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The Fall And Rise Of Kejriwal

Kejriwal vs Vadra. Less about real estate, more about the Fourth Estate. And the latter doesn’t come out looking too good.

Oh, something strange happened – the lights came back on again. Blow those brief candles and charge those inverters, we’re back in business! A middle-aged man with a finely-combed moustache just clambered up a rickety ladder with pliers in hand and connected the sparking and buzzing wires of sleaze and privilege and lo and behold: the nation stands electrified, its keepers electrocuted.

That man is Arvind Kejriwal and today he has handed power to the meek. Tomorrow he shall grant them the Earth.

As he climbs down slowly and doffs his Gandhi cap to thunderous applause, the people cheering him most are the guilt-ridden workers of the Fourth Estate. All those shame-faced anchors and scornful columnists and sheepish interviewers and I’ve-run-out-of-cruel-adjectives panellists, have formed a flash crowd at Haridwar and, eyes shut, breath held, are plunging their sins away in this holy river named Kejriganga. There remain those still in two minds, still sticking to their briefs, refusing to acknowledge the tug of their shirts given them by the converts. But it is only a matter of time before they too, fall in line. It’s called aping and man is better at it than even an ape.

Suddenly, the social media has no other topic to talk of, no other jokes to crack or cartoons to circulate, and one shudders to think what fate lies in store for the representatives of Google and Facebook when they meet Mr Sibal for their next fortnightly stock-taking reunion.

It is a collective catharsis the like of which has never before been witnessed, and it reveals more than it hides. It reveals hypocrisy and hollowness and that special ability that some people have of talking and walking successfully for miles over thin and melting ice. It hides nothing.

Worth remembering that Arvind is the same man who, barely a month or two ago, nearly died and not one journalist gave his writhing body a sympathetic glance. They had all written him off, especially those who took great joy in declaring his movement a failure, his methods anarchic, his chances hopeless. They called him names, they called his associates Fascists and Maoists in equal measure, and his leader a “simple man whose worldview comes from having been a truck driver in the Indian army” (The Indian Express, July 24, 2011). And when he decided to form a party and enter the “democratic process”, they laughed and lampooned him and spat at their nibs to pen his obituary.

The same man has now shot up from the charred and smouldering pyre, and how!

The Kejriwal-DLF episode can be a case-study on many counts. First, it can illuminate us on the petty stereotyping that goes on in the name of objective analysis. And second, it shows just how eager our media is in following a lead that can rattle the leaders.

R Jagannathan, the Editor-in-Chief of Firstpost, when he is not worrying sick about the torrents of abuse all his columnists get – all except him – manages to put to paper what most journalists want to but can’t. His latest article, “Vadragate is an indictment of the Indian media too” (Firstpost, October 10, 2012) is a debate-ender if ever there was one.

It’s not my intention to elaborate on the contrasts between Arvind and Robert – enough’s been said already. Some journalists have tried to portray it as a class or intelligence issue, without realising that in science there is no concept of class or intelligence – Biology 101. What else will you steal from that junkyard called Social Darwinism?!

What concerns me, though, is how easily, in our hurry to save our present and maintain the same status quo for our future, we forget our history. How easily. And all of us – the prisoners of our mind-shaping media, are equally to blame. The powerful don’t buy so much into real estate nowadays as they do into the Fourth Estate. We should have known this.

Are things really all that faultless in our India? Are we really satisfied with the kind of politicians we have? Do we really have millions of farmers who unable to procure unsecured and interest free loans hang themselves from the nearest tree? Are 47% of our children malnourished? Do 600 million of us really shit in the open? Are 800 million of us really surviving on Rs 20 a day? Is there really unimaginable sleaze and crony-capitalism in our country? Are we really doing enough to fight it? Is there any rule of law in this country?

Let the man do what he wants to, for heaven’s sake. Grill him – but only through questions. Arrest him if you think he’s broken a law, but don’t call him an anarchist. Do people who break the law really go to jail in our country? If they do, then hear this: what is wrong with a man burning electricity bills and linking severed wires if he is prepared to go to jail for it? Answer: Nothing. When Mahatma Gandhi burnt permit papers in South Africa, he broke the law. He broke it willingly and went to jail for it. He was prepared to rot in jail for it.

What is wrong with a man taking his own life for a cause he believes strongly in? Answer: Nothing. Is this anarchy? No. You are free to ignore him like the English were free to ignore Bapu. Put him in jail, serve him a life term – he dares you to. Only a few men can think this way, men who are a product of millions of years of evolution, men who think like animals. Men who are free. He burns an electricity bill and you cry murder and anarchy. They burn books and you say it’s their democratic right to protest! He wants the government to listen and you say get elected first – come, roll in the heat and the dust of India. He wants to do exactly that and you call him a villain.

The events of the past few days are a wake-up call to our media. But those who are still asleep, who slept through paid news and fake op-eds and Radiagate, who couldn’t care less about duping the public through payroll vacation, have slapped the alarm clock away; five, just five more minutes, please, they plead.

Ready or not, he’s coming for you.

 

 

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  • Ashish Chaudhary

    Lovely Piece, it is for everybody who wants to be fit into right and morality space to listen to the change knocking at the door

  • Hari

    Superb Article Keep it up

  • Rohit Nigam

    An amazing commentary. Respect to the writer!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ssarraju Sravan Sarraju

    Superb post! Well said!

  • Ashok Jahnavi Prasad

    Cannot be better articulated! Well done Anand!

  • Arpana

    honest comments on the dubious role of media…. bravo for standing up for truth.

  • http://twitter.com/amit_ary Amit

    perfect, and nowadays courageous in media. long live true journalism.

  • Ruchik

    Brilliant!!! Cannot praise the post enough..I read a lot of opeds/columns every day. This is the best post I have read for a long time.

  • Karan Mohanty

    Nice !

  • Roark

    Superb piece on the current scenario…The expose by Arvind is not only a slap on the murky deals between the politicians and the corporates but also a thumbs down to the deliberate ignorance by media to existence of crony capitalism which alludes to there involvement in the process in lieu of revenue through advertisements and ownerships….
    However, on a practical note, these exposes will do much harm to the opposition than the ruling party in the coming elections. Also, in a country where politics is more cast based than that on development (unfortunately !!!), will these exposes help IAC in garnering votes so as to win a seat in parliament, shall be an interesting event to watch out for..!!!

  • sukhi

    True and honest post…..time to stand up and support Kejriwal

  • Aman

    You sir, have written what I have wanted to shout out loud forever. Thank you

  • Geetanshdutta

    good article but short of Jaggi’s marvelous piece in firstpost. i think he touched the umbilical cord in his article and you touched a cord. Neverthlesss before reading your article, i have read both jaggi’s and sagarika ghosh’s emetic piece. That insane lady doesn’t deserve any mention but you and jaggi’s do. Those who have brain knows very well who support food pipes of likes of ndtv, indian express, cnn-ibn, times now or for that matter any other mode of public communication in india. Dogs will be dogs and they always need biscuits, so i don’t expect indian media scenario to have an catastrophic change in my living years. Don’t even feel like speaking about india any more. May god bless likes of arvind and you who dare to challenge the status quo. Thanks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raghu.mag Raghu Mag

    Excellent post …..
    I read rambling of Saga-rika G-hosh on FP on CLASS divide…….
    Its alarming stupidity this anchor is committing….She calls people who are getting shot by kejriwal as elitist(corrupt ministers/businessman)…….In her view these elitist are OXford/Cambridge/Stephens educated……How class biased one can be????
    Few years back she interviewed RA-M Jet-Malani discussing Manu Sharma…its on youtube…….She was screaming about Activist Journalism and vagarassss ……And making allegation on Mr Jet-Malani about how could he take the case when people belive he is guilty about the murder…..
    If she can talk of Activist Journalism then how can she be ignorant of same people who are taking on corruption…….

    She is the perfect example of LESS BRAIN and BIG MOUTH…..No understanding of issue ……And perfect blend of Hypocrisy

    I feel sometimes MEDIA wants to be NEWS , they feel embarrassing when AK or any anti corruption Activist try to leap forward and expose corruption, they just find themselves “how could they miss this big story”…….

  • Doesitmatter

    Honest, and fair writing – thank you! And I am absolutely okay too if the media is critical of Kejriwal, but so far it has just been senseless criticism. Vadra’s expose was a investigative story that media should have done on its own. And after Kejriwal had the balls for what media did not, the media started shooting at the Gandhi family from Kejriwals shoulders (that too the news media appeared sissy). If journalists and news media has half the guts that Kejriwal has, this country be outstandingly good in just a matter of a year. But paid news, commercial interest, and the most irritating of it all – idiotic sound byte journalism has turned Indian news media into a group of learned idiots.

  • Chintu90

    Great job, very well said and to the point. Arvind is our only hope today. Nation can’t afford to ignore him and not support him.

  • Shashikant Sukenkar

    well written.

  • Rohit

    Good article. It’s really encouraging to see the media finally find the courage to report against the powers at the center and do sting operations against them for being brazenly corrupt.
    I hope one day , we get rid of the goons who have assumed that it’s their birthright to rule the country and anyone who questions them should be put behind bars.

  • Sanjeeva

    Go ahead Arvind, we are with you- thank you for a good article

  • Arihant Zenab

    Dear Anand, I totally disagree with your views about Kejriwal. He is a creation of the media and the social network. U r right that first media didnt take him seriously but then he realized that he has to do sumthing really “off the league” to gain media attention.. and he started just doing that and our TRP frenzy media started just doing that.You seem to have focused only on his ‘attempt’ about corruption, without going into his own acts of corruption, using influential persons like Aruna Roy, Bedi and Hazare to reach where he has been noticed now. You have also not told us about his dubious ways of re-raising old issues like Vadra, which were in the public domain. He has mastered the art of being in the news.

    His acts of reconnecting a few power connections were splashed all over the media.But even u didnt tell ur readers that the two connections that he joined got FIR against them. nd the poor fellows had to sell their TV and take loan for repaying the bills..where was IAC and Kejriwal then..?? why didnt the media or for that matter columnist like you put forth facts like this..

    Each and everything he is doing is just for media.”No political party without Annaji” are his famous words,but once he got enough publicity he went on his own.. “Wont stop the anshan till Salman Khurshid resigns” he said,but the moment cameras turned off from his anshan ,his anshan also finished…

    To me Kejriwal is a suspicious fellow.. also u have to take into fact his other members also who have suspicious past and in just 2 months have 3 corruption charges against them.. to me Anna ji has a lot more respect than this suspicious Kejriwal…

    We know he is a protege of Aruna Roy who is another Gandhi sycophant.YP Singh,IAC is getting funds from Ford Foundations which has a past of feeding anti-national agencies also Congress MP Naveen Jindal also gives funds to IAC..

    A sane person with a little common sense will make out that his formation of political party will indirectly help Congress.. any person from Andhra will understand my statement by a simple fact of Chiranjeevi’s Lok Satta party which indirectly helped congress to gain power by dividing negative anti-incumbency votes..and if Kejriwal manages to confuse and divide the votes, and Congress makes it back to power because of this, then for me Kejriwal will always be a bigger evil than the Congress. He will be personally responsible for the millions that will suffer, starve and die in the next UPA-3 term.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ramachandra.shetty1 Ramachandra Shetty

      I agree with you to a large extent and the fact that Prashanth Bhushan a known leftist and Arundathi Roy’s friend is his right hand man, is proof enough.But to some extent credit should be given to him for raking up the Vadra issue and also it remains to be seen,other than corruption,how he proposes to handle other issues of importance to the country.

    • me

      tumse bada chutia nahin dekha aaj tak…

  • debasish

    Good to read such insightful, and not the least, a well composed piece.All those so called star journos should die of shame for being so spineless.They should not lack of flair for writing.We poor readers only wanted facts wriiten in their own shoddy way.

  • debasish

    Good to read such insightful, and not in the least, a well composed piece.All those so called star journos should die of shame for being so spineless.They could have been spared for lack of for writing skills,anyway.We poor readers only wanted facts even wriiten in their own shoddy style.

  • ayanosh

    Brilliant Article!!!!I may be biased in that i agree with everything written here….But still brilliantly written.

  • sunny

    you have put into words what I’v felt for a long long time.
    Great article. I’m gonna be quoting from this alot….

    cheers

  • G.Kashinath

    I think the media did not take him seriously because of his looks ! He looks like a aam admi , and not like a fashionable hero or a aristocratic person. He is not highly connected with somebody and is not well known. Why media, even the govt did not take him seriously.

  • Debendra Kumar Nayak

    Anand! Please read the following passage written by someone who incidentally shares the same name and surname as you.

    “Worth remembering that Arvind is the same man who, barely a month or two ago, nearly died and not one journalist gave his writhing body a sympathetic glance. They had all written him off, especially those who took great joy in declaring his movement a failure, his methods anarchic, his chances hopeless. They called him names, they called his associates Fascists and Maoists in equal measure, and his leader a “simple man whose worldview comes from having been a truck driver in the Indian army” (The Indian Express, July 24, 2011). And when he decided to form a party and enter the “democratic process”, they laughed and lampooned him and spat at their nibs to pen his obituary.”
    “The same man has now shot up from the charred and smouldering pyre, and how!”
    The Kejriwal-DLF episode can be a case-study on many counts. First, it can illuminate us on the petty stereotyping that goes
    on in the name of objective analysis. And second, it shows just how eager our media is in following a lead that can rattle the leaders……Let the man do what he wants to, for heaven’s sake. Grill him – but only through questions. Arrest him if you think he’s broken a law, but don’t call him an anarchist. Do people who break the law really go to jail in our country? If they do, then hear this: what is wrong with a man burning electricity bills and linking severed wires if he is prepared to go to jail for it? Answer: Nothing. When Mahatma Gandhi burnt permit papers in South Africa, he broke the law. He broke it willingly and went to jail for it. He was prepared to rot in jail for it. What is wrong with a man taking his own life for a cause he believes strongly in? Answer: Nothing. Is this anarchy? No. You are free to ignore him like the English were free to ignore Bapu. Put him in jail, serve him a life term – he dares you to. Only a few men can think this way, men who are a product of millions of years of evolution, men who think
    like animals. Men who are free. He burns an electricity bill and you cry murder and anarchy. They burn books and you say it’s their democratic right to protest! He wants the government to listen and you say get elected first –come, roll in the heat and the dust of India. He wants to do exactly that and you call him a villain.”

    If you want to read the full article, here is the link: http://www.newslaundry.com/2012/10/the-fall-and-rise-of-kejriwal/

  • kejti chutiya

    You are fooling people…kejriwal is funded by US to spread unrest.