BJP’s defeat: the Hindu perspective

 

Arindam Bandyopadhyay

(also published in

http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/BJPs-defeat-The-Hindu-perspective/blog-289.htm)

The BJP has lost in the recently concluded Lokshabha 2009 elections. The political party, conceived as the face of Hindu interest has lost to the dynastic Congress Party. The people of India, the land of ancient Hindu civilization, with over 700 million electorate, arguably 80% of whom are Hindus, participated and chose not to elect the party that is accused of being communal and non-secular for promoting Hindu agendas and looking after Hindu concerns. Logically then one has to raise the following questions: Are there really any Hindu specific agendas? Are the majority Hindus disinterested in Hindu agendas and concerns? Or are the Hindus disenchanted with the BJP and believe that they do not represent Hindu interest in the way they should?

It appears that the Muslim community who dumped the Communists and the Laloos, Mulayams, Paswans and Mayabatis this time, have returned to the fold of the Congress with renewed hope that the Congress lead government will finally address their problems and concerns, rather than continuing with their appeasements policies for vote banks.  The small Christian community, empowered by the support of the ruling caucus of India as well as the international solidarity with the global Christian world and emboldened by their success in Orissa and Karnataka in recent times, had openly called for en bloc vote against the BJP. Post poll they are optimistic that it will “definitely benefit the growth of Christianity in the next five years”. Such calls for mass voting on religious lines are not perceived as communal in case of the minorities; it is defended as their religious freedom.

But despite the swings of minority votes, it is conceivable that, barring a few pockets in the country, most Indian who voted would still be from the majority population, the Hindu community. So are there any Hindu specific issues and if so why does it fail to be important to the Hindus? Religion to most Hindus is a private affair. Perhaps resulting from centuries of oppression, Hindus generally do not openly claim their religiosity. Even in socio-political issues related to Hindu interest, they hardly ever want to take any collective stand as a religious body but prefer to appear neutral and secular. Neither do they take interest in the consequences of religiously divisive politics.

India is a secular nation because Indian Hindus want it to be secular. Religious plurality is integral to the Hindu Dharma which is way beyond one scripture and one prophet and preaches “truth is one; sages call it by various names.” Hindu India had given shelter and coexisted harmoniously with the early Syrian Christians, Jews, the Parsees and more recently the Dalai Lama and had seen the birth of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism in its land. And this continued until the advent of the proselytizing Abrahmanic religions. Post-independence while Pakistan chose to be Islamic, India opted to be religiously secular and barring stray communal tension, in a land of one billions, have had a peaceful path of development.  India has the second largest Muslim population in the world and the Indian Muslims are the only Muslims in the world to enjoy sustained democracy. But India must also be the only country in the current world and even perhaps in history where the majority population, sacrifices their own interests and failing to take a united stand, allows the minorities to dictate terms. Hindus, largely socio-politically dispassionate,  fail to realize implications of such blatant communal calls like’ ‘Muslims must have first claim on national resources’ or the significance of the fact that their temple donations, instead of being used for uplift of the temples, its priests and its facilities are funneled to fund madrassas and Haj pilgrimage. Hindu parents are media managed to harm and hurt educational, employment, economic and business opportunities of their own children and grandchildren by giving their notes and votes to such political parties which shout from their political rooftops that they will give special preferences to Muslims and Christians over Hindu youth in matters of education, training facilities, government jobs, jobs under police and paramilitary forces, employment in banks and other public sector undertakings and bank loans, educational loans etc.

The unconstitutional, undemocratic and divisive politics of minority appeasements is not only depriving the Hindus of their rightful claims but is also fragmenting the country.

On the other hand, if and when Hindus raise any issue it is throttled as communal? Secularism has a different meaning in Congress ruled India.  When the Morarji Desai government moved the 45th Constitutional Amendment Bill in 1978 which, among other issues, defined secularism as equal respect to all religions, that bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, but turned down by the Congress majority in the Rajya Sabha. Is secularism a burden of Hindus alone? Do Hindus have to prove it at every step – in thoughts, words and deeds, casting their own religion, tradition and faith into oblivion? Is it communal to portray the glory of Pre-Islamic Hindu civilization or to demand an accurate Indian history to be taught to our children? Is it communal to call for a uniform civil code for all Indian citizens? Is it communal to challenge Bangladeshi infiltration or to integrate Kashmir to the rest of India? Is it communal to expect strong laws against terrorism and to see it implemented, irrespective of political affiliation, religion, caste or creed?  If a Hindus laments for the Palestinians he is lauded as a liberal but if he demands rehabilitation of Hindu Kashmiri Pundits or protests Hindu decimation in Bangladesh or Pakistan, he becomes a religious narrow-minded hardliner. If the Muslims riot for a Muslim cause like Danish cartoon or Saddam Hussein, it is defended as their religious sentiment but if Taslima Nasreen happens to speak of Muslim atrocities on Hindus, she is driven out of the country.

The Hindu majority cannot be unaware of these Hindu issues but they do not seem to be concerned. Even if they are, their voice does not reach the required decibel to penetrate the ears of authorities or to influence the media. Or else they allow themselves to be cleverly manipulated to maintain religious amity. Hindus are required to self sacrifice for communal harmony for the sake of national interest and minority rights protection.  The same is not required from the other religious denominations.

Each individual Hindu is been delicately trapped into this game of communalism and pseudo- secularism that the media and the politicos play with the mass, such that he or she is hesitant to fight for his or her own rights now, in fear of becoming branded as nonsecular.

The BJP or any so called ‘Hindu’ party or organization had never been any favorite of the media, neither has any Hindu cause ever been given a decent hearing by the self proclaimed judges of secularism. A demolition of (Ram) Janmasthan Mosque (aka Babri Masjid) is a subject of eternal condemnation because it gives an perpetual opportunity for Hindu bashing. One hardly sees similar criticism verbalized in defense of the Hindu issues of Amarnath or Ram Sethu. Hindu agendas, like control of temple funds and educational institutions, are dealt only with conventional formality because defending Hindu cause in India is equated with being communal. Most political parties and leaders are careful to appear politically correct by dissociating themselves from Hindu issues. They pretend to be ignorant or noncommittal even if the issue is of such national interest as terrorism and defense of the country or accountability of NGO funding or retrieving illegal foreign bank funds, lest they appear as against minorities. On the other hand, the same so called ‘secular and liberal’ politicians, leaders, media personnel’s, statesmen or activists are ever alert not to miss any opportunity to hog the limelight and get some brownie points by condemning Hindus on the slightest provocation. 

On the one hand, by continuously harping on special status and minority victim hood for vote bank politics, the secular brigade of post independent India, like their English predecessors, have successfully mixed the poison of distrust against the majorities, thus alienating the minorities from the national main stream. On the other hand they continue to divide the plural Hindu society – each individual is either a dalit, an OBC or a brahmin, a Marathi, Gujrati or a Punjabi, a Jadav or a Thakur, never a Hindu, never an Indian.

A lot has been written about the state of BJP in the post election phase. From regional to national and international news media, blogs, news articles, letters and editorials have flooded with analyses and advices, both from supporters and adversaries. Understandably many are obviously relieved to see BJP’s defeat. In some cases, the mood of gleeful over joy at their dismal failure is hardly suppressible. It is a defeat of Hindus and of Hindutva, a decisive blow to majority communalism, the rejection of the Hindu hardliners, the end of Hindu nationalism – claims the pundits. It was a vote for Congress on the basis of development and stability, they analyze. They fail to explain why there are several states starting from Gujarat which are developing rapidly in the country but are not blessed by the Congress government. India, as they say, is developing despite the government and thankfully so.

As for stability, the statistics on terrorism speaks for itself. Even before the Mumbai carnage of 26/11/08 in which at least 172 people died, in 69 Islamic terrorist attacks since 2000, there were 1,120 deaths. In 2007, the United States’ National Institute of Counter Terrorism calculated that between January 2004 and March 2007, the death toll in India from all terrorist attacks was 3,674, second only to Iraq during the same period. After each terrorist punch, India reels and falls, chants ‘zero tolerance to terror’ and assures to ‘bring all culprits to justice’, stands up wobbly, only to be knocked down again with the next punch.  The farce after the Mumbai carnage was there for the world to see and is still continuing. Not a single terrorist has ever been punished in India. The whole world knows now that India is a soft state, unable to take care of herself, but the government remains paralyzed from fear of disturbing the minority votes. The same paralysis also prevails in dealing with Maoist terror. Is that the stability we are counting upon?

The well wishers of BJP themselves are divided whether BJP should embrace Hindu interest more vigorously or shun it to present an acceptable face to all religious factions.  Those who want BJP to shed their Hindu character are forgetting that it is the Hindus who made BJP what they are now. Asking BJP to discard its Hindu interest would be endorsing the toxic propaganda of the pseudo-secular brigade that Hindu nationalists will ruin the country and retard its development. It would be naivety to think that the BJP, already branded as a Hindu nationalist party all over the world, can convince the minorities enough to get any significant share of their votes in future. The party has been trying to ‘reach out’ to minorities, but that hardly made any impact to their conviction. BJP in the process forgot the basis of its birth and the reason for its existence. On top of the failure to connect to the millions of Hindus who are sitting on the fence, unsure of their rights and ignorant of their collective political power, the party risks losing the faith of the millions of its Hindu supporters who looked up to it with an expectation of being a party with a difference, that will not hesitate or provide lame excuses to address the problems of the country, including those of the Hindus. The BJP has been accused to imitate others and try to appear ‘secular’ and shy away from their commitment to the nation and to the Hindus, which had brought them to power in the first place. They squandered their initial opportunity five years ago and then, without any media support of their own, failed to counter the relentless propaganda of the anti Hindu, pseudo secular media and politicians. They needed to convince the electorate that they wanted to build a strong nation with an essential Hindu character that had defined India civilization from ancient times and had identified it as separate from all other countries of the world. It would have been the proverbial Ram Rajya, based on Dharma, which included equal rights and benefits for all its proja or citizens, including the nationalistic minorities. They had to convince that they were capable of fighting all internal and external influences that would otherwise love to see India disintegrate. They had to provide the vision of putting the nation of India, ahead of all its fractions but they have been unable to do so. A lot of self analysis and introspection is required for the party to come back to their right path. The pseudo-secular intelligentsia and media which have tasted blood will try hard to ensure that there is no easy recovery and that is perhaps the first thing that the party has to counter.

But even if the BJP fail the Hindus and moves away from its ideology, should it be the end of the dream of the Hindus?  BJP is merely a blip, tumbling in its infancy, in the eternal history of Sanatan Hindu Dharma. Not too long ago the Hindus of Hindustan, the home of over 80% of the world’s billion plus Hindu population, used to find solace in the fact that Nepal was the only Hindu country of the world. They cannot relish the idea anymore. India is not a declared Hindu country but still is the land of Hindu civilization. The sons of the soil are either Hindus or mostly of Hindu ancestry, with a culture and tradition that perhaps distinguishes even an Indian Muslim or Indian Christian from its co-religionist abroad. It is that Indian-ness of the country, which is essentially a Hindu identity and its continuity that is in danger. That is all the Hindus have and they have to fight to preserve it, with or without the BJP.  India is at crossroad. The violent religious aggression of Islam and the more subtle cultural and religious invasion of Christianity to what is remaining of the once mighty Indian civilization are very real. The Naxal-Christian alliance is true no matter how much our media and politicians want to downplay it. India is the last bastion of ancient civilization that has resisted the aggression and maintained its continuity for millennia, because of the Hindus. Hindus have fought for centuries against foreign invaders, now it is time to clean their own house as well.

The political leaders and media should be careful not to play with Hindu sentiments with divisive politics. The people of India have successfully reduced the stature of the small players in this election. The big teams are thus warned to stay away from politics of minorityism. But to ensure that Hindus themselves need to be much more vigilant and socio-politically active. They need to verbalize their resentment and unite to fight together irrespective of their caste, creed and individual interest. Every swami or sadhu should encourage his followers, every temple should become grounds for sociopolitical awareness, and every Hindu gathering should be an opportunity of active discussion. Each and every person who cares for Hinduism and is proud to be a Hindu is to join hands. And above all, they need to be prepared for a long battle that can become ugly, for a noble cause.

Related posts:

Why Hindus lost faith in BJP

 Was BJP not Hindu enough?

BJP’S FAILURE: An Unbiased Observation

 

By Dr. Radhasyam Brahmachari

 

While BJP was in Power:

Before analyzing the defeat of BJP in the present Lok Sabha election, it is necessary to have a look how the Party came to power in 1999 with 183 MPs. One may recall that in the Lok Sabha elections held in 1998 the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) obtained a simple majority. This time, the BJP had allied with the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal besides its existing allies, the Samata Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiv Sena. Outside support was provided by the Telugu Desam Party.

The NDA had a slim majority, and Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister. But the coalition ruptured in May 1999 when the leader of AIADMK, Jayalalitha, withdrew her support, and fresh elections were again called in October, 1999. Within this brief period, BJP did two remarkable jobs that made it popular across the country. Firstly, it conducted the testing of the nuclear device at Pokhran and secondly, it fought the Kargil war with Pakistan in May-July, 1999.

These two achievements were hailed by the entire population who discovered a courageous fighter in BJP, capable of protecting the sovereignty and freedom of the nation and thrashing the rogue enemy state Pakistan, The people of this country gave BJP a hero’s welcome and, as a consequence, in the Lok Sabha election held on October 13, 1999, the BJP-led NDA won 303 seats. The BJP won an all-time high of 183 seats. Vajpayee became Prime Minister for the third time in his life, and Advani became the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.

But the said image of BJP was considerably shattered when the NDA government shamefully submitted to the unjust demands of the Pakistani terrorists after the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane, Flight no. 814 on December 24, 1999, and released three dreaded terrorists, most undemocratic way, from the Kashmir jail and one cabinet minister went to Kandahar, by a special plane, with those three terrorists and rupees 900 crores and a planeload of high explosive (to be used against India),.as ransom But after the hijacking drama, it would have been proper for the NDA government to order our army to cross the border of Afghanistan and our air force to bomb Kabul and Kandahar. And thus force the terrorists to release 174 passangers and 15 crew members of the hijacked plane. In this context, one may recall how the Russian government dealt with the Chechen terrorists who seized a school in Beslan in 2004.

On December 13, 2001, five terrorists attacked the Parliament House (Sansad Bhawan) in Delhi, It was due to the prompt and brave action of our security forces, six of whom sacrificed their lives, the lives of a few hundred of our MPs were saved. After this incident many of our commentators described it as a rape of our Parliament, or rather a rape of our democracy. Our military top brass advised the government to take immediate military action against Pakistan and hence to teach a good lesson to that rogue state. Some of our top army personnel commented that we had enough of talks, and time had arrived to act. So an army mobilization was ordered and our troops, with their modern sophisticated weapons were dispatched to the Indo-Pak border and were waiting for final signal from our leaders to cross the border. Our troops were waiting for months after months, but the NDA government failed to gather sufficient courage to give that final signal.

Ultimately troops were withdrawn wasting nearly three thousand crores of rupees, as the cost of mobilization and wear and tear of the sophisticated weapons. It is important to note that, had the NDA government conducted the military operation against Pakistan and taught that rogue state a good lesson, the people of this country would have given a hero’s welcome to BJP for the second time and they would have voted BJP to victory in the 2004 Lok Sabha election.

On April 21, 2001, Bangladesh Rifles abducted 15 Border Security Force (BSF) personnel into Bangladesh, They subsequently butchered all the 15 BSF men and carried their mutilated bodies like carcass of animals to return the dead bodies in an extremely humiliating manner. As a cover up of that criminal act by the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR), the government of Bangladesh said that our BSF men illegally crossed the Bangladeshi border and hence BDR captured and killed them. It is to be noted here that, even if it is admitted that the BSF men had entered Bangladesh illegally, it was proper for BDR arrest them and produce them in the court of law. In any case, they could not have killed them.

The most justified reply of the NDA government to this heinous crime was to give order to our army to cross the border of Bangladesh and march towards Dhaka, But our leaders, for the lack sufficient courage or for the sake of its newly adopted policy of Muslim appeasement, failed to take military action against even a small and weak nation like Bangladesh, On the contrary, they supported the claim of the government of Bangladesh that our forces had done a wrong and by entering Bangladesh without any provocation. Our PM sent his personal secretary Brojesh Misra to Dhaka to beg pardon on behalf of the Indian Government for the so called offence committed by our BSF personnel.

It is needless to say that all the above mentioned cowardice acts have completely shattered the image BJP had built up by fighting the Kargil War and testing nuclear device at Pokhran. And there is no
doubt that this loss of image had played a major role in its defeat in 2004 Lok Sabha election.

The Hindu Nationalist Party Turned Secular:

We should now have a look on the other activities of the NDA government during its tenure that lasted for 6 years. As a matter of fact, the BJP is a direct successor of The Bharatiya Jana Sangh
(BJS), founded in 1951 by Dr Syama Prasad Mookherjee and it was considered the political wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). After the murder of Dr Mookherjee in custody in 1953, the BJS lasted for 24 more years, but never seriously challenged the power of Indian National Congress It is well known that in 1980, a group of top leaders of BJS, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani, formed the new party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS duly recognized this new party as its political organ. So, it is not difficult to understand that “Hindutva” was the fundamental basis of BJP and its ultimate goal was to make India a “Hindu Rastra”.

So, before the Lok Sabha elections in 1998 and 1999, the BJP declared the followings as its professed goals. :

   1. No special treatment for any religious group or BJP would never resort to appease the Muslims for securing their votes.

   2. The Repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which prevents non-Kashmiris, including Hindus who have fled the area due to increasing terrorism, from owning property in the state of Jammu and
Kashmir.

   3. The Promulgation of a Uniform Common Civil Code, which create only one personal and civil law code for Hindus, Muslims and Christians.

   4. A Ban on Cow Slaughter, to honor the Hindu tradition of not consuming the flesh of cow, and prohibiting the consumption of beef.

   5. A Complete Ban on Religious Conversions

   6. The Construction of the Ram Janmabhoomi temple in Ayodhya,.

   7. To achieve the full territorial and political integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. Presently over 40% of the territory is under the control of Pakistan and China.

   8. Identification of Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators and send them back to Bangladesh and at the same time taking proper steps to stop infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims to West Bengal..

   9. Rehabilitation of the Kashmiri Pundits, who have been evicted from their home land Kashmir and living as refugees in the refugee camps in Delhi,

But after assuming power, the NDA government did not take any initiative to implement any of the above promises. On the contrary, during his visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister Shri Vajpayee assured the Kashmiri Muslims that, so long he is the Prime Minister, the Article 370 would continue. During election campaign BJP promised that it would never indulge in appeasement of the Muslims. But after assuming power, NDA government increased Hajj subsidy for the Muslims and hiked the salary of the imams. Previously the Muslims pilgrims intending to go to Mecca to perform Hajj, had to travel to Mumbai and from Mumbai they used to fly to Jeddah at subsidized rate. But the NDA government arranged flights from all the major cities of India to Mecca and built rest houses, specially for the Hajj pilgrims, in all the major cities of the country.

While it was expected that the NDA government, after assuming power, would strive hard to implement the above mentioned national agenda and hence to consolidate Hindu votes, but on the contrary, it displayed a strong inclination to acquire Muslim votes by appeasement of the Muslims. They floated the idea that all Muslims are not anti- nationals and there also exists a large group of good as well as nationalist Muslims, who are to be brought under the banner of BJP. Which was as ridiculous and bogus as saying, “All cobras are not bad and there are good cobras as well.” On the basis of this newly invented ridiculous, baseless and bogus ideology, they started to appease the Muslims in a big way, especially in 2000-2001, when Bangaru Laxman became the president of the Party. It is needless to say that from this time onwards, the Hindus started not only to reject, but to hate BJP and its leaders.

As mentioned above, prior to the 1999 election, BJP promised to identify every Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrator and send them back to Bangladesh, But after assuming power, the NDA government, according to their newly adopted policy of Muslim appeasement, took no step in this direction. On the contrary, it adopted a serious anti Hindu step in this context. Previously, the Hindus who, being persecuted by the Muslims, were coming to India from Bangladesh were treated as refugees. But NDA government deprived the Hindus from this facility (which is the standing policy of the UN) and started to treat the Hindus as infiltrators, like the Muslims. In one incident, a Hindu housewife, to save her life from the Muslim goons of Bangladesh, was crossing the border by swimming a canal and the Indian security forces gunned her down. Due to this step-motherly attitude of the NDA government towards the Bangladeshi Hindus, lakhs of Bangladeshi Hindus are still not getting refugee status and hence any assistance from either the state or the Central government.

Another important promise made by BJP was implementation of the uniform civil code for all the citizens on India, irrespective of religion or other differences. In this context, it is important to
note that, a verdict of the Supreme Court in mid-2003 upheld the necessity of enforcing ‘common civil code’ in India, which could liberate India ‘s Muslim women from the shameful gender discrimination like polygamy and oral divorce. But the NDA government, in tune with its new policy of Muslim appeasement, did not take any initiative in this direction, because such a step would have displeased the orthodox Muslim clerics.

Most importantly, the NDA government remained not only silent regarding the construction of temple at Ayodhya, but opposed any attempt or any movement for temple construction. During its tenure Vishwa Hindu Parishad gave a call for a demonstration of the activists at Ayodhya. But to frustrate the effort, NDA government promulgated an ordinance so that police can arrest anyone found to purchase a railway ticket for Ayodhya anywhere in the country. In Kolkata, many VHP workers were arrested and put into police custody, while they were found to purchase railway ticket for Ayodhya at Howrah and Sealdah railway stations. It is really surprising that the NDA government took such step against the people who voted it to power.

When the author of this article asked a BJP leader about this affair, he said that most of the allies of the NDA are secular minded and hence if the government wanted to move forward any issue concerning the Hindus, they would withdraw their support leading to a fall of the NDA government. The question naturally arises — Did the Hindus voted BJP to rule for a full term at the sacrifice of the Hindutva issues? The leaders of BJP failed to understand that, had the government fallen due to an initiative of the BJP to fulfill its pre- election promises, the Hindus would have voted BJP again, perhaps more profusely, and help form the government. But our leaders preferred to remain in power at the sacrifice of its pre-poll promises and thus earned distrust of the Hindus. Many Hindus began to call BJP as “Biswasghatak Janata Party”.

Thus, without caring for the sentiment of the electorate, who voted it to power, BJP or the NDA government dumped all its nationalist agenda into the cold storage and at the fag end of its tenure started
to build roads, as if the voters had voted it to power for making roads. Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was, perhaps, confident that the said road building and the economic reforms he had
undertaken, would return him to power again. But the poll results 2004 election reflected that he was wrong. He learned the bitter lesson that the Hindu voters did not make him the Prime Minister of India for making roads and bringing economic reforms.

During the 5 year period from 2004 to 2009, BJP has left no stone unturned to expose itself a truly secular party through complete renunciation of its Hindu identity. Its leaders failed to grasp that it drew strength and status from Hindu society alone and it was the Hindus who voted it to power. They failed to learn a lesson from the debacle of 2004 election. So, in stead of Hindutva agenda, they depended on good governance and development to win the 2009 election and kept silence about the most cherished Hindu issues like temple building in Ayodhya, scrapping of Article 370, enforcement of common civil code and so on.

Projecting L K Advani as the Prime Ministerial Candidate:

In this election, the leaders of BJP, without giving much thought, projected elderly Shri L K Advani as its Prime Ministerial candidate, whom a section of the Hindus have identified as a traitor quite a
long ago. Shri Advani is the man who, after the demolition of the old temple at Ayodhya on 6th December, 1992, said that it was the most tragic day in his life. Not only that, “Mr. Advani took the demolition of the contentious structure as a personal slight (he had promised the Supreme Court nothing would happen), and without any discussion with senior party colleagues present there, especially then party president Murli Manohar Joshi, resigned his post as Leader of the Opposition by faxing his resignation to the Lok Sabha Speaker and releasing the information to the press. The party was faced with an uncomfortable fait accompli”, writes Mrs Sandhya Jain in her recent article L K Advani: From History to Oblivion.

On 4th June, 2007, when Advani was visiting the mausoleum of M A Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan, said that Jinnah was a great man and he was secular leader. When I asked a BJP leader of West Bengal, about that contentious comment of Advani, to my utmost astonishment, he supported Advani and said, “Advaniji was right. In fact, Jinnah was a staunch secular leader at the beginning of his political career. But later on Gandhi and Nehru spoiled him.” If this was the BJP-way of looking at things, who would rescue it from its imminent downfall?

Nearly 7-8 years ago, when NDA was in power, Advani said that the day of idealism is over, now the day is of new ideas. Or indirectly, he made it clear that BJP would no longer follow the Hindutva ideology as propagated by its parent organization RSS. Or the ideology which had been identified by Swami Vivekananda, Shri Aurovindo, Dr Hedgewar and Guruji Gowalkar as the sole path for the revival of this Hindu nation. All such utterances of Advani makes one to convince that Shri Advani and his coterie have dragged BJP, originally a political party of distinction with the aim for achieving a noble and lofty goal, down to an ordinary political party of petty and conspiratorial politics.

As a result, Hindus lost faith in BJP and its staunch supporters, on their poll-day, remained indoor and enjoyed a holiday. Only 25 per cent of the Hindu electorates turned up at the polling booths to exercise their democratic right and BJP suffered the obvious setback. Only God knows how many years it will take to recover this setback and get back the confidence of the Hindus again.

BJP apes Congress, fails

Koenraad Elst

Right-wing parties all over the world have a common trait: Once in or near power, they betray their own support base. The BJP is no different. It is needlessly described as a ‘Hindu chauvinist’ party which it is not. To prove its ‘secular’ credentials, the BJP chose to become the ‘B’ team of the Congress. And was rejected by the voters

With great satisfaction, the world has taken note of the defeat of the Hindu nationalists: “The Indian voter has rejected Hindu chauvinism.” Subtleties such as the likelihood that the BJP has been abandoned by many of its supporters for not being Hindu chauvinist enough, don’t come into the picture. The typically Indian failures of the BJP that explain its defeat, I now leave to Indian authors to discuss. What has caught my attention is a trait the BJP shares with Right-wing parties all over the world.

 The label ‘Rightist’ is open to various definitions, the themes with which Rightist parties attract voters are different from country to country, and even on a single theme, their positions may differ between countries. But they have one behavioural trait in common: Once in or near power, they betray their own support base.

In France, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy came to power on a distinctly Rightist platform, which he largely disowned once installed as President. Thus, he had promised to oppose the entry of Turkey into the EU, but the first thing he did was to nominate as his Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner of the opposition Socialist Party, a declared supporter of Turkey’s entry.

In Britain, the Conservative Party is a copy of New Labour on all issues of consequence. People who favour its traditional positions now turn to the UK Independence Party or even the proletarian British National Party. Those who insist on loyalty to the old party-line, even top-ranking veteran Norman Tebbitt, are threatened with expulsion.

In the US, the real (so-called paleo-) conservatives have been frozen out of the Republican Party and are being starved by institutional boycotts. The party shuns matters of principle and limits its supposed conservatism to mindless flag-waving. While the party base favours Christian politics, the part elite downplays ideology and promoted as presidential candidate the faux war martyr John McCain, a liberal in the Culture War. Like other plutocrats eager to suppress labour wages by exploiting illegals, he laughed at the party activists’ demands for curbs on immigration. Consequently, conservative mobilisation for the party during the elections was lacklustre and defeat inevitable.

Doesn’t all this remind you of the BJP? The party favours mindless flag-waving over ideology and takes its constituents for granted. It assumes that they have nowhere else to turn and will follow the party in all its erratic policy shifts. Well, not really erratic, there is a transparent logic in the party’s betraying its core party-line: It dreams of enjoying the warmth of approval from its enemies, who happen to dominate the cultural and media sectors. It tells its voters: Since you are lambasted as reactionary communalists, we don’t want to be on your side. But no matter what non-Hindutva postures it adopts, the hoped-for approval from the secularists remains elusive.

In 1991 already, right after the election victory that made the BJP the leading Opposition party, it discreetly disowned the Ayodhya movement that had earned it this breakthrough. The media scapegoated Mr LK Advani for the subsequent Babri Masjid demolition, though everybody knew that it had taken place in spite of him. He had gone there to demonstrate to the secularists that he was the one man who could control Hindu anger and prevent it from demolishing this symbol of secularism. When the crowd bypassed him, he broke down in tears, and ever since, he has been deploring the event as the ‘blackest day’ of his life. Disowning his role of flag-bearer of Hindutva, he should have bowed out gracefully. Instead, his clinging on to the leadership reminds us of Mr Jean-Marie Le Pen, the aged French Rightist leader who has sacrificed his party to his own pitiable ambitions.

While Ayodhya was ‘merely’ a symbolic issue, the more political demands were likewise cast aside. When in power, the BJP didn’t make the slightest move towards a Common Civil Code, abolition of Jammu & Kashmir’s separate status or Governmental non-interference in Hindu schools and places of worship. The single attempt at doing anything pro-Hindu — Mr Murli Manohar Joshi’s exercise in rewriting the Marxist-distorted textbooks — turned into a horror show of incompetence.

During the latest campaign, the BJP downplayed ideology (except erratically in the Varun Gandhi incident) and betted all on ‘good governance’. Some BJP State Governments have provided that, to be sure, and in these States the BJP has been rewarded. But it could never be a decisive election-winner because Congress hasn’t done too bad in that regard either. Ever since Mr Manmohan Singh read out the 1992 Budget, the world sees his signature written all over India’s economic success. Even BJP contributors to that success, like erstwhile Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie, won’t deny him that honour.

In these circumstances, only a clear ideological profile, mature but distinct, could have won the election for the BJP. If it didn’t want that ideological distinctness and was content to remain the Congress’s B-team, the party could have learned from Mr Sarkozy to show this only after the election. Before, it should at least have kept up the pretence of being a party with a difference.

— The author is an Indologist based in Brussels.

Lokshabha election 2009 is over. The people of India has given their verdict, once again for the Congress party, whom they know for a long time. What stands out from that verdict is the clear rejection of many of the opportunistic politicians who had started to think of themselves as larger than reality. Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Jan Shakti Party, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party and even Mulayam Jadav’s Samajwadi Party have all been snubbed effectively by the electorate, who on the other hand, hailed Naveen Patnaik ‘s Biju Janata Dal and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), sending the clear message that the people value leaders and parties who work for their benefit. In Maharasthra, the Shiv Sena received a setback while Muslim and Dalit candidates were practically wiped out, again attesting to the fact that Indians favor developmental politics more than caste, creed, region or religion based divisive politics. The Communists also were effectively rejected, including in their traditional strongholds of West Bengal and Kerala, being reminded that negative politics and blind anti USA vis-a-vis pro Chinese ideologies are not accepted kindly by the electorate of India.

Perhaps one can argue that the same negative notions did not work against as well, in the case of  the Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee. Despite her opportunistic flip-flop from NDA to UPA, to appear close to her increasingly expanding Muslim base who themselves are disillusioned by the Left front government and her whimsical poltics not particularly known for development (remember Nano), she was able to play her cards well and synergize the anti incumbency factors, to dent the red fort built by the 32 year reign of the communists in West Bengal.

As for the fate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, I thought of attaching this article below. 

My personal impression of their debacle is that being proved the second largest national party, they need to reach out to the the whole nation including the South and North East of India and also to have their own media. There is no doubt that the existing Indian news and television media, specially of the English language kind, does cater unabashedly more to the need of the Congress Party. The predominant news related to the BJP or its leaders and allies are more often negative and conspirational and hardly ever champion their developmental efforts or project their positive agendas. It does matter when Indians wake up daily to see the familiar faces of Rahul, Sonia or Priyanka on their TV and read headlines pertaining to their ‘achievements’ in the newpapers, everyday. The BJP needs its own channel and media to publicize to the Indian mass the progress and developments that they are achieving in the states that they happen to rule and to advocate that they work for a strictly ‘national’ agenda, which does include the majorities of the country but not with the exclusion of the minorities.

 

Shock & awe on Hindutva Web sites

 B Raman | May 17, 2009 | 11:27 IST

There has been a lot of discussion going on for the last 12 hours or more on pro-Hindutva Web sites in India and abroad about the Bharatiya Janata Party’s stunning failure to do well in the election to the Lok Sabha, and the Congress party’s dramatic success.

The pro-Hindutva elements, which regularly visit and post on these Web sites, are in an astonishing state of shock. There is more introspection already going on on these web sites than in New Delhi and state capitals, and there is more loud thinking than in the endless debates on our television channels.

It is more interesting and educative to read these postings than to listen to the blah-blah of the spokesmen of different parties and the so-called analysts who have congregated in New Delhi.

As one goes through these Web sites, one is struck by the admiration of many pro-Hindutva elements over the way the Congress has given a youthful image to the party and over the quality of the intellect and powers of articulation of the Congress’s youth brigade. There is a grudging admiration even for Rahul Gandhi. Some admit that he has made an impact on the nation as a whole. Others insist that his impact is confined to Uttar Pradesh.

Many have compared the Congress’s youthful image to the tired and ageing image of the Hindutva leaders. Where are the young people in the BJP, the post-ers ask. The majority agree that L K Advani was a bad choice to lead the election campaign. They allege that instead of surrounding himself with youthful faces and intellect, he surrounded himself with old pensioners from different government services and the armed forces who were unable to read the mind of the Indian youth.

A perusal of many of these postings shows that the angry pro-Hindutva elements do not look upon younger BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Shourie etc as representing the newly rising Indian youth. They dismiss them as middle-aged backroom manipulators and not genuine representatives of young India.

Many of the postings say Advani made the election campaign a personality-based one and not an issue-based one, which was a serious mistake. Interestingly and significantly, many admit that the election has shown that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has no national stature. The fact that he has been able to galvanise Gujaratis in Gujarat and outside does not mean that he will be able to galvanise the rest of India.

They feel one of the BJP’s biggest problems is that it has not been able to produce a leader of national stature after Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It has produced a number of good regional leaders, but they are not in a position to expand their appeal beyond their region and beyond their respective communities.

I am reproducing below some examples of the kind of comments I picked up from my browsing:

1. ‘I think BJP should dismantle, and regroup under a new name, new leadership, with a bit more conviction (I mean the mental kind, not legal) and spine. Bottom line: The BJP does not impress Hindus any more, and it manages to frighten non-Hindus. Not a combination to win India.’

2. ‘How do old people like Advani answer to the aspirations of the youth and also how can they ‘connect’ to a grandfatherly figure when a much older figure like me sees him as an anachronism? Are you going to inspire the youth so that they will vote for Advani in 2014? I see it in simple terms: Manmohan Singh kept Advani engaged while the Congress youth brigade engaged the voters. This is a classic military tactic though I don’t believe the Congress worked it out as a strategy. But that was the effect and people should learn from it and plan for the future.

‘What worked in the 80s will not work with the voters today many of whom were not born then or were small children. The electorate is not static. Are you going to take them back to the 80s? Also, the BJP is being ill-served by some of its ‘intellectuals’, who talk smoothly on TV and score debating points, but have no clue about the electorate. This is soothsaying, not problem solving.’

‘A defeat of this magnitude is due to a fundamental shift, not minor issues like whether Modi or Vajpayee would have made a better speaker. I already see futile talk that BJP made a tactical error by bringing in Narendra Modi as speaker and so forth. This is like a drowning man clutching at straws. This shows that the BJP doesn’t know what hit them — the youth brigade. Where is a BJP youth brigade that can engage Rahul, Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya Scindia and so forth? Why did the BJP fail to cultivate them even with its vast cadre? It has five years to focus on this issue.’

‘Bringing up a cadre of young leaders should be the first priority of BJP-RSS. It should allow them some freedom and not put them in an ideological straitjacket. That will nip talent in the bud. My concern is more for future generations than the fortunes of any political party. Where are the future leaders? I hope people are listening. I will bring this up with some people I know and also mention it in a couple of presentations.’

3. ‘The BJP has to be a party for all communities if it has to be a truly national party. A party that has India’s interests as its priority and delivers on development will have no problems getting the support of a large section of Christians and Muslims. All that the BJP has to do is remove the institutional bias against Hindus that exists in government circles. That’s all Hindus ask of them.’

4.‘I am not a Hindu though I have Hindu heritage. I was looking forward to INC’s defeat mostly because I vehemently am opposed to the idea of dynasty. India is a republic not a monarchy. I am seriously disappointed by the disastrous performance of BJP.’

‘You are in the trenches against an enemy more powerful and more organised moving against you and as you are running low on ammunition, you don’t want traitors in your rank. You also don’t want ultra patriots among you who might do serious damage to your battle plan. It is almost like giving the enemy your ammo stock even while you are running low yourself. Varun Gandhi played that spoiler. He may have made a tactical error in judgement but the moment the national and international media caught that it brought about strategic implication. Sadly, the BJP’s reaction was hew and haw without clear and concise action/reaction.’

‘Remember how George W Bush disowned Trent Lott? That is what leadership is. Does not matter how charismatic a person is and how popular he/she might be but the moment he/she steps out of line, he/she however capable must be gone. In 1991 the deputy commander of all US forces arrayed against Iraq made a statement to the press about how the war would be waged. Norman Schwarzkopf fired him even though he was said to be a brilliant war planner because he went to the press without approval. Despite being friendly with the Bush family he was fired nevertheless.’

‘The BJP officials did not show leadership when it was needed. India has the world’s largest 20-something population. Many of these are urbanised or dream of being urbanised. Many move to urban areas in search for that extra rupee. Many of these even in the country are fascinated by Bollywood and its regional cousins. Admit it. Materialism, Westernisation and its associated fashions/influence is ever-expanding. In light of these developments, it would have been prudent for BJP to endear itself among this demographic.’

‘Beating up couples on Valentine dates or trashing pubs/nightclubs will alienate these folks. The Hindu forces should be geared to fight Talibanisation and not become like the Taliban. Believe it or not, of all the good things you do one small infraction is all that is needed for the media to show you like a demon. The zealots played into the hands of the media like fools. For a youngster in Chennai who has heard of BJP and other Hindu right movements, he would know little of what great work these movements are doing in Gujarat or Haryana. But he would hear from the media when a couple on a Valentine date get beaten up. That would be his impression of the Hindutva movement.’

‘Like the old saying: A drop of ink is enough to spoil a bucket of milk. Also, in light of this 20-something demographic, where are the young faces in the BJP? This is the largest 20-something population in the world and the largest voting bloc in the country. Eighty-something year old Mr Advani, no disrespect to him and his huge contribution to the country, but there is a disconnect and I don’t think he instills much confidence among the young crowd.’

‘All this time Rahul Gandhi and his sister went around charming whoever that could be charmed. Let’s admit it. We humans are visual animals. It is nature and no matter how indoctrinated we are otherwise, this will forever be dominant. In 2009, the India voter wants to see someone like him/her. Regardless of Manmohan Singh, Rahul was the featured face of INC in this election. Then the alienation and division among Hindus. Given that Hindus are intrinsically secular, stealth must have been the operative word. You cannot charge around like a bull. People however worried about their Hindu religion will be seriously repulsed. You should win the heart and mind of people via stealth instead of repulsing them.’

‘Does the BJP stand for all Hindus or some Hindus only? If a man does not do his husbandly duties, his wife will not sit and wait around. She is bound to seek the arms of another willing man. And there is no shortage of men who will not think twice of doing the deed when a vulnerable or willing housewife arrives on the scene. This is the same with the controversy surrounding conversion. Why do people convert to another religion? Can we all agree that the reason they convert is because the new religion offered them hope and other related benefits that the original religion did not offer? You can cry till your lungs burst about the activities of the evangelists but as long as you have a vulnerable population that you hardly care except that they convert to another religion. The ants will keep moving to where the sugar is. It’s the law of nature that you cannot change. Until Hindus themselves take the initiative to empower and help the downtrodden and vulnerable among them, these same vulnerable and downtrodden will be played for their votebanks by the cunning foxes.’

‘For a party that desires to change the nation, the party must first instill change in the party. Does not matter how INC does business or XYZ party does business, it’s about time the BJP does business differently and stand out as a force of positivity. Have a national referendum to select a party candidate just like the US primary. This will galvanise the rank and file and allow everyone a chance to vote their leader and give every party member a voice. Be the agent of change instead of giving lip service to it.’

”On the whole all these news about goondas beating up people, colour TV or sack of rice or money in exchange for vote stinks big time. What happened to the spiritual Indian? Does this prove that Hindu influence is depleting? No wonder Hindutva lost its appeal?’

‘Lastly, you cannot fight corruption by being less corrupt. You are either incorruptible or corruptible. BJP needs to stand as an incorruptible party that is for good governance.’

A caveat: Not all these people who post on these web sites are necessarily Hindutva cadres or sympathisers. There are some who feel more comfortable with the strategic thinking of the BJP on national issues than with that of the Congress, but they cannot be characterised as pro-Hindutva.

The Secular Class

by Dr. Jagdish Tummala

As I sit in my home in Detroit, Michigan, watching all the drama that is unfolding in the General Elections of 2009, I wonder how far the truth can be stretched. I am quite disillusioned by the definition of secularism being proscribed and prescribed to the Indian public. I was wondering what a lesson in secularism would be like if there was one; so, I thought of this fantasy classroom where secularism is being taught by a Mr. Secular Indian to his Gullible disciples who are pursuing a political career as a secular politician . Now tighten your seat belts and start thinking. Think what your definition of secularism is?

Mr. Secular Indian: I welcome you disciples to your first day in class. I know you people are obsessed with the idea of secularism, but I will help you build on this idea today which will benefit you tremendously in your political careers; so, let us start by taking some questions.

A Gullible disciple: I am confused about the idea of secularism. I feel I am a secular person, but when I see some of our English channels and listen to our politicians, I feel I am not – How do I get over this dilemma ?

Mr. Secular Indian: What makes you feel as though you are not secular ?

A Gullible disciple: I find myself agreeing to some of the views of BJP, especially on terror, international policies and common civil code etc. But the very next moment, when the panelists on these shows call it a farce and communal, I feel I am communal too.

Mr. Secular Indian: First things first. You cannot be called secular, If you agree with the BJP. You have to be a staunch opponent of BJP policies irrespective of whether you feel they are right or wrong. Be careful, you will be tagged as a communal instantaneously if you agree with them. It would not matter what you think about the upliftment of minorities.

A gullible disciple: Some politicians are even called communal if they go to a temple or wear saffron clothes, what do you think of that?

Mr. secular Indian: Well, you cannot wear any identity that could relate you to a majority community. You can go to the temple every now and then but make sure nobody is watching you. This might come to haunt you later in your political career. At the same time make sure you make frequent visits to churches and mosques and also meet some religious leaders, but this time makes sure you do it in front of the full glare of the media.

Meanwhile a Muslim gullible disciple jumps in and asks:

A gullible Muslim disciple: I go to mosques every Friday. Would I have to be careful too ? Also would I have to meet some swami jis in front of the media?

Mr. secular Indian: No, this does not apply to you as you belong to a minority community. In fact, if someone questions you about any aspect of your faith, just call for protection of your rights and your secular friends will take care of the rest. Talking about you meeting swamis, this could severely dent your chances of being a secular politician and your credentials might get questioned, even if you have to do that, do it behind the cameras.

A gullible Muslim disciple: I find myself agreeing with the BJP sometimes, especially about the introduction of a common civil code. I feel a different civil code for the Muslims is only alienating them and I do not agree with some of it’s clauses. How do I express this view?

Mr. Secular Indian: Again, the golden rule is, you cannot agree with the BJP at any cost. Even if the BJP is trying to do some good for the minorities, you will need to portray the evil in it. These are the times when your secular credentials will be tested. Remember, you being a Muslim and finding any of BJP’s comment acceptable, can spell doom to your political career. Common civil code might be necessary for the upliftment of the Muslims, but it is not acceptable to the Muslim masses. You can only take popular decisions in politics irrespective of the consequences.

A gullible disciple: I believe we would need to work hard for the upliftment of the minority masses to be called a secular.

Mr. secular Indian: Not necessarily, as long as you are anti-BJP and are making speeches condoning Hindutva, you need not do anything, just tell the minorities that you will protect them from the Hindutva forces and hope they might vote for you. At the same time, it can be dangerous if you try to bring a lot of development in the minority dominated areas as this would mean land occupations for roads, building, and schools instead of madrases etc.. It might be popular among few, but the masses would not like it. Always stay away from such controversies in the minority dominated areas. Moreover, educating them might harm you in the long run, as you might not be able to use them as vote banks.

A gullible disciple: What are the advantages of being a secular politician?

Mr. secular Indian: Numerous! Firstly, it negates several ills. You can be a gangster, a rapist or a murderer and you can still be called a good politician with an honest ideology if you are secular. You will be acceptable to all the secular parties and will never be treated as an untouchable in politics. Moreover, if you have any criminal cases or CBI cases pending against you, just lend support to a secular party at the centre and be rest assured that all the CBI cases against you will be withdrawn. Another advantage is you can win elections without doing any public service. Look at all the states which are dominated by these secular parties. They do not have to do any public work or develop anything. These states continue to lag behind in all human development indices. They know that as long as they are secular, their chances of remaining in power are high.

A gullible disciple: How do I tackle riots which are so rampant in our society?

Mr. secular Indian: Wait until the riots have subsided, you need not mobilise any forces to tackle these riots. But make sure you put the entire blame on the hindutva forces for the riots. Also portray the BJP as an accomplice and be very vocal about it in the media. This will exonerate you from being complacent during the riots. Look at the Mumbai riots and Babri demolition for example. A secular government was at the centre on both these occasions. They even agreed to these events tacitly, if not directly involved and let nature take its own course. But they make sure even to this day that they blame the BJP for anything and everything that happened. I am sure they could have done something about it, but they opted not to. Instead, they used it to their advantage and portrayed the BJP as the only evil. This is a great example of how you can maintain your secular credentials by just blaming the BJP, even though you were involved yourself.

A gullible disciple: Can you tackle Jihadi terrorism and maintain your secular credentials?
Mr. secular Indian: You have to be very careful when talking about tackling Jihadi terrorism. This is a condition you should be able to mend to your advantage. You should oppose every law that asks for a strong action against Jihadis. This will win you a lot of secular votes. In fact, if anybody tries to condemn Jihadis, reply to them by talking about Hindutva terrorism and always portray Hindutva terrorism to be a greater threat than the Jihadis. Also, try to magnify every violent incident associated with the Hindutva forces and make them look bigger and more threatening than the Jihadis. You will be surprised to know how many hearts you will win.

A gullible disciple: Muslims are equally affected by Jihadi terrorism. What if they do not agree to our idea of being soft on terror?

Mr. secular Indian: You have to create a fear psychosis among the Muslims and tell them that the fight against Jihadis is actually a fight against Islam. Tell them all the stories about how young Muslims are being tortured in the name of this fight against the Jihadis and that this fight would only create more terrorists.

A gullible disciple: What if the majority community gets angry with us for being soft on terrorism?

Mr. secular Indian: You have to make sure that the majority community is not majority anymore by dividing them into multiple factions in the name of caste or regions or languages and so on. Then select some large but disenchanted groups among them and promise them greater opportunity in every field. Now you will be left with a select few smaller groups which will question you. This is where you have to work like a salesman and try to sell your idea of secularism. If they still question you, threaten them with thoughts that they might be tagged communal if they support the same ideas as those being supported by the BJP. This works wonderfully and helps people soften their stance on terrorism.

A gullible disciple: How can we deal with the symbols of worship and religion and still be secular?

Mr secular Indian: You do not have to worry about the symbols of a majority religion like Ram Sethu etc., but make sure you divide the majority community so much that they start believing that the artificial lines created by you are more important than their religious identity. If they still persist on retaining their identity, then tell them that they could be identified with the communal forces. This helps even hardliners change their stance. Then you can even talk about destroying those symbols to appease the secular forces. At the same time make sure you never do anything to dilute the sentiments of a minority community. Remember, this sentiment is your bread and butter. Your entire survival depends on the minorities retaining their religious identity.

A gullible disciple: How can we tackle the media?

Mr. secular Indian: The media will give you a red carpet welcome. Remember, Indian media is the mouth piece of secular forces. They have been either created by the secular forces or been made to buy our idea of secularism. They cannot exist in this country if they differ from our viewpoint. The fear psychosis we have created helps us to make the media dance to our tunes. When in any TV debates, you can score a lot of points by making anti BJP rhetoric’s. If you find yourself in any trouble, just raise the issue of Gujarat riots and portray Narendra Modi as a devil. You are sure to come out of any troubled situation.

A gullible disciple: If you are tagged as a communal, is there anything we can do to get back to the secular brigade?

Mr. secular Indian: This is very simple. It is like conversion from one religion to the other. The easier we make it, the more it boosts our strength. Even if you are in the communal alliance for sometime for your own political advantage, you can dump these communal forces whenever you feel they are redundant and join the secular brigade. Remember Naveen Patnaik. He was tagged communal and his party was called a principal architect of the Kandhmal violence by the Indian media and the secular forces alike. Though as soon as he dumped the BJP on the question of ‘winnability’, he became the poster boy for secularism and everything that happened in Kandhmal was portrayed as a BJP conspiracy. We made everyone believe that Naveen Patnaik was just having a difficult time dealing with them. Also remember Kalyan Singh, the principle architect of Babri demolition is now trying to jump into the secular bandwagon and the secular forces are trying every bit to find him a place in their bandwagon. You can perpetrate the most heinous communal crime, but you can be secular any time you renegade the BJP. Remember, BJP hatred is the core quality required to become secular and other factors do not matter as much.

I will stop here and hope all of you had a very good understanding of secularism. Now work hard on these principles and you will climb to great heights in your political career. We will discuss some other issues in the next class.