Thursday, August 22, 2013

Personal Rumination in midst of battle


We have had a tradition of ruminating in the midst of battle. Bhagavat Gita was conceptualized in the midst of the Kurukshetra war. I intend to reflect every week on the fast changing scenarios, inner party dynamics, the national resonance and my personal reactions to the overwhelming developments. I may not possess good writing skills nor the necessary vocabulary, but will write candidly (maybe too candidly) in a self introspective, doubting manner with a touch of self deprecating humour. Do point out if I start taking myself too seriously.

There was a Marathi poem which I had heard long back, which essentially said "There was once a man who urinated in the sea; he spent his balance life measuring how much the sea level had risen because of his urination". The last two days, I was that man.

On the Newshour program on Times Now on Tuesday, the 9th Oct, I told Renuka Choudary, the Congress spokesperson, that she should answer the nation frankly and honestly on the Robert Vadra issue instead of "Rolling your eyes and making faces". She was understandably flustered and angry, but all those who watched were highly amused and there was a flurry of emails, sms, FB posts and tweets quoting my statement. Instead of immediately apologising to her on air, I marvelled at my sharp retort. For two days, I kept on going to the FB, twitter and gloating at my smartness.

Last night, post dinner, I suddenly realised what kind of monster I was becoming. I looked at other signs - there were plenty. My sudden desire to wear appropriate clothes (kurtas), telling people how many calls, emails and sms that come and cannot be handled, combing hair before TV shows and generally feeling like a cat-that-just-ate-the-canary. All my life, I used to mock and make fun of people who took themselves too seriously, people who were pompous, self opinionated and loving the limelight. Am I sliding towards that? Yes, too many warning signs, and therefore an urgent and dire need for course correction.

The reaction of the country to the revelations on the irrigation scam with Ajit Pawar's resignation, Nitin Gadkari's attitude of sleeping with the enemy and Robert Vadra's Real Estate ventures was interesting, to say the least.

The way Arvind Kejriwal went about demolishing one party's claim on honesty after another with clarity, documents, strategy and complete candour is unparallel. His honesty and truth comes out so vividly on TV, that he has become the hero of this nation. In a nation starved of icons (so starved that we used of think of Rahul Gandhi as a youth icon), here was a ray of hope. I have known him for many years and he is a complete WYSWYG (What you see is what you get). There is no pretence, no fake attitude, no game playing. Completely obsessed with serving the nation, by what he thinks is the right way. The inner clarity and truth makes him also fearless. But the real test will come when the vision, manifesto and party workings come to the fore. Am personally very impressed with his thoughts on decentralization and governance, as articulated in his book Swaraj. (Am I sounding like Salman Khurshid - will-give-my-life-for-Sonia Gandhi-kind? :))

Congress is its worst enemy. Earlier in every public meeting, I used to ask people to cheer for the three people who were instrumental  in the growth of the India against Corruption(IAC) movement -Manish Tiwari, Kapil Sibal and Chidambaram. Every time they opened their mouth, thousands of angry Indians would join the movement. This time its Manish Tiwari, Rashid Alvi and Renuka Chaudhary. Is a 130 year old party so bereft of quality people that they have these people as their spokespersons? I would have thought that parties would like to have their smartest and best faces as the TV spokespersons. Are these the best? Its a matter of deep concern for the nation. At least, BJP has much better spokesperson with Nirmala Seetaraman being really good.

The best course for Congress would have been to respond to the Robert Vadra accusation with gravity, seriousness and impartiality. Instead, we are witnessing this terrible spectacle of one sycophant minister after another (one governor too), jumping on each other to rubbish the allegation on the ground that it was motivated. No planning, no understanding, no strategy - just a mad rush to show to the boss some "chaplusi" or "sycophancy". I shudder at the quality of people in government. No wonder, we are in such a mess.

BJP is in a strange position. They tried their utmost to prevent the IAC party formation, but did not succeed. They dont know how to deal with this unknown entity. Every revelation made by Kejriwal was known to them - Robert Vadra, Nitin Gadkari's "Char kaam hum karte hain...", Irrigation scam (where their members are involved), Electricity issue in Delhi- but they kept quiet. Now when it is out in the open, there is a quandary. If they support the revelations, the question will be asked and is being asked about what they did as opposition till now, inspite of having the information and secondly, supporting IAC's stand will also strengthen IAC, to their detriment. Cannot swallow and cannot spit out. Cannot take too strong view on corruption, as their leaders are going to be exposed too. Their discomfiture as they again try to reclaim the opposition space is amusing.

What is also very interesting is that both parties are on tenterhooks. They know that IAC has much more data on their parties and senior leaders. So, how does one react? You justify one and another will hit you. Now, with Kejriwal's call to the people to give information on corruption of leaders, our offices are flooded with unbelievable information on the corruption of some of the top leaders of the nation. The revelations are shocking, to say the least. Media has also become very aggressive on this issue and the immediate future of the major parties is seeming rocky.

The strategy of both parties will be to somehow shoot the messenger. Try and discredit IAC and its members. So, we are soon going to witness all agencies, loyalists swooping on some of the faces of IAC, trying their damnest to discredit them. Strategy being " Cant refute facts, dont worry - impute motives, plant some stories and brazen through".

I think this may backfire badly. The people are loving this spectacle of the corrupt squirming and if any attempt is made to deflect - the parties will have to pay dearly electorally. And if any of the IAC people are physically harmed, especially Arvind, then this country may see a revolution. India is ready for the next phase of change.

We, surely are living in interesting times.




36 comments:

Amit Kumar said...

Nice sir..keep posting ur blog for ICAian!!

someone's dad said...

Very Well written and a little self deprecating ( unduly so, I feel ) but did make an enjoyable change from the other Blogs. The issues you have raised on the National Quality of Leadership is very appropriate and hope at least the New Party will throw up leaders of the Caliber of a Nath Pai, a N.Dandekar, a Minoo Masani and a HV Kamath in the forthcoming Elections so that the Parliament remains the Best Debating Society.

Pradip Doshi said...

Good one but the shorter the blog, higher the readers. Wherever possible, I think splitting in two would make readability easy.

Unknown said...

Great

Anupam Garg said...

Great Blog. Liked your self check on comments on Renuka . I do say that you and many in IAC are household names and big following. Hence, you are big names for sure. But be humble and be knowledgeable. Contribute to nation

Anonymous said...

Good writing.I think you should write more.You guys are great hope to the nation.salute to you!

PANKAJ said...

Good sir keep it up

PANKAJ said...

Good sir keep it up

jagdish Fadnavis said...

excellent one u have well said about Renuka choudhary etc..U have spoken all ur thoughts in this Blog..Yes I see there is snunami brewing in the minds of aam admi all over the country about revolution in the country ..we need to expose various corruptions thru press conference for wider publcity for IAC which in turn willboost our membership drive..Yes a new revolutionary leader is born and he is Arvind kejriwal...Opposition parties and the ruling party are in a dilema about our growth of PARTY

Shaikh Saeed said...

RENUKA choudhary was infamous 4 aiming gun at police personal on dharna in her heydays...but seen helplessly against u...

Pradip Doshi said...

You should think of translating this in Hindi for the benefit of readers who lacks in English.

Pradip Doshi said...

You should think to translate this in Hindi for the readers who lack English.

B K SINGH said...

HUM ko LAGTA hai ki Ab Hum Dusri azadi se 2 kadam dur Khade hai Agar Hum apni Is ladai Ko 2014 me ya Us ke Pahele Jeet Jaye To Yeh naya Itihaas Banega Vande Matram

Deb said...

Mayank ji,

It takes a lot of courage to fight against powerful corrupt people.

You inspire the youth of this country.I salute your courage, god bless you.

And regarding Mrs. Chudhury.. I believe you said what we all want to say for a long time.... So please don't feel so bad about it... Keep fighting .. join you soon.

Naviator said...

I quite like your simple lucid style of writing!..keep at it!..we sure living through interesting times..a national churning so to say..if it helps to change not only the idiom but the very grammar of the way politics is done in this country ..we would fill not only our people with hope for the future but also all around the globe..as disenchantment with governments is being felt universally...if India can lead in this political thought for tomorrow..it would be because of its spiritual power ..but a lot more coherence of thought and action is required on our part still!

Ashish said...

Congratulation for rumination on yourself, and its also lesson for all of us who although feel along with the cause forget the responsibility beside it. To give it with an ex., recently I saw somebody actively tweeting for IAC tweeted abusively to Kiran Bedi as BJP agent. This is very wrong; in our excitement should not be allowed to make us evil like others with whom we are fighting or atleast trying to fight. She and many like her along with Anna may have difference of opinion with us, but they are all with us in fight against corruption although not on our path. I request you and all most visible faces of IAC to pass appeal for rumination for themselves from time to time.

Piyush Bhatia said...

Well written Mayankbhai. It was need of the hour.

We are definately living in interesting times and are witnessing major changes.

Though IAC has got a face of Arvind Kejriwal, which is becoming stronger by the day, hour, minute and second, the next challenge would be to convert this into a party that delivers! People want to see IAC moving from exposing to destroying govertment to forming new government and creating a new India...

Ofcourse these are interesting times..

Piyush

Aloke Sharma said...

waiting for the next weeks blog.

CrapChatter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dc said...

Hello Mayankbhai always believed you are a simple, down to earth person,which is further reflected in the blog.Our good wishes to the team and and specially their families. The whole nation and beyond is with the team,(other than we know who) and with their blessings and wishes I strongly feel truth shall prevail. Jai Ho!

dc

OP Monga said...

Dear Mayank,enjoyed thoroughly (as usual) reading your blog.Pl dontbe so cruel to yorself,cuelity,even against your own self is also a form of Hinsa; you as, Gandhian know better than any one else.
I am dying to know the Vision Staement,Manifesto and abovae all the name of the Party.
you statement about diminishing quality of the leadership at national level(across the parties) is most appropriate and a harsh truth.
OP Monga

OP Monga said...

Dear Mayank,enjoyed thoroughly (as usual) reading your blog.Pl dontbe so cruel to yorself,cuelity,even against your own self is also a form of Hinsa; you as, Gandhian know better than any one else.
I am dying to know the Vision Staement,Manifesto and abovae all the name of the Party.
you statement about diminishing quality of the leadership at national level(across the parties) is most appropriate and a harsh truth.
OP Monga

OP Monga said...

Dear Mayank,enjoyed thoroughly (as usual) reading your blog.Pl dont be so cruel to yorself,cruelity,even against your own self is also a form of Hinsa; you as, Gandhian know better than any one else.
I am dying to know the Vision Staement,Manifesto and abovae all the name of the Party.
you statement about diminishing quality of the leadership at national level(across the parties) is most appropriate and a harsh truth.
OP Monga

rajendar menen said...

hello mayank, i saw the programme on tv and i didn't think you were ego driven at all. in fact, i think you need to be a bit more aggressive. so you can safely step up one gear at least.

i will not talk about the other political parties, but the congress has totally destroyed india. there is simply no argument about that.

for one, we cannot have elections in a country where most of the people are illiterate, semi-literate and desperately poor (we need to educate the people urgently and work seriously on population control). second, no family should be allowed to rule india. this is not a paan shop! so - on both counts - this electoral system is flawed. we have to change it.

the desperation is so great that when i went around india researching my book -- karma sutra:adventures of a street bum -- mothers would often present me their young daughters and say --"just feed her and do what you want." imagine!!! this is the level of hopelessness!

electoral politics is dirty and corrupt -- to put it mildly. in a country with such diversity and living in so many different eras, consensus will be very difficult to arrive at. plus, popularity does not mean competence. as we all know, money and muscle buy votes!

it is a very long battle ahead. good luck.

Chandra Sekhar said...

Revolution on the way Mayankji... but we want Arjun to end all of the menace.We are ready to do everything to protect him

surendranath Pokle,Goa said...

Your articles reflect the person you are,and brings us closer to the ideology of Anna,Arvind,Mrs.Bedietc.There was a long void in in Indian political scenery where people like me thought it best to stay aloof,because I thought we belonged to a rare ilk.Now with the revolution in tele- communication,I see the Halo of revolutionaries.With you Mayank anyday.

raviprakash said...

interesting Blog, Today morning I tweeted that Congress &BJPare have turned out to be a B Team of IAC , Arvind's Delhi
agitations have totally shaken Congress, but still I have serious apprehensions on political future of IAC.

Zee said...

Renuka Chowdhary is an insecure, emotionally violent, reckless and immature person.She has been like that for decades in Andhra politics.She never offers anything useful to the debate on TV other than tasteless acid barbs.Manish Tiwari is also a mad ranter.

But dont you think she is better than old wily foxes who go on saying Team Anna is spreading Negativity, anarchy, tarnishing everybody with the same brush etc.I have seen Tata(during the Radiagate), HT editor Vinod Sharma, Khurshid and lately even Puppet Singh(Mindless Negativity..)

Dont say anything back to her just give her a bit of twitch and watch her; she will do the job with flying hands:)She is on our side.

I like the new bull dog of India Kejriwal.He is setting a new trend in India where he picks up an expose and backs it up with an agitation until the shameless politicians are forced to explain to the public.He is breaking the vicious circle of 'Match Fixing'.We should all support him more and

it is high time we have our own MouthPiece, say a Magazine or News Paper or T.V channel that way we can avoid Media match-fixing

Bharat said...

Very interesting blog..Not necessary to be so much deprecating..
I always believe that for mass movement, communication with people we need to look at Gandhiji.
He along with his movement was doing a lot of constructive programs (Rachanatmak Karyakrams) that were essentially teaching people self reliance, good hygiene etc. His daily spinning of Charkha was one such strong symbol. I think along with these expose, a strong program is required to get connected with people with some strong strong rachanatmak Kraykram.

Sameer Banerjee said...

Hi Mayank, Nice article. Sameer Banerjee

Anonymous said...

Mayank Gandi is one shrewd chameleon whose political ambitions were known even before the fight for jan lokpal began. He successfully destroyed the JLP movement in mumbai single handed , must have had taken money from politicians for doing so like they took money for selling the redevelopment project. Not only he betrayed Anna but also the thousands of people in mumbai who had joined the lokpal movement and now feel cheated.

Preet Parakh said...

!!!!Vande Mataram!!!!!
We, surely are living in interesting times Mayankji, and I am proud to be a part of this.

Any one who is fighting against corruption with honest intention, whether he/she is part of IAC team deserve the highest regards from me.

Mayankji, lets make INDIA not a good place to live, rather BEST place to live.

JAI HIND
Preet

RAJENDAR MENEN said...

PLEASE READ MY MAIL TO YOU...

dharmesh jhaveri said...

me an IAC member but still not so active & low key.do time & again attnd IAC meetings in vlp.since long i m observing,making my notes on the working,talking,media briefing etc of IAC & its members.my outcome is that:
IAC is here to fight against corruption..jointly with people & media support.first u all started wth anna ji & ramdev baba.govt too rolled out red carpet for ur top ppl to hve a talk which failed.then anna ji's movement started weakening due to non professionalism & in ability to carry such huge burden on all of ur's petite shldrs.babaji had the best chance to become a national hero but he ran away one midnite whn police came to arrest him...did we all hear initially "desh ke liye mar jayenge" or instead "kabhi bhi bhag jayenge?"
you all did & still doing ur best to serve the nation & eradicate corruption & millions of us citizens totally believe in u all:)but seriously do believe me...the more u ppl speak on media out of context, the more u loose face & trust.IAC party is still like a non entity.no big clout but only big struggles.so why do u embarass urslef & ur followers day after another by replying to non sense attacks frm diff political partis & some individuals? just stick to ur basic agenda of fight against corruption!wht y do u need to reply to every comments of ur opponents? why cant u tell the press [who always has the bad habit of gushing their mikes down one's throat]NO COMMENTS except ur motives & facts?
just tell them on national briefing that hence forth IAC will just do their best to xpose corruption & not reply to faltugiri! if any one has any charges against you all thn they shld take legal action or start a movement against IAC like you all r doing against corruption.NO NEED TO WASTE ENERGY FOR REPLYING TO EACH & EVERY COMMENTS OF OPPOSITIONS & QUESTIONS OF PRESS.MAKE YOURSLEF IMPROTANT,DIGNIFIED,RESPECTFUL & WORTHY IN TH EEYES OF UR FOLLOWERS WHOSE SUPPORT YOU WILL NEED AT EVERY STEP.
i know u r ever so busy & even we bth being in vlp we havnt meet one on one inspite of some txts in the past.hope one day soon...:)

Chetan Arshid said...

@dharmesh jhaveri: Although I know your intentions are right, I believe not replying to questions/barbs etc is not practical. In fact, replying to these barbs is absolutely necessary, as silence will be misconstrued as acceptance or even guilt. When IAC asks so many questions, it is only appropriate to answer others questions - wouldn't not doing so would actually be double standards?

Chetan Arshid said...

Mayanak, this only shows you are human and not pretending to be supermen. I respect your strength for self-introspection and even sharing it with the public so candidly. Only an extremely pure and confident person can do that.