My friend Gokul mentioned that when a system so deeply steeped in corruption needs an upheaval, 'normal' doesn't work and that something much larger, maybe much harder to fathom has to happen.
That reminded me of disruptions. Specifically, these two stories.
Napster upending the music industry.
Netscape upending Microsoft.
When Napster threatened the music industry, the biggies fought back with lawsuits running into billions of dollars (US$ 20 Billion to be precise).
When Netscape democratized the internet, PC warlord Microsoft fought back by installing IE in all Windows releases to 'cut off Netscape's air supply'.
In the end, both Napster and Netscape shut down.
They lost right?
iTunes, a more efficient and affordable form of buying music, was born out of Napster's crude attempt at changing the music sector. Till iTunes came along, I bought albums, not songs. iTunes took Napster's song-sharing model, put some structure on top of it, brought the music industry to accept reality and created a win-win model.
Microsoft ceased many of its practices on account of the huge anti-trust litigation pursued by the US Government, on the basis of the 'browser war' it had with Netscape. Microsoft's largest adversary today, Google, was born, nurtured and flourished during this period of the former's weakest moment.
On the outside, AAP looks crude and populist. I don't understand many things they do.
This is chaotic, messy, noisy, ugly.
But I am reminded of something familiar.
Isn't this what disruption feels like?
As the stories of Napster or Netscape show, disruptors often get destroyed by their own acts of disruption. But they also showed that tremendous good could come out of it.
Will AAP will survive its own disruption? I don't know. For my part, I try to be less judgmental and more open to the possibility of meaningful change in Indian politics - through AAP or through the disruption it has brought about. It doesn't matter.
But I have no doubt that politics in this country won't be the same again. In a good way, that is.
And history will have some disruptors to thank for that.