A lot has changed in Indian politics since this day five years ago when a young political outfit called AAP was formed. They made a spectacular debut in Delhi assembly elections in 2013, were badly defeated in the 2014 general elections and then went on to win 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi assembly elections in 2015. Despite all their shortcomings, AAP has managed to achieve a lot in last five years. They have also set out new terms of engagement in politics. First, they have shown that an outside entry can be made into Indian politics without any kind of caste and religious based politics. They have managed to come to power based on issues which are very central to the lives of ordinary people like corruption, water and power. Second, they have shown that a new kind of politics is replacing the traditional politics which is based on widespread use of media and social media. Though, it is usually said that the party is no longer being run on idealism and is no different from other parties, it still has a lot of freshness in its approach. It has an ability to adapt as per changing environment. It changes into a party which attracts a lot of media coverage when required, and it might even fall silent when it considers silence necessary. It is a party which does not want to get into religious identities when it is fighting elections in Delhi, but when in Punjab, it appears as a party that is just coming out of a Gurudwara. The questions it has raised about decentralization, sources of funds, and citizen participation are the questions that are going to shape the politics of future. Narendra Modi and his politics of Hindutva might overshadow these questions for some time but not for long. A lot might change about AAP in the coming days, but the idea of new brand of politics that it aimed to create is here to stay.
There was a country in the heart of Asia where all the residents were of a single religion. There was not even a mention of any other religion. All the Muslims in the country had just vanished. Youngsters either married the girls of their parent’s choice or that girl that brought the highest dowry. Girls had absolute freedom inside their rooms and they had stopped using cellphones and internet to celebrate their freedom. Everybody indulged in sexual activities but they were not allowed to do it consensually. Love was reserved for cows. Intellectuals used to live in museums. The land was not occupied by stupid things like forests and tribals. Those who had committed sins like benefiting from caste based reservation used to wash the toilets of true Hindus to repent for their sins. The judges of various courts used to base their judgments on Manusmriti. It was the duty of every ideal citizen to know what their neighbors were eating or drinking or wearing and to object to their choices. It was a sin for a normal citizen to mind his own business and he was looked down in the same way as a cannibal. Rama and Krishna were not fictional characters but Gandhi was. The country had got freedom despite the efforts of traitors like Nehru and Patel. There was a grand temple in Ayodhya whose turnover was bigger than all of PSUs combined. Anybody could be beaten anywhere by anyone for reasons ranging from a Facebook post to non-attendance of Diwali pooja.
Thankfully, this country does not actually exist. No country has the power to exist with the things I have described. Yet, all of these events seem possible in the kind of environment we live in. A grim spectre has crept upon us slowly, and soon my imaginary country may come to life. Thought experiments no longer remain thought experiments when democracy starts turning into a mobocracy, consisting of an angry mob, an uncontrollable mob.
Why a society does get attracted toward mobocracy? What are the reasons that inspire people come together to form a mob? Are they angry? Are they sad? Do they feel betrayed? Or is it simply related to their animal instincts?
Maybe they are angry because Rajput kings were defeated by Muslim conquerors or because they are unemployed. They may feel betrayed because of the partition or because their kids married partners of their own choice. Or they feel sad that they could never gather up the courage to talk to the girl they liked, or maybe they have a Dalit boss in their office and they could never digest that fact. There need not be any big reason for their anger. It does not take much effort to offend a person living in the subcontinent.
And who are these people? The people who form majority of a mob?
The great polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski writes about the people who form a mob in his final book :
At any moment and for whatever reason, these people, to whom no one pays attention, whom no one needs, can form into a crowd, a throng, a mob, which has an opinion about everything, has time for everything, and would like to participate in something, mean something. Dictatorships just have to reach out to these people searching for some significance in life. Give them the sense that they can be of use, that someone is counting on them for something, that they have been noticed, that they have a purpose. In this relationship, the man of the street starts to feel at one with the authorities, to feel important and meaningful, and furthermore, because he usually has some petty thefts, fights, and swindles on his conscience, he now acquires the comforting sense of immunity.
How do we restore logic and law in a mob-ruled State? How do we bridge the gaps between the different communities when mutual trust has been broken?
No one seems to have a definitive answer. The great German philosopher Hegel‘s thinking process called as dialectical method provides a logical explanation of the process we as a society are going through. Hegel explains to us why human progress cannot be linear, while encouraging us to trust that it does occur, nevertheless. For him, history moves forward in what he termed a “dialectical way”. It is an argument that is made up of three parts : a thesis, an antithesis and a synthesis. At first there is a beginning action called a thesis, and then, there is a negative reaction of that thesis called the antithesis. At last, there is a synthesis whereby two conflicting ideas are reconciled to form a new situation. Both thesis and antithesis need to clash and interact until their best elements find resolution in a synthesis. One cannot get there in one leap. The world makes progress from one extreme to another as it seeks to compensate for previous mistake. We are merely seeing the pendulum swing back for a time.
Student Experience In Interstate Living or as they call it SEIL was first started by the former Governor Of Assam and the present Governor of Nagaland Mr. P.B. Acharya way back in the year 1966, with a soul motto “Purvottar Ko Jaano To Bharat Ko Jaano”. Last year it completes its 50th anniversary and I consider myself very lucky that I was a part of the celebration. Though the journey started in January 2016 for me the journey began in the month of December of 2015 when I left my home to be a part of the inauguration program. Rajnath Singh the honorable home minister of India was the chief guest along with Mr. Sarbananda Sonwal the then Minister Of Sports And Youth Affairs, Govt Of India. Along with the other dignitaries which include Mr. P.B. Acharya the then Governor Of Assam and Nagaland.
Delegates of SEIL From Different States
Students from across the eight North Eastern States of India were selected and were divided into ten groups with thirty students in each group. I was a part of group one which was also known as the Delhi Group. starting With Lucknow we were about to travel 5 different states.
When We Were Greeted In Bihar while On The Way To Lucknow.
City 1: Lucknow
On arrival in Lucknow at 4:30 in the morning we were greeted with flowers of different kinds. We were taken to the office of the organization that conducted the tour. We were served breakfast and were headed to the places where we were accommodated. In SEIL we are not given Hotels or Resort to stay rather we are given a family where we stay as a part of that family. As soon as we reached the families we were given a very warm welcome and the members of the family came to interact with us. After the interaction session was over we were served Lunch. Finally, we went to bed thereafter. The next day all the participants were assembled and we were taken to different places for sightseeing including the famous Ambedkar Park, the girl power line of U.P, the historical places of the city that included the Immambara. After a long day, we finally got a chance to meet the members of the families where all the participants were staying. We went to a family dinner and came back to sleep. The next day was even more exciting when we got to meet and interact with the then governor of U.P. then we had a traditional session at the auditorium of Lucknow University and was bid farewell from Lucknow.Immambara In Lucknow.
The next stop was in Moradabad. The city was awesome and as soon as we reached we were welcomed like celebrities. The day which none of us will ever forget.While attending a Press Conference In Moradabad.
We were off to sightseeing again in Moradabad and we were served the traditional Lunch of Moradabad. the food and the hospitality of the place were simply superb. We stayed a day in Moradabad and left for the beautiful hills of Uttarakhand through Pathankot.
Each Hill Station in India is Unique and this time it was Mussoorie’s turn to be explored. The place is awesome and the reception on arrival was again legendary. My host was a young man and me and my tour mate had unlimited fun with the host. The very next day we were out for sightseeing and to taste the brilliant flavor of Maggie cooked with special ingredients
The Beautiful And Neverending Mountains Of Mussoorie.
On Our way back our host took us to a wedding of one of his friends and we learned about wedding rituals of a different culture.
On the way back we visited the famous Haridwar and took a dip in the holy Ganges.Bank Of The Holy Ganges.
Then came the day we went to Himachal Pradesh. Dharamshala it was. By far this was the best destination so far. The Beauty of the place was simply mesmerizing. The people were superb and the family where I was assigned to stay was the best people that I met. the name of the host was Arjun. He was again of our age and we had a lovely time together. This is one place that One must visit once in a lifetime.A Stream That Never Dries Up.President Of Tibet In Exile In The Tibetian Parliament In Exile In Dharmashala.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Stadium In Dharmashala.
City5: New Delhi
After a one month trip, we finally reach the target destination that is Delhi. We were again welcomed as celebrities and were Taken for sightseeing immediately after the breakfast.
Delhi too had some of the unbelievable things in store for us. We went to the Redford and Raj Ghat.
Raj Ghat, New Delhi.
Then we went to see the prison where Bhagat Singh was sentenced.
And This was where The Legend Spent His Last few days.
That trip was no doubt legendary. It was one of the greatest learning experience that I will ever have. But most importantly it taught me one thing. It is sometimes okay to talk to strangers. Because if I won’t have then I would not have met the four best people of my life so far.