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The uncomfortable politics of the Delhi government’s advertisement.

Published: June 24, 2015 12:00 am
Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi government advertisement, Delhi chief minister, AAP government, Arvind Kejriwal ad row, ie editorial, indian express editorial This is a government ad that reduces the elaborate process of governance to a superhero syndrome.

A recent addition to the cult of the Delhi chief minister is an advertisement with a simple (and simplistic) message: before Arvind Kejriwal, there were bhrashtachar-inflated power bills and life after the messiah has been much easier for the aam aurat. She is a housewife, our Everywoman, and, remarkably for Indian political messaging, she is seen in the advertisement to be mulling and making a political choice — without any prompting from her entirely sedentary husband. Yet, what it gives with one hand, it taketh away with the other.

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It pitches this thinking, political animal in an unequal domestic space, where all the housework is hers, and the leisure belongs to the man. We see her always on her feet: she drops her child to school, buys vegetables from the vendor, cooks a meal and serves it to her husband, who hasn’t moved from his seat in front of the telly, all the while wondering why it is that everyone likes to “target” her favourite politician: “humara Arvind”. That is, of course, the reality of millions of women’s lives, who run the wheels of the world with their unpaid labour.

It is especially the reality in Delhi, where women work participation rates are one of the lowest among Indian cities. But that the Aam Aadmi Party government would choose to represent it, without being in the least troubled by this obvious inequality and injustice, that it chose not to imagine women and men otherwise — as sanitation workers or as teachers, as co-workers in the kitchen — deserves to be called out.

The man who looms over the ad is, of course, Kejriwal. He is the saviour come to redeem a corrupt city, even if he is thwarted by forces of evil. This is a government ad that reduces the elaborate process of governance to a superhero syndrome. To those who have watched the AAP’s broad coalition of ideas and activism shrink into a one-man show, this should come as no surprise.

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  1. G
    Guest4321
    Jun 24, 2015 at 2:42 pm
    Humko maaloom hai dilli ki hakeekat lekin; ak ko khush karne ko ashutosh yeh khayaal accha hai.
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    1. L
      Lovely
      Jun 25, 2015 at 1:55 pm
      AK 49 ad is laughable. Tax free. AK 49 is a stooge of Pappu & Co
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      1. K
        Kallol Guha
        Jun 26, 2015 at 8:33 pm
        Just yesterday CM made a statement in the embly during the budget session- to the effect that development is engineered by People and people are the greatest et. Where as it is indicative of his vision and insight but one must realize that people must be physically, culturally and intellectually conditioned to become an element of national development. Centers of conditioning are the educational insutions. How a nation will perform in the next 50-100 years can be essed by observing what goes on the educational insutions of a given nation. In India a "Good School" is very good in delinking Indians from their culture and heritage and create a good slave who is totally subservient to Angloamerican interest and culture. Working energetically to prop up such a slavish education system is like filling a leaky jar with water. Be it state or central Government should have the vision and courage to cahnge the content of education so that Indians are made to feel that they are in realty lion cubs who are being taught in "Good Schools" of India to remain shrouded in lamb skin .
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        1. N
          nitin
          Jun 24, 2015 at 9:48 am
          This AD is one for the ages. I laugh uncontrollably every time I see it.
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          Adda