The Party After the Split
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.