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Mainstream, VOL LIII No 49 New Delhi November 28, 2015

Self-Destructive Politics of BJP

Friday 27 November 2015, by Sharad Rajimwale

well under two years of its rule, the BJP Government appears to be fast losing its steam; by all indications it has started huffing and puffing. Before that it found little difficulty in whipping up sentiments in its favour in its tempestuous ascendancy in the Indian masses’ imagination. The ground then was fertile enough for the saffron seeds to sprout into a crop of wild dreams that caused the voters to take the spurious for the genuine. The “fiftysix inches of chest”-brand of wishy-washy oratory had nothing in it except the mesmerising sound and fury pantomime that cast its spell over the gullible and benumbed their senses for that crucial stretch of time.

Sentiment is one thing and getting down to rational understanding of the multiple problems with a level-headed approach is another. And soon it became clear, the BJP ruling clique regarded this new task as nothing more than God’s gift of holiday leisure filled with gathering roses while the sun shines. It appears that their eyes suddenly lost the power to see what they had so impetuously spotted in every nook and corner of “sixtyeight years of Congress misrule”, which had come to form the base of their election campaigns and fantastic promises. The price-rise problem was regarded as a matter of routine phenomenon of either excess or below-normal rainfall; the farmers’ suicides, which caught world’s grim attention, was attributed to their own mental or marital problems; and the rising crimes against women and common people were brushed aside as figments of imagination. Swathes of glowing promises about bringing home black money tucked away in the safety of foreign banks filled the hearts of tax-paying, despairing Indian people with warm sunshine, as did Modi’s seductive mirage of “achhe din”. But if promises could do everything, Modi’s miracles would still be sitting there on the sidelines blinking at the extended term of Congress rule.

Among numerous handicaps that the Hindutva clan suffers from is its innate inability to accept the multicultural, multireligious social fabric of the country. Its developmental vision is entirely dedicated to the exclusivist theory which, as history repeatedly shows, has been the cause of many a fanatic ruler’s thundering debacle. Such blurred vision fails to gather the simple wisdom that no government in this vast country can rule successfully without including in its agenda the principles of secularism and socialism. The very exclusivism of its religious vision goes against the grain of our society’s character. Hence its reliance on the force of passion. In everything one finds high-pitched emotion forcing those superficialities and inane tokenism on people equating Hindu identity with such things as Surya Namaskar, Yoga exercises on a mass scale, cow worship and ban on its slaughter, and celebration of certain festivals with great fanfare, giving it all a clearly communalist edge.

Arousal of passion, as has been seen, more often than not leads to violent incidents. It must be remembered that within six months of Modi’s coming to power, a string of incidents of attack on churches occurred in Delhi, apparently unleashed by those groups that enjoy the blessings of the RSS and BJP. In most of the cases, the BJP leaders and Ministers, who ought to have reacted appropriately, preferred to maintain frozen silence till somebody, it appears, nudged them to remind that it was high time they showed some sign of animated spirit, if not an injured sense human feelings. Apart from the hoodlums of various hues belonging to militant Hindu groups, our saffron rulers feel it necessary to enlist the savagery of the government’s Police Department whose overzealous display of loyalty was demonstrated in the amazingly quick action they took in barging into the Kerala House in Delhi a few weeks ago over a mere telephone call reporting that beef was being served there; and then the way these policemen used brute force in dealing with the spectacle of peaceful demonstration of the AISF youth against the vagaries of the UGC.

It is not difficult to find curious similarities between the BJP-RSS combine’s prioritising emotional issues over real social questions that increase the pain and misery of the common people with the manner of Adolf Hitler’s own Nazi maniacs’ handling of the mounting crises in Germany of the 1930s before the Fuhrer stormed his way to power. The screaming pitch at which the minorities are targeted publicly by the Hindutva proselytes and their own groomed Peethadhishas, Yogis, Sadhus and Sadhvis, who have suddenly surfaced on the political scene, bears close resemblance to the provocative speeches of Gregor Strasser, Ernst Rohm, Goering, Goebbels, Frick, Erich Koch, Gottfried Feder and many other “fanatical ruthless men”, as William Shirer, the author of Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, calls them. These apostles of “blood and iron” never forgot the “humiliating Treaty of Versailles” and promised “the nation to shake off the shackles” of this bondage, just as the RSS never allows itself to forget the “humiliation of partition” and keeps promising restoration of Akhand Bharat. Related to the broad nationalistic passion are other irrationalities like savage denunciation of its critics, projection of vegetarianism as the divine boon granted only to Vedic Hindus, frenzy about Varanasi as a holy seat beckoning Modi to bow his head to its steps and convert it into a smart city and Ganga-cleaning programmes, etc. This is inevitably accompanied by an orchestrated assault, in some way or the other, on the freedom of minorities and the socially dispossessed for opting for their ways of life.

The utterances of the BJP leaders, riding the emotional tide of rowdiness, often make it clear to the minorities: “If you want to live in India, follow Hindu diktats.” How Jews were singled out by Hitler’s storm-troopers to destroy their lives and livelihoods and business and homes are recorded in detail in any book that deals with Nazi Germany. Hitler had a deep contempt for democratic norms and often grew impatient of orderly discussions. His continued obsession with Aryan superiority blinded him to the rights of others and created a hatred for both the non-German races and democracy that provides space for them. Mein Kampf is full of such diatribes as are his flaming speeches. Similar racial energy is mirrored in the BJP’s fixation with Hindu superiority which finds expression in periodic violence of tongue and action. The Nazis felt insecure about the existence of opposition voice, especially the Communists, and went about regularly disrupting their meetings and killing their leaders. The Right-wing organisations in our country see to it that eminent men like Dr Dabholkar, Comrade Pansare and Prof Kalburgi are eliminated permanently for daring to throw an open challenge to Hindu obscurantism. An air of intolerance, which is deliberately created, is a supportive cover to indiscriminately induct pretenders and danglers after mediocrity into key positions in numerous bodies and an institute, disdainfully ignoring mass protests, as was witnessed in the case of Pune’s Film and Television Institute of India.

The country’s culture was rapidly brought to the level of celebratory spree of tirades, slanders, mudslinging, character assassination and unbridled provocative verbal assaults in Nazi Germany. What is offered in India since the dawn of the saffron rule is by no means the noble exhibition of high ideals of speech and conduct that would make an adherent of the Hindutva ideology proud. During the speech-campaigns in the Bihar elections, the BJP leaders made it clear that they are the unparalleled champions of the kind of guttersnipe language whose equal cannot be found in those Hindu books, legendary tales, gospels and scriptures which, if made a habit of daily reading, would grant them the much desired moksh from the cycles of foul-mouthed degeneration and regeneration.

However, vitriolic passions by their very nature cannot go far. In an attempt to sustain it for eighteen months of their rule, the BJP leadership has begun to lose its hold over its sanity and the rule they so easily acquired. The Bihar elections have amply proved that, as earlier the Delhi results did. Modi’s flight to London to have dinner amidst chimes of Big Ben and tinkling cutlery of the indust-rialists of Indian origin, leaving his witless lieutenants like a blathering Arun Jaitley and a mumbling Rajnath Singh to gloss over the widening cracks—that predictably began showing with Advani and his three party collegues’ forlorn wailings—also indicates that the BJP leaders, like their Congress predece-ssors, have not learned to read the writings on the wall. Perhaps they require more hard knockings in the way of political reversals before the basic lessons are learned as indeed Hitler and his Nazi Party did..... alas, too late!.

The author is a retired Professor of English, Jai Narain Vyas University, Jodhpur. He is the author of 25 books on literature and language and a translator.