Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hindu terrorism.....a trap for the BJP?

There seems to be some sort of least in the BJP....that Hindu terrorism could even possibly exist in India. Why would the majority community need its own terrorists is their logic. But the real truth is that the BJP is struggling for an ideology and it still hasnt been able to find one other than Hindutva.

Aseemanand is a classic example of Hindu terrorism. The NIA has recently indicted him and its likely to chargesheet him for the attack on the Samjhauta Express in which about 70 Pakistani tourists (returning home) were killed. Aseemanand prefers to put the title "Swami" in front of his name.....clearly taking protection under a general public sympathy for that title. The Swamis have traditionally had a reputation of being peaceful god-loving people. What better way to protect oneself than by using that title? Or maybe, Aseemanand thought of himself as the only protector of Hindu culture.....just the way the Church has thought in the  Christian World. Who gave them this authority? I think its a misconception the BJP has about the power of religion in Indian politics. A belief that sticking to its Hindu ideology.....even to the extent of protecting terrorists.....would give it electoral dividends.

I think its been proven successfully around the world......with the possible exception of the Muslim world.....that free people generally like to keep religion and politics apart. Political parties are best positioned basis either their economic agendas (socialists, communists, right and left wings etc). So the Republicans have liberal economic views (lower taxes, reduce size of government) while the Democrats are more conservative. Likewise, the Congress and BJP are "rightists" (support free enterprise by nature) while the Left has the opposite ideology. There is of course also the religious Republics are conservative on religious ideology (attend Sunday mass, oppose abortion etc) while the Democrats are liberal. Likewise, the Congress and Left are liberals while the BJP and the Sangh Parivar are conservatives. But no where has a political office of power.....been won purely on the basis of religion.

The BJP tried this unsuccessfully for many years since Ayodhya. The highest number of seats it reached was 183 in the late 1990s. It continued with its religious ideology during its tenure in office till 2004. Thereafter, it has fallen to just 116 seats in the present House. One would imagine that the BJP would have learnt its lessons. However, the reality is different. It does not want to give up on its Hindu supporters. At the same time, it wants to attract the liberals in India. In Marketing terminology, the party has falled between two stools.

The BJP's rejection of the possibility of Hindu terror means several things. It possibly represents real politics. Catering to its core constituency....the traditional Hindus will improves its seats count. It could also represent poor political strategy. The BJP continues to be confused between its Hindutva positioning and its more liberal and urban imagery. Further, it could show that the BJP believes in different rules for different people.....Islamic terrorism is obvious to them and should be condemned but Hindu terrorism is simply not possible and should be ignored. None of this does the BJP any good.

The real truth is that the BJP is trapped in its ideology. They dare not complain about Hindu terrorism for fear of offending their core constituency. But every time they defend, they dent their own appeal to the people who want to go beyond religion. The BJP has had a good economic agenda in the past......Its time it realized the limitations of Hindutva and focused instead on its economic agenda. Till that happens, BJP will continue to suffer and Hindu terrorism will continue to grow.


  1. So true. The biggest dichotomy is that those who endorse a free market economy tend to go the conservative route when it comes to religion and personal / community culture. Whether it be the cow belt here or the bible belt in the US, all those who would like to allow free enterprise to flourish also get into a protectionist, conservative, tribal mindset with regards to life values and culture.

    So while one tends to agree with the humanism, the community sensitivity, the liberal mindset of the left wing parties, one cannot agree with their economics.

    Its a weird strange dichotomy. Why can't personal liberty coexist with market freedom? Is it because the 'agency of the state' in welfare governance necessitates schemes and provisions that go against the grain of a free market? Is it actually true that our socialist leanings and checks and balances actually saved us from being hit too badly by the recession?

    There is no going away from the fact that religious fundamentalism has absolutely no place is progressive world. There is also no going away from the fact that as personal wealth rises, as communities give way to individuals, the strongest community ever - religion - is letting out a last desparate dying gasp all over the world, and leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

    Communities are insecure today. Because the faith in the individual is not yet complete. The day individualism is actually seen as a vibrant, strong, positive way of being and not alienating, soul destroying or valueless, hopefully the stranglehold religion has on the world will finally be shaken off.

  2. Hi Prashant,

    Yes. I agree with you that all terrorists are not Muslims!! But I don't think the Congress is a liberal or so-called secular party (in their language) any more. And I don’t have respect to the BJP also. There are many times when the Congress is very much pro Muslims. Why they don't hang Afzal Guru? Because it's all about vote bank.

    Below para is not regarding to this blog but just want to add for your past blogs.

    The educated people (SEC A &B) don’t cast their votes but they are complaining the most regarding the government and its system. The political parties & politicians are mirror of citizens of the country. We, Indians, fix the issue temporary.. the issue comes up again and again in different versions. We need to find the root cause of the problems.. E.g. We should have a compulsory voting so we can see the real progress and eliminate the caste & religion divides. Only system can make things right, but it cannot change the human mindsets … the education is one of the solutions to change their mindsets.. And the education should be affordable and available for everyone..

    Jash Valaki

  3. Agree with your sentiments Jash! I think many changes happen only with a change in generations. I guess the maturity in our democracy will also come with the passage of a few generations.

    On being pro-muslim, I have only one point to offer. The majority segment should always be pro-minority segment. Think of Indians in Australia. Dont you wish the Australians were gracious enough to be pro-Indians? In Hindi, this is simply called "badappan".

  4. Interesting points Riya! Worth thinking why liberal-in-economics never equals liberal-in-religion.....strange!

    Have you noticed this? Religion is like an Operating System. Its there in all humans in form or the other (apple os, windows, linux...). One cannot work with the OS. However, one cannot change the OS also. The only way to change the OS is to create a new OS. Its the same with religion. No current religion (Hinduism, Christianity, Islam) can be tweaked. It would wreak havoc around the world. However, new religions can be formed (Jainish, Sikhism, Buddhism....) and they can attract new followers.

    So you can desert your existing religion and follow a new religion, but you can never change your religion!