Do Farmers Count Only When They Hang Themselves?

Four years ago, my 26-year-old cousin met with a road accident late at night in Kerala. By the time his friends took him to the nearest medical college, he had died. When our family reached the hospital, they saw his body lying on the dirty floor of the hospital verandah. In the case of a death caused by an accident, the family can receive the body only after postmortem. And we were told an outdated law bans hospitals from performing postmortems after sunset. So keeping his body in the hospital mortuary overnight became the only option. And the mortuary had no space for it. An already-traumatized family had one more cause for anguish. The only way to circumvent these types of issues in India is to approach influential people. We had to do that. And I was told that the hospital removed a body from the mortuary to make room for this one. I have never made peace with this incident - who can? Even to get a proper burial you got to be "connected". This is our country.

I live in the US, but I am not an American citizen. I am not connected to any Senator or officials here. Still, I am fairly certain that if I die in an accident tomorrow, my body will be treated with respect irrespective of my economic, social, racial status or my citizenship. There could be a million things that Americans are doing wrong but there are two things they are doing right. That is, safe guarding my right as an individual and implementing the law of the land promptly. And this ensures justice to all. Here, we don't have to plead with or bribe anyone for license, electricity, clean water, LPG connection. Emergency services, good roads, waste management and basic infrastructure are all guaranteed; even to cut an old tree, officials need neighbors' permission. NRIs like me, who enjoy these benefits in a foreign country, feels disturbed by the stories of injustice to our own people by our own leaders in our own country.

India lacks all these not because it lacks resources. We lack these because right from our childhood we have been told this is how India "works". Telling lies, offering bribes and beating the "system" is considered smart. We are taught to think along with the system not think independently. We are taught to stand along with the powerful, not to stand up for ourselves. We are taught to be practical, not ideological - make compromises as needed. Thus we remain what we are.

The India Against Corruption (IAC) movement tried to make a change. When the government systematically ignored and killed that movement, the disappointment and anger spilled over. It is that anger that resonated with Arvind Kejriwal who then gave a narrative of clean politics grounded in the principles of social justice and free of a supremo or VVIP culture. A dedicated RSS pracharak told me he hoped AAP will force changes in other political party. Instead, AAP has been besieged by pettiness and sycophantic behaviour. I know a girl who was gang raped when she was 15 by a local politician and justice was denied till today. She volunteered for AAP thinking it will change the system. Today there is no guarantee that such a complaint against an AAP MLA will be investigated either. Chances are it will be discarded as "politically motivated" and sycophants readily agreeing to that conclusion.

It is true that AAP's failure is a real loss to a generation. It is also true that those of us who were optimistic and idealistic suddenly grew older and cynical. Still I see light at the end of the tunnel. Narendra Modi can ban Greenpeace and think his agenda is safe now. But it didn't take long before Twitter and Facebook started trending #GreenpeaceIndia. Greenpeace became more popular than what it was two weeks back. Arvind Kejriwal can continue to expel anyone who doesn't agree with him and think he is safe now. But he can't stop AAP volunteers from looking for a new movement to throw themselves into. New ideas are traveling at lightning speed and this generation is not afraid to embrace them. Politicians who don't understand this trend will lose their ground much sooner than they expect.

(Priya James is a seasoned AAP volunteer living in the USA. She scripted, made and edited 200+ videos for its official and unofficial web pages.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.