By Navroz Singh
Edited by Anandita Malhotra
Writing an article on an issue as relatable as ‘Aawaam ki Aawaaz’ – the voice of the common man is certainly not a task as easy as it seems for one cannot help but be distracted by this game of tumult between the established definitions of who actually constitutes the ‘Aam Aadmi’ and what differentiates him from the ‘Khaas’ and whether such dwindling interpretations can be trusted on the rationality of their discourse. The relevance of this issue today can certainly not be doubted. The voice of the Common Indian can no longer be suppressed for it has found an outlet through multiple mediums – works of literature, political dramas, street plays, and other forms of art which have played a crucial role in bringing to fore voices that had been stifled for long. Social media has also provided a crucial platform catalysing the emergence of a Voice, stronger than ever before, divided maybe by language, region, religion or economics but united by the spirit of purpose.
Today’s Common Man is confused, puzzled, half happy and half sad. That elusive character who is the real Lord and Master of this country, the guardian of our political freedom, is depressed and bemused. Yet we find today, that the common man is languishing in the shadows of anonymity. Hunted by the brokers of power and prestige we find him at the periphery of decision making circles. However, the scenario is, quite gratefully, changing for the better. In the past few years, he is making greater strides to break the clutches of anonymity, shed the image of being a passive receptor to that of an active and persistent resistor fighting for what is rightfully his. When the pressure of oppression became unbearable, he took to the streets to express his anger and anguish against the existing power structure and lackadaisical treatment of pertinent circumstances, forcing speedy action. He proved beyond doubt, that the Civil Society is the pillar on which the hierarchy of social and political organizations exist and that a destructive blow to its foundations can spell disastrous repercussions for the cross currents of this structure.
The struggles in a common man’s life need no introduction whatsoever to those who face them. The bitter reality of being ‘power-less’ in a democratic system (which quite ironically derives political power from the grass-root, the citizens of the country), stares right in the eye every time one has to flounder through the processes of the bureaucratic system. Those upon whom is bestowed the responsibility of protecting and nurturing the interests of the common man seem to sap life and meaning out of his existence necessitating the individual to live a life representing a doomed fate. But then again, prophesies, by the sheer nature of their nomenclature do come true and so did the prophecy, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Lo and Behold! Conditions suffocating to the existence of the Common Man invented a trait – the trait of being rationally argumentative, knowing to raise your voice in the face of exploitation instead of taking the aggression lying down.
These politico-sociological observations could be substantiated through a literary parallel which harps on the argument that in this age few tragedies are written. It has often been held that the lack is due to a paucity of heroes among us, or else that modern man has had the blood drawn out of his organs of belief by the scepticism of science, and the heroic attack on life cannot feed on an attitude of reserve and circumspection. For one reason or another, we are often held to be below tragedy-or tragedy above us. The actual answer lies in neither of the aforementioned listings. Previously held, the common man, dealing with the trials and tribulations of a “common” existence had been completely sapped of the will or initiative to raise his voice against the perpetrators of such injustices. As Gibert Murrey rightly said, “The life and liberty and property and happiness of the common man throughout the world are at the absolute mercy of a few persons whom he has never seen, involved in complicated quarrels that he has never heard of.” But we can expect a reversal of circumstances in recent times, with the Aam Junta, resisting the violation and exploitations of its rights by the power bearers.
The Argumentative Aam Aadmi- an individual who not only knows his rights, but also the means to fight for them, who possesses the ability to pursue a virtual abandonment of efforts at the acceptance of a compartmentalised, purely sectored view of history, with will to rise above such inherently divisive interpretations through a sense of collective responsibility for the common good of the society and who is fearless in denouncing orthodox, servile and submissive perceptions paving the path for rationally radical thought processes which may, in the stages of their infancy seem mutually opposed and uni-linear in approach, but address with necessary brevity, distinctions of needs within our society.
The problems faced by the common man are multi-fold and a critically strategized, multipronged approach is required to deal with the same. The Common man symbolizes freedom and the will to live freely in a ‘free’ world. It is the common man who influences his surroundings, society and culture although over time, he might be forgetting his power to change the world. It is about time that we channelize this realization of our ability to be the change that we wish to see in the world into practice and dare to dream of a society the existence of which may seem utopian as of now, but then, dreams turn into thoughts, thoughts turn into plans, plans turn into actions and actions finally turn into reality.
Note to the readers: The term ‘Aam Aadmi’ seeks not to support any political institution whatsoever and is purely to be understood in the literary context of it interpretation. Furthermore, the term Aam Aadmi is representative of the population of the country devoid of any particular privileges which, so to say, ease the struggle of life for an individual. Its use in this article is based on the ability of this phrase to develop an immediate connect with the readers.
Navroz Singh is currently pursuing her undergraduate studies at Miranda House, University of Delhi majoring in Political Science. A voracious reader of economic, political and spiritual texts, she appreciates intelligent and controversial coffee table debates on art, history, culture, current affairs. She is particularly interested by the ‘Third World Perspective’ studies with the South Asian Region forming the core of her research interests. An avid debater, passionate writer, art connoisseur and travel enthusiast, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org