Arvind Kejariwal’s book “Swaraj”: A Critique

(This article has been written by Shri Parmanand Pandey, the General Secretary of Indian People’s Congress, who is an Advocate of Supreme Court of India.)
I have today (15.02.2014) finished reading the book ‘Swaraj’ written by Arvind Kejriwal who resigned from the Chief Ministership of Delhi last evening. He remained the Chief Minster for just only 49 days. This book was given to me by my Advocate friend Shri Radhakrishna Kumar, who is very emotional person. Shri Kumar has been earlier an ardent supporter of Narendra Modi and Baba Ramdev but these days he has become their bitter critic and a passionate supporter of Arvind Kejriwal. The cover price of the Book is although Rs. 150/- but Shri Kumar gave it to me in only Rs. 40/- He has given this book to many other persons at the same price. This thin book of 150 and odd page is in octavo size and printed in easy to read fonts.After reading this book I presented it to the Chief Editor of Chennai Metro , Thiru Vasigaran, who luckily dropped in my office.
Now let me come to the contents of the book. Frankly speaking, except the passion of the writer to eradicate the corruption from the society and the government root and branch, this book has left me completely unimpressed. I find that the ideas of the writer are tangled in confusion.
Mahatma Gandhi was the greatest votary of the Gram Swaraj. He wanted every village to be self-reliant. However, he was also not able to impress upon the people about the economics of the villages. By adopting the cottage industries you will certainly be able to provide employment to every villager, but you cannot make them viable and self reliant in all manners. Here in this book Mr. Kejrival wants to make Assemblies and Parliament redundant by empowering and strengthening the villages and Mohalla Sabhas.
Kejriwal appears to have disillusionment or false notions about the old form of Indian democracy. He says that the modern democracy has not been imported from the West but it existed in ancient India, which possibly a few person would agree. He gives the example of Vaishali Republic of Buddha era but anybody having the rudimentary knowledge of the history of ancient India would vouchsafe that it was absolutely different from the present from of democracy, which is very coherent and representative one rather than that of the chaotic democracy of Buddha era. Kejriwal wants to do away with every symbolism of the State like; the Rashtrapati Bhawan, which is spread over in 340 acre as if the Rashtrapati Bhawan is one of the major causes of the poverty in India.
Mr. Kejriwal has suggested that untied funds should be provided to all Gram Sabhas and Mohalla Sabhas and they must have the full freedom to spend the funds with the approval of 80% people of that particular Sabha. His harebrained idea is that local people are the better judge of the their own interests. They know how the funds could be better utilised like; for making the arrangements of water, schools or houses or hospitals. Nevertheless, he seems to be totally clueless as from where the money would come or who will release the money and how will it be generated by the Central or State governments? He does not have even any hazy idea of the most important aspect of the economics, although he has served as an officer of the Income Tax department.
Mr. Kejriwal’s ideas are utopian, completely divoced from the realities. He perhaps does not know that Indian villages are steeped and divided on the lines of castes and creeds. It is only those who belong to the dominant caste or religion have the final say. He advocates that the Gram Sabhas should have the blanket power and freedom to open schools, hospitals and other offices. So much so, the appointments should be made by the Gram Sabhas. Nobody knows, where from these Gram Sabhas will get the deserving candidates for the jobs. He wants that the judicial and police powers to be vested with the Gram Sabhas, which will be a sure recipe for chaos and disaster. But then, you cannot help a person who lives in the make believe world and considers that his ideas are the panacea of for all malaise that are prevailing in the country.
He says that everybody of the village will be told about the bad effects of the liquor ( as if people do not know about it) and thus with the permission of Gram Sabhas the liquor shops will be closed. He wants that equal powers should be given to women and no doubt it is a lofty idea but how will they be empowered, he has no solution to offer.
I have regards for the zeal of Shri Kejriwal to wipe out the corruption but I am sorry to say that his tiny book ‘Swaraj’, which is said to be the manifesto of ‘AAP’ does not provide any solution. His book is silent on issues like; foreign relations, scientific and technological development of the country, expansion of infra structures, industrialization, agricultural production, trade and commerce, military and economics. If he thinks that only by crying hoarse and from house tops the corruption can he eliminated, I can only wish him good luck but I do not agree with him even a whit that such wishful ideas could be of any help.


Vilagers are getting mired into many evils.

          There is definitely the huge craze for English language and in the process students have almost neglected their own language i.e. Hindi. I came across quite a large number young students who cannot take correctly the dictation of even two three lines. This has given mushroom rise to the private tuitions , which has become a flourishing business in the far and remote areas of villages.
             Another depressing  scene which one cannot escape is the flood drinkers and substance users. There is hardly any family left which has not fallen in this trap, so much so, even girls are taking to the bad habits of tobacco chewing. Liquor has become very common  among youngsters cutting across the caste, community or economic strata .
           Pomp and show on the occasions of marriage, birth day celebrations  is being shamelessly imitated by the people of rural areas. Villagers do not hesitate in  taking loans or from mortgaging their lands etc; for the sake of organising  the pompous marriage ceremonies of their sons and daughters. I saw that many families are groaning with burden of loans. Firstly they try to get loans from the banks but when the bank limits cross and further loans are denied they turn towards private parties, who charge exorbitant rates of interests. I found that many families are sinking in the mire of debts with every passing years. The only glimmer of hope is the higher education. It is only they who can stem this downslide because the curse of dowry and show off in the marriages and other functions can be restricted if the women take the lead in this direction.. I have been told that some young and educated have certainly made the courageous initiative. They all deserve the praise and encouragement from the society and the administration.
    The  lumpenisation and the tendency to make money through easy means have also increased by leaps and bounds in the last two decades. While the introduction of  Panchayati Raj system  has done some good thing ,it has also brought new evils in its bandwagon. Cheating and thuggery which used to be minimal some twenty years ago have now grown in staggering proportions. However, there is immense hope that new generation if given proper education and moral moorings will cleanse the society from the cobwebs of corruption and  dishonesty. Scientific developments and their appropriate application wil go a long way in improving the fate of the people. Let us keep our fingers crossed.

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