PRELUDE: This is my third piece of opinion for this column. Rather, it would be more appropriate to say it’s a continuation of the previous letter written to Mr Arvind Kejriwal. But, you the readers or the critics of this weekly magazine Organiser must be thinking what makes this writer hide her/ his identity in this column. Frankly speaking, I’ve no intention to hide my identity simply because I don’t have one. Neither am I an expert on any subject nor am I a noted writer or columnist like many who have the opportunity to get columns with their photographs in esteemed newspapers and magazines. It’s all thanks to the editor of Organiser, who allowed me to write the third piece, reminding me to keep my writing within the limits of decency. After all, using abuses, slamming journalists or calling names on a public platform is the ‘fundamental right’ of ministers and politicians who use theaam aadmi for their own benefit, the so-called activists who always claim themselves to be honest to the core and the top army officials who otherwise are known for maintaining discipline in public life. So, as a common nameless, faceless Indian citizen like millions in this country, my rights are limited and the only option I have is to air my opinion (read frustration & grievances) through this column.
Here I speak:
Mr Kejriwal, I knew I’ll never get to hear from you, because it ceases to matter to you what a realaam aadmi says. In fact, it now seems that you were not bothered what would happen to theaam aadmiand his grievances once you quit the post of Delhi CM. Because, your aim is to contest the General election, simultaneously eyeing the post of the Prime Minister.
Kejriwal Ji, let me remind you what one of the foremost poets and playwrights of English literature in the 20th century – William Butler Yeats–had said, “In dreams begin responsibilities”.
But the unfortunate part for Delhi citizens is that despite your dream of becoming the CM of Delhi coming true, you failed to fulfill your responsibilities. Today, the common men who voted your Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to power, think that you deserted them to fulfill your next higher ambition of becoming the PM of India. And, why not? The entire media, your luck and the existing political turbulence in Delhi – all were on your side some four months back. Within a short span, an unknown party (AAP) comes to power and you become the CM. So, you thought why not try your luck for the PM as well. And, again it was the media who projected you alongside BJP’s Mr Narendra Modi and Congress’ Mr Rahul Gandhi.
The common man thought you and your AAP were different from the mainstream political parties as you raised hopes (read false hopes) in him. But, now you are acting different — rather blatanly — from your promised character, which is unfortunately same as that of other parties. But, I’m not here today to analyse what you did or not, what you promised and what you missed. Like many common Indians, I strongly feel that your public behaviour has become a casualty to your rising political ambition.Like many other politicians, you areunable to digest criticism.
I hardly have any knowledge about media. My initiation with media began at the age of 9 or 10, when my father introduced me to newspaper reading. I grew up reading English and vernacular newspapers and magazines, and gradually I developed a respect for this fourth pillar of Democracy. Today, with the surge of different media including social media, that old charm and credibility of journalism might have got diluted to an extent, but not the way you defined it, while addressing your prospective voters in Rohtak, Haryana last week.
“Now whenever you read any news in a newspaper or watch something on TV, use your brain to know what is the motive behind that story. May be money has changed hands,” you appealed to the masses. While showering bouquets on your trusted comrades Manish Sisodia, Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birlan, who were also NGO activists like you, you ended up saying: “Media walon thodi to sharm kar lo…”You blamed the media of accepting bribes. You said Mr Mukesh Ambani has bought a few channels and newspapers is true. But that doesn’t prove that all the reporters who are working on field are taking bribes.
Mr Kejriwal, don’t forget that journalists and other employees of any newspaper or television channel too require salaries to run their families. They are not funded by foreign agencies like the NGOs. The media houses are privately-owned and are not government-funded.
Till yesterday, you had immense faith on this same media, as you were getting stories published or telecast in your favour. But, today when the same media that questions the Prime Minister or any politician, exposes scams like 2G, Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Housing, Coalgate, and many more –has questioned your functioning, you have promptly dubbed it ‘corrupt’.
May I ask you, Sir, did you or your party pay these media houses to publish/ telecast stories in your favour prior to the Delhi Assembly polls?
It’s really a pity to see a man who raised issues against corruption and who criticised other politicians for being arrogant, has himself taken leave of his senses and decorum. Just reflect on the language you are using on a public platform. Please don’t try to play to the gallery to gain sympathy and votes.
Mr Kejriwal, have you ever heard the objects of your unrestrained criticism — Mr Modi or Mr Gandhi (who are patronised by the Ambanis according to you), using such derogatory language on a public platform?
You are no better than the other three public figures — former Army Chief General VK Singh and the two union ministers Mr Salman Khurshid and Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde — who have used reprehensible language on public platforms.
The Oxford-educated External Affairs Minister, Mr Salman Khurshid, who also studied English literature, called Mr Modi “Napunsak”, which literary means impotent. Later on, when Rahul Gandhi disapproved of his comment against Modi, he tried to justify it on a TV channel by saying that he meant to say ‘incompetence’. Now, if a student of literature confuses between incompetence and impotency, one is bound to raise doubts on his intellect.
Similarly, when the media started questioning the Congress party, its trusted Home Minister Mr Shinde threatened that he would use his intelligence systemto crush the electronic media, alleging a section of it was unnecessarily provoking the Congress party by indulging in “false propaganda” against it.
The Editors Guild of India objected to unsubstantiated charges levelled by public figures dissatisfied with their coverage or with criticism and appealed to political leaders and public figures not to resort to vague, unsubstantiated charges of corrupt motives and abuses.
So, Mr Kejriwal do you think that by donning a ‘topi’ that harks back to our freedom struggle and by resorting to cheap means of winning over voters, you can go a long way? You are not infallible. Let not your pride and ego generate a false sense within you that you are a demigod and the Supreme Lord has sent you on earth as the saviour of aam aadmi.
You may have heard a popular Hindi film song —Ye public hai sab jaanti hai...
(The opinion expressed in this column is solely that of the writer – Nameless Indian)