Saturday, June 27, 2009

BJP itself to blame for debacle


Much has been written and said about the BJP’s poor performance in the recent General Election. The think-tank of the party comprising Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Kulkarni has spoken of its disenchantment with the choice of L.K. Advani as the candidate for Prime Minister, and the unmerited positions given to election managers-in-chief Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. I have my own views on the downfall of the BJP as a political force. I think the rot set in much earlier—from the times of the destruction of the Babri Masjid in December, 1992.

It was a dastardly thing to do. The principal architect of the act of sacrilege was Advani. Far from being censured for it, he became the hero of the party and its choice as Prime Minister. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who privately expressed anguish over it, never came out openly to condemn it. I recall the evening when dining with Arun Shourie’s parents. Arun said loudly to Kuldip Nayar and me: "Who says it was a mosque?" I was taken aback. What else could a monument with three domes and a wall facing Mecca be but a mosque?

No BJP leader condemned Bal Thackeray when he claimed that his sainiks had brought down the Babri Masjid
No BJP leader condemned Bal Thackeray when he claimed that his sainiks had brought down the Babri Masjid

I was sorely disappointed. It soured our close friendship of many years. Did any BJP leader condemn Bal Thackeray when he boasted that it were his sainiks who brought down the mosque? Did any of them condemn the sainiks for vandalising the Bhandarkar Institute in Pune, or destroying M.F. Hussain’s paintings in Mumbai? Did any of them condemn Bajrang Dal’s or Ram Sene’s hoodlums for wrecking shops selling Valentine Day cards, or roughing up boys and girls drinking beer together in a pub?

Did they condemn Raj Thackeray for letting loose his goons on non-Maharashtrians, forcing thousands to leave the state? No. They made feeble noises of protest but refrained from outright condemnation because they were an integral part of their vote bank. In the process, it also projected the idea of having Narendra Modi as a stand-in prime ministerial candidate. He may have seduced Ratan Tata to manufacture Nanos in Gujarat but he has yet to clear his name in connection with the massacre of thousands of innocent Muslims in 2002. None of this was lost on the aam admi (common man), particularly of the younger generation, voting for the first time.

While analysing the reasons for the drubbing the BJP got, it occurred to me that Varun Gandhi deserves special mention for his wild utterances, which neither Advani nor Rajnath Singh thought bad enough to expel him from the party. It is now up to his cousin, Rahul Gandhi, to honour him by bestowing on him a gold medal for ensuring victory of the Congress.

Chand and Fiza nautanki—ACT III

L.K. Advani is squarely to blame for the sacrilege of the mosque. Atal Bihari Vajpayee never came out openly to condemn the act.
L.K. Advani is squarely to blame for the sacrilege of the mosque. Atal Bihari Vajpayee never came out openly to condemn the act.

So Chander Mohan Bishnoi, alias Chand Mohammed, is back in the arms of Anuradha Bali, alias Fiza Mohammed. It reminded me of Carolyn Wells (d.1942), saying: "He who loves and runs away, may live to love another day". How true of this couple. He ditched his wife and family because he fell for Anuradha, who he saw briefly one morning in a fruit juice parlour. Though he had been in love with other people before, it was love at first sight and their tryst with destiny.

Truly had Mirza Ghalib spoken:

Ishq par zor nahin, hai yeh voh aatish Ghalib;

Jo laagae na lagey, aur bujhai na bujhe.

(There is no power stronger than love;

It is a raging fire;

When ignited, refuses to ignite;

When you try to dowse it;

It refuses to go out).

So they threw all caution to the winds and decided to tie the knot. Since Hindu law did not permit bigamy, they converted to Islam, which did. It is not likely that he got himself circumcised, as the healing would delay consummation of the nikah.

Then Chander Mohan, alias Chand Mohammed, got cold feet. He returned to his first wife and family; then ditched both wives and fled to London. First he said he had divorced Fiza by saying talaq three times on a long-distance phone call. Then he changed his mind and said he had done no such thing and returned to her.

Meanwhile, Anuradha, alias Fiza, had taken her errant husband to court on charges of rape. It was the fury of a woman scorned. Now they are together again. What about bigamy? Nothing very wrong with it. Fiza is worth crimes worse than bigamy. If Karunanidhi, Jethmalani, Dharmendra and Raja Reddy can have two wives living under the same roof, why not Chander Mohan? Bless him and Anuradha for providing fodder for gossip-mongers in the deadly, dull, green town called Chandigarh.

Being in the limelight can be addictive. Oscar Wilde was right in saying: "There is nothing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about". Mr and Mrs Chand Mohammed now must devise new ways and means to stay in the news. I suggest they make a film based on their affair entitled "The Path of True Love Never Ran Smooth".


Ghanta asked his grandfather Natha Singh: "Dadaji, what are you reading?" Natha: "History". Ghanta: "But it is full of sexy poems". Natha: "For me it is history.

Contributed by J.P. Singh Kaka, Bhopal)

Khushwant Singh is on a holiday. This column will not appear in the July 4 and July 11 issues of Saturday Extra