Monday, February 16, 2015

The guy who wrote AAP's Manifesto (and did a bunch of other stuff)

Shared by Roshan on FB:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153202375750039&set=a.10150425334675039.413487.522975038&type=1&theater

He's a great writer.. You can read his blog on:
https://indianpoliticsandpolicy.wordpress.com/
..and connect with him on: https://twitter.com/roshankar

Pasting his FB post here:
The events of the past week have been overwhelming. Pardon me for I
have just been able to compose myself to get my metaphorical pen on
paper.

If I thought my job was done with the manifesto and white papers for
the Aam Aadmi Party, I was mistaken. I had the tiresome pleasure of
managing the emergency helpline for 60 hours non-stop till 6 pm on 7th
February 2015 where we fire fought across the city in an attempt to
stop the distribution of alcohol and money; promotion of violence and
illicit means to swing votes away from us from Badarpur to Badli, from
Babarpur to Bawana. We sat in anticipation for the verdict that the
citizens of Delhi would deliver to us, which could sound the war conch
for positive politics or the death knell to the first true political
alternative.

And then, the magic happened. The political party that won a clear
majority at the Center under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit
Shah had been rejected and held back by a diminutive ragtag force of
volunteers from every class, caste, religion, gender and region of the
world. And how! 67 seats in the legislative assembly out of 70! It was
an unprecedented victory, broke the record books of Indian electoral
politics and left me stunned. Even the most conservative Fermi
guesstimate would have pegged the number of hugs and screams I let out
on 10th February 2015 at a few thousand.

I had returned to New Delhi after a few years of graduate school at
Stanford to work for a political party that was at its nadir and a
leader whose life, work, integrity and strategy at being the first
true viable alternative in Indian politics was being questioned and
ridiculed. June 2014, the month that I joined AAP, was not the best
time to openly declare yourself as an Arvind Kejriwal fanboy or fight
for the Aam Aadmi Party or as it was known in AAP-bashing circles:
"The Socialist Naxalite Communist Marxist Leninist Sexist Racist Aam
Aadmi Party." And yet every bone, muscle and tendon in my body wanted
to do it. And I did.

While some courteous and kind friends and relatives applauded my
decision as fearless and respectable, I knew that a majority thought
me to fit to be checked into a mental hospital, assumed I had received
poor grades and/or had a criminal history that I wanted to hide from
the United States. I chuckled and moved on. I was ready to slum it out
for the ideals of the man I respected and fight for the moral ethos
and genuine alternative that the Aam Aadmi Party espoused even if it
meant fighting with just a few MLAs that the Modi Wave would have left
us in Delhi. I had returned to work with a handful of MLAs and now we
have a government and 67! I was simply astonished. Hyperboles also
known as Ravi Shastri similes, for the first time, weren't enough.

My personal journey within the party has made me meet some of the best
humans and selfless individuals I've met till date on whom books
should and will be written and grown my skills in media
management/briefing, policy research, manifesto writing, data
analytics, psephology, and most importantly getting a better
understanding of the problems and solutions of the city I call home.
Somehow through a series of fortunate events that included positive
politics, coherent campaigns, mindful media management and kudrati
karishmas, we ended up winning the first battle of Delhi through the
Aam Aadmi Tsunami.

And yet it hadn't sunk in. The victory was full of joy and laughter
and incredulous looks and screams and more of all of that on loop
every hour everyday. But there was some emotion that was missing.
Something that hadn't been triggered.

And then, 14th February 2015 happened. The Aam Aadmi Party government,
nah, the Aam Aadmi was sworn in to power with Arvind Kejriwal as its
Chief Minister. 100,000 people were in attendance with millions more
in their homes and in front of their TV screens. And then Arvind
Kejriwal came and said:

"Main Arvind Kejriwal Ishwar ki Shapath Leta Hoon"

And the floodgates opened. I wept profusely for the first time in
years in what can only be described as a potpourri of emotions. I was
hugged and consoled and loved by the many selfless souls I mentioned
above with jokes and by revisiting funny moments of the campaign. And
then I slipped away to the side and wept silently for some more. For
all their jokes, even my most cheerful colleagues had a tear on their
eyelids. For months, an Aam Army had fought with a singularity of
purpose and that mission had been fulfilled. Unbelievable. For a love
story that had gone astray on 14th February 2014, Delhi received its
most beautiful reunion as a Valentine's Day gift on 14th February
2015.

The impossible had happened. And there is a lot more impossible yet to
do. My childhood dream of bringing Anil Kapoor's Nayak to life from
SET Max has gotten a start. The second half i.e. Office begins
tomorrow. To those of you still reading through this stream of
consciousness, I thank you once again for entrusting the reins of
governance in Delhi to us at the Aam Aadmi Party. We are incredibly
humbled and almost scared by the immense responsibility that you have
placed on our shoulders. However, you are also our source of strength
and we are confident that, along with your continued support and
blessings, we will make Delhi the corruption-free world class city
that you will be proud of.

Godspeed You! Aam Aadmi :)

Photo: No weeping pictures here. I share a picture from a happier
moment on 10th February 2015. That moment when even CNN-IBN, Zee News,
India TV had called my boss, Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of
Delhi. He hugged me and said "Ab yeh jo Manifesto mein tumney likha
hai, usey karna bhi padega"!

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