Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao
Hindutva as political ideology and saffron as the colour of politics ultimately got national acceptance. From ridiculing that Hindutva word, every political party, now, is willingly embracing the Hindutva and the leaders of non-BJP parties projecting themselves as champions of Hindutva. Their electoral campaign in Uttar Pradesh confirms that Jai Sri Ram is no more a communal chant, Ram Rajya is an acceptable concept, saffron is a respected colour. Hindu way of life is the universal and unquestionable. Those parties and leaders who questioned on Hindutva ideology or challenged Hindu-centric ideology, ridiculed the nationalistic perception of BJP are now in competitive running to appropriate them and struggling to remain relevant in politics. From Congress to the regional parties and from Rahul Gandhi to Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati combination everyone is projecting themselves as the champions of Hindu cause with the hope the voters will forget and forgive their past anti- Hindu diatribe.
The recent entrant in to UP election arena, the AAP had its ‘Tiranga Yatra’ with tri color flags fluttering and high decibel Vande Mataram slogans with promises of “real nationalism” and real “Rama Rajya”. But for the white caps wore by the cadre in the Yatra, it would have considered a typical BJP procession. The behavior and words uttered by the AAP leader’s looks like pre-planned imitation of the BJP. The leaders of AAP met the saffron clad sadhus, hopped around the temples around Ayodhya and sought the blessings. The deputy CM of Delhi and senior AAP leaders Manish Sisodya has no hesitation in bringing Ram in to their party political agenda. He said that “Aravind Kejriwal is the only Chief Minister in the country who is running the government by adhering to the tenets of Lord Ram. AAP government if formed in UP will “adhere to the teachings of Ram” is the promise. What surprises the observers is the change in heart of APP leaders who in Delhi always criticized others for not giving priority for governance and development and accused other parties for talking about sectarian and communal issues shifting suddenly to new found deep love to Ram and Ram Rajya . Even the other members of AAP including its Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh spoke about the promise of “early completion of Ayodhya Ram Temple” and harped on the alleged “fraudulent temple land deals”. Huda Zariwala, a spokesperson of APP conceded that “Ayodhya depicts the history and sentiments of people across the country”, the very words which BJP leaders were using for the last several years and opposition parties including AAP has rejected. So the change of heart on ‘Nationalism’, Ram temple, Ram Rajya are apparently linked to the elections and victory in few seats. Ideology, now AAP believe is not static but pragmatic.
The other party which suddenly found love for Hindutva is the BSP. Priests chanted Sanskrit mantras and blew conches while crowd shouted Jai Shri Ram and Har har Mahadev at the BSP meeting in Lucknow where the party organized a Prabudh Jan Sammelan and party supremo addressed the meet with promises on the caste lines. The party managed to get Hindu priests from different parts of UP and allowed the chant of slogans like “Hathi Nahi Ganesh Hai ..Brahma Vishnu Mahesh Hai” Brahmin Shankh Bajayegaa, Hathi Chalta Jayega”, the very slogans which Mayawati wouldn’t have allowed earlier. This is a huge shift towards resurrection of the party after a decade long wilderness through the Hindutva. Even BSP started talking about the early completion of Ram Temple as their priority and started demanding the details of funds collected in the name of Ram over three decades by the saffron brigade. The BSP’s Brahmin face Satish Mishra offered prayers at Ramjanmabhoomi and worshipped the Saryu River with 125 litres of milk before the start of the conclave. This being the first time any BSP leader visited Ramjanmabhoomi or supported the Ram temple issue. In fact Mayawati vehemently opposed the temple at Ayodhya then but now had a change of heart for political gains. The day may be not far away when Mayavwati finally goes to Ayodhya for the darshan of Ram lala.
Congress is ‘a political chameleon’ capable of changing its colour as per the situation and depending on the local situation in a state. Political gain is the only target of that party. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suddenly found his Brahmin caste and Gotra and even exhibited his janyu on his sleeves to project himself as true Hindu. His temple hopping in earlier elections in Gujarat and Karnataka and then suddenly taking anti-Hindu stand as he entered Kerala campaign made him a laughing stock. This time around the drama of projecting Congress as a BC party by using the Bhagel senior, father of current Congress CM of Chhattisgarh, to utter anti Brahmin statements and getting arrested, not in UP where he made such derogatory anti-Brhmin sattemnts, in Chhattisgarh itself is a political gimmick for favourable projection. Since Congress has lost its relevance in UP politics and is far behind the regional parties its chameleon politics may not lead to anywhere.
Not to be left behind in the race for proclaiming the new found love for Hindutva, the Samajvadi Party which hitherto stuck to dominant Muslim-Yadav community combination formula, has started exhibiting his pro soft-Hindutva shift by organizing his first political meet and workers conclave in Chitrakoot where Lord Rama spent large part of his exile. Akhilesh yadav, a hereditary politician who used to publicly avoid Hindutva politics in the last two decades is no longer shy of talking about temples and religious practices more so of Hindus. He is often quoting his 5 Km long trekking made around Kamdagiri mountains in 2000 on his political entry to establish himself as Hindu at heart. He promised a magnificent Vishnu temple inn Chambal valley. He staeted claiming his father as a devotee of Pavanputra Hanuman and himself as a devotee of Lord Parasurama. He claimed himself as a better Hindu than many BJP leaders. It is the same leader who once ridiculed the talk of ‘Hindu Interests’ for the sake of Muslim appeasement has suddenly trying to project himself as Hindutva vadi. But surprisingly he has not uttered a single word against the Brahmin bashing that Bhagel senior did while he immediately jumped to criticize the ‘Abba jan’ remark of UP CM Adityanadh Das. From Mulayam Singh’s, the founder of SP, no temple at Ayodhya to SP for temple at Ayodhya of Akhilesh Yadav’s the turn on Hindutva politics is complete.
(Author is retired professor and occasional contributor for dailies and magazines on politics and environmental issues. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected])