By Akhil Kumar:
Arvind kejriwal has emerged as a Demigod to the helpless victims of corruption and a messiah of the great Indian middle class. His rise to power was unprecedented and his fans heaved a sigh of collective (almost orgasm-ish) relief as he assumed the position of CM in Delhi. With his grand Obama moment of hope and change, he set out to please the aam janta of Delhi. This city has been an ‘anarchic’ madhouse ever since.
With AAP’s vigilante style of justice and populist (and superficial) quick fixes to all that’s wrong with the system, they have been desperately trying to brand themselves as the superheroes of Indian politics. Kejriwal and Co. are running around with rolls of duct tape to patch all the holes in the system, and those who voted for them with the hope of revolutionary changes in the archaic pre established order feel betrayed. This is not what they asked for, and their disillusionment is becoming evident with every passing day.
The Aam Aadmi Party has it’s fingers on the pulse of the society that we inhabit and they intend to ride on popular sentiment rather than challenging the regressive common sense of our society. They are like the prejudiced grandparents of most middle class families, as is evident from the ‘commando force’ idea of ‘protecting’ women and finding cultural value in Khap panchayats. The voters of Delhi were duped by this merry band of misfits high on political adventurism. A consistent political ideology with the clear vision of an egalitarian society based on the principles of social justice is the way forward. Not an amalgamation of left, right and center. Being devoid of a consistent political ideology and vision is the most dangerous trend in administration.
The recent racist attacks on African nationals by local residents of Khirki extension in Delhi, led by the Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti was proof enough of the extent to which such political misadventure can damage the social fabric of our society. Mob justice is not social justice, and that’s what the AAP needs to realize if they are to continue with their ‘post-ideology’ escapades. We have to realize the simple truth that our societal common sense is very regressive and we can not allow the government to perpetuate mob justice for voter appeasement or electoral brownie points. The government should challenge the common sense of the society and aim to create awareness and sensitization, not validate mob rule and xenophobia by participating in them.
What led me to write this article, though, was a news report that I read last night. It was in relation to the recent attack on Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh who was brutally beaten up in Delhi and succumbed to the injuries. Arvind Kejriwal has made a statement that ‘the guilty must be hanged’. At a time when the whole world is shifting away from capital punishment, our ‘revolutionary’ leader seems to be baying for blood. The final nail in the coffin of whatever little hope I had from him was his scant regard for human life. I have been actively involved with the ‘Justice for Nido Tania’ campaign and I can feel the anger and helplessness of the people from North East, but I differ from this megalomaniac of a CM. I was and will always be against capital punishment, be it for anyone. Mob justice and societal common sense won’t lead us to a progressive society, we have to challenge the common sense and uphold the ideals of social justice (Which the death penalty makes a mockery of). The CM of Delhi has again played the popular sentiment card and has confirmed my belief that it is not an alternative but an offshoot of the same mainstream opportunistic politics. I can go on in length about why I oppose the death penalty but I think this brief statement by Amnesty International about the same sums up much of my argument: ‘The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the state and will inevitably claim innocent victims. As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.’
It is ironic that the same Arvind Kejriwal is pro AFSPA and also addresses the dharna sympathising with the North East community. Either he is a cunning and opportunistic politician, carefully trying to strike a balance between his ‘nationalistic’ voters and also projecting himself as a champion of social justice, or he is downright stupid! If one death in the heart of the capital has moved him so much, why is he pretending to be blind to the daily atrocities on the same community by the defense forces under AFSPA. He joined the protest staged by the North Eastern people at Jantar Mantar but chooses to forget the echoes from the protest in Manipur after Thangjam Manorama’s bullet ridden body was discovered? He will ensure justice for a young student from the North East but will remain blind to the impunity with which the Armed Forces suppresses his relatives and friends? Around 30 middle-aged women walked naked through Imphal to the Assam Rifles headquarters, shouting: “Indian Army, rape us too… We are all Manorama’s mothers.” I hope someone reminds him of that while he is at the protest. I hope people demand answers from him and call out his hypocrisy of pretending to be a well wisher of the North Eastern community and pro AFSPA at the same time!
This again reminds us how crucial it is to repeal AFSPA from the country to stop such racial attacks. It is AFSPA that creates a sense of ‘othering‘ of communities, it creates a common sense in the mainland that they are different from us and need to be ‘shown their place’. That they don’t deserve their basic civil liberties and should be suppressed and bullied. Arvind Kejriwal should make his stand clear to the people who he he claims to stand with, he should clearly say it out loud that ‘I will ensure justice for Nido Tania but sorry for all the other Nido’s in Kashmir and the North eastern states, I just can’t get over my love for AFSPA!’Â What’s even more disheartening is to see theÂ ‘intellectual’ spin doctors in AAP and their love for selective ‘justice’! How the people who were known to uphold ideals of social justice are now trying to validate xenophobic, racist and regressive politics.
I will conclude with a quote by James Baldwin: “History is not a procession of illustrious people. It’s about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about.” AAP has to choose which side of history it will be on.