Warning: A fairly long post.
In the same vein as my previous post, I have been planning to write on the rise of Arvind Kejriwal and his brand of politics since quite some time now. I also had something to say about Anna Hazare and his Jan Lokpal Andolan as well, during the time it was underway but then timing is important especially when commenting on political events. Also, in response to my incessant anti-Modi chatter on FB, a friend recently asked me – in the spirit of ‘what is the alternative’ – that why I don’t dwell a bit more on Congress and AAP.
Then, there is some disquiet about the brand of socialist economics propogated by AAP. Critics do overestimate it when they say this is just the Nehruvian socialism of 50s in a 21st century garb. Reverting back to maximal government presence in all areas of production and distribution and a wasteful, behemoth-like public sector driven economy is just not possible today, however hard Kejriwal and co. may try. Yes, he has talked about government's responsibilities towards its most vulnerable citizens. He has also probably pointed out that a government has some redistributive functions. To me, this is a no-brainer. People who think free markets eventually make a level playing field and government has no business to provide even the essential services like healthcare, education should look at how industry lobbies have ruled the roost in the US politics, for the first and how the UK's National Health Service (NHS) has functioned in past 67 odd years, for the second.
As someone who is getting increasingly cynical about all sorts of agglomerations or binding forces whether they be a nation state, a hobby club , an organisation, a NGO, an ideology, a religion, I am also getting skeptical about many -isms - nationalism, socialism, communalism, utilitirianism, individualism yada, yada. I am probably most comfortable with the idea of every human being as an island. So, I fully understand the dangers of supporting an ideology, a party and political correctness behind statements like "I support or oppose issues and not parties or ideologies."
Fundamentally, it is about change. Here is something by Yoginder Sikand I read yesterday which made me add this epilogue (sort of). Leftists, Rightists, Centrists, Activists, BJP, Congress, AAP all talk about changing the country, the politics, the system, the world but no one talks about changing himself/herself. If we all change ourselves for better, we may not need a party, a leader or a messiah to change the country. It was a bespectacled, frail old man who had once said, "Be the change you want to see in the world."