Sunday, January 26, 2014

January 25, 2014

(Disclaimer: I donated some money to Aam Aadmi Party quite a while back, so I might be a member, if they confer membership automatically on all donors; other than this, I have no link to them that I'm aware of, past results do not indicate future performance, please read the instructions carefully before proceeding, goods once sold ... somebody please take the keyboard away from me)

This post was prompted by two things: 1. A series of discussions I've been having with folks who a) supported AAP till their dharna and other 'antics' turned them off or b) still support AAP, but wish they'd behave in a more responsible and mature manner and 2. This post (while it's a bit over the top, I agree fully with its gist).

Before proceeding further, let me get this off my chest first:

Screw you, Congress. Screw you, BJP. Screw you, the Indian one-percenters. Screw you, corrupt, high-handed, lapdogs-of-the-powerful figures in authority. And while we're at it, screw you, Guy Who Kept Honking At Me in Traffic When There Was No Frigging Way To Move Forward.

That felt good. Would have been even better if I could have been freer in my choice of verbs.

Question time. Out of the following list, identify the things AAP folks are accused of:

1. Awarding government contracts and otherwise showing favour to people who *ahem* helped you to come to power.

2. Nepotism -- as in neta's son's/daughter's genes inheriting parent's charisma, leadership and sagacity, so he/she is automatically eminently qualified to ru(i)n the country/state as successfully as the parent.

3. Driving in SUVs bearing party flags and terrorizing/intimidating other motorists into giving way to them ("Appa, I keep noticing these coloured lights when I drive through some intersections, what are they? Why do they have only three colours? It would look much better if we had more.")

4. Letting loose your followers to wreak havoc on your enemies. Taken to its extreme, carrying out pogroms.

5. Arranging for a plane, at taxpayers' expense, natch, to go to Mumbai to pick up the shoes you're planning to wear for your birthday party tomorrow.

6. Shutting down the entire street for five minutes to celebrate the ex-Minister's visit to your locality by lighting x-walla crackers (replace 'x' with suitable integer that produces requisite noise for five minutes).

7. Doing a dharna that inconveniences folks for a short time in the interests of fixing issues long-term.

8. Coughing incessantly.

Three charges that merit a response are that they:
  1. Encourage anarchy, 
  2. Are socialist/populist and 
  3. They don't know how to govern properly
These charges are respectively countered by three questions:
  1. Golly, is this anarchy? Waiter, I'd like two more plates. And extra sauce, please.
  2. Are they any more socialist/populist than the Congress?
  3. Um, how long have they been in power exactly? What? Twenty months? Oh, twenty days. For a moment there I thought you said "months".
The anarchy bit needs some explaining. Anarchy does not mean 'absence of law and order'; it means 'absence of authority'. 'Authority' as in all-powerful, unapproachable entities (be they government, corporate or bureaucratic) who screw over the common man (Aam aadmi. Get it?) in myriad ways while imposing their solutions and diktats from far way, liberally using violence (physical or economic) to achieve their ends. Any move towards breaking this stranglehold (there was this guy called Mohandas Gandhi -- no, he was NOT Indira Gandhi's father -- who had this weird idea of giving more autonomy to village councils, something called Panchayat Raj?) is long overdue. The textbook definition of anarchy goes even further, but we need not go there. And staying on the subject of Mahatma Gandhi, I'm sure there were naysayers shaking their heads in disapproval when he said "Guys, listen to this great idea I had last night when I was spinning my charka -- ha ha, very funny, Jawaharji, can we get serious for a minute? -- I call it satyagraha, here's how it works...".

All this does not mean that I hold a torch for AAP unconditionally: only that, unless they're accused of things like #1 to #6 in the list above (and no, false stings do not count), and these charges stick, I'll be an AAP supporter (sans the topi; to be honest, I think it looks quite silly).

In closing, a fun factoid from the People-in-Glass-Houses department: did you know that Kiran Bedi invoiced an NGO for executive class tickets when she actually traveled economy class? It's becoming clearer and clearer that "What do you think about AAP?" is the litmus test for judging people.