The aam aadmi is the Indian everyman. He struggles to make ends meet. He dresses simply in nondescript short-sleeve button downs, sandals that have seen better days. He works hard to send his children to school. He uses a combination of public transport and his own two feet to transport himself to work and back. He is thrifty. He is as good as a corrupt society will allow him to be.
There is a new wave of populism thrashing against the never-ending beach of corruption. A beach that is littered with the remains of the fighter jet that exploded in mid-air because establishment politicians decided to line their pockets instead of invest in our air force. It is littered with corpses, wasted with hunger and thirst, battered and raped.
The results of state elections came streaming in today, in the papers, on television, on the Internet. Congress, the reigning party of India, came hat in hand to admit defeat. It has lost its footholds in five of its former strongholds in the north. Its most impressive defeat is in Delhi, a union territory that was formerly under its purview. Of the 70 legislative seats, it has only managed to cling to 8.
The Aam Aadmi Party coalesced a mere two years ago. Its chief concern originally was the passage of the Jan Lokpal bill, a piece of legislation designating an independent committee to oversee cases of administrative corruption and fast track them in the courts. The movement swelled to include the young and the poor, the marginalized, the despondent. Because despondence cannot be the permanent state of things in a democracy.
This electoral sweep (Literally.) is a victory for the common man. It is a reclamation of governance, a demand echoing from the corners of Delhi. A demand to be heard, respected and feared.
Seeing the Aam Aadmi party overtake Congress in Delhi has restored my faith—not only faith that progress is possible, but also my faith in other people to believe that change can happen today and that they can propel it. Faith that the aam aadmi can still believe in democracy, believe that he is in and of it, and can make the leap from faith to action. That he can use his own two feet to do more.