Reflections on a brief political career

Though it was in 2013 that I formally made my entry into politics, the thought of politics was there in my mind since 1998. Even when I wrote the objectives for the IRM group that we created during our Engineering, I found myself visualising that it will be a third political front in Indian politics. I started to consciously learn Hindi with the same motive. And after 2004, I met new people with whom there was a meeting about starting a new political party for which we thought of giving the name Indian Political Movement.

That was mostly in 2006. For seven years from then, somehow I moved into service activities. Even behind that a bit of political thought was there. But it was mostly directed by Swami Vivekananda’s thoughts on national regeneration. During this time what started as a weekend tuition classes for village children gradually evolved into a more organised NGO which served both educational and spiritual needs in few villages.

Then there was an opportunity to enter mainstream politics. It was in 2013 when I came across Loksatta Party.  Except for their indifference to religious aspects of people, the party was completely acceptable to me. There was a beauty in the party in that people in the party all wanted to do good and most of them were unselfish. That’s always a nice thing. Then I contested in the Assembly election and lost by a big margin but got respectable number of votes for a new entrant. At least it was not downright insulting.

It was wonderful working there with some really amazing people. But very soon the party lost sight of the goal that it set out to achieve. Many leaders left the party and joined AAP. But I was not someone who would do that just because AAP looked better. In any case the Aam Aadmi Party never appealed to me. So that was never a choice. Lack of organization and motivation notwithstanding I continued being with Loksatta because I believed in my own ability to do something there and also because the principles of Loksatta resonated well with my own ideologies.

Once Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan lost MP election in AP, he went into his shell. That to me was a big let down. As a leader he was expected to put up a brave face. He started the party and thousands of people followed him with eager anticipation. But he let down everyone. His integrity is beyond doubt and commitment unquestionable. But that’s not sufficient. His philosophical statements are good to read and implement but as the founder of a political party he should’ve done better. I’m very disappointed with him but without loosing my respect for him.

Then Surendra Srivatsava took over. He did a great job in bringing a structure to the party. Things were looking good at the National level but not as good at the state level. The State unit of the party had absolutely no funds, and had only very few active members. Then it was imperative for us to see how Loksatta could be revived in Karnataka. At least that would’ve cleared my own path. So I pushed for a state level meet. My plan was to assess our strength and get more people to work for a common cause. I didn’t want to just hang around. I was focused on taking the party to the next level, and Loksatta always had some exceptional members. All we needed was to put our heads together and plan.

Most of the programs that we’ve organised have gone well. Here I made some decisions on my own. I included Swami Vivekananda, Subhash Chandra Bose in our banners and one standee with a message of Swami Vivekananda I chose to keep at the entrance. It had an inspiring message for the youth – “Don’t look back–forward, infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience–then alone can great deeds be accomplished.” The basic idea was to inspire the delegates to set about doing great things and also to let them know how it can be done. It is the most apt message that you can give to any organization anywhere in this planet.

I was met with objections by some self selected leaders of the party. While many delegates were happily taking selfies with this inspiring standee of the great man, two to three leaders were thinking too highly of themselves. They wanted the standee to go for no apparently valid reason. Swami Vivekananda is a recognised world leader the birthday of whom is celebrated as National Youth Day in India. He’s considered one of the moulders of modern world. These half informed people attempting to remove the standee that was already put at the entrance was really a test of my patience that day. I could’ve walked out that moment itself. But it was not the right thing to do since I myself had invited many people that day. My absence would’ve been little inconsiderate. They removed the standee. After the program I entered into deep conversation with the leaders and tried to sort it out so that they don’t behave that way in future. It was to no avail. When the standee was being removed it was as if Swami Vivekananda was telling me “You may have to replace me in your mind with the party. Give the same reverence to the party as you do to me.” But to do that in his absence! How can I continue in the party which has insulted him and didn’t have least humility to accept their mistake? Him whom I consider as one of the greatest benefactors of mankind, a role model, a patriot, a life which is unparalleled. I wrote to Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan also. But he never replied showing me how much you can rely upon him. Thus, I resigned.

Then immediately I went to Vipassana, a 10 day meditation camp. This issue was literally boiling in my head, Towards the end it occurred to me that I can start a new party itself. Why should I follow these immature leaders? I’ve seen and worked with and under some most wonderful people. Loksatta Karnataka leaders were nowhere close. To work under them is an insult to oneself. Unless a party elects leaders democratically, the leaders will never commend respect. I knew that incident will be the end of Loksatta as a political party. There’s not a single instance anywhere in the world where you insult a great man and succeed. I thought they’ll end in about one year and they did that successfully putting an end to the misery they were heaping upon their supporters.

Simultaneously I worked on the new Party’s constitution. I tried to keep it most democratic and acceptable to all. I went to Kanyakumari last year where I finalised the draft. I intended to start the party after returning from Kanyakumari. The very next morning after I came back from Kanyakumari, my father met with a fatal accident which took away his life. That was the last thing I wanted before I embarked on a full time political journey. My father didn’t like me being in Politics. He was a wise old man who had seen it all. But yeah! I was hoping to make a difference here.

It took me a year to get over this incident and also to settle some legalities following his death. Just recently we had a meeting where we finalised our next course in politics. I wrote to my Guru His Holiness Srimat Swami Gautamanandaji Maharaj the same night seeking his advice and blessings for my political journey. He replied me advising me not to involve in politics but to work for people on activities like Education. So that effectively put an end to my short political career. It hasn’t really been an enjoyable experience. That’s the curse the politicians face. The politicians are always under an immense pressure. Every local insignificant politician thinks that he is the Messiah and that the country will die without him. All foolishness! To be a successful politician, you need to love your country and love your people. To love everyone while being in politics is just about impossible. People want to create distrust. Society is complex and diverse. It’s a maze if you are chalking out your own path. Previously it was anti politics which united people. But today it’s politics that’s breaking people’s consideration for each other. You can imagine the extent of it if I say that one Swamiji unfriended me in facebook just because I felt the Govt’s attitude towards Pakistan is inconsistent. At one end Modi attends Pakistani Prime Minister’s daughter’s wedding and this the Swamiji considered very High and noble. But if I suggest to have a dialogue with JNU students who are very much our own countrymen, No. They should all go to jail. Doesn’t matter if the PM dines with the head of a terrorist nation but our own misled students should go to jail. That’s how the current day politics is. It’s too sensitive and High on feelings currently.

At the end of it all, I’m far from being complete myself. I myself may be posting some contradictory, immature and illogical messages at times. The Guru knows it all. And he feels that politics will not make my life complete.  With that He also relieved me from a great feeling of obligation that I was feeling towards politics. I like philosophy, travel and I like to do some service activities. Without politics it feels little strange to look at my life. But surely I’ll become a better human being by following the advice of my Guru. So that’s all is required.

This much to recollect.

“Om Tat Sat”

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