I had become cynical of our politics, and convinced that Indian democracy was being systematically smashed by the leading political parties that have been following policies that help only the elites and the corporates. I had believed that in the coming elections the nation would find itself between the devil and the deep sea.
But the unexpected and phenomenal success in Delhi of the Aam Aadmi Party, with the broom as its symbol, seems to be a positive development that warrants a suspension of the cynicism. We had never seen the broom in public or in politics. In our homes the men won’t normally touch it as sweeping is not considered a ‘manly’ task but a ‘womanly’ one. The broom is needed to clean our homes and surroundings, but it has had a belittling reflection.
The AAP has removed the ‘untouchability’ of the broom. It seems the broom is becoming an essential tool that India and Indian politics need today. We have to clean up criminality in politics with brooms. We have to clean out gender inequities. We have to cleanse the policies that serve only the elites. We have to clean up the bureaucrats who spend crores of rupees on foreign trips even as the Planning Commission determines the imagined poverty line. We have to clean poachers and deforesters off the Ministry of Environment and Forests. In short, we have to clean out the parasites, those whose policies help the corporate world to rape the environment and to rob the poor of their right to live, off Indian politics and democracy.
We want our secularism back, we want our democracy back, we want our environment back. We want our rivers, our forests, our paddyfields, our fresh air and our freshwater back.
Now, for the clean-up
As the AAP has effaced the untouchability of the broom; people all over the country should now take it in their hands and, in the 2014 general elections, clean out undesirable elements from Indian politics.
India doesn’t need bickering in the name of caste and religion. It doesn’t need the secular edifice to be demolished. India doesn’t want to ‘shine’ or be a ‘superpower’ at the cost of its environment and the poor. India needs to be a country where the poor, the disadvantaged and women can live with dignity and pride.
There was only one man who truly represented the Indian aam aadmi, and that man is called the Mahatma. What India needs is to convert that frail man’s dreams, mostly forgotten by even the so-called followers of the Mahatma as they ruled the country for decades.
The following was his dream: “I shall work for an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country, in whose making they have an effective voice, an India in which there shall be no high class and low class of people, an India in which all communities shall live in perfect harmony. There can be no room in such an India for the curse of untouchability or the curse of intoxicating drinks and drugs. Women will enjoy the same rights as men. This is the India of my dreams.”
Let us hope the broom will help us realise the India of the Mahatma’s dreams.
(The writer’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org)