Every tale has an antagonist, and in the story since India’s Independence, corruption has essayed that role. Yet, not many have kicked up the kind of storm of this villain’s antics the way Arvind Kejriwal has.
From clamouring that black money stashed away in Swiss bank accounts should be recovered, to exposing various scams, this IIT-B graduate has relentlessly attacked corruption in the country.
Kejriwal, who has been part of several NGOs and social movements, first came to the public fore when he was awarded the Magsaysay Award in 2006 for his efforts in the Right to Information movement. With the award money, he started the NGO, Public Form Research Foundation, which focuses on transparency in governance. He then got involved in the Jan Lokpal Bill movement, demanding the setting-up of an independent body to probe corruption cases. This sent leaders of the ruling party in a tizzy.
Even as most others looked on disapprovingly from the sidelines at the current state of affairs, in November 2012, this former joint commissioner of the Income Tax department launched the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The image of a politician today does not inspire confidence in the youth, we must realise that systemic changes can only be made when you are part of the system.
If making monetary gains from politics were Kejriwal’s prime objective, he could probably have aligned himself with a political outfit. Instead, he has ruffled leaders belonging to parties of all hues. What he seems to be doing is using politics to goad the public psyche.
While a behemoth like corruption cannot be done away with overnight, Kejriwal and other like-minded persons have started landing the body blows. Through the Vadhra exposé, he tried to raise public awareness about the nepotism that plagues the Indian polity. Kejriwal also highlighted the symbiotic relationship shared by politicians and businessmen: Natural resources are made available and contracts are awarded to settle the unending account of favours. In one of his press conferences, Kejriwal even alleged that land owned by small farmers in Vidarbha was handed over to companies owned by BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
The regular press conferences to announce exposés may make Kejriwal look like a limelight-hungry film star, but these events have shown the Indian politics’ underbelly. And slowly but surely, people are beginning to realise that one man cannot fight corruption alone.