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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saffron Purge Or End of the Right Wing Politics In India

Posted by: danish Ahmed 2:44 AM

My last post began with the question, if the BJP was in its dying throes, and as i note later (or was rather reminded by fellow-blogger Meeta :p ) , the post ends with the same question! Indeed, this question is too big to be answered in one post,especially after Jaswant Singh's paradigm-shattering book and statements. However, the only thing that is clear is that the way the BJP is handling dissent, it seems to have made up its mind to bring in major changes after the poll debacle. As of yet, it has been seen as a clash of personalities with ideology having been relegated to the background.

However, Arun Shourie's latest outburst against the party leadership adds another dimension to the whole hungama (which i think resembles the climax of Kaminey :p) . His contention that the RSS take control of the BJP reminds one of the infamous Communist purges. In fact, purges are not limited to Communist history alone, every large scale socio-political revolution, has been followed up by a counter-revolutionary movement. Its an irony of fate that revolutions must,like Uranus, devour their own children because they threaten to subvert the very objective of the movement. The classical example is Napoleon Bonaparte, the hero of the anti-monarchy French revolution who went on to declare himself as the emperor!

The BJP's Ram Janmabhoomi movement can best be described as a cultural movement that sought to semiticize Hinduism and evolve national identity based on it. The fundamental flaws in the Sangh was its partisanship and its unwillingness to accomodate all sections of the population. After the initial enthusiasm had worn off a lot of its supporters found themselves following a sub-nationalistic agenda. Since then the party has been banking on the charishma and personalities of its leaders and good fortune of its regional allies. Indeed, if the NDA was able to achieve the distinction of being the only non-Congress government to complete a full term, it was largely due to the charismatic leadership of Vajpayee. True, the Congress had not yet recovered from the disarray it had fallen into during the end of the millenium and the BJP was the strongest contendor but it required extraordinary skill to pull along a coalition government like the NDA. Anyway, the NDA government was a positive development from a historical point of view. It forced the Congress to get out of nepotism, corruption and lethargy and almost rebuild itself.

As things stand now, the BJP as we know now, faces existential dilemma. It has had its day under the sun, winding it up would be the only logical conclusion. But that does not imply that the strain of thought that the BJP sought to represent would die with it. Let us not forget that the fountainhead of radical Hindutva ideology is the RSS which would continue to survive as a cultural group. The BJP was the RSS's political face just like the Jan Sangh was before the BJP came into existence. The RSS shouldn't be very keen to ensure the BJP's survival, after all, the former stands firm in favor of strict adherence to the core ideology while within the BJP now, ideology is the farthest thing in the minds of senior leaders squabling for power.If the BJP implodes or diminishes in size, it wouldnt mean the end of right wing politics. Various members of the Sangh Parivar, including the RSS through its various institutions, ABVP as a student union, VHP, Bajrang Dal etc would continue indoctrination at the grass-root level, until the next time.

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