“Respected Sri Arvind Kejriwal,
Social activist, Thinker and social philosopher,
Presently Chief Minister of Delhi,
Before making my submissions, I would like to introduce myself briefly. I am Amitabh Thakur. I am an IPS officer by profession though hugely affected by the bug of social concern despite remaining restricted to thinking and day-dreaming so far.
Though I am not completely unknown to you but neither are we so closely related nor am I of such a stature for you to know that I have been an open critic of yours, since the Jan Lokpal days. Here two important factors need to be taken into consideration- The first is that I consider myself an intelligent person and every other event or person does not attract my attention. Hence if I have been criticizing you for the last three years or so, this in itself is sufficient to state that you are very special in my thoughts and imagination. Your achievements are extraordinary and are being admired today nationally and internationally, with you having so many records to your credit which seem impossible for ordinary mortals because what the intellectuals and social activists had so far only been discussing and arguing has actually been made true solely through your endeavours. Hence you are first and foremost a social activist and revolutionary and a political person much later.
Second fact is that my criticism would definitely have a fair share of personal envy, some stretched form of sibling-rivalry, being from IIT from the same batch and department, other than being fellow civil servant, who has intense urge to connect with social causes but has not been able to look beyond his service so far while the other having transformed into a Superhero. I don’t apologize for this because being jealous is being natural and one shall not feel bad about what is natural.
But other than these personal causes, there are other reasons as well which have made me criticize your acts and thoughts and this letter is meant exactly for that. First is that today you are successful and unlike Amitabh Bachchan of Deewar who had everything with him but not his “Maa” (mother), you have power, position and respect all at the same time. You also say that you are full of ideas and your basic propositions are placed in your book “Swaraj”. With apologies, I would like to say that despite my best efforts, I find a definite shallowness and triviality in your present thoughts related with many aspects of governance and polity. You are successful, popular, an icon and a craze. Hence you might find my words unprovoked and improper yet the fact remains that in all your solutions there is an apparent and unwarranted quickness and leaning towards simplistic solutions. You brought the concept of Jan Lokpal and declared on the basis of a few legal provisions that this book is going to the Bible of anti-corruption work in the Nation, this book containing remedies to all the evils of this country. If you remember correctly, at that time you had called Jan Lokpal a “Magical band”, the same magical band which you recently declared not being in your possession. You never thought for once how one piece of legislature can end all the corruption in this country? You not only presented a simplistic cure-all for this extremely complex disease, you also succeeded in making others believe in it through your superior skills and managerial capabilities.
Then you came with your “Swaraj” which contains solutions to all problems. I have read this book and if you don’t mind, like Jan lokpal this book also looks like a magical band where all kinds of magical imagery seem to be interwoven here and there. Do this, this will happen, do that, such a thing will happen and so on. In short, solution to every problem. You are an engineer, a manager as well. Hence you naturally presume that if there is a problem, there is bound to be a solution and in the Einsteinian vein you also presume that this solution is bound to be simple in nature. I would humbly request that this seems to be a cardinal error which needs to be deeply relooked into and corrected. Kindly understand that social science and human lives do not have such ideal and simple solutions. There are complexities, there are intricacies and there are multi-layering. There is no doubt that your sheer genius is able to penetrate through many a unwarranted complications and you are able to find ways where others falter, yet you, who have achieved a lot in a very short period and have miles to go to make your dreams come true, kindly do accept the basic fact that social science and economics are not as simple studies as you are making it out to be. Till now you had only been raising hopes, playing with people’s future and have been able to do it with rare success. Now you are no more in the dreamland, you will have to interact with people on the hard realities of life. Activist Arvind will have to give way to Executive Arvind. And Executive Arvind will have to understand that instead of thinking himself as know-all, it would be better if he considers himself a learner, a keen student-for the betterment of nation and the society and for himself. Making people raise their hands for honesty could have its symbolic importance but executive Arvind needs to understand that its relevance doesn’t go much beyond.
I will not be able to tell anything more on this topic because I am myself in the process of learning and understanding. In fact I feel bewildered by the fact that you have come to know so much about this nation, its people, its problems- much more than me. I only know one thing that I don’t know much and also that a knowledgeable person like you also needs to understand the same so as to try and learn things with an open mind so that better solutions are obtained and the aims with which you began your journey get actually fulfilled, making it your everlasting contribution.
Second thing is that now you have come at a position where you kindly don’t go on distributing the certificate of honesty and dishonesty all and sundry. As far as I have understood there are very few who are exactly honest or dishonest, most of us lie in the grey areas. It also happens that if cunning people come to know that “Integrity certificates” are being distributed, they device ingenious methods to get this ISO certificate, defeating the entire purpose. Hence my request is that instead of being in hurry to brand people as honest or dishonest, first try to understand people and to make them conducive to your ideas and work ethics, so that you are able to extract maximum work from these people for the larger societal benefit. If the same could be done for other walks of public life as well, it would be great because being in your position every kind of people will now come in your contact.
The third request is to avoid too much symbolism- Journey through Metro, moving without security cover, moving as commoners, living in ordinary flats, going for a grand oath ceremony in exact contradiction etc. You have decided to serve this society through political gateway and hence you need to accept some of the established and well-accepted norms with focus fixed primarily to the real goals and not to symbolic attentions. These symbolisms soon lose their novelty, like a newly-wed bride and what remains is the regular grind of solid work.
Fourth and last request is that a responsible social person also needs to bring harmony in the society. Many a times I feel that your friends who are your means for social transformation get sidetracked and start behaving in a manner that can never be called civil and courteous, possibly because of their complete devotion and dedication towards you. Since most of them are educated people hence they don’t go to fisticuffs but some of them are completely closed to any other idea beyond their own and seem to be suffering from undesirable superiority complex, leading to improper conduct. I am sure that since these people have complete faith in you and you want to create a new society through them, hence if you want them to be flag-bearers of a new society, they may kindly be made to accept the usefulness and relevance of thoughts beyond their own.
I stop here because presently I don’t have anything more to say. You are yourself an extremely capable man, much intelligent than me and if these words are not useful to you or all already in your knowledge, kindly throw it to the nearest dustbin. These are my personal thoughts in my individual capacity to a person who calls himself dedicated to the creation of a new society and if even a small bit of my words proves useful to you in any manner; my tap-tap on the Laptop would have served its purpose.