Indians are often rightly accused of being apathetic and unwilling to assert themselves. The criticism is valid. But equally when the chips are down the Indian people respond with wisdom and courage. Need one recall how the people voted out the Emergency government of Indira Gandhi in 1977? Or how they responded when the Indo-Chinese conflict erupted in 1962? Once again when the nation faces its bleakest political crisis as governance collapses and corruption runs riot the people are responding as they ought to. Belatedly perhaps, they are responding as reason dictated they should have behaved much earlier.
I have special reason to salute the Indian people for confirming that they can rise to the occasion when a desperate situation demands it.
On April 26, 2006 it was observed:
“There are of course many NGOs and social activists who have devoted years to working on the ground. Despite their best intentions they are missing the wood for the trees. After all their labour and toil to highlight legitimate grievances what do they achieve? They end up seeking redress from a bunch of corrupt and unresponsive politicians. Don't they understand that social activism has become irrelevant in a society governed by a class that is so corrupt, criminal and callous that it needs nothing less than a cultural revolution?... Recently India 's leading social activist Medha Patkar ended, after twenty days, a fast unto death in protest against inadequate rehabilitation of victims displaced by the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Asked if pressure tactics like an indefinite fast should be used to influence decisions, she said all democratic channels had been exhausted… Medha Patkar is wrong to assert that all democratic channels had been exhausted. The most obvious channel has not even been attempted. Namely, to organize a new political party, electorally defeat the corrupt leaders, and assume power to redress grievances… that is a daunting task… Perhaps Medha Patkar and others will summon such courage?”
One was gratified to read that at last Medha Patkar has decided to enter politics and join the Aam Admi Party (AAP).
On August 30, 2011 after the Anna Hazare movement blossomed it was pointed out:
“Some members of Team Hazare are at pains to insist they will never join politics. If they speak the truth they should go home and rest. Much earlier through these columns I had criticized Medha Patkar for voicing grievances only to attempt at the end of it all to seek redress from the very politicians who created them. I urged her to enter electoral politics. The only honest way to end the huge quantum of corruption is to seize power democratically and deliver results. That is what Team Hazare should focus on. Never since Independence has the youth of the nation been so aroused. With or without Anna Hazare they are not likely to stop. Let Team Hazare chew on that.”
Much after this was written it provided this writer satisfaction to see that Mr. Arvind Kejriwal had branched off from the Anna Hazare movement to launch AAP as a full fledged political party.
On July 9, 2013 it was pointed out in these columns:
“For India to realize its potential the nation needs beyond reform a peaceful democratic revolution.”
After forming the government in Delhi Mr. Kejriwal described his party as a movement and said:
“I appeal to all Congress and BJP leaders that if you really feel what we are doing is good for the nation, forget your party and join our struggle.”
So far so good! Now it remains to be seen if the people of India can maintain the momentum and introduce the fundamental systemic reform required to create a genuine and meaningful change.
On January 1, 2014 it was written:
“Without two major fundamental political reforms India will never achieve good governance or national greatness…The first relates to the integrity of our democratic system. The second relates to our identity as a nation… The President’s role … will have to be revised if we ever seek good governance….To reclaim the spirit of Hindustan we will have to reclaim our national identity and ethos by undoing the spirit but not the legality of the Partition… The European Union presents a model to emulate.”
By the end of this year we should get some indication of whether the Indian people will also address these two fundamental changes that are required to reform the system for exploiting the nation’s potential.