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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Search Of Rahul Gandhi's Aam Admi


The Aam Admi was brought in again to the grand scheme of things during the recent Congress plenary meet. Rahul Gandhi once again chanted the old trick of bringing the Aam Admi to the fore and his and his parties so called concerns for the well being of this very Aam Admi.

One wonders – who is this Aam Admi is and most important why he is always brought into the discussion forum only for personal gains? In simplistic view an Aam Admi is the person who doesn't have direct connection with the system. Whether he is poor or rich, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian, educated or uneducated – if he has no connection with the system then he is the Aam Admi. The Aam Admi is the tribal boy from Nayamgiri who was thrown out of his land without justice, the Dalit boy who is still forced to sit at the back of the classroom in Jhansi. She is the young professional from Bengaluru who can't get her kid into a good school; he is the university topper from Manipur who can't get a job as he doesn't know the right people. The Aam Admi is the farmer in Orissa who didn't get the right value for his land or the businessman from Hyderabad who is pushed aside as he doesn't have the right connections. The Aam Admi is the widow in Vidarva who despite tragedies in her family struggles to make ends meet or is the bureaucrat whose professional career is at risk because he refuses to compromise. He is the worker who builds the Metro and CWG stadia with his blood and sweat without getting reward or recognition or he is the law abiding citizen who stands in a queue to pay his taxes. He is the person who comes home from office hanging from the local train and he is the same person who gets killed every now-and-then in bomb blasts to satisfy the wretched and idiotic ideology of few fanatics. Amidst this long definition, one tends to wonder if Rahul is voicing for the same Aam Admi or someone else.

Taking a leaf out of Rahul's book I tried to figure out if I had encountered one such Aam Admi ever and to see if Rahul has kept his promise for which he is blowing his trumpet from quite sometime now.

Seven year old Sudhakar along with a dozen others, dressed in dirty clothes with uncountable number of patches chanting 'Congress Zindabaad'. Dressed in a badly fitting dirty white Kurta and sporting a tricolor scarf with Congress election symbol in the middle, Sudhakar and whole bunch of other kids seen chanting all around during Rahul's visit to Pune. Sudhakar's father; a daily wage homeless laborer from Bastar, who sleeps on the streets of Pune with his family. He moves from one street to another in search of a dry place and away from the gaze of police (the system) with which the family is not connected. Usually Sudhakar begs on the street while his mother scavenges the dirt from Pune streets in search of plastic waste.

When asked, what made him shout for Congress rather begging on the traffic? Came a horrible and disturbing reply. Sahib- Dutta sahib ne bolatha din bhar slogan do. 100 Rs milega. And who is this Dutta? Sudhakar takes a deep breath and shallows his own dry saliva and eyes gazing for Dutta Saheb. After mustering courage he points to a middle aged man in a nattily dressed outfit which could give our first prime-minister Pandit Nehru some complex. There he is and in fact he was leading us from the front. Before I decided to have a little chat with Dutta Saheb, one thought crossed my mind – Isn't employing anybody under 14 is dubbed as child labor (a criminal offence) by the system itself? Doesn't matter much I presume as Sudhakar is a common man and the system doesn't treat such unique people with respect.

Ask Dutta, if he has actually employed these kids to do the chanting and show love for the party and Rahul. Prompt comes the reply – Who told I have promised them Rs 100/-? I have promised packaged food, which would be served to them in the evening. Nothing more. Now one wonders if individuals like Sudhakar feature in the Aam Admi list of Rahul, which he again narrated to hundreds of students of Pune University while kids like Sudhakar and others shouting their throat out, just outside in hope of a packet food and some promised Rs 100/-. Is this the Aam Admi which congress is relying upon for decades together? From Indira Gandhi to Rahul Gandhi – all seems to list out the Aam Admi when in crisis without knowing a bit on who feature on that list. As the name suggests the Aam Admi is treated as Aam it can be while rims of paper are wasted to write speeches for Rahul and alike to hail the same Aam Admi as an eyewash.

None seems to bother for the common man the moment the advantage is taken of. Sudhakar and thousand others are left to rot on the streets to wait for another mega rally of Rahul Gandhi and a false promise of Rs. 100/-. If not because of R.K. Laxman, who dedicated a cartoon character for the Aam Admi, the ever susceptible species called common man either would have been endangered or only remembered during election years or any of the mega rallies of the politicians. So the first thing I wish is none to boast his pledge for the Aam Admi henceforth – be it Rahul Gandhi or anyone else!!

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