Sunday, January 4, 2015

The crash and burn of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal: Let us revel in the decline of "aadarshvadis"

As Kejriwal and Hazare are on their way to becoming foot notes in India's political history, let us examine the nature of their idealism and why despite its noble intentions is ultimately toxic.

The younger readers may not be aware how it was to grow up in the later stages of the Indira Gandhi era. You are talking about dictatorship, involuntary sterilization, nationalization of vital industries and ,despite the green and white revolution, India asking for food aid from the likes of Nixon (who along with his virtual second in command Kissinger referred to Indira as a witch and Indians as bastards during the 1971 liberation of Bangladesh)

I was in primary school during the late stages of that era(Rajiv Gandhi) ,even so I couldnt help notice how pathetic the situation was. We had to wait nearly two years to get a landline phone (and we considered ourselves lucky for not waiting three) . Paying our utilities was a torture as well pretty going to the bank ,post office or any government run enterprise.

Of course we had relatives who did well abroad and wondered why they couldnt replicate the success back in the mother land.

At this juncture our media, movie industry and academia stepped in- It is because Indians in India are lazy and would rather slave for the "white man" or "white Christian man" (for the followers of the paranoid captain) than improve the lot of fellow Indians.

We were instructed to be aadarshvaadis or idealist unflinching in our ethics, pure in our morals and hard working like a mule. It later occured to me that only a person with the IQ of a mule could swallow this codswallop

We were shown the examples of Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore( the countries of the "white man" werent proper examples as you see they earned their riches via colonialism!) and how despite having any resources ,they have managed to achieve first wold status by providing quality goods and services to the world economy. Their secret we were told was-you guessed it- "hard work"!

Less mentioned were countries like Nigeria who despite having a great of oil wealth at their disposal were still poor. If you ever mentioned and a few did , those arguments were dismissed as "Africans being lazy"

Need we say that pretty much everyone in academia, media or the ultra preachy film industry were either products of or thoroughly saturated with Jawaharlal Nehru University and its associated subsidiary.
Few people realize that when it came to politics and social policy, JNU was the cultural lode star that other institutions followed .

As is expected of socialist institutions, there was zero understanding of incentives and an utter intolerance of notions as profit "Its a dirty word" said Nehru to an industrialist.

There was absolutely no reason for Indian firms to be hard working like the Japanese where there was no guarantee that the Indian government wouldnt squash their quest for expansion and arbitrarily sieze their profits in the form of punitive taxation in the name of "fairness"

Brands like the Ambassador car thrived on a complete lack of competition and North Korean style government propaganda which proclaimed it the best car in the world. I suppose Ferrari, Benz, BMW, Lamborghini etal  just had better marketing! But even they rarely had the audacity to claim their product was the best in the world!

The situation didnt improve till the 1990s when due to the collapsing of the import restrictions, Ambassador was forced to compete with foreign cars and acquired in the words of a British publication "almost perceptible acceleration"

What the economic reforms of the 1990s did was sound a death knell to the mindless slogan spouting socialists whose intellectually bankrupt view of economics was exposed for all to see.

But where they are still influential  is due to corruption in public life. Now let us be honest. Do we really imagine most politicians and administrators go into public service in order to thrive from corruption? Are we so arrogant as to think that our generation is the first to recognize that bribery, extortion and inefficiency should be rooted out.

Add to this popular films such as Indian(1996) where former INA veteran Senapathy(aptly played by Kamalahassan) goes off on a crusade against not so much the system of corruption but individual perpetrators by simply killing them and using the media as his unwitting accomplices to the cheers and approval of the common public.

Also by the same director was Mudhalvan(2000) or its Hindi version Nayak(2001) where the protaganist is appointed Cheif Minister for a day and promptly goes around fixing what ails the state achieving in 1 day what the corrupt casteist former CM couldnt(or wouldnt) achieve in 10 years.

Apparently Kejriwal wished to model himself on this character from Nayak.

What is wrong with this idea? Firstly I am pretty sure that while the CM has considerable executive powers at his disposal,using or mis(using) them on such a rash basis would quickly cost him his cabinet as well as his constituency.  The reality of corrupt officials is that they did not land here from other planets but are quite representative of those who elect them.
A wise man once said a people get the leaders they deserve. I dont see why this is any less true of morally corrupt people like Indians than say a violent and brutal society like Iraq who in turn produced monsters like Saddam to keep them in check. And the removal of said leader by well meaning though dim witted Americans only produced even more chaos, cruelty ,poverty and destabilization.

Our corrupt ,cruel and thieving politicians did not land here neither from outer space nor due to Rothschild brainwashing as some mentally unbalanced bloggers insist.
Our politicians are a magnification of our own shortcomings and virtues. Since it the nature of power to highlight warts rather glories and seeing how we are on the red on the virtues balance sheet, it is but inevitable that we get the most rotten of representation. And he in turn compels the leader to be even more tyrannical, capricious and oppressive thereby further corrupting his constituents. A sad aspect of humanity is that whenever a person is a victim of evil, that individual is more likely to become immoral himself. Therefore we see rape victims become promiscuous and male victims of child abuse become rapists.
This occurs on a macro scale. As Theodore Dalrymple had noted in his observation between modern speech codes and Soviet society

"Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. The purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.If you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to."-Theodore Dalrymple

These socialist ideals keep crowing about honesty, integrity and simplicity when it is obvious for anyone to see that such values in a corrupt system do nothing more than emasculate and demoralize the practitioner and end up colluding with the corrupt establishment.

One example is my state Andhra Pradesh.As you may notice, one of the main qualification of a politician is a propensity for violence. Indeed even the mild mannered Chandrababu Naidu was quite handy with a broken bottle and hockey stick in his college days. It was during that time he gained an interest in politics. Not really a coincidence. AP residents still joke that  Shiva and Rakta Charitra were more documentaries about the current state of AP politics than commercial entertainers!

How exactly are we supposed to fight a hockey stick rushing at you with full force by a hot headed Kamma/Reddy youth? With narrating a treatise on the Indian constitution?

Violence will be a part of politics in a nascent democracy. It will be foolish to deny that. American senators and Presidents were rather violent themselves. President Jackson killed a man in a duel while a senator would often beat another with riding crops that would Korean parliament seem like a Gandhi ashram by comparision.

So I do not possess a princess and the pea sensitivity to violence in politics. Indeed a person who utilizes violence for the proper ends and effects good governance is what we need. Such an individual who breaks the cycle of corruption and lawlessness is termed a messiah or an avatar of Vishnu as he helped restore the balance.

Though I personally feel what we need is avatar of Shiva who should destroy and create a new order from oceans of bloods but I realize that is a minority view.

How many times will these do gooders ask us to embrace our poverty and lack of physical comforts as its "Gandhian" and at the same time chide us for our lack of progress compared to Asiatic tigers such as Japan , Singapore and Korea?

A cognitive dissonance if ever there was one. When I pointed out the contradiction to my teacher, this hyper patriot publicly shamed in class as a troublemaker and that I would be better off in the West for daring to  question her wisdom and authority. For once the teacher and I were in agreement.

When I think of her and her totalitarian nature, I am reminded of this mediocrity Anna Hazare who would beat up people in his neighborhood for eating meat and drinking alcohol. Are we really so hard up for anti corruption crusaders that we should recruit such tyrants?

And what is this talk of eliminating corruption as if you could wave a magic wand by means of fasting and shaming officials. (If they had any shame, they wouldn't be government beureaucrats)

The best way to eliminate corruption is eliminate all the incentives that enable it. Simply reduce all luxury taxes and duties and streamline government beureacracy and increase the pay of the officials that remain. Privatize what you can and should and corruption become that much more manageable.

This is turn will have a ripple effect on the courts and police system making them more accountable and efficient.

However this requires the Indian economy to be truly free and neither Modi nor Kejriwal were ever interested in it

Modi is not a free marketer but a mercantilist as his Gujarati mindset who will protect and support indigenous enterprises from those pernicious foreigners. So much for his plans for creating another Singapore!

Kejriwal suffers from delusions of grandeur that every IITian does on account of the prestige that insitutions bestows on its alumni. I actually knew individuals who were shocked when I dared challenged their assumptions on some topic or another. One went as far as to say"I went to IIT, who the fuck are you, you illiterate" , to which I eloquently responded by grabbing his collar and slamming him repeatedly against a wall. He never brought up his qualifications again.
That I would submit is the proper response to such coarse elitism. Granted most were never that arrogant and elitist but you can tell that they are not accustomed to having their opinions contradicted. This is not so much their fault as Indian society which coddles them at every turn and assumes whatever they utter is the new Bhagvad Gita

As Mr Sabhlok has shown not only are IITs highly overrated but they tend to know absolutely nothing about economics and governance. And this doesn't really distinguish them from other politicians.

In the end it is not education and high faluting ideals but common sense, resolve ,character and a pessimistic view of human nature and knowing the extant of government involvement in personal life that would lift the bane of our existence.

As of now we have no such leader but atleast let us rejoice that our self proclaimed messiahs have been discredited atleast in the short term.


  1. Good article YSV :) From the very beginning of the Anna Hazare revolution,I used to feel that this agitation did not have a future.In a democracy like ours,a non-political stance,however good it might be,will not be able to sustain itself.That ofcourse does not imply that a political attempt to cleanse the system will deliver either,as is evident from the Jayprakash Narayan attempt.But still you need to fight the elections to reach the root of the apathy.This is why I believe that Baba Ramdev had a more constructive agenda when he seriously tried to bring a completely new party known as Bharat Swabhiman Party.God he even used to speak against caste based reservation system at that point of time ,which is highly unlikely to be the agenda of a hardcore political party :) In order to remove corruption,incentives and privatisation will help to some extent as you have mentioned,but I think increase of electronic form of transactions of official works and a fast judicial system will be better.I was reading on the net that in China civil cases are solved within 3 months on an average! India can also implement this easily,by increasing the number of courts and judges and computerisation of the processes.But a slow and inefficient judiciary is actually beneficial for the corrupt bureaucracy/legislature to save itself,so I guess this is the real reason why successive govts have not shown any interest in large scale judicial reforms.I do have a lot of hope on Modi but I don't know how he would perform.

    I also agree to your observation on economic thinking of Modi.

    "to which I eloquently responded by grabbing his collar and slamming him repeatedly against a wall" - YSV is this literally true or a figure of speech signifying your verbal attack on the IITian?Anyway that would not matter much because whatever might be the case, I applaud you for teaching that fellow a good lesson :) We all have seen the IITian Kejriwal and the non IITian Modi.So whom has India chosen to be their leader after all?Even Delhi rejected the IITian :)

    "....self proclaimed messiahs have been discredited atleast in the short term." - YSV don't you think quite a few more online messiahs are rising up :) ?

  2. Communism as a process is bound to collapse,much like the infamous Ponzi scheme :) I can bet that not a single country in the world is truly "communist" in her policies.I am leaving out North Korea here because we do not know much about North Korea after all.Even our own Bengal CPM had started embracing private industries at the fag end of their career :) Here I must admit that I got to know about Chanakya's free economy thinking from your comments :)

    "Though I personally feel what we need is avatar of Shiva who should destroy..." - Yeah it is a minority view but not a bad one,considering the present situation :) But actually Shiva is the principle of annihilation but what we need is preservation also.

    Hyper-patriotism is becoming the norm of the times.I believe that ancient India had flying technology of some sort.But if someone disagrees with me then I would not brand him deshdrohi or worthless. The mere flashing of patriotism on the net or in a conversation is not patriotism.

  3. JAM, ysv_rao Do you think Delhi people will vote for AAP, in spite of all that Kejriwal has done? Most of the surveys indicate that AAP will win. Want to know your views.

  4. Actually the latest surveys are indicating the opposite thing,ie,the RDI survey shows BJP will win with 45 seats.Infact all the 4 out of 5 surveys that have been done by different agencies around this last week,are predicting BJP win.This is probably due to the 5 Modi rallies around Delhi this week.The initial surveys that predicted AAP win had probably done so more because of sensation.After all the tv channel trp soars up due to such anomalies.The ABP-Nielson survey in late dec 2014 projected bjp win with a little less than 50 seats,and the same survey done 3 weeks later shows probable AAP win .Now if this is a real representation,then I must say that the Delhi voters get swayed away easily at the slightest breeze .Even if we consider that Kiran Bedi created some dissents among the party cadres,it should not reflect on the opinion of voters so easily.Such dissents are bound to happen in all political parties.Everyday I see news about some AAP leader quitting their party to join BJP.So this should not be the criterion to judge either AAP or BJP.This is exactly why I am sceptical about AAP winning with absolute majority,because I believe that Delhi voters are not so whimsical.

    I won't chose AAP because of their appeasement politics for some communities and populist tactics.Add to this their open pro-Congress inclination.When the incumbent party was Congress which needed to be removed,Kejriwal chose to target BJP and Modi by saying " communalism is worse than corruption" and going on to oppose Modi in Varanasi respectively.If Delhites can't see through all this,then what can we do :) ?Believe me Delhites,all these will eventually backfire on you! I am telling this from the collective Bong experience :)

    A final point,Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim has given moral support to BJP.After this it can be real hard for AAP to bring out a majority :D However BJP's real problem might be a low voter turnout percentage on election day.

    1. Check out the latest mediacrooks article.It addresses a similar issue .The name of Ravinar should be spread like hellfire!

    2. Check this article

    3. I seriously thought that Delhites had good political maturity when they had shown the door to Kejriwal in the loksabha.But as it turns out,they have fooled me with their drastic voting pattern ! I am speaking on the basis of the exit poll stats.

      Anu I am acquainted with many of the points that has raised.But sadly the voter base of Delhi has quite a chunk of lower middle class and poor people who don't care for alll this.And the middle class voters ,in most elections and not just Delhi,don't come out in high proportions.Sadly this middle class is a major asset for BJP.

      But still I would wait for the final results and not just the exit polls which are coming.I still have a gut feeling that 67% voter turnout will go in favour of Bjp in final results.If not,then go back to the first stanza of this comment on 10th feb :)

    4. Delhi will be ruined if an anarchist like Kejriwal becomes CM. Didn't they (Delhites) see what he had done last time. How can they be so foolish? Anyway, let's see what happens on Feb 10th.

    5. In another portal,I was speaking with a few AAP supporters on this election issue.To be frank,the lack of political knowledge and common-sense they displayed baffled me.And this portal is an educational one,the netizens who visit it are educated with a minimum graduate degree.What amazed me was their ignorance on the events that occurred just a year back.For example,they thought that Kejriwal sat on dharna because of the rape issue ! They have either forgotten or are unaware of the fact that Kejriwal's dharna was on the issue of Police control after the nigerian drug issue.They don't care to think about AAP's under-the-table deals with Congress,freebie distribution,legalisation of slums without discrimination,and are bashing BJP for everything that is happening in India.Anything anti-AAP I had tried to point was being thrown into the dustbin.And yet all the points I had raised had been discussed by Delhites before the loksabha and so BJP scored 7-0.But now it seems that the same people are willing to ignore these.And all these guys with whom I had engaged were Delhites ! What I could understand is that Kejriwal has managed to build up the utopian image of being a messiah of anti corruption and "secularism".After this discussion my respect for the electorate of Bengal and Bihar(whom I had till now considered the worst in terms of political maturity) has increased vis-a-vis Delhi :)

      And I forgot to mention that if BJP loses this Delhi election to AAP,a part of it can be credited to Modi's incessant Gandhi worship with erection of scores of statues :P However the Bengal Bjp leadership is steering away clearly from this Gandhi worship for the 2016 assembly elections.They know the lack of respect for Gandhi in Bengal :)

    6. "To be frank,the lack of political knowledge and common-sense they displayed baffled me..." - that's why they are called Aaptards. S. swamy has tweeted that Bhagoda Kejriwal will leave office within an year. Check these Madhu Kishwar's tweets.
      What do you think?

    7. I don't fully agree with Madhu Kishwar here atleast.Whether Jaitley is doing good or not as FM is a different issue altogether.I had spoken with a Delhite face-to-face in the first week of February(he came to Kolkata on some official work).He told me the real mood of the lower middle-class Delhites.All they want is free electricity,free water,no police patrols and free wi-fi,as has been promised by AAP.They don't care for the long-term development vision of BJP or any other party.And add to this the homesick middle class educated population who don't go out to vote in large numbers and yet blame the govt for everything under the sun.I must say that even the communists of our state weren't so unrealistic in their populism!It is not the fault of any BJP leader,I think.However BJP and Modi shouldn't have concentrated on ad-hominem attacks against AAP leaders.And I don't think the selection of Kiran Bedi has been instrumental in a probable BJP defeat.Satish Upadhyay had a spot of alleged corruption thrown on him and didn't stand a chance against the apparent (and also fake)non-corrupt image of AK.Whatever AAP has promised to dole out to the Delhites will require two to three times the budget of Delhi to be implemented.And people are going after this like the children following the piper of Hamelin.

      Having said all this I still believe that BJP can cross the majority or there will be a hung parliament.Because last night I was reading on a discussion forum where many Delhites are expressing surprise at the exit poll stats.They are claiming that Delhi has huge Jat and Sikh vote shares,which are inclined to BJP to a large extent.Let's see what 10th feb has in store.However If AAP wins majority,then Delhi elections will surely spark off the idea of populist govt over real development.

    8. JAM, AAP is heading for a landslide victory with nearly 51 seats and BJP 11. Looks like BJP won't even get LOP status. I fail to understand how the mood of voters changed within a short span of 8 months. What do you think clicked in favour of AAP? Maybe if the elections were held soon after Loksabha elections, the results could have been different. Now just look how secular media will attack Modi!

    9. It's AAP 62 BJP 6 + SAD 1 INC 0 INLD 1. BJP should seriously do some introspection.

    10. First of all congrats to YSV who was right from the very beginning on this result :)

      Voters of Delhi gives sweeping mandate to this same Kejriwal who openly played as a B team of Congress through his political stance ! It would have been better to choose Congress instead.I thought Delhi had a very mature electorate.However seeing the results,I cannot rule out the chance of a BJP internal sabotage due to Kiran Bedi.My bet in this situation would have been Minakshi Lekhi.I personally feel that a good woman can be a far better leader than a good man.But as it stands now,we will have to wait till 2020.BJP what were you thinking when you postponed the elections after the loksabha?You should have hit the iron when it was hot.Rather you allowed it to cool down.

      "pseudoSECULAR" "EDUCATED" hindus will never wake up !And now let us prepare ourselves for a secular and populist BJP.This victory sets a worrying trend for national politics,or atleast North Indian Hindi belt.Now electorates will demand populism from the parties.

    11. JAM, BJP's down to 3 and SAD 1, totally decimated in Delhi. It's
      such a humiliating defeat isn't it; even exit polls had predicted above 20. Mamata Banerjee is extremely happy with this defeat. I would love to know YSV's comments on the Delhi results. I wonder why he's not posting!

    12. Just now I returned from a temple in our locality.The people who had come to give Puja there were openly mocking Delhites for swallowing the freebies bait of AAP :) If AAP really tries to implement this populism,then it will cost them 3 to 4 times the budget of Delhi.And yeah Mamata Banerjee would be a real happy person today.BJP is now the main contender of the ruling TMC party in Bengal.Though the sentiments of Delhi will not reflect in Bengal but still this Delhi whitewash is a mild blow on the buildup of perception for the Bengal BJP unit.

      Long live Secularism+populism :P

    13. Haha Thanks Jam, though I must say I haven't been proven prescient exactly since the title of this post is "crash and burn" of Kejriwal.
      Perhaps he failed on the national level, but on the regional , there is scope for all sorts of cranks. This would be the caveat to my post.

      AAP followers are cultish like captain followers ,no point arguing with them.
      I beginning to wonder if Kejriwals run for PM wasn't really a plan for the end game but just a cheap publicity stunt as he knew that not if but when he lost that battle, the Delhi people would forgive him for dumping them so callously and reelect him .
      This type of thins is done in U.S politics all the time when thoroughly unelectable governors ,senators even businessmen run for office just to sell some books/charge speaking fees.

      Sorry I haven't been able to post recently. Been really really preoccupied.
      I see our Amith Mishra is still onsite as comic relief. I will respond to his and other posts as well put up new essays in due time.

      Let us pray for the missing brain cells of the Delhiites!

    14. YSV good to see you back.Expecting many more essays from you in the future :) This is probably the first time in the election history of India when an electorate is giving their heads away at the bare mention of some populist agendas.Even before this Rajiv Gandhi had sweeped on sympathy votes,or Communists in Bengal threw Indira Gandhi's Congress into the sewer in late 1970s assembly elections,but these were not based on populist claims.Even BJP in 2014 didn't get sweeping mandate after 30 years on populist lines .I thought the spectre of ultra-socialist populism showed effects only in petty local body elections at present ,but Delhi has revived it to the level of mainstream national politics.

  5. I have to disagree with JAM. Arvind Kejriwal for all his flaws is a son of the soil for the Delhiites who achieved national fame. Add to this his overhyped tenure as anti corruption crusader CM and I think you have a winner.
    Surveys done in India, don't seem to be terribly scientific and are rather unreliable. Compare this to the polling done in U.S where they show breakdown to the district,suburb and sometimes to the street as to how the politician is polling!

    Where I am in alignment with JAMs POV is that Kejriwal mindlessly recites Congress talking points about communalism ad nauseum. But remember Delhi has a huge Muslim and Sikh population.

    Ultimately as you can guess, I think Kejriwal and his AAP is a lot of hot air. What matters in corruption is not dramatic filmi style firings and scoldings and overnight overhaul but the unglamorous and tedious work of cutting down beauraucracy 1 babu at a time and attracting qualified professional not political cronies and provide them with decent salaries. In the end it is about habits which thereby form character.

    Same way a bunch of people randomly picking up a broom ala Modi's clean Indian campaign would yield trivial results at best. The challenge is not cleaning up Indian streets and parks..which can be done in a couple of days. The difficulty is MAINTAINING cleanliness and an honest and efficieint governance.

    Neither Modi, neither Kejriwal nor Congress are interested in the difficult decisions needed to implement these ironically simple, effective solutions.
    Its business as usual. This is the scene all across India, but no more pervasive than my (former) state.
    When I visited Hyderabad last year, I could've sworn it actually got dirtier. And the area my parents are staying is relatively high end- in the vicinity of high tech city! Literally the roads and adjoining greenery is simply a garbage dump. This clown K Chandrashekhar Rao is great at shouting slogans and creating a new state by cozying up to anti nationals like Akbar Owaisi and Congress backstabbers but running anything effectively is not his cup of tea.
    Oh and also when I landed in airport(Rajiv Gandhi International), the AC was switched off to save power. What a lovely welcome to foreigner visitors and investors. A far cry from before

    If this decline accelerates, it wont be long before it is reduced to Bombay International airport circa 1993 where I remember seeing stray dogs in the arrival area!

    1. "Arvind Kejriwal for all his flaws is a son of the soil for the Delhiites who achieved national fame. Add to this his overhyped tenure as anti corruption crusader CM and I think you have a winner." - Will this ensure decisive victory for AAP?The hype and sentiment were at its peak last year and still votes were divided between BJP and AAP.Now I don't think this hype alone will bring AAP victory,but I am not saying that AAP can't win.I think the back-to-back Modi rallies this week did consolidate some fluctuating votes for the BJP.I am saying this after seeing the trends of discussions in online portals.

      And YSV don't underestimate Dera Sacha Sauda :) They do have a dedicated vote bank of a few lakhs in Delhi :) This is the reason why AAP went to Shahi Imam(as per latest news coming right now),ie,to consolidate the minority votes.I don't think they would have felt the need to polarise the votebank had Gurmeet Ram Rahim not supported BJP.

      "Neither Modi, neither Kejriwal nor Congress are interested in the difficult decisions needed to implement these ironically simple, effective solutions." - There's no doubt here in what you point out.I don't believe Modi is a messiah as is being projected.But I do believe that given sufficient time and political support in Rajya Sabha,he would be able to start a new regime in politics of India.

      Modi's clean India campaign(with his irritating Gandhi worship) is a farce.India would have been cleaner by administrative changes and not by useless media campaigns.Here I second you.

      Honest and efficient governance atleast in terms of quality office work can be ensured by using technology like biometric attendance,cctv survellience etc.But here also I don't see much progress as of now.However I am willing to give this govt atleast a tenure of 10 years in the centre.