Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal
Dear Kejriwal ji,
You’ve done it. Chief Minister. From a one-man army to being the one who brought down a government of 15 years. Who would have thought!
They called you to form a party and fight elections, and you did. And how. I spent a month listening to your radio appeals for votes, i supported you, i argued for you with friends and family, but to be honest i was skeptical that you would end up with such a large number of seats in Delhi. Well done. To you and to the people of Delhi.
You sir, are a major turning point for Indian democracy, and surely you are aware of it. The expectation from you is immense, like Tendulkar in the 90s, stuck with a tail-ender and trying to save a world-cup final against Pakistan, with 200 more runs to be scored.
We grew up hearing about the power of democracy but became disillusioned along the way. ‘They are all the same.’ ‘Sab ke sab corrupt hain.”Nothing can change.’ ‘All politicians should be shot.’ Democracy just became a bunch of rhetorical statements expressing our disappointment with the state of affairs as we Indian people instead focused on buying Audis and sipping Starbucks coffee, while continuing to break laws with impunity and getting away with petty offences with twenty rupee bribes.
We thought that the only way anything would every change was the Mayan prediction of the world coming to an end. People debated about having the army take the country over like a knight in shining T90 armour coming to the rescue of a floundering nation. People wondered if we could replicate the China model. But you sir, gave us a new model.
You know, a week before the elections i was watching that epic Anil Kapoor movie, Nayak. As i watched the movie i almost came with joyous anticipation that such a day might be near. A day when we will have Kejriwal ji as the Delhi chief minister and he will go about setting everything right. When he will suspend every corrupt official, battle everything evil, and a day will come when news channels will run out of scam stories and have to go back to stories of a bunch of stray cows abducted by aliens. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea actually. The poor things must get bored of choking on plastic trash while their children (us. the cow is our mother, after all. actually Soniaji is our mother. ok i am confused now.) go about nonchalantly.
I know you must be wondering why this guy is going all gay for you. It is anyway a criminal offense in India. But then you’ve given us that one thing we have lost along the way.
Hope that things can be set right. Hope that the two resident evils can be given a scare so massive that they stop taking this nation’s people for granted. Hope that we can have a democracy that actually works. Hope that there is a way out of this mess.
Which brings me to my biggest fear. Now that you’ve given us this hope, please don’t let us down. Please don’t become another party that goes giddy with the prospect of power. Please don’t become a party that says something before elections, gets our votes, and then enjoys the loot while it lasts.
Please don’t give us another massive disappointment. We’ve just been through Dhoom 3. Another one would be catastrophic.
You know what – we people are far more sensible than political parties give us credit for. While we may get happy by free stuff, we’d rather you give us good governance. Don’t give us hundred kilos of free rice or daaru bottles or McDonalds vouchers, give us jobs. Don’t give us free petrol, give us sufficient traffic police to regulate the roads. Don’t give us 100% passing rate in schools, give us teachers who are accountable and dont spend they days knitting sweaters for their grandkids while students beat up kids from the neighborhood. Don’t give us new laws or fancy CCTV cameras at every intersection, but just pay the police sufficient salary to keep away temptation and do their job properly.
We probably have enough of everything, except accountability. (Of people we have more than enough, and that’s a hard problem in itself. Maybe we should negotiate with other countries to accept more of our people in return for opening more hospitals, banks, schools, and BMW dealerships.)
Now that you are in a position of power, enforcing some discipline and accountability will probably not be too difficult. All it might take is one rolling head. Surprise visits and suspended officials. You could even take a typist along to hand out the suspension letters. Anil ji did that in Nayak and people would pee their pants on seeing the typewriter.
In China, they actually executed some official responsible for adulterated milk. Maybe that’s a bit extreme. We’ll be happy if you just break his legs and send him to a government hospital to try his luck at getting treatment there.
You will probably need to play some politics too, just dont do that with us. Feel free to do that with other political parties. Beat them at their own game. Even Anil ji killed off the evil Amrish ji with some clever manipulation. We are not hung up on ideals or anything, unlike ann, well, leave it.
The one risk you run is your flock running wild. Because we human beings, and Indians in particular, are inherently corrupt. We may rant on about corruption but nothing stops us from cheating on taxes or cutting out of line at the toll plaza. You may need to rule with an iron hand and manage dissent within the party. It is just inevitable that someone will give in to the temptation, and that would be ugly. Because another of our Indian traits is to pull down anyone trying to do something positive. One mistake, howsoever small it may be, might spell doom for your movement. There’s the evil media. The evil politicians. The unforgiving people on Twitter. Everybody will cry hoarse at even the smallest gaffe from you or any of your MLAs, and then we may just end up going back to the old days of corruption and everything bad that is going on right now. To rub it in, they might even throw in Dhoom 4.
You are our nayak. Please don’t spoil the vision you have created in our minds.
(Image courtesy: Forbes)