I realise that low aim is a crime. I will have a great goal in my life and work hard to achieve that goal. I will acquire the knowledge continuously. I will Sweat, Sweat and Sweat. I will persevere to achieve the goal.
– Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, in his oath for Students and Youth
What Dr Kalam gave to students and youth through the oath is nothing extra-ordinary but a basic formula of success. It is said that if your basics are right then you can improvise your abilities and skills as per the need. These basics look simple but generally most difficult to acquire. Whether it is basic knowledge, systems or values, you have to set it right with perseverance over the period of time. The same rule applies to innovative social media platforms like Facebook or claimed to be innovative political experiment like Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
Facebook claims to bring in digital equality by providing ‘Free Basics’ platform, forgetting the fact that monopolising and profit making tendencies can never ensure equality. Bharat has crossed the 1 billion mark of cell phone users. Approximately 300 million of them are connected with broadband services. With the viral spread of smart-phone usage, these numbers are growing. Still, more than 600 million mobile subscribers yet to be brought under true digital connectivity. Unless internet, which is a basic tool of connectivity, is made available at affordable price, how one can opt for restricted services platform like ‘free basics’ is the real question Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) will have to address. The scale ensures bigger profit is the basic rule of the market. Facebook should partner the systemic efforts of digitalising Bharat for the long term gains rather than campaigning for a restrictive platform for short-term profits.
AAP and its leadership Kejriwal have mastered the art of combining conventional political games with innovative techniques. Dramatisation and diversionary tactics are integral to it. While doing so taking on all parts of the system and repetitive usage of victimisation card in the name of common man is against the basics of politics. If CBI has raided the officer, a natural stand of political party vouching for probity should have been in favour of fair investigation. Instead of that making diversionary allegations, accusing the Prime Minister with abusive language and now taking on the whole bureaucracy, is nothing but a sign of something being fundamentally wrong. AAP neither has a party structure nor ideological plank to deal with the complex issues. Unless these basics of politics are set right, AAP will have to rely on dramatics.
Perhaps, there are lessons for national parties like the Congress and the BJP about setting the basics right, which would never be free. Congress has weakened own organisational structure, which was backbone of the ‘Congress System’ for securing the family interests. Regionalism was promoted to sort out the state level leadership. Unless that grass roots mechanism in party structure is revitalised, confrontationist politics is not going to revive the Congress fortune. Meanwhile, the BJP should carry forward the agenda of development and inclusive growth, without getting carried away by diversionary and obstructionist politics. This is critical for the party commited to good governance and national well being.
In short, setting the basics rights is the most difficult but essential for desired results and applicable to everyone, as Dr Kalam conveyed through the Oath.