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START OF FALL?

An anarchist who runs a State is a profound political contradiction. Yet if the chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, is to be believed, he embodies this contradiction. He is a chief minister who has proclaimed himself to be an anarchist. The ideology of anarchism, as it has developed since the 19th century, is ranged against the State and its machinery and many arms. It does not believe in any form of order or system imposed from above, but on the voluntary coming together of individuals on a co-operative basis. The anomaly in Mr Kejriwal’s position is evident. He contested elections — a system of representative democracy established by the Constitution of India which is the basis of the Indian State — of his own volition. Having done this, he cannot declare himself to be an anarchist unless he is unaware of the full implications of the epithet by which he has chosen to describe himself.

Even though Mr Kejriwal’s government is barely a month old, it is becoming very obvious that Mr Kejriwal and his party are very uncomfortable with the position they have placed themselves in. They seem to have no regard or respect for the rule of law. Mr Kejriwal’s ministers think that they can order the police to break into houses and order the arrest of foreign nationals without a warrant and proper authorization. Mr Kejriwal also thinks that he can call upon the police to abandon their duties and join him in his dharna. He is hindering the process of governance of an administration that is not his own. His agitation threatens to disrupt the Republic Day parade. Mr Kejriwal must realize that the Republic of India does not belong to him but to the people of India. He represents only a very minuscule section of the Indian people. Mr Kejriwal is making an exhibition of himself by assuming a moral high ground: his premise is that he is different from, and more honest than, other Indian politicians. This claim is proving to be hollow. Events are showing that Mr Kejriwal, when it suits his purpose, can be economical with the truth. Witness the seven-month-old letter he produced saying that it pertained to recent events. Mr Kejriwal was voted to power with an enormous amount of goodwill. He is squandering that by choosing to script what Ambedkar so unforgettably described as the “grammar of anarchy’’. Like so many Indian heroes, Mr Kejriwal’s feet seem to be mired in clay.