparently not explicitly abusing caste, community or religious identity, nor the glory of a film actor's aura borrowed from a fictitious universe. Thank god (or the scientific community) for that. We are not praying or expecting a spiritual shift of a hedonistic, self interested citizen to that of a saintly altruist either.

In this instance, I am reminded of the capitalist and free market ideal which goes like this ' Self interest can drive the economy, and the rotation of wealth can benefit the self and the public at the same time, provided that there is a fair and transparent legal infrastructure, where one cannot exercise any benefits beyond ones return on their exercised ability and effort.' So the nature of politics in India based on self interest, constantly holds the definition of 'ability' in conjunction with identity, at ransom, in the form of reservation, minority appeasement and vote bank theatrics. It also blatantly misuses the legal infrastructure in the form of corruption. Though I digress, it is important to note that the resurgence of a political intervention of this nature, from the middle class could very well be a manifestation of this capitalist aspiration and dissent towards its obstacles. If that is the case, then, it is not just corruption that has to be fought, but also the politics of identity, which is an inconspicuous pivot with which the BJP scores and loses.  However I also want to bring your attention towards theories and observations which claim that capitalist and consumerist expectations transform politics into a giant market survey at its facade. Leadership, public image and manifestos are constructed to align with the expectations of the general public on one side and misconstrued on the other.

Though these hard questions are lurking in the shadows, let us be aware of the broader and signs of an era that is unfolding, let us transcend from the cynicism, rhetoric and sentimental trappings of a political revolution and channel the excitement and energy towards a political evolution.

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