|E D I T O R I A L
P A G E
Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Rewarding defectors, Chautala
CAUSE OF DISARMAMENT
will dualism last?
November 8, 1924
Rewarding defectors, Chautala style
HARYANA Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala is famous for making up his mind and changing it in double quick time. Even his friends have stopped speculating on his actions or trying to see logic in them. Yet he never fails to surprise everyone. And his Divali eve reshuffle of ministry is the biggest in the past three months. For one thing, none of the new entrants is from his own flock of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) MLAs. He has thus shown a partiality for new and old defectors from the Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas Party. What is more, three new Ministers still continue to be HVP members, thus exposing themselves for action under the anti-defection law. The Chief Minister added spice to the proceedings by dropping two Cabinet Ministers. Actually he sacked them without extending the courtesy of seeking their resignation. And they are heavyweight politicians who organised dissidence and finally succeeded in toppling the HVP government. Mr Narbir Singh and Brij Mohan Singla must be wondering why they earned Mr Chautalas wrath. True, they have been grumbling about their unimportant portfolios, considering the crucial role they played in installing Mr Chautala as Chief Minister. They are also accused of conspiring with the BJP. Conspiring? Given the BJPs 12 MLAs and its need for Mr Chautalas five MPs, it is harsh to accuse the twosome of hatching any plot. Searching for a political shoulder to shed a tear or two is not the same thing as trying to pull the rug from under the Lok Dal feet. Their criticism of grim law and order situation and erratic electricity supply does not warrant dismissal.
Two factors come out
loud and clear from the reshuffle. The Chief Minister has
expanded his legislative support base. One calculation
shows that he can count on 47 votes consisting of 36 MLAs
of his INLD, including defectors, seven independents and
four HVP men who have now joined his ministry. This
quantum jump explains the disproportionate representation
of former HVP members as many as 18 in the
21-strong team. This also means that the bizarre
political situation of yesterdays critics turning
into todays admirers, is equally unstable. The
Chief Minister must be thinking of a mid-term election in
view of the excellent showing in the Lok Sabha poll.
After meeting the demand for seats by the BJP and his
party men, he will have very few seats to offer the
defectors. That could well be the time when defectors
redefect to safeguard their political future. Mr Chautala
is ignoring those who fought and won the Assembly
election on his party ticket and for a very good reason.
They have no place to go and the possibility of a fresh
election and the party having a majority on their own or
with the ally, the BJP, is a dampner on undue ambition.
How long the INLD MLAs sulk silently is the biggest
puzzle. The BJP has so far shown no inclination to join
the government, though some leading lights are impatient
to become Ministers. It has an eye on widening its appeal
in the rural areas, which does not suit Mr Chautala. In
Haryana it is politics of inconvenience.
Divali's joy & sorrow
DEEPAWALI has passed off. A little joy amidst much sorrow: this is the balancesheet. First the cheerful part. The last festival of lights of the millennium has sent out the message of religious and social tolerance from the Union Capital where spiritual guides of diverse faiths and beliefs, including the Pope, spoke of the inseparability of the fatherhood of God with the brotherhood of man in a tranquil society. Pope John Paul II has left India fully reassured that diversity has strengthened unity in the land of Gandhi. The devout, particularly in West Bengal, have made the Kali pooja an occasion for diverting profligacy or glint and sheen to material help and solemn prayers for the cyclone-victims in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and pockets of their own state's vulnerable areas. This is true religiosity in action. Cracker blasts, noise pollution and pompous fireworks, too, have been voluntarily kept within limits. This represents the assertion of civilisational values in this forward-looking era of science and sense. However, some bad news has dimmed the luminosity of the event.
A village near Ghaziabad, which has been run like a miniature Sivakasi with the ignominy of UP's waywardness and scant respect for law, reported many deaths in an explosive-making "chor bazar". Eye-witnesses reported about 100 deaths and serious injuries. Delhi escaped with minor odium. Amritsar witnessed limited
damage as Jammu did. But
Sonepat, in Haryana, not very far from Delhi, was the
scene of at least 44 deaths and numerous casualties,
besides the loss of property and commercial
infrastructure. The dead included 16 women and eight
children. In the Kutchcha Quarter Market of the Ashok
Nagar locality, sparks from ill-maintained, high-tension
electric wires led to the ignition of material in
cracker, plastic and cloth shops; many of these were
destroyed. Those who hid themselves in darkness closing
the shutters, perished mainly because of suffocation.
Persons with severe burns went either to their long home
or to unprepared and poorly equipped hospitals. This
second major fire tragedy in Haryana (the first was in
Dabwali in 1995) requires serious thought. If the
administration in any part of the country cannot maintain
its electrical, telecommunication and disaster-management
networks properly, it should accept a thorough overhaul.
The guilty of non-superintendence, corruption or lack of
interest should be severely punished. Mere magisterial
enquiries do no good. The Haryana Government owes an
explanation to the public for the tragedy. The
smokescreen of frequent political change cannot hide
fiery culpability. People in general should learn to
avoid danger on all occasions with the potential of
physical harm or circumstantial mischief.
THE CAUSE OF DISARMAMENT
WHO is to control the agenda of disarmament and shift it from its current focus on non-proliferation? How is this to be done? Where are the main sites of this struggle? While there is always a welcome place for the symbolic politics of public protest and opposition, some of the principal sites of sustained disarmament activities have shifted in the post-Cold War period from outdoors to indoors; from the streets to institutionalised diplomatic settings of inter-governmental negotiations and discussions. The principal forms of disarmament activities have shifted from pressurising through mass actions to pressurising through informed lobbying; from fervent public denunciations to calculated exposures of the fallacies and weaknesses in the briefs of the NWSs, and through the provision of practical and carefully worked out projects for accelerating disarmament.
There are three key actors in todays world of disarmament activities. There are the mass movement structures. Then there are the anti-nuclear NGOs possessing various kinds of expertise. This can be in an understanding of the intricacies of disarmament negotiations, in the technical skills they bring to the discussion of possible restraint and reduction measures, in the deftness with which they can communicate with a wider public both through and besides the public media networks. Finally, there are certain governments that have become thoroughly fed up with the procrastinations and deceits of the NWSs and their non-nuclear allies, and have taken it upon themselves to play a more aggressive activist role in global nuclear diplomacy.
The first are to be found in certain countries, most notably the UK, the USA, Germany and Japan. They have some kind of functioning national network or structure of propaganda, membership lists in the thousands, capacities to periodically or occasionally play a major role in organising mass actions. In some cases, they have living links with major national political parties or mass organisations such as trade unions. Perhaps the more important examples of this are the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and its links with the Labour Party in the UK, and the current Greens-SPD coalition government in Germany. Under the umbrella of the Greens, there exist strong anti-nuclear and environmental groups.
The second set of actors are scattered throughout the First World, but again mainly in the USA, Western Europe, and Japan. Not all are single-mindedly focused on the nuclear issue. And many pursue multiple agendas. Some possess expertise of such high quality that they are valued sources of informational and analytical inputs for governmental delegations of many NNWSs in the various fora for the ongoing disarmament-related negotiations in Geneva and New York.
The third set of agents are a select group of governments strongly committed to disarmament. For the first time, an informal concert of countries has emerged that has broken with the fixed mould-set by the Cold War of First, Second and Third World blocs. It was the formation of the eight-member New Agenda Coalition that really signalled this important development. Seven of those countries (Slovenia dropped out of the eight), plus Canada and Australia, and a few others like Costa Rica and Norway are the governments now most determined to take the lead in promoting disarmament. Those seven are South Africa, New Zealand, Egypt, Brazil, Mexico, Sweden, and Ireland.
Lobbying for disarmament is not just a question of those countries working in greater cooperation with one another, it is also a matter of closer and better coordination between mass movement structures, activist NGOs, individual disarmament experts, and these governments. This is the organisational challenge that has to be addressed and overcome. Even as a possibility yet to be concretised, this kind of loose association or informal partnership is something new in the history of disarmament efforts, but if it comes to fruition, the arrangement possesses a real potential for achieving what is needed accelerating the global momentum towards disarmament.
Any serious effort at disarmament must simultaneously follow two tracks. It must pursue comprehensive or absolute measures of total disarmament as well as transitional and incrementalist measures of restraint and reduction. Going along the second track but ignoring the first is to fall into the trap happily laid by the NWSs. It risks making each incremental measure a goal in itself and failing to see it as part of a larger process whose direction must be controlled and momentum accelerated. It is to risk following the tempo and pace laid down by the NWSs which will not only enormously lengthen the time-scale over which total disarmament can be achieved but risks forever postponing that goal to an ever more distant and difficult-to-see horizon. The longer we postpone total disarmament, the more we risk nuclear disaster. It is also to risk entrapment in a non-proliferation order rather than to fight to break that order and shift matters towards disarmament.
However, following the first track without pursuing the second is hopelessly impractical. The momentum towards global disarmament cannot be sustained without partial successes. Convincing the governments and peoples of the NWSs to accept total disarmament is itself a process that will require partial successes. It is these advances that help generate the realisation that a world completely free of nuclear weapons is not just desirable but feasible: this is not just a workable global order but a reachable one.
What about the prospects for denuclearisation of India and Pakistan? As the weakest and newest entrants to the nuclear club, what chances are there that they might be prepared to give up their unclear status and preparations? Dim as the prospects must seem for the near future, there are possibilities here which do not exist in the other five NWSs, even if in the next few years both countries induct and deploy rudimentary weapons systems against each other. The reason for this is because of all the NWSs, Pakistan was the most reluctant to acquire this status, the most worried about the sacrifices involved in maintaining it, and the NWS still most willing to give it up if just one other NWS India were to do the same. A unilateralist renunciation by Pakistan is very difficult to envisage. However, though the struggle for a South Asian NWFZ (nuclear weapon-free zone) has become more difficult than it was before May, 1998, this perspective continues to retain a relevance and feasibility that makes its prospects of achievement considerably greater than the full and rapid denuclearisation of any other NWS or set of NWSs.
This is the case for the three reasons. First, though that section in the pro-nuclear lobby of Pakistan which sees the possession of nuclear weapons as a hedge for its inferiority in conventional military strength vis-a-vis India has become stronger, the prospect of non-nuclear parity between the two countries, if it again appears feasible, will always be strongly attractive to the larger part of the Pakistani elite. Indeed, it may well prove to be the case that a popular anti-nuclear movement in Pakistan will be the initiating factor in generating a similar popular response in India. The greater the number of ordinary Pakistanis who call for an end to the regional nuclear madness, the more likely are ordinary Indians to respond in kind.
Second, for all Indias determination to build a credible second-strike capacity against China, not only can this take much longer than currently anticipated, but it may not even properly materialise. For all its ambitions, Indias nuclear capabilities may remain effectively confined to the South Asian region. If such a situation were to coincide with growing public unease, then the call for regional disarmament in the shape of South Asian NWFZ will achieve a stronger and growing resonance. Such an unease can develop both because of the dangers of the regional face-off with Pakistan and because of the sacrifices entailed in preserving the nuclear arsenal given the demands on resources that other problems and priorities fighting poverty and illiteracy, or maintaining internal stability, etc will make.
The third is not so much a reason as a condition of possibility. The post-1998 period is not the same as post-1945. There is more international anger and greater public delegitimisation of such weapons and of the countries that have them. If there are further incremental advances in the process of nuclear restraint and reductions, then both India and Pakistan will come under severer pressure for being the only two NWSs which, as newer entrants, are seeking to increase the size and sophistication of their arsenals when on the whole the others are slowing down and moving in the opposite direction. Thus, the prospects for denuclearisation of South Asia, say, in the form of a South Asian NWFZ, are clearly tied to the prospects for the successful achievement of other valued restraint and reduction measures.
As we approach the third millennium, humanity is confronted with certain problems ever more universal and international in character which also cry out for universal commitments and universal struggles and solutions. Nuclearism is one such problem, but there are others and each and all of them have to be tackled. How strong or weak the successes or failures on each front will be we cannot know, any more than we can know how these successes and failures will reinforce or counteract each other. That these efforts will, however, be connected in some way we can be certain. There are growing economic and social inequalities between and within countries. The obscenity of extreme wealth and extreme poverty not only persists but also the distance between the two is widening. By 2050 the worlds population will reach the incredible figure of 10 billion or thereabouts. The pressures this will impose are not today fully imaginable. While there is some consolation to be had from the fact that liberal democratic forms of political governance have spread to cover more countries and peoples than ever before, the bad news is that democracy, like butter, has also thinned as it has spread.
An unbridled and rampant form of capitalism is exacting the kind of ravages of our eco-system which, if it is not checked, promises irreversible damage of certain kinds, even possible disaster, some time in the twenty-first century.
Indeed, there is something of a race between what might come first: a global ecological crisis of the first magnitude or a nuclear disaster of the same order or magnitude.
Some time in the next 50 years, and certainly before the twenty first century ends, the world has to eradicate the evil of nuclearism and achieve total disarmament. If it cannot be done over this time span, then it is virtually inconceivable that it can be done over a longer one assuming all the while that someone, somewhere, still does not pull that nuclear trigger. The danger of a nuclear apocalypse tends to provoke a dismally pessimistic note in ruminations about possible futures. It need not and should not.
What has happened over the past 50 years and more provides at least as many sources of hope and optimism as it does of despair and pessimism. Indeed, the cause, of nuclear disarmament, in comparison with so many other worthy causes, starts with an inestimable advantage. Apart from a small handful of nuclear diehards, the vast, overwhelming majority of humanity genuinely believes that a nuclear-free world is desirable, necessary, and feasible. The crucial collective project is to make that pervasive sentiment the political force it can and should become. This is the crucial struggle of our times. If it succeeds, there is everything, indeed literally a whole world, to be gained.
Musharraf firm on vendetta
THE news from Pakistan and for Pakistanis is grim. And what is grim news for Pakistan, needless to say, cannot be good news for the region, India included. Gen Pervez Musharraf has made it abundantly clear that he is there for keeps. Nothing will budge him, nothing will shake his resolve. He has set out a task for himself: to cleanse Pakistani public life, to strengthen the federation and, above all, to carry out his personal vendetta against deposed Prime Minister, Mr Nawaz Sharif. To revive Pakistani institutions, to bring the corrupt to book and to hold the divisive provinces together is by no means a small task. It is a colossal enterprise and if only one was sure of General Musharrafs intentions one might even have said, good luck to you.
Unfortunately for Pakistan and by implication for that countrys neighbours, there is a familiar ring to the Musharraf-talk one has heard these past few weeks. Like Gen Zia-ul-Haq, he has started out as a do-gooder, who wishes nothing short of the best of the country. And, like Zia, he has reserved his worst for the man he deposed. The first is a noble idea and Pakistan could do with a lot of good intentions backed up by good deeds. The latter is worrisome because it underscores the vengeful streak in the man. He will not let Mr Nawaz Sharifs family meet him, barring one phone call, at which an army officer hung around for the whole of the hour the conversation lasted. The Canadian Foreign Ministers request on behalf of the visiting Commonwealth team to see Mr Sharif was brashly turned down by the General personally, as if to confirm to the rest of the world that he did not care what it made of it. God-like, General Musharraf seemed to suggest, vengeance is mine, I will repay it.
The Raiwind estate, a monumental affair that it is spread over hundreds of acres, has for all practical purposes, been converted into a place under seige. Mr Sharifs ageing father, his wife and other family members are not free to move out nor can they receive visitors. So far as Mr Sharif himself is concerned, its a secret held close to General Musharrafs chest, his whereabouts (somewhere near Islamabad) are known only to military high-ups; access to lawyers or legal help is barred. How exactly Mr Sharifuddin Peerzada, General Musharrafs legal wizard, reacts to it is not known. But what is known is that Peerzada, one of Pakistans genuine legal luminaries, was also General Zias top legal aide. A coincidence that the General at his first press conference in Islamabad on Monday should have spoken of making the necessary amendments to the countrys constitution which was the task Peerzada performed even for General Zia.
Funnily, one of the charges touted about is Mr Nawaz Sharifs collusion with Indian. How one wishes that it had been so. For, collusion, if at all, between the top elected leaders of the two countries would certainly have led to a peaceful relationship between the two quarrelling neighbours. Mr Sharif, to my mind, is as proud a Pakistani as one can be. Remember how he proffered the olive branch to Mr Narasimha Rao in Davos (Switzerland), making the former believe that a beginning in the right direction may have at last been made. However, Mr Sharif, on his return home, announced the observance of a nationwide protest day on Kashmir, climaxed by fierce anti-India diatribe in which he himself was a principal participant. Mentioning this is not to give a clean chit to Mr Sharif but only to highlight the peevishness of Pakistans new military dictator which stood out sharply at his first Press conference.
Questioned about the contents of an article written by a former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral (recording for posterity his relationship with Mr Sharif), General Musharraf said he found it interesting, adding that there was a very close relationship (between Mr Sharif) and those across border. Whether it was a business relationship (between Mr Gujral and Mr Sharif) for setting up factories or investing money in India all this will be investigated as part of the general charges against the former Prime Minister.
To put his intentions beyond any doubt General Musharraf also said that there was the issue of meeting people (Indians ) secretly and considering them closer than our own people.
Never mind the Generals other observations about the kind of future relationship he sees with India. There is nothing unpredictable about it. He is willing to discuss the core issue of Kashmir simultaneously with other outstanding issues. The problem, though, remains: how far can New Delhi rely on the self-appointed military leaders word, or his capacity to deliver on any agreement he may try to work out? One is not talking merely of the legitimacy of the Musharraf regime, there is the other fact that he along with the bureaucracy has over the years developed a vested interest in an inimical relationship with India.
In fact, the Army has fattened itself on the continuing antagonism. This makes one wonder whether General Musharraf, having promised to clean up the Pakistani politico-social scene, will consider investigating the fortunes which some of his peers in the Services have amassed during the past five decades. Most senior military officers, it may be of interest to remember, have over the past few decades come to represent a new Pakistani aristocracy. They own rich farmlands and fabulous farm houses. One remembers the mad rush there was many years ago when it came to apportioning the prime lands belonging to the Rawalpindi Race Course; the senior military officers of the day fought virtual battles over the plots the lands were divided into. Similar land-grabbing by the military elite in other parts of the country is widely known and accepted as such.
General Musharraf, who has promised not to curtail Press freedom in the country, may have to reconsider his position on it. For at his very first Press conference he had to face this inconvenient query from the reporter. How was his (Musharrafs) martial law going to be different from that of Ayub Khan or Zia-ul-Haq. Ayub Khan, said the relentless reporter, gave us Gohar Ayub Khan (the Field Marshals son who was Mr Sharifs Foreign Minister before taking over Communications) and General Zia gave us Ijazul Haq (a leading member of Mr Sharifs Muslim League). Will you give us Bilal Musharraf.
Thank you. You know my sons name, Musharraf said, the cynicism of the question not entirely lost on him.
He may soon discover that promises of today sometimes become the nightmares of tomorrow. Freedom of the Press and military dictatorships do not usually make the best of bedfellows. Similarly, his bloodless coup may have won him grudging admiration from many in the West for the moment. He may even be seen as a man of action, God-fearing yet a self-confessed admirer of the Turkish emancipator, Kamal Ataturk and, therefore, of a secular orientation. But the ground reality will soon teach him that his noble intentions may not find favour with fundamentalists, who are firmly entrenched in the Pakistani polity. But that is something which concerns him alone.
Parivar: will dualism last?
THE dual membership issue was first raised during Morarji Desai rule in 1977 by Socialist leaders like Madhu Limaye and Raj Narain. It was alleged that the Jana Sangh ministers and their senior leaders of the omnibus ruling party were nursing RSS loyalties and pressing their own hidden agenda with a view to gaining more political leverage for their parent body. The cause espoused by the two veteran Socialists of the era had ultimately led to the collapse of the 1977-79 Janata Party experiment.
Will the present confrontation over the dual loyalty to the RSS develop into a major threat to the NDA coalition? The middle-level wizkids of the BJP who have virtually taken over the ruling partys strategy planning, assert that the activities of the VHP and its allied outfits would not spill over to the NDA. According to them, the worst part of the confrontation with the VHP fanatics was over, whether it is on Bangladesh bashing, anti-Muslim riots and attacks on the Christians. Here, the BJPs backroom boys do have a point.
For, the present crisis over the dual loyalty differs from the 22-year-old dual membership controversy in many ways. First, at least as of now, the dual policy marks a clash of interests within the RSS parivar and among its family organisations like the BJP, the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and certain outfits formed recently to fight the Christian groups. Unlike during Morarji rule, the NDA partners do not question the ministers dual membership in the BJP and the RSS. There is no dispute about the RSS loyalties. Second, the BJPs ruling elite has been taking extreme care to avert a confrontation with other partners of the NDA over the hostilities engaged in by the RSS outfits.
Third, and as a result of this balancing act, none of the NDAs non-saffron allies have so far publicly confronted the BJP rulers as Madhu Limaye, Raj Narain and the Charan Singh-Devi Lal combine, etc had done on the issue of Hindutva agenda. Incidentally, the Devi Lal and the Sharad Yadav, then Raj Narains young torch-bearer in his fight against the Jan Sanghis, are still happily in the company of the latter. The NDA parties, on the other, cooperated with the BJP rulers by ignoring the war cries of the VHP and other fanatic outfits. Simultaneously, the non-saffron allies also take the credit for checkmating the BJP from yielding to pressure from the RSS and, thus preserving the secular character of the government.
Thus, unlike during the dual membership controversy, the ongoing confrontation between the BJPs ruling elite and other RSS outfits is more complex and calls for a closer look. Its possible impact on the NDA government will only be consequential and may not be immediate. All through, it has been a peculiar love-hate relationship between the two RSS outfits with several layers of mistrust and go-betweens. It is incorrect to say that the pragmatic BJP politicians and dogmatic fundamentalists have been making a farce of their differences in attitude and approach. The schism is apparent on every emerging controversy. Both have strong feelings against each other. In private talk, both sides blame each other of working against the fundamental tenets of the RSS.
The BJP politicians charge the VHP-Bajrang Dal group with being unrealistic and obscurantist to understand the realities on the ground. By creating hurdles in the way of the Vajpayee Government the VHP hotheads were only trying to harm the cause of Hindutva, they maintain. No religion could flourish without the active encouragement of the state power. A BJP veteran with strong RSS links cited the rise and decline of Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism to prove the strong supportive role of the state. Without power, the VHP crowd even lose the patronage and publicity they now enjoyed.
The VHP side call the BJP politicians opportunists who are only interested in enjoying the fruits of power won over the hard work of the Hindutva volunteers during the Ayodhya agitation. Even Acharya Giriraj Kishore subscribes to such harsh views on the ruling BJP elite. They allege that when the Christian bashing first began, there had been a tacit understanding that the parivar and the BJP rulers would not hinder the movement. But not only did the rulers openly condemn the VHPs actions but exerted pressure on the RSS to subjugate them. Quoting shlokas, they try to establish how lust for power and pressures of non-Hindutva votes had blinded the BJP rulers to break the earlier understanding within the parivar.
Every time Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee or Mr L.K. Advani declared that the BJP rule was free from communal clashes, it annoyed the VHP crowd. The contrast in approach was too obvious. Apparently, by highlighting harmony under the BJP rule, its leaders were aiming at pacifying their secular allies and lying on the vast non-saffron votes. The VHP group, on the other hand, is genuinely longing for the visions of the lost Hindutva glory. Incidentally, both the BJP and the VHP which has been a relatively recent creation, have simultaneously outgrown the RSS itself. In the past one decade the RSS had desperately tried to bridge the differences between the two big brothers of the family and reconcile their clashing interests. But on all such occasions, the RSS bosses had ultimately yielded to the pressures of the BJP politicians and not the VHP side.
In 1989-90, the BJP had refused to join the massive campaigns by the VHP and the Bajrang Dal to whip up the movement against Babri mosque. Mr Advani, then BJP president, jumped on to his rath only when he was convinced that the agitation had turned formidable and time was ripe join it. Until then the BJPs official position on the VHP agitation was strikingly similar to the partys present stand on issues like attacks on the Christians, stopping conversions, scrapping Article 370, enforcing common civil code on all religious communities, etc.
After taking full advantage of the Ayodhya frenzy the BJP once again realised the social and geographical limitations of its Hindutva-based expansion. To break the stagnation the BJP once again found it necessary to declare the VHP sadhus and the Bajrang Dal crowd politically untouchable. Sudden change of colours and moving from one political extreme to another have been part of the BJPs strategy. It supported and opposed the economic reform alternatively. It first encouraged the Swadeshi Jagran Manch to campaign against the globalisation and MNC invasion but silenced it when exigencies of power demanded it.
Few have truly understood the real significance of the parivars present-day dualism. Though it began as an unpleasant hangover of the perennial contradictions in the objectives of the two wings of the RSS parivar, it seems to be developing into a grandoise gameplan to help provide both the state power for the BJP and realise the supremacist ambitions of the VHP. Accordingly, the BJP will follow the policy of providing full secular freedom as enshrined in the Constitution and acceptable to the NDA allies. The BJP government will not seemingly allow violation of law and anything that will rob the rights of the minorities. Simultaneously, the VHP crowd will also be free to agitate or propagate the extreme Hindutva policies without directly coming into conflict with the conduct of the government.
Even while pushing the two divergent policies, the two sides would take care not to indulge in polemics and mutual diatribe. Both sides will aim the policies at the respective target groups the VHP the saffronised and saffronisable crowds and the BJP the pluralist sections and the coalition partners? Parivar circles draw Kshatriya-Brahmin analogy to define the respective roles. The RSS bosses are emotionally with the Brahmins but need the patronage of the BJP Kshatriyas. While the latter will work at the political level and the latter will prepare the ground work for the saffronisation of society on a big scale. Once the saffronisation reaches the takeoff stage, the BJP too can join it as it had made an about-turn in 1990-91. Under this grand strategy, the benchmark will be the perceived ability of the BJP to win a majority of its own without the support from too many parties.
Dualism in plain words means double talk or double dealing. This is precisely what is being experimented by the two wings of the parivar. Whether deliberate or incidental, no one should miss the significance of this dual policy on the future of the nation. Even the saffron scribes have begun drumming up this subtle two-track policy. Saffronisation of education, its institutions, textbooks, rewriting history through the control of official academic bodies, appointment of the committed to the bodies that will recruit teachers, etc are aimed at rearing a new Hindutvised generation. There are even talk on saffron as social science. The fast-growing consumerism has only helped the process.
At look at the daily
Internet surveys will show the surfing generations
tilt and the prosperous NRIs the mail patriotism. A
detailed study into the behaviour of the young voters may
further reveal the trend. The present VHP campaign itself
is not so much as to stop the Pope visit but to boost the
Hindu identity and highlight what a VHP leader called the
threat of Isaisation Mr Vajpayees call
for a debate on conversions would serve the same purpose.
On Christian issue, the RSS parivar has already realised
the aim of making it a matter of cultural, demographic
and alien paranoia. In tribal areas, while
fighting the conversion, the RSS outfits have created a
permanent vote bank for the BJP. For the first time, we
have a BJP union minister to look after the tribal areas.
The process can go on so long as it begins hurting the
interests of the NDA partners.
THE Civil and Military Gazette had hoped that the controversy over the Lawrence Statue had died a natural death because the absence of comment for months upon the fact that the Statue remains in its original position is to it a clear proof of the fact that the agitation was artificial.
As an instance of unconscious humour this expression of opinion on the part of our contemporary is difficult to beat.
If there is strong, vigorous and persistent comment in the Press and on the platform on a grievance, the agitation is mischievous, because it excites passion. On the other hand, if on account of the intervention of other topics of interest the public is not able for a time to comment upon the grievance, the agitation is artificial.
It would be interesting to know what precisely the public is expected to do in such cases. As regards the hope expressed by the journal, all we can say is that it does little credit to its head.
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