Welcome to Anarchist Travels Ltd. Thank you for signing up for this revolutionary tour of the Delhi commune. Many of you are senior citizens and our journey today will bring back fond memories of Paris in May 1968. Remember those inspiring slogans — “Be realistic, demand the impossible”, “Politics is in the streets” and “Property is theft”? Some of you look old enough to remember the Paris Commune of 1871. No? Never mind — we now have a full-fledged commune right here in the Indian capital, with the world’s first self-confessed anarchist chief minister.
Dear fellow-anarchists, we have lined up for you a deliciously subversive itinerary. Let us all get into the tourist coach.
You will be given free Gandhi caps and free flags. Our first stop will be at a dharna, which you must join. There are several of them today — one against the high price of potatoes, another against the chief minister’s muffler and the third one protesting that life sucks.
We are now passing Rashtrapati Bhavan, a tyrannical symbol of the oppressive State. Let’s have a quick vote on whether the estate should be broken up and parcelled out among the homeless. Everyone says it should? Wonderful. To quote Bakunin, the great anarchist, “To my utter despair I have discovered and discover every day anew, that there is in the masses no revolutionary idea or hope or passion.” Eh? Oh, wrong quote. I meant this one: “If there is a State, there is domination and, in turn, slavery.” Thanks for the applause.
Next, you will participate in a sting operation against agents of the oppressing classes, or cops. There’s a nominal charge for the hidden cameras. You will be tired after the dharna and sting operation, so we have arranged for a little nap at one of the dharna sites.
We are now passing Red Fort, another brutal reminder of despotic rule. We are thinking of converting it into an anarchist symbol by painting it black, or at least calling it the Black Fort. The local mohalla committee will decide what to do.
After the nap, you will, in the words of Shelley’s The Masque of Anarchy, “Rise like lions after slumber”, ready for battle. We will then all be part of a raid on some folks. We’ve hired a friendly lynch mob to go along with you. Just one thing, it’s best that African people stay in the bus.
After a pleasant lynching, you will see our grassroots democracy at work. We will be going to one of the mohalla committees which will be holding a referendum on important policies. Their topic today is whether the Reserve Bank of India should use the Hodrick-Prescott filter to estimate output gaps. After this erudite referendum, we will join a morcha against the entry of evil foreign supermarket chains, organised by radical local supermarket chains. They have promised to give free anarchist key-chains.
And finally, at the end of the day, you will have the privilege of gazing upon the world’s one and only anarchist chief minister. A small gawking fee is payable. Anarchist coffee mugs and mufflers will be available at the nearby store. Books by anarchist visionaries like Bakunin, Proudhon, Kropotkin and Kejriwal will be on sale.
Let us then start our dharna. What? No, comrade, dinner is not included. As Mao said, “A revolution is not a dinner party.”
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal