Topics: Activism, Middle class, Protest Pages: 6 (2083 words) Published: September 17, 2014

The case primarily deals with the current Indian political scenario and it describes how the Indian democracy is undergoing a period of crisis and renewal. New forms of protest movements have started taking form .The recent rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP),its surprising success in the Delhi Assembly elections of December 2013 , and the short-lived but dramatic episode of Arvind Kejriwal acting as Delhi’s Chief Minister have some of its roots in the earlier anti-corruption protest movement. The AAP is evolving its own peculiar mix of protest and populism, while trying to find a programmatic profile.

Faces in AAP:
From the initial anger on the street to the anger that propelled the AAP into power, upsurges in urban India are no longer confined to the middle classes; these have become multi-class. Though the primary activist base remains middle class (IT and management professionals, rights activists, teachers, students in universities), it has grown exponentially to include the lower middle class (urban poor, and working class auto rickshaw drivers, railway employees, tea shop vendors, tailors, workers in the informal sector, construction work, and migrant labourers). Many — but not all — protesters were young. Many young protesters, particularly in the later phases of the movements, were not of the ‘new’ middle class. The last few years have seen a steady growth in middle class activism around social justice. This was exemplified in situations like the Jessica Lal case where middle class protests combined with media coverage to impact events. Such consciousness also peaked when ordinary citizens thronged Anna Hazare's anti-corruption satyagraha. Many such cases have occurred thereafter like The Association of Victims of Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) by grieving families of the Uphaar fire tragedy in 1997, .Environmental and consumer groups, such as the Citizen Consumer group and Civic Action Group in Tamil Nadu etc. In all these cases, the dominant middle classes in megacities took up the cause of the victims from among them. With the passage of time lower middle class also got involved, people like workers, drivers, tailors, laborers etc. Later on, many women's groups, NGOs and other social organizations joined the party which was a remarkable culmination in AAP’s path.

Leadership, protest and political ideology :
The anti-corruption movement was symbolically headed by Anna Hazare, At the initial stage, the initial platform of IAC included a diverse range of social activists, prominent individuals, religious, and spiritual leaders who came from varied background. Later Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, and Prashant Bhushan had become its key figures. Though Anna Hazare and the other leaders in IAC came from different civil society formations and represented proximity to one kind of political ideology or another, the predominant stand of the movement was against the political class, and of positing Aam Aadmi (ordinary man) vs. corruption from a moral position rather than a political or ideological position — something that found resonance with the middle class and the media. The mass of the people who collected at the sites of protests or demonstrated in support of the movement were not contained within either civil society formations or political parties or any political ideology. The movement also saw the participation of some political groups, both the Left and the extreme Right ideological groups, even as the movement at large distanced itself from politics and ideology. Sections of civil society sought to strategically engage by linking the politics of corruption with crony capitalism; lack of access to public services; inflation; dispossession; the feeling of not being represented by our rulers to unsafe cities; and human rights and, thus, became important faces of the protest. Significantly, while women, Dalits, and minorities did not initially...
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