Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shinde’s regret like parents giving candy to a sulking child….

Sushil Kumar Shinde’s “regret” (for his comments on saffron terror and the RSS/BJP’s involvement in cultivating terror outfits) means little. It’s just a way to appease a crying child by giving him a sugar candy. It’s what parents do all the time with their spoilt children; especially ahead of important events. It’s no different with Shinde, who expressed regret keeping the impending Parliamentary session in mind.

When parents give their sulking child a candy, they “temporarily” forgive the child’s tantrums. It does not mean that the child is right, or that the parents wrong. All that it means is that the wiser of the two – the parents – takes a larger view of things and focuses on the bigger picture. If there is an exam ahead, its important the child focuses on that. If there are guest coming home, its important the child doesn’t throw a tantrum at that time. The compulsions of the moment determine the parents’ course of action. It’s the exact same in this case. The Congress figures it will achieve more by withdrawing a bit now.

To be fair to Shinde, he never linked any particular religion to terror. By calling something “saffron terror”, he only pointed out that there are Hindu terrorists as well (in addition to all the other varieties). It was the exact equivalent of “Green terror”, which doesn’t mean that all Muslims are terrorists. Both descriptions are just a colorful way of understanding terrorism patterns. Shinde’s statement was correct – there surely are Hindu terrorists, just as there are Muslim terrorists. That does not mean he linked a particular religion to terror, even if the BJP thinks so. I don’t think the Shinde’s regret withdraws from that position of fact.

Hindu terror is a position of fact. So many arrests made recently – in cases ranging from the Samjhauta Express blasts to the Mecca Masjid bombing – link Hindu groups to terrorist activities. But I fail to understand why Hindus should get rankled with this. What’s so surprising that a few Hindus were caught indulging in terrorist activities? Is it anyone’s – except the BJP’s of course – hypothesis that Hindus simply cannot be terrorists? And if so, why? What is there in the Hindu religion (or for that matter, in any religion) that permits terrorism? It’s always the rogue elements who bring disrepute to a religion. Why can’t there be rogue elements amongst the Hindus? This is just political balderdash. Stray elements exist in all groupings, and Hindus are no different.

There may not be a linkage to any particular religion. But there surely is to a particular religious grouping – the sangh parivar. In several cases, the linkage with the sangh parivar been established. Several terrorists arrested for the above mentioned crimes are members or ex-members of one or the other outfit of the saffron parivar. The murderer (convicted) of Graham Staines, the Christian missionary working for the benefit of the poorest in Orissa, Dara Singh, was a Bajrang Dal activist. Swami Aseemanand, accused of masterminiding the Samjhauta Express blasts is a Hindu religious leader. This is what Wikipedia writes about him “Swami Aseemanand born as Jatin Chatterjee in West Bengal, joined the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in 1978”. Lt. Col Purohit, also an accused in the same case is suspected to be a member of the Abhinav Bharat, another Hindu right wing outfit. The organization was first set up before independence by Veer Savarkar, and is currently headed by Savarkar’s grand-daughter, Himani Savarkar, who (Wikipedia mentions) is related to Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi. Abhinav Bharat has also been linked to the Malegaon blasts. Incidentally, Savarkar has been described as having extremely good relations with Hedgewar (the founder of RSS) and the two have been described as “two bodies with one heart”. So let’s not fool ourselves. RSS/Abhinav Bharat/Bajrang Dal….all have regrets of their own to offer to the country.

A regret by Shinde does not mean that he has absolved the sangh parivar of its involvement in terror ats. It is not meant to undo the truth. Shinde’s regret means little on the ground. It won’t stop the arrest of Hindu terrorists, if they are out there. It won’t stop the political fight on the basis of religious ideologies. It won’t stop the hangings of Hindus who are on the death row. The actions will continue as earlier. Whoever is involved will be punished. And that’s the way it should be in any country that believes in the rule of law.

In any case, now that the issue is behind us, let’s see what the BJP does. Does it allow Parliament to function? Or does it disrupt it on some or the other flimsy excuse. My feeling is that it will find some other excuse. Like I wrote yesterday, the party’s obstruction is not on any specific point; it is intended to stop the Congress from doing its job. Let’s keep an eye on what happens.

The real truth is that Shinde and the Congress have behaved like responsible parents, who sometimes concede ground to a spoilt child, keeping an eye on the larger goals. It’s called “maturity”, something that most in politics don’t understand….

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