People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 02

January 08, 2006

BJP's Naya Ramayana


Sitaram Yechury


A NEW Ramayana is being scripted. At the BJP National Executive meeting, Vajpayee, while announcing his retirement from "power politics", described himself as `Parasuram’ while anointing Advani as `Ram’ and Pramod Mahajan as `Lakshman’. This sounds, indeed, very strange. According to one interpretation of the legend, it is believed that Parasuram was angry with Ram as the latter did not wait for him to arrive at Sita’s Swayamvar ceremony where Ram went on to break the bowstring of Shiva’s bow. Parasuram himself being one of the das avatars, i.e., incarnation of God, was equally capable of breaking Shiva’s bowstring as Ram did. Parasuram and Ram, thus, shared an animosity.




What this means in the RSS/BJP’s Ramayana is anybody’s guess? However, BJP’s other second generation leaders perplexed and ostensibly hurt at being left out of such a description by Vajpayee started making incoherent noises. Venkaiah Naidu went on to describe himself as `Hanuman’, only to be told by a media reporter that Hanuman’s abiding relevance in the Ramayana was to bring the sanjivini (elixir of life) to keep Lakshman alive. As Hanuman, Venkaiah Naidu, a former president of BJP, will have to keep feeding the elixir of life to Pramod Mahajan!


Notwithstanding the unfolding of this theatre of the absurd, this National Council meeting clearly shows that the crisis in the RSS/BJP formations is deepening further. It appears very far removed from its initial projection as a "party with a difference". This difference it had, once, claimed bombastically lay in the fact that it had a distinct chehra (face), chaal (conduct), charitra (character) and chintan (ideology). On all these counts the RSS/BJP today stand out not merely as an expression of extreme degeneration. They have also contributed significantly to the overall decline in the political morality in the country.


The image of its erstwhile president accepting wads of money, in the tehelka episode, flashed across the country on TV sets remains the most abiding chehra of the BJP. Now comes the admission of a PIL in the courts alleging Mahajan as telecommunications minister had favoured Reliance to a tune of over Rs 1000 crore.


As far as its conduct (chaal) is concerned, the fact that it was forced to expell six of its MPs caught on camera accepting money for asking parliamentary questions speaks volumes. Adding fuel to fire came the exposure of its MPs accepting commissions in the MPs’ Local Area Development Scheme projects. This is confounded by the flip flop the BJP leadership adopted in dealing with this matter in parliament. They began by adopting the moral high ground by announcing in the parliament that they have expelled the concerned MPs. They ended by seeking to exonerate these MPs. In the Lok Sabha, the BJP led by Advani himself walked out thus distancing themselves from the otherwise unanimous decision of the house to expell the concerned MPs. In the Rajya Sabha, however, they were party to the unanimous decision of the House to expell the lone member caught in the scam who also belonged to the BJP.




The BJP’s conduct based on such duplicity is nothing new. All its leaders have spoken, in fact continue to speak, with a forked tongue. Recall the belligerent and provocative exhortions that Advani made during his infamous Ratha Yatra preceding the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He used to thunder "Mandir wahin banayenge" (the temple will be built on this very spot). This could only be done by demolishing the Babri Masjid in the first place. Mr. Advani, therefore, was directly provoking an onslaught on the Babri Masjid. Subsequent to the demolition, however, Advani repeats ad-nauseum that December 6 was the saddest in his life! He, in fact, went all the way to Pakistan to re state this. What else is this but a chaal (conduct) based on deliberate duplicity. One can cite innumerable such examples of other top RSS/BJP leaders.


Its duplicity is not confined only to statements by its leaders. Even on policy matters, there is an effort to deliberately mislead the people by publicly taking a supportive position that only serves to undermine the objective. A case in point is the recent amendment to the Constitution adopted by both the Houses of Parliament to provide reservations in private professional educational institutions. Though the BJP voted for the amendment, eventually, in both the Houses, it sought to obstruct it on the grounds that minority institutions, as defined in Article 30 of the Constitution, should also be brought under the ambit. This Article provides the right to all minorities, both linguistic and religious, to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. The BJP’s demand, therefore, could not be accommodated without amending Article 30. This is precisely what it sought to achieve, i.e.. undermine the minority rights enshrined the Constitution. Further, its tactics on this occasion was similar to what it adopted when the women’s reservation bill was introduced in the Parliament nearly a decade ago. By raising the issue of providing OBC reservations within the women’s reservation (raised first by Uma Bharti in the Lok Sabha then), the BJP has succeeded in stalling womens’ reservations in Parliament and Assemblies for over a decade.


However, if the Parliament had accepted the BJP’s suggestion to bring the minority institutions under the ambit of reservations, it would have been violative of Article 30. The Supreme Court, under these circumstances, would have struck down the amendment. This was the dual element in the BJP’s strategy. First, seek to undermine the minority rights. Failing which seek to nullify the reservations in private institutions in pursuance of its declared upper caste bias. In the end, however, it was forced to support the amendment lest it was seen in its true colours of being patently anti-reservations and anti-dalit.


As far as their charitra (character) is concerned, their own chehra and chaal have defined it. However, the recent resignation of the RSS pointman in the BJP for his alleged involvement in a sex scandal says it all. Publicly the RSS pracharaks have been presented as the epitomes of high moral character. Many of them were paraded with pride as confirmed life long bachelors. However, such exposures of their private lives demolishes this myth.




If there is anything that has remained consistent with the RSS/BJP, it has been its chintan (ideology). Despite steering the BJP to the position of a ruling party, Advani has been forced to demit office as BJP president mid-term, for his remarks in Pakistan which were seen by the RSS as a departure from its fundamental ideological tenets. The BJP was told that such ideological "impurities" cannot be tolerated. The adherence to the RSS concept of a fascistic "Hindu Rashtra" is the strict conditionality for the BJP or for any other RSS frontal organisations.


Herein lies the real crisis of the RSS/BJP. The pursuit of the high caste "Hindu Rashtra" agenda is increasingly being seen by a large majority of the Indian people as being anachronistic. Further, it has become absolutely clear that its ideological positions run completely contrary to the secular democratic republican character of modern India. The unity and integrity of a country of India’s size and vast diversity can only be maintained by strengthening the bonds of commonality among this diversity and not by seeking to impose an uniformity on this diversity. The ideology of "Hindu Rashtra" that seeks to exclude all non-Hindus from its concept of nationhood seeks precisely to impose such an uniformity on India’s diversity. This, not merely refuses to accept India’s multi religious diversity but refuses to accept all other diversity, be they linguistic, regional, ethnic etc.


While this ideological position itself is antithetical to the foundations of modern India, the practices based on such ideological foundations are spine chillingly fascistic. The recent discovery of a mass grave of victims of the 2002 State-sponsored communal genocide in Gujarat in Panchamahal district has, once again, exposed the heinous methods employed to advance such an ideological project and to gain electoral benefits by sharpening communal polarisation to inhuman levels.


The RSS/BJP refuse to realise that its ideological foundations stand, today, vastly distanced from the aspirations of the Indian people who are seeking to take the country forward to greater heights. The RSS/BJP, instead of looking forward to a bright future keep harking back into the darkness of the history in pursuit of its vicious agenda. It is, thus, an impediment for the consolidation and strengthening of the modern Indian Republic.