If Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party did not really exist, chances are that no one in this country would actually have thought of inventing anything like it. This is the tragedy that is India. We have all but given up on it. We really do not believe that anything can be done with it. We lurch from one disaster to another, thankful for small mercies. Despair and hopelessness have stamped themselves on the very genetic make-up of its citizens.
It is like the idea that is India has already failed, and all of us have accepted that failure. It is like the country and its people are tired. Sixty six years in existence, it is neither a failed state nor a successful state. It is a century behind the economic prosperity of the developed nations, and a millennium behind in the social indices of a modern society.
We celebrate mediocrity at every level, in every field. We are resigned to the horrors and the filth all around us. That is all we have seen throughout the existence of this blessed country. Presiding over this landscape of inferiority in every field is the overarching political process. The political process has been decrepit and moribund for half a century. We have the option of choosing between the bad, the worse and the even worse. And we have accepted that this is our lot, and this is how it will always be.
Where do we even begin to enumerate all the ways in which our political process stinks? It is structurally geared to fail. Corruption is in its very nature, its entire being. No good could ever come out of it. The best we could hope for being hand outs doled out in the form of various subsidies.
It is in this context that we need to look at the arrival of Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party. It is easy to be cynical and dismissive. It is not difficult to find fault. Yet, it might well be the first real shot that the country has ever had.
What the man and the party represents is a real break from all politics as it exists, has existed and promises to exist in our country. That is their relevance. Anything less, they become irrelevant.
It is not about this campaign against corruption in high places. Of course it is necessary, and it is right. Being rid of this all pervasive corruption would be a huge relief in itself. That should make it possible for reasonably human conditions of life to prevail. It could open the way for developments on multiple fronts simultaneously in the future.
That is the idea of AAP. That is what it should be. Anything less would be a betrayal. We should set about inventing that AAP.
We do not know if any of this will happen, if it is even possible. But – what is the option? Other than AAP all else on offer is nothing but politics as usual. And, that, is not an option.