The recently concluded Delhi elections has brought to fore the Aam Aadmi Party, and there is certainly a promise for better
governance in India. In this post, I want to understand the ‘Aam Aadmi’ or the common man, a phrase which has been heralded in India by seemingly everyone: from political parties to cartoonists like R.K Laxman.
Who is the Common Man ?
If you were leaving your home to go to work in Mumbai, perhaps you pass the sweeper cleaning the roads. You take a rickshaw to the train station. These are the numerous people around you, in all shapes and sizes. Are these the common men you refer to ? You worry about the state of roads, traffic, litter and realize that you can do nothing about it. Are you therefore the common man ?
Historically, the notion of the common man has been associated with the poor in India, whose plight political parties claim are so similar, that they can be grouped into a single entity. But when an overwhelming majority of the Indian middle class begins to associate with the Aam Aadmi Party, it certainly warrants the question, “Has the Indian Middle Class become the ‘Aam Aadmi’ ?”.
In some regards they have. They have become the ‘Aam Aadmi’ because in spite of their affluence, they see a disconnect between themselves and their government. The ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ is probably a bridge which can reconnect the Indian middle class to the political class. But in this process, have we stolen the only political identity of the millions of people in India, who don’t have food, clean drinking water and are living in abject poverty ?