One can give numerous reasons for the displacement of the core idea of democracy in India, but for me, the most important ones are the fact that we started to adjust and we stopped protesting. We stopped demanding, and we abandoned questioning. The government got more corrupt, and we ignored it; the government became more communal, and we kept mum. We turned a blind eye when the government violated human rights; when governments introduced new schemes, we forgot about the past, and even when we protested or fought for democracy, we had a political agenda and were driven by political ideologies. To sum it up, we stopped fighting for democracy and democracy in India has lost its essence, according to me.
I think, we have become a country where people have gotten numb when it comes to politics. Many of us have never fought because we were not being abused by politics personally, and most of us never cared about those being affected by it.
When corruption reached its peak during the UPA-II regime, we saw Arvind Kejriwal enter the political arena. An ex-IRS officer with a clean record who we saw, fight alongside Anna Hazare against corruption and demanded the implementation of the Lokpal Bill. He had said that he would never contest in elections, but when the original Lokpal Bill wasn’t brought to the table, he decided to continue his fight by contesting the elections. He won the elections and formed a coalition government with the Congress but failed to garner enough votes to get the Jan Lokpal Bill to pass and he resigned. He fought all obstacles and hasn’t stopped improvising.
In the meantime, the government changed at the centre, and the BJP who has been accused of being corrupt did not bring the original Jan Lokpal Bill to the floor. Elections in Delhi were held again, and the AAP was given a historic mandate by the people.
Kejriwal protested and demanded full statehood for Delhi and was called an anarchist. When a man was lynched in Dadri on suspicion of carrying beef, Kejriwal raised important questions. When students of JNU were called ‘Anti-nationals’ and one of them was jailed, he joined the protest and questioned the government’s propaganda. He also raised his voice in support of Rohith Vemula.
Recently when Najeeb Ahmed, a student of JNU went missing, Kejriwal not only joined the protests but also encouraged the students to protest. Soon after, PM Modi announced high-value currency notes were being demonetised, Kejriwal has, since then, asked difficult questions and he has asked and has been asking them like he has nothing to lose and asked questions like no one has ever before.
Not only does he target the government but also those in opposition who are still taking a soft stand on demonetisation. His questions and accusations make him a rage on social media, yes these questions are in all likelihood, politically motivated, but with an intent of engaging in constructive politics. In the meantime, a big chunk of the population has also started voicing their opinions and have started asking tough questions.
Between the Kejriwal who fought for a corruption-free India to the Kejriwal, the politician who continues to do so, we have started protesting against autocratic methods, and against the powerful. We have started fighting for our rights, and a large chunk of the population wants cleaner, more transparent politics. Somewhere between him forming a political party to becoming a social media rage, Arvind Kejriwal has brought back the essence of democracy in India.