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Shades of Saffron
By Ram Puniyani

On the heels of 'Ram Temple at Ayodhya is the sentiment of the Nation' tune by the 'secular liberal, democrat' Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the petit fuehrer, Bala Saheb Thackeray passed a fatwa that since Muslims are a threat to the Nation they should be disenfranchised. Just to recall, Mr Thackeray's voting right has been suspended by the court for his communal activities. That apart, the way he asserts in a blunt fashion it may seem to many that it is ranting of a zealot and it is not going to have any impact on the politics of the country. It will be worth its while to remember that it was after his call 'Hinduni Ata Akramak Vhayala have' (Hindus should become aggressive now) that the 92-93 Mumbai riots assumed horrendous proportions and Justice Shrikrishna in the report on these riots concluded that Thackeray led the Shiv Sainiks to communal violence like a general leading his army. 

In the wake of same riots, in an interview given to Anita Pratap of Time magazine on being asked as to why Muslims are fleeing the city, he blurted that if they are leaving it is OK, if they are not then they should be kicked out. And that's precisely what was made to happen. Can such a man who is the ideological and political ally of the BJP, which in turn is the political arm of RSS, be taken lightly at all?

To believe that his proclamations are very preposterous and are meant for entertainment value only will be a serious error of judgement, especially in the light of the complex dynamics of the politics of Sangh Parivar (SP). Sangh Parivar under the patriarchal control of RSS is working for the making of Hindu Rashtra by destroying the secular and democratic ethos of the Indian Constitution. This Parivar has different shades of members each playing their assigned role. There spectrum varies from Vajpayee, who till recently was perceived by many as a liberal, secular democrat, to the tough sounding Lalkrishna Advani to the business savvy Jaitly and Mahajan, to the leader of saffron clad sadhus, Ashok Singhal, to the trishul wielding Bajarang Dal's leader Katiyar. The blunt sounding Thackeray is the close cousin. Their actions are ideal foils to each other. In a way it is the preordained division of labor, which is the core signature of the RSS manufactured Varna System for SP. Incidentally varna system has been the hallmark of Brahminical Hinduism, which in the modern garb, is the core ideology of SP.

Only till the other day many of us preferred to believe that since it is Vajpayee as the P.M. the government will not submit to the 'extremists' of SP for the implementation of the anti-minority program of RSS. When the crunch came Mr. Vajpayee also had to speak the lines which have been close to his heart, but had never said those, as his role had been to hide his fellow travelers' real intentions. In a way, Thackeray, though not a member of SP has been saying the lines dear to SP. His today's assertion about disenfranchisement was first formulated by the second Sarasanghchalak, M.S. Golwalkar in his 'We or Our Nation hood Defined' as far back as 1938, writes the Supremo,"the non-Hindu people in Hindustan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and revere Hindu religion, must entertain no idea but the glorification of Hindu Nation .in one word they must, cease to be foreigners or may stay in the country wholly subordinated to the Hindu Nation claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less citizen's rights." The repetition of the same fatwa by the fellow saffron traveller comes at the 'proper' time. And that's what the strategy of Hindutva politics is all about. 

Mr. Vajpayee also kept hiding his, RSS is my soul, off and on, but in every critical situation the soul did guide the actions of the politician's body, whose face has acted like the proverbial mask for the cruel face of SP. This proud swayamsevak (The name for RSS trained volunteers) has been given the chair of PM as the SP knew that till they have a majority of their own, the hawk, the architect-in-chief, of Babri demolition, Advani, is not the right choice for carrying along the coalition partners. The same political parties which, refused to touch the demolishers of secularism in 96, gradually as their power hunger took the better of them, hid behind the liberal face of Vajpayee to share the spoils of power. What is at stake today is whether these allies have any conscience left at all?

With the PM spelling RSS-SP agenda and their main and most reliable ally making the meaning of their politics a bit more clear for us, will they continue to lend legitimacy and power to the BJP? Despite the gross violation of the NDA line by both these worthies, will they continue to be tied to the apron strings, whose communal nature is too obvious to turn a blind eye to? On the first count even their naivete in allying with the forces of communal politics can not be condoned. But with the forthright enunciation of their politics by two shades of saffron, their continuation in the coalition will be nothing short of criminal and a deliberate support to the agenda of Hindu Rashtra. Only fools and power greedy ignore the lessons of History. Hitler, despite his rising political clout could never get a majority in the parliament. Sensing the chance, his party struck alliances with the 'apparent democrats' who were blinded by the hatred for social democrats. In due course Hitler usurped the total power and became the dictator. And one by one he crushed his old allies.

Beginning with the Jews he went in to stifle different weak sections of society ultimately destroying Germany itself. Since the last illusion about the nature of Vajpayee finally lies buried, it is time for all who are committed to democratic and secular values to sever the links with them to come out in the open to make fresh alliances on the grounds of principles. One cannot excuse those who deliberately feign innocence when the truth is there for all to see in its pristine purity, the truth of Vajpayee and Thackeray's goals, truth of the goals of their 'political commissar in the cultural garb', the RSS and its agenda of building Hindu Rashtra on the ashes of the democratic and secular values and principles. 
(Dr. Ram Puniyani is Secretary of EKTA, Committee for Communal Amity)

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