I was there again at Ramlila Maidan on February 14th, 2015 at the swearing-in ceremony of Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet colleagues, to hear those soothing magical words- “मैं…अरविंद केज़रीवाल”… the words that kept echoing my mind ever since I had heard them, when he was taking oath, as the 7th Chief Minister of Delhi, for the first time on December 28th, 2013. The moment was so overwhelming that my eyes had filled with tears (I really had a tough time trying to hold them back). I was so overjoyed and delighted as though it was I, who had achieved something ‘great’… something I had craved for all my life. A perfect dream-like situation. Yes, a dream… because such things happen to me only in my dreams. I had never experienced such joy of success in my real life ever. I felt grateful to the God and this man of iron-will for letting me experience such blissful moments. I would ever be grateful for that.
I always felt a deep sense of connection with this person from the time when Jan Lokpal movement, led by the veteran social activist Anna Hazare, was going on in Delhi. Later when he decided to enter politics and floated a new political party on November 26, 2012. I appreciated his courage and prayed for his success because I too believe that a healthy democracy does need ‘good politics’ and that requires ‘good politicians’ of course. However, this decision gave the opposing forces an opportunity to cast aspersions on the intention of the whole movement.
I suppose, it was from here that many of the people (general people, who generally do not have any political associations), putting on the masks of being ‘wise, prudent, far-sighted,’ people, started personal attacks on this man (who dared to fight the monster of corruption in the system for the sake of their future only), unconscious of the fact that this very act on their part would only strengthen those unscrupulous forces which actually do not want the governance system to be transparent, simply because they require such ‘rotten system’ which they can exploit to satiate their lust for getting more and more affluent; more so, because today they have the means to make this system dance to their tune.
This was only the beginning, the real assault was unleashed when, defying all the rules of murky politics, Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party winning 28 of the total 70 Assembly Seats in Delhi in 2013 polls, ascended the throne of Delhi. It was an ‘infuriating defeat’ for both kinds of people I referred to above – one, the ‘pseudo prudent’ and the other, the ‘beneficiaries of the rotten system’ and, when these two kinds joined hands, the attacks become ferocious than ever.
All sorts of offensive and foul expressions were used by these people in their desperate attempts to ridicule, to demean and to insult Kejriwal. However, in their fervor to malign his image, they overlooked a basic fact, that resorting to such nonsensical tongue-lashing, you cannot really mould the outlook of the people and get them to support your view-point. Amongst such people, barring who fall under the second category, i.e., beneficiaries of the ‘rotten system’, there were people who were basically good and responsible citizens. I remember one such person, who had held one of the top public offices in Delhi, stooping to such low level as to recite a shoddy poem (circulated through Whatsapp as a part of the vicious sponsored campaign against Kejriwal) before a forum as distinguished as ‘India Today Conclave’ last year.
I have seen best of my friends and relatives (when I say ‘best’, I mean the ‘best’ among them; they are all nice people and are close to my heart) condemning Kejriwal using bitterest words they had in their dictionaries. Even when they are superficially poised, one could easily notice the grudge and resentment in their voice, like one sees the subtle smile at the corner of their lips at the news of somebody having slapped Kejriwal or spattered ink on his face. I wondered what harm this man has done to these good people, or to the society for that matter, to invite such loathsome reactions from them. Nothing plausible comes to my mind except that most of them are the prisoners of their political inclinations. I say this because these are the very people who, under the pretense of being prudent and realistic, always kept mum about the reports of thousands of crores of public money having siphoned off by unscrupulous politicians. They even voted for such political parties to power years after years – sometimes in the name of ‘secularism’ and sometimes in the name of ‘stable government’.
Now, under such dismal circumstances, if someone comes and promises a transparent system of governance, it is but natural for the people to express doubts and brand his lofty ideas as ‘unrealistic’; but to hurl personal attacks and insults at Kejriwal being, consciously or unconsciously, part of the malicious campaign launched against him, only goes to show that the people involved behaved more like ‘party-workers’ rather than ‘voters’.
Fortunately, in the end, the ‘voters’ won and Arvind Kejriwal’s party registered an unprecedented victory in the Delhi Assembly Elections 2015 winning 67 of the total 70 Assembly Seats, securing 54.3% vote share, in Delhi. An amazing victory of the common man and the democracy, in true sense.