CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

OPINION


Kejriwal's Apology is Not What the Media Claims


Last week a leading English newspaper carried on its front page news of Delhi Chief Minister leader Arvind Kejriwal's apology to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Congress leader Kapil Sibal's son under the title "Kejriwal's sorry count: Three down, quite a few to go".

The way the news item was presented and embellished suggests that the paper is preparing for a long haul of public ridicule under title "Trials and tribulations of Kejriwal". No one expects anything different from the pliant media. The only response could be the old Russian saying "Eagles may at times fly lower than hens, but hens can never rise to the height of eagles."

If the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle was to judge, he will treat Kejriwal as the virtuous person who has taken the right action. As per Aristotle, such virtuous persons know how to find the golden mean which he calls the virtue. The two extremes as per Aristotle are the vice that is "deficiency" or "excess" or in current context "indifference" or "suicidal".

It is alright for Bikram Singh Majithia to tout Kejriwal's apology letter as false positive. But we all must realise that this apology letter of Kejriwal is not a character certificate. It is a legal ploy to wriggle out of difficult circumstances to fight the issue at s more opportune time in the future. That is the Aristotelian virtue, the golden mean.

However, the matter does not rest there. For the rest of us, the apology letter makes a statement. This time, Kejriwal is not taking on the high and mighty. Instead, he is challenging every tone-deaf member of civil society. He is questioning the entire middle class shameless self-aggrandisement.

Kejriwal is asking us one question. Global citizens that we all are, if we desire and demand democratic society and the rule of law then are we going to expect him to carry the burden of proof all alone? Don't we see that the overcrowded, ill-resourced legal machinery being used in a selective and sinister way by the rich and mighty to gag the voice of conscience? How can we look the other way, when a Chief Justice of Supreme Court with tears in his eyes demands filling overdue vacancies of judges before an insolent Prime Minister.

However, I am aware today it will be naive to expect anything other than me, my family and my dog as the priority from the Indian middle-class. All of us, the rich and well off aspirers, seekers and strivers are absorbed in expanding upgrading and diversifying our consumption basket. More dangerous is the fact that we have willingly pulled wool over our eyes. We believe India is shining. The excluded two thirds are forgotten, either moved far away from our sixteen lane expressways or tucked in urban squalors below the crisscrossing flyovers. This is the neoliberal culture of materialistic individualism and a self-interested outlook.

But I will end with Pablo Neruda's famous quote "you can trample the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring."

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