BJP – The Saffron Years
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all convictions, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.1 A spectre is haunting the nation. The spectre of communalism. The rough beast, its hour come round at last, has been unleashed and slouches its way across the land. Even those who turn away, cannot escape its breath, now slowly poisoning the air. As the curtain begins to descend on the first phase of the saffron regime, they watch in disbelief, realisation dawning that what has been witnessed thus far is merely an overture, a prologue to the tragedy of history repeating itself. If the last decade of the previous century saw the destruction of the Babri Masjid, clearing the ground for the cornerstones of a new edifice, the start of the new millennium has ushered in the era of holocaustian politics. “Gujarat brings home to us with poignant intensity the consummation of the practices of communalisation of governance. These manifold practices reach, at the end of the day, the same ends: minority communities may exercise and enjoy only those basic human rights that the ideology of Hindutva may justify....The Gujarat carnage sculpts an ominous principle of governance: the democratically elected government owes concrete duties to the dominant majorities to devise ways and means that facilitate communal revenge.”i
The hidden agenda In the campaign leading to the Lok Sabha elections of 1999, political speculation frequently revolved around the possible “hidden agenda” of the BJP, as it attempted to clobber up the coalition, that ultimately formed the government as the National Democratic Alliance(NDA). These concerns were mostly centred around issues such as the construction of the temple at Ayodhya, the repealing of Art. 370 (defining the status of Kashmir in the Constitution of India), a uniform civil code, and so on, that is to say, concrete, physically definable political goals and objectives, that could be used to hijack the coalition into directions other than what was stated in the NDA manifesto. And at the time, the BJP strained every sinew to vehemently deny any such secret motives or plans. The BJP could of course justify its righteous indignation at such accusations, as it would have been politically naïve and premature for it to embark on any such adventure, at that stage. With hindsight, it is easy to see that it would need at least three to four years, to prepare the groundwork, for such an outrage to appear at least acceptable, if not 1
From The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats
reasonable and inevitable. And its task was cut out and clear to its ideologues and pracharaks. The partition of 1947 had carved up the country physically. It was now necessary to partition the Indian mind. Such social surgery had to be done skillfully, with sharp scalpels wielded by adept surgeons trained in the shakas of the RSS, while the patient was anaesthetized with fear. In the words of K. R. Malkani, Vice-President of the BJP, “History is the philosophy of nations. And the Sangh Parivar has a very clear and candid conception of Indian history. Here was a great civilization whose glory spread from Sri Lanka to Java and Japan and from Tibet and Mongolia to China and Siberia. While it weathered the storms of Huns and Shakas and Greeks it wilted before the Islamic storms of the Turks. However, a 1000-year resistance saw this country bloodied but unbowed. Its civilization survived through the heroic efforts of the Vijayanagar Empire and of Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind Singh and countless heroes and martyrs. ….The RSS, founded by Dr Hedgewar in 1925 and consolidated by Shri Guruji after 1940, is the heir to this heroic, historic heritage. And a few pages later referring to the politics of Mandal and Masjid, “Historic wrongs had to be righted, however, symbolically, for a lasting solution of the Hindu-Muslim problem.(emphasis added).” The...
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