BJP: missing the wood for the trees - 1
by Radha Rajan on 31 Mar 2009 1 Comment

From Mighty Beginnings

The BJP has painted itself into a corner. The party is not talking of a sweeping majority, an absolute, unbeatable majority, not even a simple majority. Its President is talking modestly of the BJP emerging as the single largest party, which can mean anything from 75 to 150 seats.

Maneka for Sonia, Varun for Rahul is the diet that the shrewd and calculating Maneka-Varun ma-baba duo is manipulating the BJP to offer the man on the street. For the thinking voter, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate is offering to bring home the booty from Swiss Banks.

Neither Varun and his mother, nor Advani and his script writers, are setting the Ganga, Brahmaputra, Sindhu, Narmada, Godavari and Kaveri on fire. The BJP too, has opted to jump into the secular slush, even if it is not wallowing happily in it. The BJP has lost its once distinct self-identity, and is merely jostling for space.

The self-identity of all regional parties, without exception, is that of their leaders – whether Mayawati, Jayalalithaa, Karunanidhi, Chandrababu Naidu, Lalu, Mulayam, Ajit Singh or Chauthala. These are one-person parties, with not even a pretence at any ideology inspired by a vision, but with a towering single-point agenda – maximally, to become Prime Minister, minimally to corner as big a share of the power/privilege/pelf pie as can be managed.

Long ago, the Congress party’s self-identity was Nehru; after Nehru it diminished to Nehruvian secularism, and has since declined rapidly into a mindless existence, content with being the body for the changing faces of the Nehru family.

The BJP had a self-identity once; it was the vehicle of Hindu aspirations and happy to be seen as a Hindu party. It articulated a certain vision for the nation and derived its self-identity from this vision. The BJP was feared because it was threatening to re-define Indian polity by ending politics of minority-appeasement; in effect ending the remunerative anti-Hindu Gandhi-Nehru secularism.

This fear ushered a new theme in post-independence Indian polity – Hindu BJP versus the rest. Today the BJP is a travesty of its old self; some would even say it is a caricature of itself. It is no longer feared because it has been pacified and tamed. The BJP is Samson Agonistes - deformed and disarmed. Its own fears and lack of stamina to stay the course played Delilah. 

The young Aurobindo saw the fatal weakness in the Hindu psyche and articulated his analysis with characteristic bluntness in Bhawani Mandir. “How many attempts have been made, how many movements have been begun in religion, in society, in politics! But the same fate has overtaken or is preparing to overtake them all. They flourish for a moment, then the impulse wanes, the fire dies out, and if they endure, it is only as empty shells, forms from which the Brahma has gone or in which it lies overpowered with Tamas and inert. Our beginnings are mighty, but they have neither sequel nor fruit.”

Hindutva is the climate that would have yielded a polity and a state reflecting the ethos of the majority community; this is the unexceptional political norm around the world notwithstanding the fact that all Christian and Muslim majority nations today rest on aggression, invasion, occupation and destruction of pre-Islam and pre-Christian religions and cultures.

In India alone do we have a polity that is actively hostile to the native religion and religious sensibilities of its native, majority populace. The BJP burst on the Indian political scene as a vehicle of Hindutva. Today, because the BJP has failed to evolve and mature as a Hindu party, it finds itself in the unenviable situation of having to defend Maneka and Varun Gandhi’s crude Muslim-bashing diatribe only because in the total absence of any Hindu content to the electioneering process, this crudity is perceived by the ordinary Hindu as returning signs of Hindutva.

This is a colossal tragedy for the Hindus. As Aurobindo put it, the mighty beginnings of the BJP have borne neither fruit nor sequel. The magnificent vision of an Indian polity being redefined by Ram Janmabhumi has been reduced to Maneka and Varun Gandhi converting Pilibhit into a Gandhi fiefdom along the lines of Rae Bareilly and Amethi. If that Gandhi mama has two family fiefdoms can this Gandhi mama lag behind?

The shrewdly calculating Maneka Gandhi is compelling the BJP to seek parity with the Congress, not unlike Jinnah’s Muslim League of yore, which sought parity with the INC. If Maneka has ceded Pilibhit to Varun, it is because a second fiefdom, Aonla, has been gifted to her. The BJP’s election agenda today has been reduced to my Gandhi for your Gandhi, and because this threatens the crafted image of the BJP as it is today, the instrument of the Atal-Advani latter-day ambitions, Advani’s script-writers from the South are pushing their pet agenda, the Swiss Bank accounts, into the electoral arena as a counter to Varun Gandhi.

The BJP is in exactly the same condition today as the Congress. The Congress of Aurobindo and Tilak became the Gandhi-Nehru Congress which today is Sonia Antonia -Maino Gandhi family Congress. The BJP of the Ram Janmabhumi andolan is today the Overseas Friends of the BJP-defined Atal-Advani BJP.

A very affluent segment is the Overseas Gujarati-friends of the BJP, and their impact is evident in the self-inflicted diminishing of Narendra Modi. It is a BJP which is afraid of the vision of a Hindu India. The BJP is hunting for allies, and scraping the bottom of the barrel only because it has abandoned the vision which would have, in one fell stroke, rendered the small and divisive agenda of all regional parties ineffective and irrelevant.

A Hindu agenda would have repaired the fractured Hindu electorate; let us be clear – the megalomaniac Yadavs, the single-point Mayawati, the hubris-powered Jayalalithaa, the anti-Hindu Karunanidhi, Naidu and Paswan are all in the field only because of the fractured Hindu vote.

The BJP today has no talking point because it has no distinctive, overarching Hindu agenda to ignite the hearts and minds of Hindus. The Hindu vote may be fractured in the absence of a uniting force, but Hindu sentiments are high in society. The BJP’s incumbent leadership refuses adamantly even now to heed Hindu sentiments and high expectations because its west-inspired script writers and west-looking leaders are propagating the lie that Hindutva has failed politically.

Hindutva did not fail; the BJP chose not to nurture and realize the vision. Maneka Gandhi has shrewdly para-trooped Varun Gandhi into the vacuum and the secular brigade is operationalising its agenda to rid India’s political arena once and for all times of Hindutva, by enthusiastically promoting the idea that Varun Gandhi is the new face and voice of Hindutva. They have only plucked a leaf right out of MK Gandhi’s psy-war operations manual against the Nationalists of the time – Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar.                                                                                   

MK Gandhi cleverly equated armed resistance and Hindu backlash against Christian colonialism and an ascendant Islam as nothing more than mindless violence powered by hashish. By projecting Varun Gandhi as the face of Hindutva, Sonia family’s Congress and its minions in the media and the NGO industry are only doing what Gandhi did to Tilak and Aurobindo. Hindus in the INC and outside the INC were stupid and mindless then; the Hindus in the BJP and outside the BJP continue to remain stupid and mindless now.
                                                                                                                 To be continued…

The author is editor,                                                                           

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