Sunday, June 7, 2009


The analysis of the defeat of BJP and the remedies to revive are debtated vigourously in the blogosphere. There are also a lot of resentment that these analyses are waste of time and it does not serve any purpose. If one looks back at the History of Indian Freedom Struggle it could be found that the battle for freedom commenced in the thought process by the publication of newspapers and newsmagazines. Be it Tilak with his Kesari, Aurobindo with his Karma yogin, Bande Mataram, Bharathi with his Sudesamitran and Mahatma Gandhi with his Young India and Harijan communicated their thought process through the journalistic medium during the time when literacy was at its lowest. Blogs of today correspond to the Newspapers of that era. I seek the indulgence of the readers for making this blog look more of a Ramayana lecture than a political column since the symbolism of Rama in political thought is what defines this nation.

There is a virtual debate between the school of Hindutva diluters and Hindutva potentizers. When did the BJP came to be identified with Hindutva and whether it increased support for BJP – are the issues to be analysed to find the real problem. BJP's adherence to Hindutva is normally identified symbollically with the three issues of abrogation of Article 370, implementation of Uniform Civil Code and the resolution for supporting the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya at the place at which the structure called Babri Masjid stood. Of this the first two had always been in the agenda of BJP and its earlier avatar of BJS and BJP was not identified with Hindutva till the Palampur resolution for Ram Temple was passed.
Rama has symbolised the political thought of this nation and is sub-consciously engrained in each of the political activity. Savarkar cites the coronation of Rama as the commencement of the Hindu nation, while Mahatma Gandhi considered Rama Rajya as the ideal nation-state. How much Rama is engrained in many instances of our political processes could be gauged by a study of the character of Rama as enunciated in Valmiki Ramyana and etched in the consciousness of this nation.
Raamo vigrahavaan darmah sadhuh satyaparaakramah
raaja sarvasya lokasya devaanaamiva vaasavah.
“Rama” Mareecha says to Ravana, “is the embodiment of righteousness, with truthfulness as his valour is adored as King by all and as with Indra to all gods he is the king of entire world.” “Rama's principles alone make him victorious, as he does not deviate from the path of righteousness. And by not deviating from the path of righteousness, he is truly valorous and the question of his defeat does not arise, because he will abide by his conscience.” Mark these words. These are the very characters that become the ideal of every Indian and this has sunk into our consciousness whether we believe in the Rama in human form or in a Mythical form. This nation (even when there were no State to govern the nation) has never ever tried to be a cause of disturbance of world peace. Take the case of Bangladesh War. India overran the Pakisthani Army and rightfully proclaimed victory. But the Indians did not occupy the country for a day more than the declaration of independence. This is unheard of in world history. The international law recognises the presence of occupying forces as recently as in Iraq war. We did not do it. It was not Mahatma Gandhi who was in the throne at that time. It was the sterner Gandhi viz., Indira Gandhi at that time. But this is how a nation steeped with the consciousness of Rama would behave.
No wonder that the Rama Janmabhoomi movement had catapulted BJP from 2 seats to the centre stage of politics in the nation. In fact this was acknowledged by Narasimha Rao in parliament when he said that he can fight BJP but cannot fight Rama. This literally meant that BJP was fighting the cause of Rama not just the building of Ram Temple. What the nation had expected of the BJP was a Rama Rajya, which Savarkar the ideologue of Hindutva calls as the beginning of the Hindu nation in the following words: “The day when the Horse of Victory returned to Ayodhya unchallenged and unchallengeable, the great white Umbrella of Sovereignty was unfurled over that Imperial throne of Ramchandra, the brave, Ramchandra the good, and a loving allegiance to him was sworn, not only by the Princes of Aryan blood but Hanuman, Sugriva, Bibhishana from the south-that day was the real birth-day of our Hindu people. It was truly our national day: for Aryans and Anaryans knitting themselves into a people were born as a nation. It summed up and politically crowned the efforts of all the generations that preceded it and it handed down a new and common mission, a common banner, a common cause which all the generations after it had consciously or unconsciously fought and died to defend.”
The symbolism of Ram temple as a culmination of the knitting of the people of all region, religion, caste as a nation led by the Party as Ramachandra the brave or Ramachandra the good would have led were lost when importance of paradigm of governance set by Rama Rajya were overtaken by the electoral calculations or miscalculations. It is not just the cold storaging the ram temple issue but the perception that Ram temple issue was used to ride to power and such power was being used for indulgence that has done in the BJP. The behaviour of those who rode to power on the back of Ram Temple were perceived to be similar to the Sugriva Rajya as enunciated in the Kishkinda Kanda which Rama was forced to threaten for his broken promises. The reaction of the voters in 2004 and 2009 is similar to the reaction of Lakshmana against Sugriva.
arthinaam upapannaanaam puurvam ca api upakaariNaam
aashaam samshrutya yo hanti sa loke puruSaadhamaH
'He who promises the requesters that have come under his shelter, and especially those that have cooperated earlier, but breaks that promise, and even shatters their hope, he is the worst fellow in the world.' This is what Rama says of Sugriva for breaking his promises and indulging in pleasures of kingdom without taking concrete action.
This perception no doubt is largely created by the negative publicity that BJP gets from the Media. Rama Rajya is a good idea and ideology to fight for with or without the symbolism of Ram Temple and such Rama rajya shall reflect knitting together of all the people of this nation represented by the symbolism of Hanuman, Sugriva, Guha and Vibhishana which in current context may mean the poor, the downtrodden, the dalits and the minorities. The need of the hour is not the debate on ideology but the debate is to be on restoring credibility on what you stand for.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत - Arise Awake and Stop not till the goal is reached

One out of 130 fortnights available for Battle 2014 is gone. The Blogs, Articles, Columns of all those disappointed at 2009 hustings pour out frustrations and lamentations. There are conspiracy galores, thread bare analyses of the defeat and sane advices for future, of which some are for party and some party neutral advices – probably doubting the ability of the party to recover. This is the time to go back to scriptures or writings of great leaders. There are striking parallels between the thinking of the nationalists termed extremists of the Congress of late 19th and early 20th century and the Hindutva movement of late 20th and early 21st century. Shri Aurobindo, one of the foremost thinkers of nationalism during the intersection of 19th and 20th centuries in his article “A Task Unaccomplished” in Karma Yogin (exactly a hundred years ago on 3rd July 1909) says: “No policy can be successful which does not take into view the end to be attained and the amount and nature of the effort needed to effect it...To place before himself a great object and then to shrink in the name of expediency from the expenditure and sacrifice called for in its pursuit is not prudence but ineptitude. If you will be prudent, be prudent from the beginning. Fix your object low and creep towards it. But if you fix your object in the skies, it will not do to crawl on the ground and because your eyes are sometimes lifted towards the ideal imagine you are progressing while you murmur to those behind, “Yes, yes, our ideal is in the skies because that is the place for ideals, but we are on the ground and the ground is our proper place of motion. Let us creep, let us creep.” Such inconsistency will only dishearten the nation, unnerve its strength and confuse its intelligence. You must either bring down your ideal to the ground or find wings or aeroplane to lift you to the skies. There is no middle course.” (page 92 and 93 of “The complete works of Sri Aurobindo Volume VIII”)
This nicely sums up the predicament of BJP today. Having set out on ideals which enthralled the whole set of people who attained youth during the period 1989 (Starting with the palampur resolution) till 1999, the compromises made thereafter towards its ideological pursuits neither thrilled those who were enamoured by its ideology nor those who were enamoured by its idealism. There was not only a disillusionment amongst its core followers but also amongst those who though were ideologically opposed but who were favourably disposed on account of its honest articulation. What is the need of the hour?
  1. Restore credibility on what you stand for. Synthesise ideology with issues of governance.
  2. Do not discard any of the basic issues forming the core of the ideology.
  3. Counter media biases by institutional mechanisms.
  4. There shall be a tireless striving for stretching the Arm towards perfection.
  5. Know that your USP is being different and not in being perceived different – because perceptions can change when the mask goes off.
  6. Connecting to people is different from connecting to communities.
  7. Consensus should be evolved to take decisions and not to postpone decisions.
  8. Democratic functioning is not an antithesis to discipline.
  9. Those who ride on the shoulders of the workers, supporters should think that those who carry them are pall bearers and not palanquin bearers.
  10. There is more to politics than power, there is more to power than elections, there is more to elections than psephology and there is more to psephology than statistics.

Each of these require elaboration and over the weeks, fortnights, months and years these are to be deliberated and discussed thoroughly because the future of BJP is too serious to be left to politicians alone.