Monday, May 18, 2009

A rathyatra to the wrong side of history

A rathyatra on the road of hatred may lead you up to the gate of 7 Race Course, but not beyond that. Having lost his prime ministerial dreams once and forever, Advani is learning this hard way. Given the long-drawn out bloody strategy he so skilfully charted way back in 70s, nurtured through 80s, pursued in 90s and bolstered in the new millennium, his disappointment is understandable. Evidently, Advani finds it hard to come to terms with the crumbling of his grand project.

His reluctance to address the public for the first two days post the counting of votes is but pitiable. Perhaps, at least for me who developed a negative image of this man when his 1992-rathyatra climaxed in the demolition of centuries-old mosque and massacres, his absolute disappearance from the public seen following the election results confirms the deep upset it has inflicted upon him.

A retrospect of Advani’s political life for the last 20 years after he rose to national prominence would never reveal any instance of this man seriously engaging with the basic development question – poverty, lack of infrastructure, educational backwardness – nothing influenced the agenda of national debates initiated by this man.

He was so aggressively harping on the theme of wrongs committed by medieval Muslim invaders which finally led him to demolish the 500-year old mosque. The agenda was all too clear – create a false sense that Hindus in India are victimized by Muslims and mobilise a vote-base on the basis of majoritarianism. It was actually ridiculous to suggest that a community intimidates another one which is numerically six times bigger than that.

After the evolution of this nation as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society which was historically influenced by various streams of people, the idea of holding the Indian society hostage to the ‘magnified medieval wrong-doings’ was not only absurd but also reactionary.

The orchestrated communal killings across the country, be it Bombay riot or Gujrat carnage, offered some political mileage to Advani’s brand of politics.

But, the underlying wisdom of Indian public could sustain the communalisation efforts, thanks to the powerful stream of liberal thoughts, which put spoke on communal juggernaut. BJP ridiculed the liberal elite of the country as ‘pseudo secular’ and their activities as‘minority appeasement’.

Advani’s ideological dishonesty was unravelled when he staged a sentimental drama in Pakistan calling Jinnah secular. In his desperate bid to occupy the moderate space within the BJP in the post-Vajpayee era which suited his prime ministerial project backfired because his ideological patrons in the RSS did not pardon him, neither the liberal elites of the country got carried away by his new-found love for secularism. It just turned out a political opportunism that did not pay off.

BJP has been professing the philosophy of hate (under the garb of self pride) with absolute conviction that the people of India can be taken for granted, they would be swayed by their communal agenda. But the one billion plus nation stunted them several times.

The same conviction that the people of India is gullible to the concocted reality presented by them was evident in the utterly counter-productive brash India Shining electoral campaign in the past. This time it was all the more ridiculous as the 81-year old ‘prime minister in waiting’ was shamelessly aping 47-year old US president Barack Obama.

Obama for America campaign was imitated by similarly sounding Advani for PM campaign. There were attempts to bring in subtle messages of ‘change’ as well as ‘youthness’ which were ironically lacking in the campaign of octogenarian who is a prisoner of medieval hatred. While Obama transcended race and professed harmony the imitator believed in garnering political capital out of divisiveness.

Advani’s desperation was reaching new levels in the 2009 campaign as we could see in several occasions. His refusal to disown Varun Gandhi’s vitriol just suggested he fell back on appealing to the extremist sentiments. Having perceived that the party could not catch up with the Congress, the BJP changed tack midway; they prematurely announced Modi as 2014 prime ministerial candidate. The idea was to cash in on the perceived popularity of rabblerousing Gujarat Chief Minister who remains unrepentant over the genocide of 1000 plus Muslims.

Even his autobiography which was published well in advance to the election 2009 did its share of damage to Advani’s campaign. The then Home Minister pleading ignorance over the decision to release dreaded terrorists in exchange of Kandahar hostages revealed nothing but dishonesty and cowardice.
If Advani had owned up that move, since it anyway has a justification since lives of hundreds of Indians were under risk, it would have been much more straitforward.

Besides all his vicious projects, Advani finally earned notoriety for denigrating the election campaign to such a low by calling Manmohan Singh, a weak prime minister. People of India who have seen both of them on prime-time TV had the right assessment.

A man and a movement blinded by its quest for power always ended up in the wrong side of the history.


kochuthresiamma p .j said...

'But the one billion plus nation stunted them several times'
you are right. to the hungry God appears not in the form of hindutva, isalam or Christianity; or in temples, churches or mosque. Hungry mouths know only one God -food.communal philosophy fills no stomach. BJP learnt that the hard way when 'India shines' campaaign could not win them that much reqquired votes from the marginalised poor who could not find any sheen in their lives during the BJP rule.
Advani can never fit in vajpayee's shoes.The latter is among the last of the statesmen who could put the nation above ideology. I only wish he had behaved differently during the post Godhra riots.
LKA is a megalomaniac - the indian voter has a way of recognising the genuine from the fake.
like u said, i too began to fear advani and his ilk during the rath yatra. i couldn't believe then that anyone could be callous enough to rip apart the secular fabric of India for personal ambition.while all the world was condemning VP singh, i was lost in admiration of that man who risked his political career for secularism.

reporter'sdiary said...

thank you for your comments. I agree and disagree with you on different points you made. I do not consider Vajpayee as a statesman but I rate him as a political genius for he reaped the political harvest of all the communal polarisation carried out by the Sangh, yet managed to stay relatively unblemished (at least in popular perception,ie, for those who want to believe so).
Yes, I agree with ur view on VP Singh. He is a statesman. He paved way for the political mobility of Indian underclass (Mandal) and he as u rightly said gave up power to stop rathyatra. He was committed to secularism and emergence of backward classes. Few knows that he was part of Right to Information campaign at the time of his death.