Election 2009: BJP got what it deserved
http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublic DisplayArticle. aspx?id=582
17 May 2009
When ambition overrode ideology
Karan Thapar accurately summed up the election results in a telling one-liner – while both the Congress and the BJP faced a host of problems until three weeks ago, Congress’ problems dissolved into nothingness while BJP tripped over them. A truer thing was never said. What Karan Thapar did not say was that while all of Congress’ problems were external to the party, BJP’s problems were all from within. Behind Karan Thapar’s one line summary lurked a sordid tale of epic proportions.
The BJP suffers from seven problems – Advani, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh; each one’s coterie expanding their personal agendas in an oceanic circle, some of them expanding across the Atlantic and the Pacific and then coming back to Indian shores as returning currents with ambitious jetsam and flotsam riding on their crests. Venkaiah Naidu for some reason opted out of the race in 2004. They all think they are Prime Ministerial matter; after Vajpayee, Advani thought he had the automatic right of inheritance while the remaining six think they have automatic right of inheritance after Advani.
The Problem Seven, in the last 10 years have done two things – they have ruthlessly decimated or kept at bay other challengers to the throne in the states and in Delhi, while simultaneously doing everything to make sure that the other six in the group do not take even half a step in the direction of becoming party president which is the penultimate chair before the throne; and that is why, despite losing the elections in 2004 and now in 2009, Advani continues to remain at the top. Advani’s continuation is the only way to prevent the others from getting there. The top leadership is therefore septuagenarian or octogenarian, the second rung leadership is already aged and the third rung is aging fast and frustrated. This group has held the BJP hostage through their coteries, each coterie more cut-throat than the others.
These cut-throat operators have rivals in the camp even in the states; the results are there for all to see in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan where an ascendant Congress is pushing the BJP out. Cut-throat coteries and destructive overarching ambitions have destroyed the BJP beyond salvage in Uttar Pradesh, in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where local cut-throats with personal patrons in Delhi have over-run the party; going by the fact that there are cut-throats waiting on the sidelines in Karnataka and Gujarat, these two states may well go that way, sooner than later. The degeneration of the BJP from the vibrant Hindu movement that it was in the 1990s, as a party with a vision and an agenda, to what it has become today – a vehicle for individual ambitions – can be best gauged by those whom the BJP has chosen as its face and voice, as its power-brokers, as its point-persons, and as its strategists.
Ask any ordinary political minded Hindu on the street what he/she thinks the BJP stands for and we will have the answer to why the BJP’s downward slide is unstoppable. The BJP’s descent was accelerated with Advani’s public pronouncement that good governance does not need ideology. This was as good as saying that a family is only an involuntary collective of individuals and can function efficiently without family values.
For all that the BJP claims it is different from the Congress, any one who has studied the freedom movement, not as insipid history in school text books, but as a real drama unfolding through its dramatis personae, would realize that the BJP today finds itself in the same position that the INC found itself repeatedly, first in 1908 when the Hindu nationalist leadership – Tilak, Aurobindo and Savarkar – had been decimated and the Congress floundered leaderless and clueless and without an identity until Gandhi began to use it as a vehicle for his agenda; then in the late 1930s decade when Gandhi had failed on all fronts but refused to relinquish control of the INC, and again in 1948 when after Gandhi, Nehru thought he had automatic right of inheritance.
From 1947, the Congress party was not driven by ideology; it was driven only by cult worship of individuals – first Gandhi, then Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, her sons Sanjay Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, his wife and widow, Sonia Gandhi and now her son Rahul Gandhi. His sister Priyanka Gandhi, like Narendra Modi, is watchfully biding her time. Closet spouses of unknown nationality and grand-children are already positioned as future heirs to the mantle. The Congress today, manipulated by an Italian and her Italian/Indian children, has come full circle and is once again a creature of colonial intent.
The Gandhi family is willing to throw crumbs from their high table to those who they consider share the same pedigree lineage and who have therefore been allowed to come close to the table and sit at their feet, with smaller crumbs thrown to those waiting outside the gates, and have thus managed to silence murmurs of discontent. Undeserving and unworthy individuals have been placed after careful calculations, at the head of high national institutions, and invitations to periodic high-teas served on the lawns has subordinated the highest pillars of democracy to serve family interests.
The Gandhi family has used the crumbs of totalitarian power as an effective silencer within the Congress. The Congress party has been transformed into a willing mechanism of slave labour to oil the ambitions of one family. The role of the English electronic media and the leading English print media with regard to this usurper family and its steamrolling methods raises serious questions about the media’s integrity and nationalism.
The BJP began with the pious intention of positioning itself as a contrast to the Congress. It chose ideology to define its self-identity because it had no dynasty to define it. When the BJP stepped into the national political arena, it was still carrying memories of its previous nationalist incarnation, the Jana Sangh, and was driven by a Hindu nationalist ideology as embodied in Tilak, Aurobindo, Savarkar, and then in the RSS as conceived of by Dr. Hedgewar. The BJP’s political agenda was determined by Hindu nationalism and there was convergence of intent between the two most prominent of the RSS siblings – the BJP and the VHP.
The first steps in turning the BJP around on a deviant path, away from its defining ideology was taken by Atal Behari Vajpayee when he privileged coalition partners over party ideology. The slide was perceptible then and the writer used the platform offered by Vigil Public Opinion Forum to voice this concern. “Coalition Politics and the Death of Ideology” was a landmark public meeting in those times and the writer still remembers the anguish of a senior RSS pracharak over the choice of title. He refused to accept the possibility that the RSS (he, like many even today, did not make a distinction between the BJP and the RSS) could ever compromise or give up on ideology.
The Vajpayee years saw the rise of two or three individuals who influenced and later controlled not only the leadership within the BJP, but also within the RSS. Nothing could be thought, said or done without their approval. No decision could be made and no action executed without being micro-managed by these individuals. Ideology was what these individuals said it was, and it was during these years that the BJP began to package rank opportunism as some kind of brilliant Kautilya strategy, and this lemon was sold to the RSS leaders and the rank and file down the line by these two or three individuals.
One sold the lemon in the North while another sold it in the South. The RSS was convinced into accepting the argument that the BJP must be allowed to place its defining and exceptional agenda for the nation on the back-burner to keep its coalition partners. This was no Kautilya, Rasputin was more like it. The BJP’s slide acquired momentum with the rise of these individuals.
On parasites and spitting partners
The first grim warning signal that the BJP was ready to cast its distinctive ideology aside came during the 1999 elections to the Lok Sabha. The BJP made the (mis)calculated choice of not going to the people with its own manifesto but with something called NDA Agenda for Governance (NAG). As early as in 1999, barely within a year of the BJP coming to power in Delhi as a Hindu political party, there was no BJP, only a motley group of opportunists around an ascendant BJP called NDA.
The death of ideology was beginning to manifest itself and signaled the undoing of the BJP. The BJP was already ailing – it lost confidence in its ability to stand alone, to walk alone. The NDA allies promised to be the BJP’s crutches in return for the assurance that the BJP would give up its stand-alone ideology. Why are we heart-broken that the BJP suffered humiliating losses in 2004 and 2009 because of atrophy?
It is not within the ambit of this column to delineate why Ramjanmabhumi, the Uniform Civil Code, abrogating Article 370 and ban on cow slaughter defined Hindu nationalism; suffice to say, these were substantive issues defining nation, nationhood and nationalism and could be fulfilled only by state power. A party’s election manifesto is both an expression of self-identity and a statement of intent. The election manifesto is a promise of ideology in action. By choosing not to go to the people and seek their mandate on the basis of its ideology and presenting the country with a deracinated document called NAG, the BJP with deliberate intent abdicated its responsibility to the Hindus and allowed itself to be ‘secularised’ by the parasites feeding on it.
Every one of the components that went into the unnatural creature called NDA were regional parties which back home relied on the Muslim and Christian vote.Every parasite openly courted the Abrahamic minorities but denied the BJP, off whose body they were fattening themselves, its right to speak for the Hindus. The logic was childishly simple. Speaking for the Hindus and placing a Hindu agenda before the country would naturally drive the Hindus to vote as Hindus; and a Hinduised political agenda was certain to upset the existing arithmetic of vote share in favour of the BJP thus putting all regional parties dependent on Muslims and Christians for their survival, out of business. The BJP’s Hindu agenda was threatening not only their very survival but was threatening to alter the Gandhi-Nehru political language and character of the polity which went by the name of ‘secularism’.
The parasites extracted a double price from the BJP for the privilege of eating into the BJP’s vitals – not only must the BJP efface all its distinctive features which made it a Hindu party, it should also not make any move to ‘grow’ in the states which these regional parties considered their personal fiefdoms. The BJP consented to dwarf itself in the states to stave off any imminent move by the regional satraps to destabilise the BJP in Delhi. The BJP was growing steadily and surely in Bihar, in Uttar Pradesh, in Andhra Pradesh and in Maharashtra. Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan, Mayawati, Chandrababu Naidu and Bal Thackeray made sure the regional BJP politicians never became bigger than them or that the BJP never made a move to goad the people of these states to see the BJP as the face and voice of Hindus; in Tamil Nadu, the Punjab and in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP did not even try to move a toe while in Uttar Pradesh the BJP died more of self-inflicted wounds than Mayawati’s knives. The BJP as a Hindu movement had been successfully derailed.
Atal Behari Vajpayee managed the 24-party coalition “successfully” only by destroying his own party. Parasites became ‘coalition partners’, walking with crutches became ‘taking everyone along’, opportunist buckling to parasite pressure became ‘coalition dharma’ and Ramjanmabhumi became an ‘encashed cheque’ and ‘BJP is not a construction company’. In-house intellectuals in their self-appointed role as the voice of the BJP to the RSS and the voice of the RSS to the BJP and the voice of both the RSS and BJP to ordinary mortals justified the degeneration of the BJP with the untenable argument that the ‘secularising’ of the BJP was inevitable because coalition politics had come to stay and the alternative to ruling in Delhi at the price of loss of ideology and the BJP’s self-identity, was to choose to sit alone in the opposition.
Most significantly, these individuals, with their clout in the RSS persuaded the RSS to accept the crippling disabilities as necessary interim strategy; no one in the RSS could stop these individuals in their tracks although many realized the danger of what was happening. The inevitable consequence of the untrammeled power of these individuals was that the RSS was also forced to endure the handicap of silence and inaction. Consequently, instead of the BJP looking like the political wing of the RSS, the converse became true and the RSS began to look more and more like the BJP. And even as all this was happening, the rift between the BJP and the VHP over Ramjanmabhumi widened and eventually all communication between the siblings broke down completely. Not surprisingly, the RSS was in no position to deal with the warring elements in both camps and could therefore not heal the breach.
Having emaciated the BJP beyond recognition, the parasites abandoned the body and moved over to the Congress. Several among them discarded the ‘secular’ NDA robes and wrapped the UPA bath-towel around their waists. The RJD, the Samajwadi Party and the LJP dropped the bath-towel and spat at the Congress on the eve of elections and mid-way through the election campaign. But when the results were out and the Congress kept them outside the gates, Lalu, Paswan and Mulayam are prepared to lick the spittle off the Congress face to be allowed the privilege of begging at the gates with extended hands for leftovers.
The BJP’s ‘coalition partners’ in coalition ‘dharma’, the AIADMK, the National Conference, the LJP, the BJD, the TDP, the JD(S) and even the Akali Dal have periodically spat on the BJP face but unlike the Congress, the BJP continued to practice its brand of coalition dharma like Gandhi practiced his brand of ahimsa; the BJP wiped the spittle off its face and went back begging for more, knowingly uncaring about the fact that when these parties spat on the BJP’s face they were actually spitting on the face of ordinary Hindus who voted for the BJP. There is no forgiveness for the BJP and if the RSS is serious about parenting the parivar then it will listen to the voice of anguish of ordinary Hindus and make sure that none of the Problem Seven comes close to the penultimate chair or the throne. They all deserve to be exiled.
The time for polite silence and text-book discipline has passed. The Hindu nation is larger than individuals, organizations and political parties. The BJP’s sins of omission and commission are far too many to be brushed aside or weighed lightly against the undoubtedly notable contributions of its aged leadership. The enforced silence has to be broken if there has to be any purposeful turnaround to get the BJP back on track. The first thing to be done is to silence all public voices in the BJP until the introspection process is complete, responsibility is pinned and hierarchy is restored. The second thing to do would be to state emphatically that the innumerable journalists and editors who had been promoted as the voice of the BJP for purposes of television news channel appearances no longer speak for the party.
One of them declared vacuously that the BJP will have to get back to ‘development’; another insulted the intelligence of the voter and said promoting two Prime Ministers confused the voter while the third declared unctuously that the BJP leadership was to blame without telling us which leaders and what their offences were. The fourth attributed the loss to the non-entity Varun Gandhi and his ambitious mother while the fifth made the slightly more intelligent but sinister remark that there will now be a Pavlovian reaction to get back to a self-identity defined by ideology. The barb was well-directed but the body at which the barb was aimed has a resilient body and a spirited mind. The ruse won’t work.
Abandoning Kurukshetra before the war is won
The BJP’s loss in 2004 cast a pall of gloom over Hindu nationalists; for some of us even in 2004, the gloom came with intense anger. Five years later, the BJP’s loss in 2009 has caused more anger than gloom because five years is a long time for a determined person wielding state power to implement several agendas; and the BJP, criminally culpable for allowing the destructive ambitions of a few to subvert its raison d’etre, handed the Hindu nation back into the hands of the Italian Christian for another term of five years. The Congress, a British creature, may take Sonia Gandhi in its stride and look upon her as another Wedderburn or Hume, but for the Hindu nation, it was alien and oppressive colonial rule all over again. It is this knowledge that causes the despondency and the rage. There is an African-American adage which goes likes this: If you are cheated once, shame on them; if you are cheated again, shame on you.
Hindus, who are familiar only with Aurobindo the spiritualist, would be astonished by the content of a hitherto less known corpus of his political writings; Aurobindo’s writings from 1893 until 1908 are those of an angry Hindu nationalist. But it was an anger that produced his finest writings, a fiery, eternally inspirational nationalism that raises the mind from despondency and prepares it for war. Aurobindo was at war as much with the Indian National Congress of which he was a part, as he was with the colonial British government. He spared no one whom he considered serving the nation ill, organization or individuals – the Indian National Congress, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Dadabhai Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjea – Aurobindo spared no one, not even Gandhi for whom he reserved his harshest criticism.
In 1903 Aurobindo was confronted by similar heartache and paralyzing gloom that we see descended on us today. But with characteristic anger, he denied himself and us the luxury of depression.
Many of us, utterly overcome by Tamas, the dark and heavy demon of inertia, are saying nowadays that it is impossible; that India is decayed, bloodless and lifeless, too weak ever to recover; that our race is doomed to extinction. It is a foolish and idle saying. No man or nation need be weak unless he chooses; no man or nation need perish unless he deliberately chooses extinction. (Bhawani Mandir, India can be Reborn, page 65. Bhawani Mandir sometimes referred to as a ‘tract’ and sometimes as ‘pamphlet’ was written in 1903)
It was obvious to Aurobindo in 1903 that the direction in which these leaders were taking the INC was heading nowhere and spelt only doom for the Hindu nation and that is why, exasperated by the general wimpishness of the leaders of the INC, he roared in anger – Politics is the work of the kshatriya; by implication Aurobindo meant politics was not for the faint-hearted or the opportunist. He also implied that politics essentially is the ever-preparedness for war. The brilliance of Aurobindo’s political writings is in the brevity. The sutra, Politics is the work of the kshatriya, is pregnant with an entire treatise on rajadharma and rajanithi.
That which Aurobindo saw in 1903, Hedgewar saw in 1920. On the eve of the Nagpur Congress, Dr. Hedgewar with Dr. Moonje, realizing with great disquiet the direction in which Gandhi was leading the INC, pleaded with Aurobindo to return to active politics and assume Presidentship of the Nagpur Congress. But Aurobindo, who for inexplicable reasons chose to abandon his political Kurukshetra to seek refuge in the safe haven of the French colony of Pondicherry, refused to return and Gandhi led the freedom struggle towards vivisection.
In the aftermath of the Moplah massacre which Gandhi refused to denounce even mildly, Dr. Hedgewar understood that the Gandhi-led Indian National Congress was not merely un-Hindu but was becoming positively anti-Hindu with no intention of stopping or dealing with an ascendant jihadi Islam embodied in the Muslim League and the Khilafat Committee. Hedgewar was not weak and did not choose extinction for the Hindus or the Hindu nation; with visionary foresight, within five years of the Moplah jihad against the Hindus of the Malabar, he founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Golwalkar, who inherited the mantle of leadership from Doctor Hedgewar, in the bloody aftermath of the vivisection of the Hindu nation by Islam, Britain, Gandhi and the Congress, picked Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee from the Hindu Mahasabha to create the Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951. Thus the RSS and the Bharatiya Jana Sangh were created to protect Hindus and the Hindu nation in specific times of our recent history when Hindus and the Hindu nation suffered grievous wounds.
It bears mention that one of the central causes for the failure of the Cabinet Mission in 1946, which provoked Jinnah to call for Direct Action leading inexorably to vivisection was Gandhi’s insistence on including a Congress Muslim in the quota of five representatives given to the INC, in the Interim Government, a demand that incensed Jinnah. The Muslim League already had five League Muslims and Gandhi’s insistence on including a Congress Muslim, while it enraged the Muslim League, had it materialized, would have tilted the Interim Government in favour of the Muslims vis a vis the Hindus; this was typical Gandhian politics.
Just so did Murli Manohar Joshi react on television two days ago when asked why he thought the BJP failed so miserably at the hustings. Joshi, who prides himself on his scholarship, was so eager to throw his hat into the ring and succeed to the throne as secular leader of a secular party, that he failed to recall history to mind when he declared solemnly that the BJP leadership alone was to blame and the BJP lost because it had not fielded Muslims in significant numbers!
And just so did Arun Jaitley forget his party’s history. The Times of India carried in February 2009, ahead of the elections, answers from different political parties to the question, “Who does your party represent”? Like Gandhi before him, who said the Congress was not a Hindu party and did not represent Hindu interests, Jaitley, deliberately choosing to forget the historical context in which the RSS and the Jana Sangh came into being answered, “BJP represents the common man, the underprivileged, the Dalit, minorities, agriculturists as well as industrialists. Despite the Congress’ efforts to brand BJP as a Hindu party and malign us as communal, more and more Muslims are coming to the party fold. Isn’t it enough indication to prove that ours is truly a secular party”? The BJP had metamorphosed into a grotesque imitation of Gandhi’s Congress.
The Congress party, controlled by the iron fist of Sonia Gandhi was not described as a creature of colonial intent for nothing. The Sachar Committee, like the Minto-Morley ‘reforms’ aimed at empowering the Muslims on all fronts. Aurobindo then called it “encouraging Mahomeddan rowdyism”. This was communal politics of the most brazen kind; to make sure that the Hindus got the message loud and clear, Manmohan Singh pronounced that Muslims had the first right to all resources in the country. Samuel Reddy had let loose the church to rampage across Andhra Pradesh while Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa not only vied with each other luring Christians and Muslims to their fold, they lured them additionally by mounting frontal attacks against Hindu dharma. The church and Islam have carved Southern Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu coast equally between them.
Under Italian Sonia Gandhi, the UPA government has facilitated the phenomenal rise of the church and Islam in every part of the country. Sixty years after independence from colonial rule, independent Hindu-majority India has not reversed a single loss suffered by the Hindu nation in 1947, nor avenged vivisection and everything that came along with it. All political parties, the BJP included, have courted the Abrahamic minorities because irrespective of their actual numbers or population percentage, they constitute a decisive vote-bank. This minority vote-bank could have been rendered ineffective only by Hinduising the election agenda. Speaking for the Abrahamic minorities was ‘secular’ while speaking for Hindus was ‘communal’.
Farooq Abdullah, the arch communalist, in whose body there is not a drop of secular blood, former Chief Minister of a state whose state constitution refuses to accept secularism even in principle, a state which with its peculiar and Islamised electoral arrangement will not allow Hindus or Buddhists to become Chief Minister, hailing from a state whose jihadis genocided and threw out all Hindus from the Kashmir Valley, without batting an eyelid, when asked to comment on the election results, declared deadpan – the people of India have voted for secularism. This Sunni Muslim in whose state a Hindu cannot become a Chief Minister openly expresses his fierce ambition to be the President of this Hindu-majority nation.
The country’s political discourse defines secularism in practice as being uncompromisingly anti-Hindu, which makes Hindu interests and Abrahamic minority interests a zero sum game. It was so under Nehruvian secularism and it continues to remain so in Nehru-Gandhian colonial rule.
Elections are about capturing state power and state power is intended to implement and fulfill well-planned agendas. If politics were only state and not nation, then politics would be mere governance sans ideology. But in Hindu tradition of statecraft politics is not merely governance it is also paritraana or protection of the good and the weak, as also sustaining dharma; while vinaasa was destroying or ending by force anything that violated dharma or hindered the state in carrying out its responsibility. Hindu rajya was not just about laying roads and planting trees it was also meant to be used to ensure the primacy of dharma on this bhumi.
The BJP’s fall was imminent because it entered the political arena without a commitment to Hindu rajya to protect the Hindu rashtra. It captured power with the Hindu vote and then kicked the Hindus in their teeth. The BJP kicked the ladder that lifted it up. It was expected of the BJP to –
* Reclaim PoK
* Annex Bangladesh
* End separatism in J&K by de-legitimising the state constitution; Article 370 would have disappeared automatically
* Check the influx of Bangladeshi Muslims
* Stop all foreign funds for NGOs
* Halt the uncontrolled mushrooming of churches, prayer houses and madarasas
* Ban religious conversion altogether
* Bring in a central legislation to free all Hindu temples from government control
* Ban cow slaughter and protect cattle wealth
The BJP was expected to do all this step by measured step in the seven years that it remained in Delhi. But coalition politics de-Hinduised the BJP beyond recognition. The BJP did nothing for the Hindus who catapulted it to power when it ruled the country; in the opposition for four years between 2004 and 2009, it did even less. To make sure the BJP was not given the time to go back to its Hindu agenda, the UPA and the hands that pull the UPA strings, threw one red herring after another under the BJP nose. First they ran mindlessly behind the Volcker Report, then they ran behind the Mitrokhin Report, and then they ran behind the invisible Ram Setu.
The BJP was like several animal rights activists I know; they will not lift a finger to put a little crow back in its nest, nor feed the street dog or the cow at the gate; but they will form a human chain to stop killing of the distant whale or the seals in the Antarctic. Coalition politics and the comprehensive failure of in-house Hindu intellectuals to formulate and articulate the contours of Hindu Rajya made it just that much easier for the BJP to abandon the Ramjanmabhumi and gosamrakshana and take up Volcker and Mitrokhin. The distant cause called for no effort from the BJP except stall parliament and shout a few slogans.
The BJP had abandoned its Kurukshetra even before the war was won, leaving the foot-soldiers behind to fight the war. Now, as always, Hindus of this nation had been betrayed and let down only by their leaders. A large measure of the blame for the BJP’s fall has to be laid at the RSS door.
RSS – unwilling parent
Both in 1997 and in 1998, the writer with her husband and daughter sat on the streets outside her poll-center feverishly assisting people to look for their names on the voters’ list. Prior to the polling day, the family spent ten grueling days banging on doors, house after house, building after building, handing out voting slips first for the AIADMK and then for the DMK. There was cheer in the heart then and a fierce hope that finally things may be beginning to change for the Hindus. Every swayamsevak and every RSS karyakarta worked for what they believed was their election.
In 2009, still a fierce loyalist of the RSS, I cast my vote for the local BJP candidate with reluctant discipline, great unwillingness, and even greater distaste; all my family did the same. But we didn’t care any more if he won or lost because one, we had lost faith in the BJP to serve even half a Hindu cause; and two we were convinced the BJP would get a drumming at the hustings. As Aurobindo put it in Bhawani Mandir, “Our beginnings are mighty, but they have neither sequel nor fruit”. The BJP had stopped delivering; there was no sequel to December 6 and no fruit after RSS labour; there was only wishful thinking. Hindu fury which erupted against Muslim offence over the Amarnath yatra, did not yield benefits for the BJP even in Jammu. The RSS must ask itself why. The Somnath-Ayodhya BJP rath of the 1990s decade is today only a rocking horse.
“The wish to be reborn we have in abundance, there is no deficiency there. 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”. (Aurobindo in Bhawani Mandir)
The Hindu nation must rue the day Aurobindo abandoned our Kurukshetra in 1909; the RSS must take some visibly decisive step to stem the rot in the parivar if Hindus have to stop thinking the RSS too has deserted the war; or that Aurobindo’s lament about great beginnings and empty shells, true as they are of the BJP today, may become just as true of the RSS if it fails to act now. But if the RSS has to act, there has to be a re-orientation of its goals, its methods. It is not course correction that is required of the RSS; it is altering the course itself. The RSS has not lost direction, it is still plodding along on the same path as it had marked for itself in 1925; it needs new goals and new roads.
Gandhi’s leadership of the INC and the so-called freedom struggle was nothing more than attempts to get the British to sanction self-rule, even as India remained a colony of the British Empire. Gandhi’s freedom struggle was never a march for complete political independence as envisioned by Tilak and Aurobindo. Gandhi’s INC therefore was battling neither the British Government nor the Muslim League.
Hedgewar, in the wake of the Moplah massacre realized that the INC did not have the capacity to handle jihadi Islam and that the direction in which Gandhi was leading the INC was certain to have tragic consequences for the Hindus. It was this realization which forced Hedgewar to create the RSS but given the Muslim League’s political orientation and political objectives, it is puzzling why Hedgewar did not fashion the RSS as an effective Hindu militant political instrument to deal with the Muslim League.
Hindu nationalists are left with the baffling question, how if the Muslim League had political objectives, was Hindu society going to handle the threat without a political instrument. Gandhi declared the INC was not a Hindu party and did not serve Hindu interests while Hedgewar created a Hindu socio-cultural outfit that had neither political objectives nor a militant orientation; in retrospect, it is obvious that neither the INC nor the RSS was equipped to stave off the bloody vivisection of the Hindu nation in 1947.
To put it bluntly, both Gandhi and Hedgewar, two most powerful Hindus of the time, heading two very powerful organizations, did not aim to stop the Muslim League or jihadi Islam in their tracks. Their cadre – the leaders and members of the INC and the swayamsevaks of the RSS were not intended to be armed soldiers in Kurukshetra fighting to defend the Hindu nation from jihadis and Christian colonialists. While Dr. Hedgewar’s RSS spoke of the Hindu rashtra, there was no conception of a Hindu Rajya. Hedgewar therefore did not fashion the RSS as an instrument of Hindu polity.
Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar passed away in 1940 and Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, a sanyasi in the Ramakrishna Mission order, succeeded him as sarsanghachalak or chief of the RSS. The RSS under the venerable sanyasi, remained a Hindu socio-cultural organization even during the tumultuous years prior to vivisection. Both Keshav and Madhav, like the God after whom they were named, refused to pick up arms. It is to be hoped that Mohan, yet another name for the same God, has the karmic quotient to steer Arjuna to victory..
In the wake of the bloody vivisection in 1947 and the continuing trauma of Hindus in J&K and the by now total disempowerment of the Hindus under the Nehru dispensation, Golwalkar realized that the time had come for the RSS to create an instrument to protect Hindu political interests; in fact, create an Arjuna. While Hedgewar picked a sanyasi to succeed him in the RSS, the sanyasi picked a militant Hindu from the Hindu Mahasabha, Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee who had also served in the cabinet under Nehru, to create the Jana Sangh. Not surprisingly Dr. Mukherjee challenged Nehru in his own personal fiefdom in J&K. His death in June 1953 when in custody in J&K was post-independent India’s first political assassination executed by state power.
Having removed Savarkar from the political arena and from public life, Nehru’s removal of Syama Prasad Mukherjee did not come as a great surprise. Tottering under the sustained campaign by Nehru’s Congress as Gandhi’s assassins, the RSS suffered a second blow with Dr. Mukherjee’s murder in custody. The tentative attempt by the RSS to create a fighting arm suffered a major setback and the Jana Sangh had little to show for itself as a Hindu party in the virulently anti-Hindu Nehruvian years.
The Bharatiya Jana Sangh went into a limbo after Dr. Mukherjee’s death. Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya, thinker and scholar, was also not a kshatriya. Integral humanism cannot and therefore did not put a Hindu face to Indian polity; neither did it make the effort to study the ideal nature of polity to protect the Hindu rashtra. Hindu intellectualism had no clear and well-defined goal. It produced nothing of value by way of political doctrines and theories to serve the Hindu nation.
Hedgewar, Golwalkar, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and even other intellectuals in the parivar may all be described as social thinkers, but they had no political orientation and were therefore not political ideologues in the same mould as Aurobindo and Savarkar. At least, their political philosophy did not set pursuit of state power to protect and defend the Hindu nation from all threats to its national character. They did not think state power was important; not as important as social transformation. The RSS made social transformation and capturing state power as naturally mutually exclusive goals. RSS ideologues believed in and promoted the idea that politics like power and money corrupts; and so an ordinary swayamsevak is not imparted the training to handle big money, big power and big politics.
It may even be said that there was fastidious distaste for politics and a superior resolve that the RSS has to do nation-building without taking recourse to politics. One is not sure when this pernicious trend emerged within the RSS but the thought that swayamsevaks must desist from politics and must not be tainted by political ambitions has taken deep root in the psyche of the ordinary RSS swayamsevaks and karyakartas. The largest voluntary cadre in the country, the most disciplined force, characterised by remarkable selflessness embodying physical-labour-as-worship is however, as a national force, singularly unable to deal effectively with the twin threats to Hindu national identity and character – jihadi Islam and the evangelising church.
It is not enough to want to ‘become’ a Hindu rashtra or to assert we ‘are’ a Hindu rashtra without the commensurate wherewithal to defend it and if need be, remove forces that threaten it. Little Sri Lanka showed the world what a determined state can do to uproot the last vestiges of forces threatening national security. In India the RSS has to battle not only external threats to national security but also both external and internal threats working in tandem to radically change the national character and ethos defined by the majority native populace.
The BJP went to the polls in 2004 without a Hindu agenda; in 2009, it went to the polls without any agenda. It had one of the best election manifestos but intentionally refused to speak about the manifesto; the issues in the manifesto were never made the political agenda or the talking points during the election campaign. Making Advani the Prime Minister was the only palpable agenda of the BJP in 2009; the Hindu nation is not obliged to fulfill this agenda where the person projected as the leader has not been projected as a leader of the Hindus with a verifiable track record. If anything, Advani’s track record proved the opposite.
Not only was there bitter and acrimonious in-fighting among the leaders in the BJP, quarrels which they did not care to hide from the people who they expected to vote for them, there was bitter and acrimonious quarrels even among the parivar siblings. In the last decade, the RSS has allowed these quarrels and in-fighting to worsen and get out of control. When the BJP went to the polls, none of the issues plaguing the parivar had been resolved. There was no visible coming together of the entire parivar as a united collective, with the fire of determination to capture Hindu state power enthusing the ordinary Hindu voter. The BJP and the VHP were at loggerheads, the BJP and the Swadeshi Jagran Manch were also at loggerheads when the BJP was in power between 1998 and 2004; the SJM, as a parivar offspring, crated to study and formulate an alternate economic model for the nation, had little to show for itself between 2004 and 2009 except to hold street demonstrations against FDI in retail as though FDI in retail was the only bone of contention in the entire retail debate or the only economic issue.
Serious and well-motivated parenting demands sustained physical and mental energy; if the parenting has been careless, then to deal with a wayward offspring calls for a physically fit body and an ever-young mind which is always learning. This much the Hindu nation has the right to expect of its leaders. The previous segment listed the tasks ahead of the Hindu nation. The RSS must first introspect if it is ready to face these Himalayan challenges to the survival of the Hindu nation. Mens sana in corpore sano. Does the RSS have it? We are a very long way away from infusing kshatriya blood into Hindu society. We need a healthy body first. The RSS has to heal itself before it heals the wounds to the body of the Hindu nation.
22nd May, 2009.
The author is Editor. http://www.vigilonline