Wednesday, Dec 25, 2002
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By Kuldip Nayar
That the BJP has reaffirmed its faith in Hindutva does not come as a surprise. After having a runaway success with this plank in the recent Gujarat Assembly elections, the party is bound to believe that it can replicate the model in other States. The party chief, Venkaiah Naidu, made it clear at the first national executive meeting soon after Narendra Modi was sworn in that the Hindutva card would stay and that the BJP would go on playing it.
But riding the wave of hatred in the wake of planned and state-supported killings is one thing and selling militant Hindu fanaticism to the voter is another. Except Himachal Pradesh, the other four States Rajasthan, Madhya Pradsesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi have the Congress rule.
Unlike Gujarat, the authorities will be maintaining law and order in these States and not helping the Hindutva forces in their nefarious designs. Policemen will be policemen, not swayamsevaks.
What the BJP is doing is the antithesis of Hindu religion. Intolerance and bigotry are not the traits of Hinduism. It does not categorise people into `we' or `they', black or white. It believes there is a grey area and goes on expanding it through accommodation.
The BJP and the other members of the Sangh Parivar have, in fact, disfigured the Hindu religion by trying to make it monolithic and rigid. Hinduism knows of no one church or one book. Its qualities are pluralism, self-control, detachment, truth, non-violence, charity and the deepest of compassion for all. The Hindutva practised in Gujarat contradicts all this and lowers our heads in shame.
This has been happening because many of its followers are busy politicising the religion, something far removed from what Hinduism in actual thought and practice is. The BJP's Hindutva is exemplified by the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the killings in its wake in Mumbai and the ethnic cleansing in Gujarat.
Which Hindutva the BJP is talking about? Is it what the Justice Srikrishna Commission has discussed in its report after an inquiry into the 1993 Mumbai riots? The report says: "Though ostensibly religious, the Ram paduka procession had less of religion and more of politics. Under the attractive garb of advocating one's own religion, the Hindutvawadis politicised the issue and tried to pre-empt the issue pending in the court of law, by their strident clamour for construction of Lord Shri Ram's temple at Ayodhya."
Does the BJP talk about the Hindutva, nay the Gujarat carnage, which the three retired judges two from the Supreme Court and one from the High Court have condemned unequivocally? They are among the eight-member Concerned Citizen Tribunal, which inquired into the happenings in Gujarat.
In their report, entitled Crime Against Humanity, they say: "Hindutva barbarians came out on the streets in different parts of Gujarat and, in all flaming fury, targeted innocent and helpless Muslims who had nothing to do with the antecedent Godhra event. They were brutalised by miscreants uninhibited by the police; their women were unblushingly molested; and Muslim men, women and children, in a travesty of justice, were burnt alive. The Chief Minister, oath-bound to defend law and order, vicariously contrived at the inhuman violence and some of his Ministers even commanded the macabre acts of horror."
The DMK has done well in distancing itself from the BJP-headed National Democratic Alliance after the adoption of the Hindutva resolution by the party. I think the Samata Party, the Janata Dal (United) and some other constituents of the NDA, which still claim to have secular credentials, should have left it, at least after the Gujarat carnage.
But they woefully look like part of the BJP's furniture. They must ponder over what would happen to them when they go back to the people in the next election. They were returned on a secular agenda. They have come to believe that power
is synonymous with politics. What they don't realise is that they have to go back to the voters.
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