17 June, 2021

Thought Ballooning

Career politicians and big parties will deride them as amateurs. But these conscientious objectors won't sit out anymore.

collage by Swati
Thought Ballooning
Soundless in the din of sound bites and surrogate ads are a few good men making a quiet entry into the muddied mahakumbh of Indian politics. They may not influence the outcome of Election 2004, but they're sure to provide a contrast to the dark swirls our political waters are throwing up. Middle-class poster boys, radical activists, intellectuals...they're all set to shed their aversion to the electoral hurly-burly, and intervene directly to impart a serious edge to this periodic tamasha.

The bolder among them—film-maker Prakash Jha, Pune's erstwhile municipal commissioner Arun Bhatia—have decided to actually contest. Others—like the NBA's Medha Patkar, Magsaysay winner Aruna Roy, supported by U.R. Ananthamurthy—have set up the People's Political Front (PPF) to support individual candidates combating "anti-people", "communal" parties. The rest—academics, writers, artists, film-makers—have formed groups to raise awareness among people.

One such group of about 40 professors, writers and journalists calls itself the BJP Harao Manch or BHMFPATKA. Their...

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