I realise fully that at this moment I am as futile as Howard Roark. This is my Stoddard Temple—my first and my last.
Dominique Francon in Fountain Head
I am not a political person . Till date I have never exercised my vote. My stand on politics is very similar to my stand on religion . Informed, appreciative but agnostic. Agnostic because I couldn’t relate to any of the option available to me .Both religion and politics were good concepts but they have been mutilated beyond recognition .I come to hate the entire system in which this skirmish is played out .
But fortunately something interesting was happening in Indian politics for past few months . The Rise of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Its Head Mr.Arvind Kejriwal . Its interesting observing the reaction and response of political parties . They dismissed them . They dismissed them with a self righteous arrogance . Than they changed their tone after election.
The same set of people who used to call them everything from Chaar Aadmi Party to Chillar Party before election. After the election they invited them to form the govt .
The same guys who referred to Arvind kejiriwal as everything from hopelessly romantic to stupidly naive to someone with ulterior evil agenda . Were holding him morally responsible for not forming govt and having a hung assembly .
The same set of corrupt jokers who robed Delhi for decades were worried about the burden of re election on Tax payer .One congress leader had even called them DOG . Now congress is the one wagging their tail to AAP.
Honestly never before I have seen a bigger show of hypocrisy in broad day light . This is like eating the crow even by political standard . This is EPIC and will be part of history books illustrating how bunch of spineless weasels react to a worthy adversary .
But this post is not about these weasels . they are probably doing what they know best . At some level their tactics are understandable .
More interesting thing to observe in this drama is the reaction of common people . The same people who would be ruled ( and may be exploited ) by elected govt. I see a surprisingly high level of cynicism amongst them. They are holding AAP to a level of scrutiny which is bordering paranoia . This AAP bashing reached its crescendo couple of days back when AAP called for a referendum.Asking people to share their opinion on govt formation .This was un precedented in Indian politics. A step toward a participatory democracy which bought public involvement in democratic decision making to new level. For the first time public voice was a factor outside of election. In a rational , sane world this should have been welcomed by the people . The same people who stand to become ultimate beneficiary of this trend. But sadly and surprisingly a big section of people are uncomfortable with this and they are holding AAP responsible for asking them for their input . Whats more astonishing is that its not the case that AAP is introducing this direct referendum idea now. They talked about it before also .See this video at 1 hour mark . Aarvind talked about direct democracy and referendum long before he won election . Still people are cynical . Still People don’t trust him .
It begs the question WHY ?
A Childhood Story :
Surprisingly as I was observing these events I couldn’t help remembering an incident from my childhood . Back in the day my grandfather used to give me a lot of religious story books . In one of those book their was a story by name of Gajendra Moksha . Its a story of an old elephant who, when He was about to be killed by a crocodile called out god for help and god intervened and rescued him from the Jaws of crocodile.
There was another story of A king named Harishchandra. Harishchandra had two unique qualities. The first being, he kept his word and never went back on what he uttered as a promise. The other being, he never uttered a lie in his life.These twin qualities were tested heavily in his life by various circumstances . All these test were crafted and orchastrated by our gods to test Harishchandra .
Now here is an interesting aspect of these two stories which most of us fail to notice. When bad guy( crocodile ) was going after the good guy ( elephant) Good guy had to specifically call the God to help . God never intervened on his own . But when God noticed that a Good guy ( Harishchandra ) is going around doing good work . It was too much of a pain for god to stay out of it and let him do his work. On the contrary our God went out of his way to create circumstances where Harishchandra was put to test . From snatching his kingdom , to making him homeless to killing his son . God orchestrated all those scenarios where his resolve to do good work and live an honest life was put to test . In plain english Harishchandra was harassed by god for doing exactly the right Thing . Nobody invited god . God acted suo moto .
Think of it.
When bad guy harasses the good guy , good guy need to call god for help god do not come on his own but when Good guy do good thing god jumps in uninvited to test him to death, harasses and make life hell for the good guy . Its pretty evident that our god is also very cynical. In fact one can make a case that in doing so god is incentivizing his followers to be bad guys or( worse) to be passive guy who do no good or no bad . Just don’t take any stand .
I shared this observation with my grandfather once , His answer was “you can’t understand GOD’s way by applying logic . You can only understand it by having faith .God knows whats best and he will take care of you”. I am sure my grandfather is not the only one to think like that. We are a society indoctrinated by this idea . Its often said that god created man in his own image .Now man has perfected the ways of god . Congratulations! We have become god like in our approach. We want good guys to exist only in books as a theoretical construct . Every time we see a good guy inreal life we go after them with vengeance .AAP and Kejirwal are just an anomaly trying foolishly to fight the forces of god . They will go away . We will trivialise them and drive them out to the point of irrelevance . Who the hell they think they are ? Harishchandra ?
Deep in our heart we want them to fail. We want our heroes to be corrupt so that we can feel good about ourselves . So that we reconcile our own miserable , spineless existence . So that we can live with ourselves and look at our own face in the mirror every morning . For If Kejriwal and AAP are allowed to exist.We will be faced with this question everyday ? Why ,Where and for what did we betrayed our own inner kejriwal ? This is not an easy question to live with .
Parting Thoughts :
In The Fountainhead , Howard Roark builds Stoddard Temple :A Temple of Human Spirit. Where he want to show people what human spirit is capable of achieving and how pure it can be . It annoys enough people and their idea of God and Human that they get a court order and get the temple bulldozed. Let me say it in no uncertain terms . AAP is the Stoddard Temple of contemporary India and we are trying our best to destroy it. We need to save it not for Kejriwal but for ourselves . For our inner kejriwal which we betrayed at some point long long back.
As the story progress in Fountainhead , The protagonist goes on to be subjected to a lot of hardship and betrayal but eventually gets his due recognition and rightful place in world. I don’t know what will become of AAP and Kejriwal . But I hope for our own good that we realise what he stands for and do it before its too late . I doubt if my appeal will make any difference to the indoctrinated ears of my fellow people. I realise fully that at this moment I am as futile as Howard Roark. This is my Stoddard Temple—my first and my last.