Dear Arvind, since you are not accepting any monetary donations now, here is my 2 cent donation in writing..
About a year ago, at the height of the anti corruption movement, some of the volunteers in Los Angeles wanted to create a yahoo mail group. They came up with the name “AnnaHazareSupportGroupLA”. I told them that we shouldn’t create the group based on one person, as we don’t have control on his actions. They did it anyway.
The first mistake you made was to turn the movement into “Anna Hazare’s Movement” and “Anna’s Team”. It wasn’t like that in the beginning when you had about 30 people on IAC page. Then rapidly the group became smaller due to various (good) reasons. It is not enough to say it is People’s Movement, you have to show it. By focusing on Anna, you risked the entire movement, which was built by countless people. Now that Anna (with all due respect) moving out of the team is a good thing. As he will prove to be an extra baggage as much as he is the mass puller. In all fairness, you (and Prashanth Bhushan) are a leftist and Anna is a rightist. Both of you are destined to take different paths. You said, Anna will be back after seeing the honest work by your team. I am saying forget Anna. You have a duty for the country.
Second mistake is to turn the movement into “Against”. Against gives a negative tone, which will drive away good number of people. As you very well know Jan Lokpal is only a part of the solution. We are dealing with the people who are taking money from the same corrupt politicians who looted them, and voting for them again. When you are trying to bring the change from within the people, the “Against” movements will not sustain. After India Against Corruption, then you opened the Facebook page with name “Final War Against..”. I couldn’t think of a more negative and short-sighted name than that.
As a politician, what I like about you – you are very clear in taking the side of common people, than the technicalities and possibilities and the fake development model. For a politician, showing sincere empathy to the poor should have a higher priority than finding the solution. They also need to know you got their back. I think you understood that well when you stood completely behind the Kudankulam protestors. You are a pakka politician (in a positive sense) by asking Delhi people to burn their electricity bills. Appeal to the masses is the biggest step, whether it is movies or politics.
Now that you are a “politician”, there are somethings you should remember.
Don’t ever think that people owe it to you, as you are sacrificing for them. It is nice to say “I am not entering politics to acquire power”, but if you don’t win, the movement is dead. You enjoyed the luxury of making headlines without spending money. Very soon the media will turn the switch off. They will say they will only put the “elected politicians” on TV. Who will listen to you then?
As an NGO, people judge you by what you do. As a politician, what you do is only a small part of it. You will also be defined by what you don’t do, the issues you don’t talk about, the delays you will make in responding to issues and your priorities. Anti Corruption will be a minor issue, as you need to address all the issues starting from Satyameva Jayate to Walmart to Diesel, from Pakistan to Assam to Sri Lanka, from Urban to Rural to Tribal etc. For example, if you say prices are too much, the farmers get pissed off, if you say prices are too low, the consumers get pissed off, and if you keep quiet, you are out of the game.
Soon this day is coming for you – all the people who came behind you will be gone, as they never supported a political party, and they probably don’t know what politics means; all the headlines you captured will be gone, as TVs will find something hotter; your candidates will not get votes, as voters will decide to be loyal to the politicians who gave them money, or they decide that they will vote for the “winning candidate”. But the minimalistic person you are, I think you can withstand it.
Politics is the hardest thing especially when you want to be clean. You entered politics by risking your family, your reputation and your life. As long as you have India’s back, you will find several Indians like me who will have your back.