June 10, 2005

Terms like these

Consider two ways of looking at the same man.

Way #1: this man has spent pretty much his entire adult life as a politician. He has been a Member of Parliament for years. He has risen to the highest levels of power in this country, as an important Minister in different Governments. In his most recent Ministerial stint, he was in charge of law and order for the entire country, second in power only to the Prime Minister. Indeed, he was and is often spoken of as a possible Prime Minister. Both his party and millions of people around the country trusted him implicitly in these important posts; enough, again, that he might easily have been the head of our Government.

In other words: like his politics or not, this man has spent years close to the very core of power in this country, because it is clear that enough people trust him with that power.

One day, he travels to Pakistan and says something about one of their leaders. This sets off a storm here in India, and among other things, people openly call him a traitor. The same man who, until just year ago, was a weak knee or a heartbeat away from assuming the most powerful elected post in our land.

Way #2: this man spent years leading an entire agitation to build a temple where a mosque stood. He repeatedly held up that mosque as a symbol of Indian disgrace, Hindu humiliation. He toured the country in a Toyota truck dressed to look like a chariot, making his case about the mosque and urging his outraged listeners, their passions whipped up with his rhetoric, to trek to where the mosque stood. In December 1992, hundreds of thousands of these passionate men made that trek, and expressed their passion in the only way possible: they tore down the mosque. That one act of destruction sparked killing around the country, Indians turning on Indians with savagery we are distressingly accustomed to. The killing lasted over three months and ended with a series of bomb blasts in Bombay in March 1993. The hatreds live on, expressing themselves in more killing every now and then.

In other words: like his politics or not, this is the legacy of this man too. His spurring of passions for political gain took us unerringly into great bloodshed; made hatred and prejudice acceptable.

Yes, and one day he travels to Pakistan and says something about one of their leaders. This sets off a storm here in India, and among other things, people openly call him a traitor. The same man whose actions and rhetoric caused Indians to kill other Indians by the thousand.

Forget the years when we entrusted enormous swathes of Government to this man. Forget the years when he deliberately led us to hate one another, and use that hate to kill one another. Forget whatever those things might say about him. He calls Jinnah secular, he gets called a traitor. End of story.

That's how empty these ideas like "patriot" and "traitor" now are.

And as a coda to all this, I read in today's news that one of this same man's senior party colleagues, one Joshi, reaffirms that Jinnah "can in no way be termed a secular man ... [our] party has to keep its ideology in mind.."

There you have it: an ideology that is founded on whether a long-dead man is "termed secular" or not. Seems like no ideology to me.

21 comments:

Ullekh said...

Dilip, I largely agree with your point on the role of ideology on the Jinnah issue.

But may I add an unrelated observation to that .... Somehow I have a feeling that polarization within the BJP is veering towards something like Modi vs anti-Modi. I can't find very solid reasons to support this argument of mine. But the fight inside the BJP, which has always been between the power hungry (reformist is an euphemism) and the hardliners, has reached a different mode now. The RSS is finding the going tougher as the balance of power inside the BJP, ever since the saffron men have begun enjoying the fruits of power, has shifted more towards the power-hungry side thanks to state power, which is invincible. That means there is going to be a war of survival by the RSS on the BJP's anti-RSS sections like never before.

The only man who can probably back the RSS within the BJP in a relatively successful way will be Modi.

I am still scpetical of my own comment because I don't want it to happen like that. My mind keeps saying the anatomy of wrangling in the BJP will soon be Modi vs anti-modi.

Anonymous said...

The idealogy that defines itself by removing palques of a long dead man is acceptable to you Dilip?

The way#1 and way#2 can be used to view any other politican in this country. I mean one could describe this lady as the one who listened to her inner voice in '04 or the one who snuffed janta's voice in places like Jarkahand or Bihar in '05. Or the one who's holding the secularist torch in Gujarat while quitely extinguishing that flickering flame held by those Sikhs in Delhi.

It's just a question whether you are wearing blue googles or red goggles when you are holding the microscope.

At least don't pretend that you are writing this without any partisan political bias.

Anonymous said...

The same man whose actions and rhetoric caused Indians to kill other Indians by the thousand.

You might not like Advani, but to justify riots, or rather attribute riots to some rhetoric is not good. Its like blaming newsweek or imran khan for the riots in Pakistan.

Probably his rath-yatra shouldn't have happened. But to blame Bombay riots on his ratha yatra would not be logical.
-i

Anonymous said...

What a fool D'Souza is!

If I call Gandhi a moron that does not mean that the word moron is empty.

If Dilip D'Souza is called a compassionate, intelligent writer, it doesn't mean that the words compassionate and intelligent are empty and useless. It only means that they're used incorrectly.

vishnu said...

Maybe anonymous commenting should be disabled here!

Rabin said...

i agree with vishnu. Nice post.

bad bad boy (or girl) anon., How in heavens name did you conjure up Gandhi's name here? and why?? Ofcourse not to mention the personal attack on the writer.

Suhail said...

What a gem of a quote. I'm gonna make a list of all the quotable quotes of this episode.

vAgue said...

good stuff

Anonymous said...

Whoophy...two more for head-nodders club: R and Vishnu
V(hic)Rum missing here :-(

Anonymous said...

No doubt an atack on LK Advani. It is a sorry spectacle. But to say that all the Hindu Muslim hatred was his creation is really going too far. Hello Dilip, have you forgotten Jinnah and partition and the hatred that catastrophe caused the country or the other riots that occurred much before the temple agitation. What about Muslim seperatness that was cultivated by Nehru and the Sikh riots?
What about the Muslim backlash during the Shah Bano verdict? I have never been a fan of BJP politics but to say that the temple agitation is the sole cause of Hindu Muslim hatred and should be the reason for any riots thereafter is going too far.

Anirudh Karnick said...

Excellent piece. The Joshi quote is a gem.

Anonymous, whoever you are, Dilip never said that Jinnah was secular or anything to that effect in the article. He was talking about Advani alone.

Anonymous said...

Anirudh
Please read my post carefully. Even I have never said anything like that. My comments were specifically towards the following lines that Dilip wrote:

'The hatreds live on, expressing themselves in more killing every now and then.

In other words: like his politics or not, this is the legacy of this man too. His spurring of passions for political gain took us unerringly into great bloodshed; made hatred and prejudice acceptable.'

Holding Advani solely responsible for communal hatred is too much was what I am reiterating. Hence the list given in my post. Dilip and the rest of you need to wonder and ask the same question. How could a structure that was in dispute since the early part of the century become a big issue more than half a century later?
If the Muslim leadership had not chosen confrontation, could not most of the problems been avoided and Advani's Rath yatra stalled permanently?
Would welcome any response to the post. And please no yes-men as most of the responses seem to indicate.

Samuel said...

I see that you have a troll in your midst. The best way to deal with this guy/girl is to not respond.

Anonymous said...

Samuel
You defined a troll in your blog. Anyway are any of the points I have raised irrelevant or abuses. I read the filthy language you used to respond to one of your 'trolls' in your blog. So please leave serious discussions to Dilip and other grown-ups and lay off

Dilip D'Souza said...

If the Muslim leadership had not chosen confrontation [etc]...

What if we turned this around? Meaning, what if we said, "If the Hindutva leadership had not chosen confrontation, could not most of the problems have been avoided [etc]"?

Why is this any less worth asking than your question? Why is the burden of confrontation placed only on the Muslim leadership?

Seems to me, in this whole disgrace, both sides were intent on a confrontation. That's what they got, at enormous cost to a country.

please no yes-men...

That's good. People who disagree with your take on things are, naturally, "yes-men". Very good.

Venu Gopal Rao said...

Why is the burden of confrontation placed only on the Muslim leadership?

Who exactly is this "Muslim leadership"

When the entire set of MUSLIM MPs in parliament with Arif Khan leading the charge demanded a mere Rs. 200 compensation for Shah Bano, it was the "HINDU" (or parsi or xtian, take your pick) leadership under Rajiv Gandhi that over turned the Supreme Court verdict bending to fanatics who are bent of keeping 50% of their own population as slaves.

And don't forget it was the same Hindu/Parsi/Xtian leadership under Rajiv which opened the locks on the Babri doors in late 80s.

BTW, Dilip, what's your take on the recent ruling of the Ansari community panchayat?

Sure you haven't missed that little nugget of news eh Dilip?

Seems to me, in this whole disgrace, both sides were intent on a confrontation. That's what they got, at enormous cost to a country.

Yeah.. have yet to see a blog or article by you Dilip condeming 'both' sides.

And oh.. yeah, the country's paying a enormous cost especially paying under impotent administrators. You should know one personally - you pumped his ratings during Sri Krishna commission remember? ;-)

That's good. People who disagree with your take on things are, naturally, "yes-men". Very good.
Nah.. that corner's captured by your headnodders fan club. Put me and the other anony guy (or gal) in no-people category :-)

Dilip D'Souza said...

Who exactly is this "Muslim leadership"?

You tell me. You first used the phrase.

Yeah.. have yet to see a blog or article by you Dilip condeming 'both' sides.

I'll make a deal with you. You point me to one article by you condemning Advani and pals, I'll point you to something I wrote "condemning both sides".

You should know one personally ... [etc]

This from someone who spoke of leaving "serious discussions" to "grownups". Right. Discuss away.

While you do, do attempt to figure out how you gave away who you are, so you can do better at anonymousing next time.

Venu Gopal Rao said...

You tell me. You first used the phrase
I don't have problem with Muslim leadership, have pointed to the hindu/parsi/xtian leadership led by Rajiv who with absolute majority to started this communal politics.


You point me to one article by you condemning Advani and pals..
Sorry don't write for publications buddy... couldn't afford Rs 1 lac donation like you and your dad Dilip. Nor do I have relatives hobnobbing with politicans in parties other than those led by "Advani and his pals"

However, don't mind me, please do continue chasing windmills with the Pancho(es?).

Venu Gopal Rao said...

That's what they got, at enormous cost to a country.
Call in the foreigners to invade the country.
Scratch that, you have already done it, right Dilip?

Samuel said...

"Whoophy...two more for head-nodders club: R and Vishnu
V(hic)Rum missing here :-("


How grown up is that? And looks like you are not so anonymous anymore. When the tone and content of your comments are a function of your anonymity, I don't see why you or anybody deserves a response and how you would even call yourself a grownup is beyond me.

Ven Gopal said...

Hey Samuel,
how you would even call yourself a grownup is beyond me
I didn't...

When the tone and content of your comments are a function of your anonymity, I don't see why you or anybody deserves a response
So if I had a web blog, my comments would merit a response?

See if you can stick to the issue of secular Jinnaha/Rajiv/Advani/Dilip. As you say, I don't deserve your attention.

Anyway,
HeadnoddersClub = HeadnoddersClub + Same(?)mule