Citizenship starts with making your community better: Thoughts on the AAP manifesto

I watch Kejriwal’s antics and I laugh, along with many who make fun of him. I doubt his capabilities, I wonder about his future. But I also admire his courage. Not just him, but all those who has taken the ultimate step towards making change possible. All those who have joined the AAP, given up being ordinary citizens to become people with a cause. I am excited to live these moments of history, experience these cataclysmic changes.

I, like many of you, am afraid to commit. I am shy, scared, ambivalent. I do not understand politics as deeply as I think I should. But I do care, about myself, my family, my nation. And I firmly believe that the way ahead can only be with the participation of all of us in the democratic process, in ways deeper than just pressing the button on the EVM every now and then!

I, like many of you, am loath to take either side on the Cong vs BJP, RaGa vs NaMo debate. I see them both as part of the same problem. Even though I abhor right wight politics, I do not see the Congress being able to, at this time, provide any stability or direction. AAP’s short stint in Delhi confused me. Like many of you, I wondered if this was the end before the beginning. I also went over the various choices again and again in my head.

This morning, though, something clicked. I was tired of hearing people make wild calculations about who would win and then try to take sides as per these estimates. It seemed to be a lot like betting on the horses. This is not a horse race, I thought. I’m not gambling, I’m trying to take a rational decision about who to vote for! I decided to vote by gut feel, for the sort of politics that I am willing to live with.

I read the AAP manifesto and it echoed a lot of things I have felt and said about how I want my nation to be. It, most of all, was rooted in the idea of giving power back to the people, the idea of deepening democracy. A few analysts feel it toes the Congress line and in a sense, there is a common left of political intent. (Aside-All manifestos must talk about the same stuff; modus operandi, collect a list of current hot topics and put in a point about each!) But therein ends the similarity. In tone, the AAP document empowers citizens. The Congress manifesto reads in a top-down fashion. It sort of lords it over us, the masses. It is a critical difference, I think. The AAP’s document is also a lot   more succinct and well-organised. The BJP is still silent, as of this moment (I just checked their website).

The idea of devolution of power is problematic, especially for us Indians who have been used to someone or the other being our mai-baap for centuries. But it’s time gave a chance to party that says of itself: “It is not a party that will solve your problems. It is a party that wants Swaraj; that wants power to return to your hands, so that you can solve your own problems.”

This is just my own personal point of view. Each of you reading this is entitled to their own perspective. I am not trying to convert you. But please, those of you who follow the strange logic that they should vote for XX because they will win anyway, please rethink. Either you should just admit that you agree with XX’s political agenda, or you should follow your heart and vote for the right candidate in your constituency. Please remember, citizenship starts with making your own community better!

About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on April 4, 2014, in Politics & Citizenship and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Citizenship starts with making your own community better! Very True and relevant article.
    We are afraid of being ourselves and criticize those who are not.
    Have to change this attitude for India to develop. We are concerned only about ourselves. (I know why selfie photographs are popular in India) We are not concerned about our country and its Citizens. Same applies to politicians as well. Hopes that this election will be an historical one which starts the change of many elements of our society and country.

    Thanks for posting a relevant article.

  2. First we should scrap the IAS. Then we need a Department of Justice (like the US), and independent CBI (whose officers DO NOT COME FROM THE IPS) and an independent Indian Prosecution service. More courts and stringent laws to curb lawyer and magesterial abuse. But the dilemma is this when we are not able to run an RWA properly how do we do the city.

    Also please see Babasaheb’s comments during the constituent assembly debates about too much devolution of power to village panchayats, calling them cesspools of narrow mindedness and nepotism which they are and add to that major caste tyranny.

    Sadly it comes down to character which we do not seem to have.

    Maybe the IAS, IPS and Judiciary should be British again

  3. Rohit Manaktala

    Proper, Good Education is the Key to Unlock our True Potential be it in Electing the Right Person, Good Civic Sense and Developing a Positive Attitude towards Other Living Beings & the Environment !!!

    • I don’t agree with the educated part. At least in Delhi the educated classes are a Kabzaa group. Go to any DDA flat and forget respecting building bye-laws they have ALL encroached on public land

      • I would agree with you here Hemant. Education and rationality often have no correlation!

      • Your agreeing is nice, but only acknowledgement of the truth. But I am having this debate with someone who is one of the nicest gentleman I know and personally honest but with the inherent Indian class bias. For him slum dwellers occupying a piece of vacant land (admittedly wrong) for their NEED (to have a “dwelling”) is a KRAAIIMEE. BUT all those educated “propah” MIDDLE CLASS HYPOCRITES doing Kabzaa FOR THEIR GREED is fine just “you know faulty government policies” I mean “pehle to vice chancellor bhi 5 acre ki kothi bana leta tha”.

        When I see this I feel get back the Brits. There is also no shame in saying that when the Brits talked about the lack of character in Indians especially CONGRESSMEN they were more thn 100% right.


        Much has been said about youth and they will change the nation. These people have aspirations and ambitions BUT AGAIN NO CHARACTER. And perish the thought if you think I am implying I am different. I am just ok types cyber chatterer. BUT AGAIN THE SAD AND HARSH TRUTH IS EVEN I HAVE NOT DONE ANYTHING ki Bharat Mata kahe “Yeh mera Beta hai”. Just that maybe have read a few more books.

        We are in trouble and I at least do not have any answers or even the character to confront people in grievous violation of the law which admittedly affects me. I take consolation in the fact let me police myself.

  4. ‘ I say, I say, I say … Give power to the people ! ‘ ~ Bob Marley

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