Enter the broom

Dec 15 2013, 04:10 IST
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Summary“Sweep corruption away” is the intent of the broom (jhaadu) symbol political party

“Sweep corruption away” is the intent of the broom (jhaadu) symbol political party. Various well-wishers commenting online on their website said “backward” (I’ve always hated this word because it’s against human dignity) classes, the poor and housewives will certainly identify with the broom representation. The respect that all these people deserve and have been denied is what the broom expects to restore.

Actually, my livelihood journey started with a broom too. Jumping from a refugee colony outside Kolkata, I landed with no better a status in France in 1973. I had no money, spoke no French language, but was fired by an ardent desire to turn into a Parisian artist. Towards that end, a sweeper’s job in a Paris lithography studio was a silver lining start for me because I was spending time among famous artists. Initially, I would sweep away the visible dirt in the middle of the floor. One day, my employer, Jacques Gourdon, told me something in French, which, at that time, I could not understand. So he took the broom and brush, and showed me how I should first clean the corners. I later caught on that cleaning corners is critical and the most important skill to pick up for the job because that’s where sedimentation collects. If you don’t meticulously attack the difficult-to-reach areas to extract congealed dirt hidden there, the broad visible clean surfaces would just be a superficial lie.

This past experience of mine connected me very well to the “jhaadu strategy”. I extracted two meanings from it: (1) Dignity for the millions in our country whose livelihood comes from the broom; (2) Jhaadu to clean unwanted corruption and political drama that gives nothing to the common person. I must say, as a sweeper in Paris, nobody disturbed my dignity while I was executing my job. I was taught the skill of sweeping and I tried to perform to the best of my ability. Unfortunately in our country, poor, literate or illiterate people, whether or not they use brooms at work, are not only cheated with low wages, they also get no dignity in their living and working environment.

India’s extreme heterogeneous population ,which has been dominated and demoralised for 200 years by British colonial rule, do not connect to the country’s political grain. In China, we had Mao Zedong, who was a Marx and Lenin follower, but he brought in a new political perspective with

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