By Gladson Dungdung
Countercurrents 19 March, 2009
The BJP leader Varun Feroze Gandhi’s hate speech has triggered a political turmoil in India. But obviously it’s not an unexpected remark from the BJP family members. But what disturbs the nation most is the heir of Nehru-Gandhi family.
The BJP leader Varun Feroze Gandhi’s hate speech has triggered a political turmoil in India. But obviously it’s not an unexpected remark from the BJP family members. But what disturbs the nation most is the heir of Nehru-Gandhi family, the young Gandhi, who repeatedly claims of being a Gandhian has attacked secularism, slams Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence and made mockery of the Indian Constitution by abusing, provoking and attacking to a particular community while addressing an election rally at Pilibhit in Utter Pradesh on March 5. Varun Gandhi is a great grandson of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, who was the champion of secularism and secular politics. Consequently, right from the beginning India committed itself to the secularism and the Constitution was drafted on secular lines.
But what does mean by the secularism? Theoretically, the secularism is all about the equal respect for all religions, cultures and languages, and non-interference of religion in the state affairs and vice versa. The father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi had a very clear idea of secularism. Once he said, “I am a Sanatani Hindu. I will give my life for my religion. But it is my personal matter. About India whose fashioning I am struggling for, that will be totally secular. Neither my religion will dictate the state nor will the state dictate my religion”. According to the constitution of India, no one shall be discriminated on the basis of caste, class, creed, gender and region. Similarly, all citizens of India irrespective of their religion, caste or gender have right to vote and the articles 14 to 32 guarantee every one to enjoy same rights without any discrimination.
Ironically, the constitution was repeatedly made mockery by the communal forces. The RSS and the BJP also known as the Sangh Parivar not only reject secularism but also provoke violence against the minorities. The Sangh Parivar proclaims the theory of one people, one nation, one religion, one language and one culture. It means there is no place for other religions, cultures and languages in India, which is completely against of the secular fabric of the Constitution. The BJP has been campaigning against the minorities for decades with the only intention to capture the political power. The BJP leader L K Advani, then the President of BJP spearheaded the hate campaign against Babri Mosque, which led to the demolition of the mosque in his presence. Consequently, the BJP came into the power and he became the Home Minister in the NDA government.
Interestingly, the youth brigades of BJP understand it and already started to enjoy the communal politics but unfortunately they are being caught with their immature political speeches. But the question here is why the young Gandhi wants his political debut with such a huge controversy? Is he really against of his great grandfather’s secular ethos and learnt the BJP’s manipulated secularism? What does he want to achieve with it at the end of the day? One must recall that how the Gujarat CM Narendra Mode was made hero after his hate campaign against Muslims in Gujarat and Atal Bihari Bajpayee then the prime minister of India backed him.
How can one forget that after the Kandhamal violence, BJP had threatened to the Naveen Patnaik government for withdrawing support if action is taken against the activists of RSS and the Bajrang Dal? The Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa became Sangh’s hero for supporting inhuman activities of Bajrang Dal and Ram Sena in Karnataka. Similarly, Arjun Munda the former CM of Jharkhand gets a regular promotion in the BJP for his anti-Christian campaign in Jharkhand and the list goes on. Varun Gandhi gave hate speeches with the only intention to become hero in the BJP, which would ensure his PM candidature of the next generation in the BJP.
The BJP had accommodated Varun Gandhi to counter the Congress’s youth icon Rahul Gandhi. When Varun Gandhi joined the BJP he was always beating the media headlines. But after the general election 2004, he was completely forgotten by the party and he also failed to become the poster boy of the party. On the other side, the status of Rahul Gandhi with good images is multiplying day by day. When he visits to Dalit villages, stays in Dalits’ houses and even carries a basket of mud in the NREGA scheme, makes him the media headlines. Finally, he is the poster boy of the Congress and the PM of the next generation, which disturbs Varun Gandhi the most and his party has left nothing for him except a Lok Sabha seat. Therefore the young Gandhi initiated a hate campaign in his way, which the BJP was not aware off. He knew that giving hatred speeches and polarizing the community in the name of religion, makes one hero in the BJP therefore he kicked the ball.
But it is interesting to note that Varun Gandhi is not alone who has provoked the people on the communal lines in the recent past. The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, just a few weeks back declared that he will not say “Jai Shree Ram” unless the Ram Temple is constructed at Ayodhya. Is it not a communal provocation? The Sangh Parivar’s another hero Narendra Modi campaigned against the Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh in 2002, soon after Lyngdoh denied the BJP a chance to exploit the situation in Gujarat for electoral gains. While addressing a Swaabhiman rally at Bodeli near Vadodara Modi said, ‘‘someone asked me, has Lyngdoh come from Italy. Is he a relation of Sonia Gandhi?’’’ Modi said, “I replied that they sometimes met in church, so there must be ties between them”. The BJP had declined to take action against Modi and the party does similar treatment with Varun Gandhi too except asking him to apologize but he refuse. It is a clear hypocritical act of the BJP.
The question is though the BJP always ask for vote in the name of religion in a secular democratic country but why does the Election Commission not derecognize the party and seizes its symbol? Secondly, why Varun Gandhi is not arrested yet though a non bailable criminal case has been registered against him? Thirdly, the communal forces carry out the series of communal campaigns but why the constitutional bodies have become just mute spectators? The sad part is, since independence several major communal riots have taken pace in India including Sikh riot, Bhagalpur riots, Babri Mosque riot, Gujarat riot and Kandhamal riot but the country is unable to make a law to protect its secular ethos. The constitution has been made mockery from all corners. How long we would tolerate and witness this kind of foolish politics and vote for them to protect our holy secular democracy?
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based at Ranchi, Jharkhand. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org