Hawa Badlegi is the tagline of a television ad that promotes a brand of fans. It sends two waves. Literal and metaphoric. Literally, the wind you get from this particular fan will be better and metaphorically, the condition will change. In the mind both things change, on the ground nothing does. This fan – is better in some and worse in other respects – from the rest of the competing brands in the market. It’s all a matter of choice. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, don’t.
This slogan is making rounds these days. All parties promise the wind will change. Hawa Badlegi. All candidates – well known, less known and unknown – peddle their manifestoes with the master slogan. Hawa Badlegi. For most of them it’s a bait to hook voters, for a few – who are in politics with some sense of purpose – it carries a meaning. I leave the rest and focus on Faisal. I mean Shah Faisal. The man who shifted the course of wind from bureaucracy to politics.
Faisal has a cutting edge over his competitors. He left what others aspire for. Name, fame, power and – above all – security. In a society of stick-in-the-rut, salary-to-salary, safe and assured, water-tight, air-tight, foolproof, pre and post, appointment to retirement scheme, his is a manly move. (Sheila shouldn’t mind the word `manly’ as it fits Faisal both ways. Otherwise she too has been no less `manly’ in her role than her boss). Normal is to jump from uncertainty to certainty, his is a reverse plunge. Given that, Faisal’s slogan of change holds sense. But the question next. Hawa Badlegi? Will the wind change?
It will, it won’t. It will, as an effort will be made. It won’t, as the elements are the same. Same challenges to meet, same questions to confront, same pain to cure, same fears to negotiate. Presume Faisal in the chair, will the bloodshed end? Will the army vanish? Will the rights be restored? Will the exploitation of resources be history? Will the root of the problem change? The wind changes only if the root changes and if the root doesn’t change, will he quit? Yes Faisal may prove a better choice we hope, but the wind will blow the same way as it’s been blowing.
My word to Faisal. Peg your promises like we peg our tents. Deep in the ground. The only thing you can assure of doing is to explore the possible which politics is all about. Seed you have sown, leave the fruit to a variety of factors some you can control, some you can’t.
In this huge field of politics, you are like a farmer who does all he can, but then the harvest doesn’t purely hang on his hard-work. Don’t set the bar impracticably high. Promises little but doable are better than promise big but beyond reach. Words weave a trap which you can’t later escape from. As they say promise in poetry, deliver in prose. You have struck with a difference. You should pledge with a difference. Like many, don’t promise moon, promise earth. And then the wind – possibly – may change. Will change.