Anand Patwardhan is the best known documentary filmmaker and one of most respected voices in India. This commentary is taken from his facebook page.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has thrown us all a challenge of gauging whether our system is capable of meaningful internal change. Some, including myself, are cautiously hopeful at this new experiment in democracy, but not yet convinced that it can actually succeed over time and space.
But because waiting for perfection may mean waiting forever, I think those of us who may have differences with the AAP should nevertheless congratulate it on its spectacular success in rekindling hope. And we must offer the AAP our critical support even if some choose not to join it.
My point of difference is simple. I believe Narendra Modi is a fascist and the BJP is not just corrupt, it is something far worse – it is opposed to the very idea of a secular India. Not only this, but there is a complete nexus between Modi’s Gujarat model of development and the interests of multinationals and of corporate India. These forces today are in complete ownership and control of our mainstream media and this media in turn is largely responsible for why and how the BJP can literally get away with murder, and corruption.
So everything we do must be directed at ensuring it does not rule us ever again. At times this may mean choosing the most-likely-to-win alternative even when that person or that party is NOT our favourite. This is the principle of strategic voting. It is too early to judge if the AAP is able to make a targeted entry across the nation that ensures that those who would destroy the very fabric of our potentially secular democracy are kept out of power.
The composition of the think tank in the AAP gives me hope that it can be alive to this issue. So I hope that the terrible mistake Jai Prakash Narayan made by allowing the entry of the RSS into the Bihar movement in 1974-1977 will not be repeated by the AAP. The fact is that today you do not need to be in the RSS to have an RSS mindset. Lies sustained over decades have ensured that this mindset has been internalized by many though most are probably unaware of it.
As new cadre make a beeline for the AAP I hope the fledgling party understands that it is relatively easy to get people to unite against corruption. It is much harder today for people to realize that if India loses its secular character or denies justice to its weakest minorities, it gives up the right to be a democracy.