The Mango Man of Politics

By Dr P R Prasad


Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.
— Earnest Benn

The politician Arvind Kejriwal released the “Vision Document” of his new political party on Gandhi Jayanti, Oct 2. The name of his party is expected be formally announced on 26th Nov, the day on which in 1949 the Constitution was adopted by the free India.

The main features of the vision document include:

1. Change governance system, won’t be only about Lokpal
2. Will be the sole political opposition in the nation
3. The party belongs to the people
4. The party supports reservations of suppressed communities
5. No MP and MLA will use red light cars meant for VIPs
6. The MPs and MLAs will not take bungalows and security
7. Free healthcare and education for all
8. Prices of essential commodities to be decided by common man
9. No land aquisition without public consent
10. Janlokpal within 10 days of coming to power
and so on ……

Kiran Bedi, Santosh Hegde and Anna hazare have parted ways, and Kumar Vishwas has also said good-bye to Kejriwal’s political party. Lots of “for and against debates” on Kejriwal’s political party have appeared in the media. Without going into the merits of these debates, we wish that the new party is able to emerge as an instrument of positive change in the electoral politics of India.

Team Kejriwal and other people gathered in Delhi for the launch of the political party were wearing Gandhi Topi. Earlier, the topi carried the message printed on it – “I am Anna” (मैं अन्ना हूँ), later it became – “I am Kejriwal” (मैं केजरीवाल हूँ), but now it was – “I am Aam Aadmi, I want Janlokpal (मैं हूं आम आदमी, मुझे चाहिए जनलोकपाल)”. Team Kejriwal repeatedly emphasized that the party belonged the people – The Aam Aadmi. This is where it raises suspicion that perhaps Kejriwal’s party is unlikely to be in a way different from other political parties because all political parties ritually talk about – Aam Aadmi, Common People, Desh Ki Janta, Gareebon Ke Liye and so on…. . For example:

Mamta Banerjee on FDI in Retail: People of the nation may be hungry and naked, but they never lose hope or spirit. Our task is to protect the trader, farmer and common man. I will go everywhere in India to protect the Indian business, the farmers, the labourers and the people of India. Everything has a laxman rekha, and when it is crossed, I must work for the ‘aam aadmi’. My fight is for the welfare of the common man of the country.

During “Bharat Bandh” on Sept 20, we saw people protesting on streets with banners and flags of various political parties. None of the political parties said that these protesters were mostly their party workers and supporters, rather every political party supporting the “Bandh” were emphatic that the “Aam Aadmi” was on the streets. Kejriwal and his supporters have gone a step further and put a label – I am Aam Aadmi. It is logical to believe that for any political party, the Aam Aadmi is the one who supports that political party and others are not the Aam Aadmi.

Why do people do politics in the name of Aam Aadmi? Perhaps it is because “Aam” means “Mango” and “Aadmi” means “Man or Woman”. So “Aam Aadmi” may be translated as “Mango Man”. The “Mango” is the king of fruits and therefore, a “Mango Man” is the man or woman who is or makes the “King”. Thus in democracy, the “Common Man” or the “Aam Aadmi” or the “Mango Man” will almost always imply the “Vote Bank”.

It is natural that the politicians will frame their slogans and act in a way that will keep their “vote bank” intact. The problem is that in this process, the “Mango Man” remains the “Mango Man” always. He is happy that today if he is getting daal-roti then his leader will ensure that he gets daal-roti tomorrow also. So if the leader is the leader of poor, don’t be surprised if the leader is able to convince that remaining poor is in the best interest, otherwise even the daal-roti will be lost. A leader will try to ensure that his “Mango Man” remains a “Mango Man” always so that he can thrive on him to remain leader. Intersetingly, some people therefore define politics this way – The word “politics” is derived from the word “poly”, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.

To a large extent this is “true” but to many it may appear funny and absurd. We only wish our politicians’ actions prove it to be “false”. But a caution to the “Mango Man” – do not be swayed by the slogans of “Aam Aadmi” – use your wisdom, think and analyze what is good for you and for the future generation.