The results have come in as Delhi Election draws to a nail-biting end. Euphoric moments interspersed with dejected feelings. As the dal bubbles in my kitchen and I get ready to temper it with the bay leaf, chillies and ginger (having banned the onion from the kitchen till it behaves itself and comes back to its aukat), my thoughts go up like the rising steam.
So the " mango people" party seem to have made some interesting notes to take cognizance of, for the "traditional" pedigreed political parties of free India. For the first time, there was a party that stood up for clean politics and for making many of us believe that clean politics was a possibility. Thankfully they adopted the humble 'jhadoo' and gave it a makeover and a distinct identity, which otherwise was relegated to a not-to-be-seen corner. It went on to give a literal connotation to the word 'sweep' that had been doing the rounds for the past so many electoral times, in the print media as well as the news studios. Media personnel were going ballistic with the humble 'jhadoo' and its many usages. In the previous regimes, it was used to 'sweep' the scams and scandals under the carpet and hurried into the cupboards to keep the many skeletons company.
Secondly, the "mango people" party has given humbly the 'in your face' to all the cynics and detractors who brushed it off as a fad and prophesied it's doom much before it breathed. Call me a romantic, an idealist and what have you, but the fact remains that there is a tomorrow only if you have faith. I'm sure many of us wish for a change in the political scenario. And yet we sit and wait for someone else to make those changes. Frankly, it gets my goat when politicians unabashedly and arrogantly treat the public with condescension during the next five years when in power securing their personal future, and do the rounds with folded hands and promises when elections are just round the corner.
The Delhi Election this time, was an indication that if you act like onions and hike up your affluence quotient and making us cry with your inaccessibility , we will do just what we do to that snooty vegetable. Refuse entry into the kitchen. After all dishes can be made without the pricey onion just as we can do without the high and mighty and the haughty in politics.
For the first time, a party is happy to be in the opposition and not scrambling to do the political arithmetic leaving aside its reason for coming into existence and principles so it can have a heady taste of power. Wise decision. If you want to have a vegetable on your plate with its identity and flavour intact you might just as well have that instead of losing it's goodness in a khichdi or biryani.
However, a word of caution to the new ebullient party. Please do not let us down. For the first time we have been made to believe that an alternative is possible in politics also just as alternative medicines and practices have made inroads into people's fancy for their well being. There have been mistakes, terrible mistakes in the past.
I remember a similar euphoric time in Assam with the historic birth and win of the AGP in 1985. The time when our "own boys" formed the Government promising a new era in politics and an end to decades of misgoverning. Since I see a significant member of the "mango people" party with a very conspicuous Assamese 'gamusa' around his shoulders, I think he already knows those valuable lessons.What happened after AGP assumed power was a treachery of the people pining their hopes for a fresh beginning. Coteries, rampant corruption, shameful flaunting of power and arrogance not just by the chosen leaders but also by those closely associated with them. Their kith and kin also seemed to be enjoying the shares freebies that came with power. So where did that leave the aam admi of Assam? Back on the dilapidated road which they hoped to renew and rebuild.
Here, we as the people also need to show some restrain and self-discipline. Yes, the Delhi Elections has made the aam admi a force not to be brushed off lightly and having successfully forayed into the political scenario, of standing up for our rights in the face of political fiefdom, muscle and money power. Some introspection will clear the way we want the future in politics.
1. Are we willing not to expect our pound of flesh from the winners? For it is this that breeds coterie and corruption.
2. Are we willing to be tolerant and gracefully accept the cultural differences abundant in this country and follow a policy of 'live and let live'? Because that is what the political parties in the past have been feeding on, picking on the differences and deepening the chasms in the name of religion, region, caste, language, ethnicity.
3. Are we willing to be self disciplined in following the rules laid down for our well being. That would translate into not jumping queues, traffic signals, looking for privileges, evading taxes and back door entries. 4. Are we willing to accept social responsibilities especially towards the weaker sections of the society? By letting them know of various schemes and their rights and right to a dignified life. For the politicians of the traditional schools have gnawed at their wounds and left them festering with temporary bandages to be exploited every five years.
If we, as the people want a matured democracy, of the people, for the people, by the people, then it is time we acted as matured and responsible individuals ourselves. Is it fair to expect miracles with just your neighbour's vote while you sit at home and watch the fun. Can we expect the food brought from outside to nourish us everyday never knowing what went into it's making?
Ah! The 'dal' is ready and laid on the table. Time to call the family for a wholesome and healthy meal.