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Mainstream, VOL LI, No 28, June 29, 2013

Advani, Modi, Vajpayee

Monday 1 July 2013, by Humra Quraishi



This entire episode around L.K. Advani seems layered. Even the politically naïve can under-stand that Advani has not been allowed to resign. No, just not allowed to break free from the controlling powers of his political party. As though, somehow forced to keep that mask intact, to keep up that façade of togetherness of the Right-wing brigades.

There seems a complicated build-up… an ongoing one. Probably Advani couldn’t cope with the frustration of being sidelined and wanted to throw away that façade—of being there and yet not there! After all, all these years he’d worked at those gimmicks, indulged in political tactics, along the divide-and-rule format, to gather votes for his party—the BJP. And he’d thought of that master move. In the early nineties, he had undertaken that rath yatra all the way towards Ayodhya, whipping up communal frenzy along the entire route, garnering votes for the BJP. In fact, Advani’s rath yatra can be termed as one of the turning-points in the recent history of this country. For, this particular yatra had sowed seeds of communal divide, hatred between communities, left a definite imprint on psyches. Those seeds of communal hatred which he’d then sowed, continue to poison the very atmosphere.

No, I can never forget that photograph of him and Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi hugging and clasping each other when the Babri Masjid was getting destroyed. Paving the way for a very disturbing scenario, with riots and counter-riots and killings spreading out… continuing to this day.

And as the baton falls in the hands of Narendra Modi (it seems it is forcibly grabbed and snatched by Modi and his men, in a bloodless coup!), there is not just worry but growing unease for the safety of this land and the people living on it. Partitioning taking place, if not along the physical terrain then along the emotional terrain…

In fact, let me quote these lines from one of the poems of Atal Bihari Vajpayee—from his book of poems titled, ‘Twentyone Poems’ (published by Viking/Penguin Books, in 2001).

I quote these lines of Vajpayee’s poem, titled ‘Power’:

“To those who try to reach
The throne of power
Over mounds of dead bodies
Of innocent children
Old women
Young men,
I have a question:
Did nothing bind them
To those who died?
Their faiths differed;
Was it not enough that they too were of this earth?
‘The earth is our mother, and we are her sons’:
This mantra from the Atharvaveda,
Is it only to be chanted, not lived?
Children charred by fire,
Women savaged by lust,
Houses reduced to ash
Constitute neither a certificate of culture
Nor a badge of patriotism,
They are proof of bestiality,
Proof of degradation,
As if these be the deeds of sons,
Mothers should not wish for any.
A throne smeared with the blood of the innocent
Ranks lower than the dust of the cemetery,
The lust for absolute power is worse
Than a thirst for blood.”
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