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‘An Insignificant Man’ Review: The Untold Story Of What It Took For Kejriwal To Win Delhi

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“An Insignificant Man” is a 95-minute long non-fiction political thriller that chronicles the making of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Screened at over 50 international film festivals, the film gathered a lot of attention. And after putting up a fight against State censorship, “An Insignificant Man” will finally release on November 17.

But why are we talking about this film?

Arvind Kejriwal (whether you like him or not) cannot be ignored. Sheila Dixit tried to during the Delhi elections and we all know where it landed the Congress party. “An Insignificant Man” not only follows Kejriwal, but also gives us a peek into what goes on behind the closed doors of the Aam Aadmi Party office.

While much drama surrounds Arvind Kejriwal and his style of politics, we can’t deny the film’s significance in today’s times. With an exceptional access and a well-rounded structure, “An Insignificant Man” is a documentary that tells the AAP’s story like a feature film.

One must acknowledge the efforts of the directors Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla who magnificently stitched the enormous amount of footage into what the film is today – an important aspect of history. Why do I say that it’s important? I say so because probably no other political party would ever give this kind of access to the media. The film was a long-term investment and while watching it, you can feel the past few years fly past you in 95 minutes. You can feel it through the speeches Kejriwal makes, the dharnas and the controversies that have surrounded this political party that bases itself on idealism.

Just like a feature film, this too has its lighter moments and quirks. There’s Kejriwal’s mother asking him if he’ll be home late (just like most of our mothers) and politicians from the BJP and Congress shaking hands with each other post a television interview and giving Kejriwal ‘tips’ to become a true politician. In instances more than one, you’ll also find Arnab’s loud voice trying to trample on the hopes and dreams of the Aam Aadmi Party like Gulliver attempting to stand tall in Lilliput. There is footage of how different parties campaigned for the Delhi elections, showing us the spectacle that Indian politics truly becomes when it’s time to vote. However, I must say that it is these quirks that were cleverly placed which makes the film feel a lot lighter than it could have been.

Besides the quirks, there was the documentation of the time when Santosh Koli died, who was an integral member of the party and someone who Kejriwal treated like a sister. Her presence in the film may not have been long enough, but was just enough for one to relive the frustration that was felt at the time of her death before the elections in 2013. With situations like this and rising conflict within the party, the film was successful in portraying Arvind Kejriwal’s character and emotions in those times which built the pressure in the film.

We all know that the AAP had a stunning debut in 2013 and won a landslide victory in 2015. However, the film is able to build up the pressure even though we know the final result. I believe this goes to show the effort put in by the people involved in the making of the film to still make it interesting despite all that we know and have lived through.

But another interesting thing this film does is showing a mirror to the media. With the voice of every journalist that played in the film, I could see the kind of journalism happening. Whatever happened to being objective? Most of the footage used showed a mirror to what we call journalism today – which seems to just include screaming voices giving biased opinions, being completely oblivious of the power the media has to shape public opinion. It’s as if you’re out there to bully the new kid on the block!

“An Insignificant Man” did give me an insight into Kejriwal’s politics and showed me where he comes from. But at the same time, it showed me what it’s like to be new to the game and how messy and difficult politics can become. The significance of the film lies in the significance of a man who left a comfortable life to be caught up in this society’s spectacle. And while society is capable of creating a spectacle out of almost anything, politics (both our own personal politics and the politics around us) turns out to be our favourite one.

Should you watch this film?

Of course! A film like this probably won’t be made again. And, it’s a good film to watch, especially for people who seem to have been carried away by propagandist journalism and hate the man without knowing where he and his politics come from. I’m not saying that the AAP isn’t flawed. It definitely is, in many ways that most parties are. But at the same time, if we could make the man whose speeches talk proudly of the time he used to sell tea our Prime Minister, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take a look at what “An Insignificant Man” has in store for you.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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