Monday, May 18, 2009

L K Advani: History to Oblivion

L K Advani: History to Oblivion
Sandhya Jain

Mr. Advani’s grief is understandable, but how could discerning Hindus vote for BJP given its utter disinterest in the Hindu people? Is Advani even concerned that Hindus will now face the depredations of a minority-pandering Sonia Gandhi? His instant flight from the public arena is symptomatic of a larger failing. That it has grown unchecked suggests grave and hitherto unstated shortcomings in the larger Sangh Parivar.

As BJP draws much of its public legitimacy and political muscle from the RSS ideology of Hindu nationalism, and the selfless service of RSS cadres, it may be pertinent to see where the interface between the parent organisation and its political offspring failed to yield fruits for the Hindu Rashtra both were supposed to serve.

As both draw strength and status from Hindu society, some measure of accountability is necessary regarding this electoral debacle at such a critical time in the nation’s history.

Dr. K.B. Hedgewar founded the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925 to promote Hindu Rashtra (Hindu-centric nation), inspired by V.D. Savarkar and Aurobindo. Simple chronology suggests that the immediate provocation was Mohandas Gandhi’s linking the struggle for political freedom with the Muslim community’s atrocious desire to restore the Ottoman Caliphate [Khilafat movement, 1919-1924].

Dr. Hedgewar was astute enough to realise that by establishing communal parity between the native Hindu community and Muslims unreconciled to loss of political dominion in India, and supplicating both before the Raj (Khilafat was discussed at the London Conference, 1920), Congress would subvert the cause of the Hindu nation. His links with Bengal’s Anushilan Samiti and Jugantar (he was imprisoned for sedition in 1921) led to an assessment that nation-wide armed insurrection may not bring results as quickly as desired because of the fragmented nature of the then polity; he conceived the RSS to unite Hindus nationally on the basis of common culture (hence the term, cultural nationalism).

But the goal was Hindu Rashtra – a Hindu-dominant polity nestled in the geographical boundaries of the now-elusive Akhand Bharat. That powerful geo-strategic-political factors have inhibited realisation of Akhand Bharat is one thing; that somewhere along the way BJP ceased to believe in and DESIRE it is an issue that bears scrutiny.

Babri bloomer

But the most inexplicable behaviour was that of Mr. Advani! Like Mahatma Gandhi after the solitary violence against a few policemen at Chauri Chaura, 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.

It beat me then, and it beats me now – what was there to be upset about? If the removal of the usurper-structure – either in a planned way or inadvertently through mob surge – was not the goal of the Ayodhya movement, what was it all about?

A few years ago, a man reputed as an RSS ideologue (whatever that means), smugly told some Hindu intellectuals that the Ayodhya movement was conceived to mobilize Hindu society. The goal was never to build the Ram Temple; he was aggrieved that Vishwa Hindu Parishad president Ashok Singhal took the issue so literally!

No one agreed with me then. But now, as Mr. Advani literally runs out of the public arena, RSS as an institution will have to take a call on what the proper response to the Babri demolition should have been for the proponents of Hindu Rashtra.

Mandal and Ayodhya

Caste (gana, jati), it bears emphasising, is a venerable institution of Hindu society; its system of uniting people and maintaining harmonious social conduct, so that minimal government is necessary at grassroots level.

Mandal injected a new poison into the polity by the sheer quantum of instant reservations granted to a section of society hitherto undistinguished from other groups; threatened the future prospects of large sections of the youth, and set passions ablaze.

In this scenario, Mr. Advani’s Somnath-to-Ayodhya yatra was truly historic – it not only drew attention away from Mandal, but provided a soothing balm to inflamed Hindu society and sought to unite the Hindu people on the basis of adherence to a common civilisational foundation.

How could Advani throw away all this?

More pertinently, why did he allow ‘minority’ to become co-terminus with Muslims, when the real threat to Hindu society today is from Christian evangelicals running riot under the patronage of Ms. Sonia Gandhi and the West, particularly the United States of which he is so enamoured?

The BJP – and even the RSS – need to remember that Dr. Hedgewar set up the RSS to oppose the British Raj as external enemy and Moplah-style assaults by local Muslims. Hindu society knows how to face jihad, but the challenge of Western colonialism has intensified today; Hindu India must understand that embracing the West is fraught with danger.

The Iron Man

But whereas Mr. Vajpayee had the personal grace never to speak in language that caused offence (a rare feat), Mr. Advani caused tremendous heartburn by berating a VHP delegation, “tum kab tak Ram Mandir ko ghaseette rahoge” (how long will you drag the Ram Mandir episode?), as did Ms. Sushma Swaraj with her infamous remark that the Ram Temple was an cashed cheque and “you cannot encash the same cheque twice.”

# To everyone’s astonishment, instead of taking concrete steps against illegal immigration from Bangladesh, Mr. Advani actually mooted giving work permits to the unwanted aliens! That the proposal never took off is another matter; but after that all talk of arresting Bangladeshi Muslim influx into India became hot air, and the most serious channel of jihadi infiltration into India remained wide open.

# As Home Minister, Mr. Advani faced increasing depredations by the defiant SIMI, and on one occasion, two intelligence officers were recognised and beaten badly when working in the Jamia area. He did nothing. More recently, his party tried to make some noise over the Batla House encounter controversy to score points against the ruling UPA, but so non-serious was their effort that none of these issues figured cogently in the election campaign.

# Amongst such daily disappointments – not meeting victims of Chhittisinghpora in a Delhi hospital; doing nothing for the families of policemen who died in the attack on Parliament House – what stands out most was a sudden uncontrollable itch to be Prime Minister. While rumours to this effect circulated throughout the NDA regime, deniability was lost with Mr. Advani’s autobiography – which reveals shoddy intrigues against his own boss, Atal ji.

2004 and after

Advani’s inexplicable hurry to be PM forced the BJP to go in for early elections in May 2004; the rest is history.

But he remained unable to learn any lessons, and hastily used the inertia of a shocked party to further consolidate his hold over the party and its instruments of patronage. In other words, Mr. Advani factionalised and coterized the party beyond belief. To mention just some salient points:

- He used his position as party leader to fill vacancies to the Rajya Sabha with unbelievable personalities like Najma Heptullah and Lalit Suri!
- Far from stepping down and paving the way for a younger leadership after a public statement by Sudarshan ji – he used his stifling control over all internal levers of power to browbeat the Sarsanghachalak to retreat.
- He was extremely cussed about the Jinnah controversy and far from resigning with grace, again utilised his internal control over all levers of power to reinstate himself.
- He attacked RSS control over the BJP and made himself Prime Ministerial candidate in the wake of the sharp rise of Mr. Narendra Modi.
- He neglected Hindu issues like Kandhamal.
- He made only perfunctory noises about Sadhvi Pragya’s continuing incarceration, whereas a vigorous espousal could have yielded a different result. If Samajwadi Party could make convict Sanjay Dutt star campaigner, could not Advani have visited Sadhvi Pragya when she was shifted to hospital?

On the nuclear deal, Mr. Advani engaged in classic doublespeak:-
- He opposed the deal (or so he said)
- Then he covertly agreed to it and his points man Arun Shourie wrote an article saying India could change its own laws unilaterally to get over the ill effects of Article 123 (which everyone knew was rubbish)
- He met Senator Libermann and told his friendly Left journalists that he would support the deal with minor changes!
- Did he ever discuss anything with the party – beyond the coterie, that is?
- Worst, in the vote for money scam on the nuclear issue – Mr. Advani shunned all party pleading to postpone the vote pending investigation and allowed the government to have a walkover. I am too old to believe in mistakes – things happen with intent.
- Why did he fail to manage floor coordination with the Left when all his favourite journalists are known Leftists, some even card-bearing members of the CPM?
- Finally, as the elections drew to a close, anticipating a banquet dinner at the White House, he again made polite noises about accepting (sic) the nuclear deal. How is BJP now going to oppose this slave treaty? Shame.

Peter Burleigh

Whom did Advani consult (only Venkaiah Naidu?) and why did he meet American diplomat Peter Burleigh on the last day of polling (13 May)? What was Venkaiah’s previous conversation/deal with Burleigh which paved the way for the meeting with Advani?

An answer cannot be avoided amidst rumours that the gentleman, posted in India previously when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, was asked to leave the country for activities inconsistent with his diplomatic status. Hint – his profile shows he was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (1989-1991).

Election 2009 – The BJP got what it deserved - II

Election 2009 – The BJP got what it deserved - II
Radha Rajan

On parasites and spitting partners

The first grim warning signal that the BJP was ready to cast its distinctive ideology aside came during the 1999 elections to the Lok Sabha. The BJP made the (mis)calculated choice of not going to the people with its own manifesto but with something called NDA Agenda for Governance (NAG). As early as in 1999, barely within a year of the BJP coming to power in Delhi as a Hindu political party, there was no BJP, only a motley group of opportunists around an ascendant BJP called NDA.

By choosing not to go to the people and seek their mandate on the basis of its ideology and presenting the country with a deracinated document called NAG, the BJP with deliberate intent abdicated its responsibility to the Hindus and allowed itself to be ‘secularised’ by the parasites feeding on it.

Every one of the components that went into the unnatural creature called NDA were regional parties which back home relied on the Muslim and Christian vote.Every parasite openly courted the Abrahamic minorities but denied the BJP, off whose body they were fattening themselves, its right to speak for the Hindus.

The parasites extracted a double price from the BJP for the privilege of eating into the BJP’s vitals – not only must the BJP efface all its distinctive features which made it a Hindu party, it should also not make any move to ‘grow’ in the states which these regional parties considered their personal fiefdoms.

Atal Behari Vajpayee managed the 24-party coalition “successfully” only by destroying his own party. Parasites became ‘coalition partners’, walking with crutches became ‘taking everyone along’, opportunist buckling to parasite pressure became ‘coalition dharma’ and Ramjanmabhumi became an ‘encashed cheque’ and ‘BJP is not a construction company’.

The inevitable consequence of the untrammeled power of these individuals was that the RSS was also forced to endure the handicap of silence and inaction. Consequently, instead of the BJP looking like the political wing of the RSS, the converse became true and the RSS began to look more and more like the BJP. And even as all this was happening, the rift between the BJP and the VHP over Ramjanmabhumi widened and eventually all communication between the siblings broke down completely.

The time for polite silence and text-book discipline has passed. The Hindu nation is larger than individuals, organizations and political parties.

The first thing to be done is to silence all public voices in the BJP until the introspection process is complete, responsibility is pinned and hierarchy is restored. The second thing to do would be to state emphatically that the innumerable journalists and editors who had been promoted as the voice of the BJP for purposes of television news channel appearances no longer speak for the party.

Tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

Tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)

By Satinath Choudhary

Producing doctored EVMs is child’s play:

Control-units keep track of votes by recognising them only by their serial number on the list of candidates on the poll-units on which people vote. So any tampering of the control-unit chip has to be done only after the serial number of various candidates in the list of candidates appearing on poll-units have been assigned.

Normally returning officers declare the serial number assignments after the last day of withdrawal of nominations, which happens about two weeks before polling. ROM chips with mischievous codes can be readied within hours after the candidates’ serial numbers are known. During the two weeks before polling, the malicious ROM chips, or the motherboard, or possibly the whole control-unit, whatever appears easier, may be caused to replace the original ones.

Luckily, this kind of possibility of a fraud before voting can be easily remedied. Instead of declaring the serial number of candidates two weeks in advance of polling, the serial numbers may be decided at each polling booth by random draws by the presiding officers in the presence of the polling agents of various parties just an hour or so before the poll opening. Thereafter their names may be affixed on the poll-units in appropriate order in the presence of the poll-agents. All that will need to be done by the POs is, paste them on the poll-units in proper order by the time the poll opens. This entails different serial orders for candidates in different booths. But that only improves fairness towards the candidates, distributing the chance to be at the top or bottom of the list more evenly.