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Political Jumble (May 2013) II - Aam Admi Party: Mis-alignment between larger goals and means

Aam Admi Party: AAP has certainly done a fabulous job. It has forced mainstream parties to take cognizance that corruption is a dangerous, potentially counter-productive word. The voters need not accept it as an inevitable evil forever.  The media is more equipped [unfortunately more belligerent, rhetorical also] to expose slip-ups. The CEC will be more confident to flex its muscles when parties cross the Lakhsman Rekha of propriety. Fund raising, election spending, ticket distribution all will need to be more transparent. In future, the means to winning an election will be more important than ever before. Not very far in the future, means will become as important as the end in itself. All of this will happen, with or without AAP making a dent electorally in the next few elections. This will happen because of voter sensitization and awareness that they deserve and can vocally demand better public values from their representatives. All this is because of AAP – kudos Team AAP.

However, from here on AAP will have a quite a few number of iterations of values/strategy/tactics, based on self-introspection, to effect before it can effect sustainable social transformation. At the action & intent level it is leading the parties in electoral reforms and at the philosophy level is the trying to decentralize governance [and hence power] to the villages. These are laudable Gandhian principles. At the thought level, the Gandhian model was deeply entrenched in compassion / greater good of the all and not just people who were in his side of the fence. That is the only reason the freedom movement caught the attention of all and sundry – cutting across party, religion, nationality [even Britishers sympathized; not to mention other Europeans]. A movement with this end – needs to be a social revolution.

In the case of AAP, it comes across there is a dominant feeling within the party that other parties are bad to their core, every person is corrupt or corruptible. The reality however is, every party and person has a lofty purpose. Every party and person is having mediocre instincts, despite the lofty purpose and not because any base ends it aspires for. What is critical for parties / organizations / persons aspiring for large scale social reform is to accept, without justifying, human mediocrity. While, aspiring every moment to break-away from the mediocrity of self and eco-system.  

The only workable method, more so in today’s world which aims to break classes and bestow power of decision making to every individual, is through compassion and understanding. Educating the stake-holders on the greater longer term self-interests that accrue through working towards common good [vis-a-vis adopting unsustainable short term vested goals which has legal, health, professional, spiritual pitfalls] and educating / empowering each other in competency and character to walk that path. The initial priority needs to be to internalize and disseminate, at the cadre and society level, the wisdom that great things can happen through goodness and character. That there is no need for any short cut to achieve anything. That Questionable means cannot be justified even if they are used to achieve the most lofty human goals. That people who are successful is some dimension, apparently by resorting to questionable means, and not successful because of those means but despite those means. For every successful person with questionable means there would be at least a dozen other people employing the same questionable means but being a total failure. It is quite possible that it such successful people used their aspiration and enterprise differently.

To me, that is the only path for any person or organization which wants to transform society. In any other path, the road-blocks will be more than the successes. Even Hitler with all his might had to succumb to the world forces. Had he used love, understanding and inclusivity instead, he probably would have been able to unite the whole of Europe [for a few decades at least] and would have left a positive legacy behind for a few centuries.

The first goal for AAP is then to have a critical mass of confident, aware, wise souls who can drive change within the society. Then these transformed souls can then be role models transform society at a geometric progression. The society will then urge parties to have sustainable ends and align the ends with means.

May 8th/9th 2013


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