The Party Af­ter the Split

Tehelka - - ASSAM FLOODS -

Re­vati Laul ru­mi­nates on why she once

be­lieved. And now no longer does

I FIRST MET Arvind Ke­jri­wal two years ago at a friend’s of­fice, while work­ing as a film­maker. He had writ­ten a short but pow­er­ful pam­phlet for po­lit­i­cal ac­tion and change called ‘Swaraj’ (now a full-fledged book). We were dis­cussing how to turn it into a film. What struck me then was his sin­gle-mind­ed­ness and drive. There was no Anna Hazare, anti-cor­rup­tion move­ment yet, just a one-man dy­namo and his ideas. So, when, six months later, I was at TE­HELKA and Arvind had put to­gether what seemed like a very cred­i­ble move­ment for change, I jumped in not just as a writer-ob­server, but as a semi-par­tic­i­pant.

The meet­ings in March 2011 at Delhi’s Teen Murti Bha­van with Aruna Roy, Medha Patkar, San­tosh Hegde in at­ten­dance, painted for the first time for me, in my decade-and-a-half me­dia ca­reer, the pos­si­bil­ity of a ‘ris­ing’ from our midst. My first piece, writ­ten one day into the anti-cor­rup­tion move­ment, in April 2011, was en­thu­si­as­tic — as it was per­haps a lit­tle breath­less and naïve. Five days later, how­ever, with some scru­tiny of the sug­ges­tions Arvind had made, my per­spec­tive be­gan to shift. Ob­jec­tions had been raised in meet­ings at Teen Murti Bha­van about the so­lu­tions pro­posedby Arvind. What would hap­pen if one Lokpal looked at ev­ery­thing from ra­tion card com­plaints to the coal scam? Arvind had promised to fac­tor in the changes sug­gested, but thir­teen drafts later, the big ques­tions still re­mained. Clunky, un­sorted prob­lems that made the bill look bad.

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