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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Farewell to the H-word

The Communists gave a needlessly bad name to "revisionism". What should have been welcomed as a continuous exercise in critical inquiry was made a term of abuse.

This tendency of some ideological formations (and religions) to fall back on certitudes is inimical to creative politics.

When I asked the question, "Is Hindutva a millstone round the BJP's neck?" various people equated it with heresy. Some of the comments to the earlier posting reflected this rigidity. It was even suggested that people who could even ask such a question should join the Congress.

It reminded me of one of Lenin's more outrageous formulations: "Better fewer but better."

Hindutva did capture the political imagination in the period 1988-1996. It helped BJP move from 2 seats in 1984 to 161 in 1996. Its momentum created the groundwork for regional alliances that saw Vajpayee govern for 6 years.

Hindutva emerged as an alternative view of India amid the debris of the Nehruvian consensus.

  • The Congress was seen to be unable to deal with threats to nationhood in Kashmir and Punjab.
  • It was seen to accommodate regressive Muslim demands, viz. Shah Bano case.
  • The licence-permit-quota raj had run out of steam but it wasn't till 1991 that an alternative model was put in place.
  • The BJP was fresh, untested and promised to be a party with a difference.

Hindutva appealed to a large swathe of Hindu society, particularly middle classes, the youth and Middle India. It promised a new beginning.

Have things changed?

  • The global terrorist threat has brought home the ugly face of Islamist bigotry. But this has also bred an intolerance of hate speech and moral policing which are now associated with Hindu groups. Hindutva has become ugly. It has repelled Hindus.
  • India has become far more globalised and cosmopolitan than it was in the 1990s. There is a greater sense of cultural absorption.
  • India has witnessed staggering economic success. This has turned the beleaguered Hindu of the 1990s into a self-confident Hindu willing to take on global challenges and accept global opportunities.
  • As a doctrine, Hindutva has been intellectually stagnant. It still harks back to Savarkar or historical examples.
  • The energies of religious Hinduism vests with the gurus who tend to be patriotic but propagate universalism.
  • The BJP is seen as a bunch of fuddy-duddies unable to relate to India's modernity. It is seen as too preoccupied with narrow religious issues.
  • BJP's integrity quotient has taken a nosedive.

Hindutva is posing a serious image problem which distracts attention from the other attributes of the party. Hindutva may be a backdrop but if the backdrop grabs all the (negative) attention, the everyday message of the party is lost.

There are times when a term becomes a block and an obstacle. Clause 4 became a block for the Labour Party and "dictatorship of the proletariat" for the Communists. Both were shelved.

The BJP should quietly shelve Hindutva in the same way as Nehru shelved Gandhism and Narasimha Rao dispensed with socialism.

Enlightened nationalism and modernity should become the two defining attributes of the BJP. Otherwise the party faces a growing marginalisation for its inability to move with the times.

205 comments:

1 – 200 of 205   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

The bullet points you enumerate above can be distilled into one sentence: BJP is no longer the party with a difference (as you yourself have noted above). Even the ordinary BJP supporter now concedes this. And that spells the death knell for the party. For when you have the original crooks (Kangress) why purchase the epigones?

zoomindianmedia said...

Hindutva is more than Clause 4. When you have a leader like Modi, u dont have to talk Hindutva.

I do agree that BJP must come out strongly against loonies (even the Hindu variants). I do believe congress uses loonies like Rama Sene and MNS to undermine the natioanalist/Hindu cause. BJP will be better served by keeping away from these jokers.

BJP will be foolish if it deals harshly with Varun Gandhi and Yogi Adityanand. Without the energising campaigns these candidates carried out, BJP would have ended up in single digits in UP.

Answers to your H question is not simple? BJP to a good extent did carry a non-H campaign (similar to labor w.o clause 4). BJP lost bcoz of its lack of effective communication channels as I had highlighted and the lack of effort on the ground - especially in the heartland states of UP and Rajasthan.

http://zoomindianmedia.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/election-2009-analysis/

Rambhakt said...

Swapan da
In our desire to be more aceptable, we should not fall into the trap of jettisoning ideas that are at the core of our personality. We should aggressively woo people with our slogan of "Justice for all & appeasement of none" - Isn't this just and fair? Is this against 'enlightened nationalism' and 'modernity'?

Tarun Malaviya said...

I tend to agree with most of what you say here particularly that now "The energies of religious Hinduism vests with the gurus who tend to be patriotic but propagate universalism."
The guru have taken the leadership of the Hindus and both BJP and RSS are lagging behind. It's time they take some lessons from Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, Rishi Prabhakar, Baba Ramdev et. al.

Anonymous said...

Good call. Offstumped seems to agree with you.

Shveta Chhatra could provide a soft landing.

If Hindutva is essence of Hindu thought then which dyed in the wool traditionalist can object to that essence "Dharma" as a starting point

Governance is about Justice and not faith, its time to relegate Saffron that symbolizes faith to the private realm

The White Umbrella that symbolizes Justice must become the metaphor for a movement that sees itself as a natural alternative for governance.

More here http://offstumped.wordpress.com/

BJP_supporter said...

"But this has also bred an intolerance of hate speech and moral policing which are now associated with Hindu groups. Hindutva has become ugly. It has repelled Hindus."

I might not be that strong in logic, but this could classify as a Straw-Man. I knew this was coming though and said so in my past comments. Thanks.

offstumped said...

Good call, Offstumped seems to agree with you.

The White Umbrella that symbolizes Justice must become the metaphor for a movement that sees itself as a natural alternative for governance

Governance is about Justice and not faith, its time to relegate Saffron that symbolizes faith to the private realm

If Hindutva is essence of Hindu thought then which dyed in the wool traditionalist can object to that essence "Dharma" as a starting point

Swapan Dasgupta says its time to drop the H-word the Shveta Chhatra could provide a soft landing

Mimi said...

Agree Swapan.

Hindutva should now recede to the background, and no longer obscure the foreground, which should consist of clean, non dynastic, non corrupt, nationalistic governance.

Similarly LKA and Modi too should recede to the background - LKA into the sunset, and Na Mo to Gujarat where he could become the next Jyoti Basu with 4-5 terms in office, and the foreground should contain the likes of Jaitley, Swaraj, maybe a re-branded Varun Gandhi as a young face etc. The only issue is RSS. What would be the shape of RSS in a world with a non hindutva BJP?

Anyway, the benefit of having a viable alternative to Congress far exceeds the cost of BJP being stuck in the 90s mould.

Siva said...

Well Swapanda, hope your ready to face a barrage of criticism for your post. Like I said in another comment, this post is going to hit the 1000 comment mark.

I am not particularly an extremely pro-Hindutva kind of guy, but I disagree with your analysis. If we shelve Hindutva, what is there to differentiate us from the Congress except that we don't follow dynastic politics, which this election has proved is not an issue which resonates with a majority of the voters?

Hindutva preaches a way of life, which is extremely peace loving and nationalistic. Why on earth should be abandon that?

Firstly, the media will never let us 'quietly' shelve Hindutva. If we attempt to do that, they will gloat 24X7 in triumph about having proved that we were wrong over the last 20 years with our ideology of Hindutva. Already they talk about the BJP 'reviving' Hindutva whenever it talks Ram Temple / POTA. Don't expect them to understand the BJP does not abandon or pick up Hindutva, but it is ingrained in the BJP.

I agree with you to the extent that we need to potray Hindutva as enlightened nationalism. Hindutva isn't against modernity, but it talks about preserving the best of our culture. The two aren't contradictory. We need to explain to the people what Hindutva really is, not the Barkha Sagarika definition, but the real definition.

I am surprised by your call for the party to shelve everything it has stood for for 20 years. Go back and read something u wrote in the blog post titled 'More or Less NaMo' - I quote "There is nothing worse than a leader pretending to be what he/she is not". Surely that is what your asking the BJP to do now!

I believe we need to refashion Hindutva for the new age. That does not mean abandoning it or its core principles, which very much hold true. But we need to portray it as progressive rather than regressive, nationalistic rather than divisive, universal rather than sectarian. It is all of these things, but has been portrayed incorrectly.

Sorry Swapanda, but this is probably the first post of yours with which I strongly disagree. If we completely abandon Hindutva, we will nosedive to 50 seats and vanish as a potent political force. We already saw the consequence of not fulfilling the Hindutva ambitions when we lost the Hindu vote in 2004 significantly. If we abandon Hindutva, the party will splinter into various groups advocating various degrees of Hindutva, and we will go into political oblivion.

Seriously, can you defend your statement "inability to move with the times". That is the perception the media wants the people to have, I didn't think you would fall for it. Which party had the better website for its campaign? lkadvani.in was by far the most popular and dynamic political website ever in this country. Which party came up with a well defined IT vision? Which party came out in support of Free and Open Source Software, something which is expected to take the computing world by storm in the near future? We ran an extremely digital campaign, while the Congress ran the same old campaign. That perhaps was one of the reasons for the loss.

I am usually a strong supporter of ur views and blog posts, but this time I join the hordes of people who are going to lambast you for your views.

Guru said...

Young leaders is the only answer and bjp should avoid all those leaders with a big vermilion tika on their forehead(which according to perception in today's youth is associated with hindu hardliners)

Rajnath singh - big tika
Yeddi - big tika..

I mean.. ppl tend to highlight these things even if they are not hardcore hindutva agents. They should try to connect to the modern young people of India. Show the development work and do all the hindutva stuff at the background and where it matters the most.

Please for god sake... use good PR for all those who still are the 1990's of India....

Swapan!.. Hats off to you.. I appreciate and accept majority of the points raised by you..

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NR said...

I am posting the comment again a there seems to have been an error in the way my browser reacted. if submitted twice, my apologies.


Swapan da,

Its nice to see that there is broad agrrement that it is time for bjp to charter a new course by adopting a ideology with the positives and purging the negatives and suited to curt situation.

Now lets say by some magic, bjp deccided to get out of slumber and formulates a new course and adopts it.

I would ike to know your views on the following?

Should bjp disown organizations like vhp/bd while charting a new course?

If you think bjp cannot disown them,it is also necessary for these organizations to adopt new course and approaches,solutions to issues that confront them.

If they dont do the above, andbjp does not disown them, even the new course piloted by bjp will get tainted.

So isnt it necessary that BJP while chartering a new course, gets across the table and makes sure the rss ensures these organizations too adopt new approaches and solutions to issues that confront it and shun viloence and also deliver the message that if they dont want to change, thee is no opon but severing of ties?

Rohit said...

ZoomIndia,

You claim that without Adityanath and Varun, BJP would have ended in single digits in UP.

Newsflash: BJP did end in in single digits in UP... in fact one less than last time.

Satkar said...

More importantly, Hindutva has not been coupled with aesthetics by the BJP. To present Hindutva as an intellectual discourse and alternative political thought (to Nehruvism, pseudo-secularism) is one part of the task, but the human mind associates ideas with people and personalities that typify or promote the discourse. And it is here that the BJP has failed miserably. Hindutva succeed in the late 1980s and 1990s because it was a different generation that related to it, which was not exposed to western way of life, western consumerism, and it cultural icons. Our contemporary entertainment world has largely tried to yoke to the western pop culture. India's youth which gets its impulses from this entertainment world cannot relate to dhothi clad gentry riding 'chariots' preaching hindutva, nor does it wish to be lectured to on what being 'bharitya nari' is, what our culture is and how it should guide our behaviour. It is seen as too encroaching of freedom. The youth is more comfortable with and indeed proud to associate with beautiful people in western attire who rock to pop music, have elevated cowardice to the high philosphy of minority appeasement. That our knowledge and understanding of Indian history is not honest or factual plays no small part in this phenomenon.

The congress today does have westernized, beautiful people who hold forth on 'Indian culture' much like in Nehru's days. It has western/half-western people who represent what most Indian youth want and fantasize about. The BJP does not have this.

Hindutva should not be abandoned by the BJP. Doing so would set it on course to extinction. But it should be woven very intelligently and subliminally into discourse. And it should be given a very subtle, aesthetic face -- they should rope in good looking, educated, refined and articulate people as faces of its re-fashioned Hindutva, push stodgy people (KR Malkani comes to mind) to the background.

As a politcal party the BJP should also redefine its public conduct. They should say no strikes and bandhs going forward, practice dignified forms of protest, quickly establish a respectable way for youth to enter politics, present its party as a giant organization that rewards performance just as a good employer would. I am certain that these changes will re-establish BJP as a party with a difference, but not disconnected from the global world, that aims to sitch India seamlessly into fabric of this world and not disconnect it in the name of Hindutva.

Arun said...

While every point you raised is valid, they are not the reasons for the 2009 election results. If the party has no presence in 170+ seats and has this demographic disadvantage in UP, it cannot be a serious contender. Yes, 5 years of irresponsible opposition has damaged the party's credibility. One solution is to convert the Swadeshi Jagran Manch into a political party so as to fill the void in the 5 coastal states. They have a lot more ideological clarity than the BJP as a whole.

iamfordemocracy said...

Swapanda, thanks for a post with great clarity. The fact is 20% Muslim and 5-6% Christains who will never vote for a pro-Hindu party. This number will keep increasing in next few years. Beyond a certain point, India could slip into anarchy simply because the basis of the groups that are voting on religious lines was never secular or utilitarian. Mostly, it is corruption metamorphed into a new form with these groups having a license to use the word secular in whichever way they like.

Thankfully, India is so huge that sooner or later, there will be multiple groups of each sect fighting for power. Rule of law will become important and there might be a shift towards a more utilatarian party, which BJP is even in its present form. Old ideas like integral humanism etc will have to be re-christened. They will not be accepted by non-Hindu groups.

My take on this is different. I believe BJP needs a new language. There never was any ideology (based on deliverables - one can talk 24/7 about ideology - it does not mean much), so that is not an issue. To sell the new language through hostile media will be a tough job, but it can be done with resolve and discipline, both of which BJP badly lacked in last 10 years.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da,

Undoubtedly your post will generate a lot of sparks. But the whole exercise will be futile unless you define what exactly you mean by Hindutva.

neo_reloaded said...

swapanda to re-brand hindutva and somehow rid it of the ugly face created by media mud slinging a big YES but dropping it altogether is a NO NO...!!! what the BJP now needs to work on is regaining the difference it once had with the congress... how abt debate on basing all our "affirmative action" on caste & religion for starters??? this will probably be the only real issue that will come the BJP's way where it can provide some 'constructive opposition' hows abt turning the debate into "effective social justice" based on real socio economic backwardness at an individual level rather than at caste/religion level????how abt batting for the "aam admi" fore once who gets no benefit out of the current "social justice" scheme. how abt taking up some real issues????the mandal era provided an opportunity to the BJP to show its difference.. now a 'scahar era' stares us in the face will the BJP act in a politically incorrect manner and reject this absurd and ineffective scheme??does it have the spine to stand up in opposition knowing very well that since such a scheme will easily attract required support and the BJP is in no position to block such a legislation with just 116 MP's????

Naveen said...

Hindutva has given us Indians nothing but terrorism. B. Raman former RA&W chief in his book The Kaoboys of RA&W: Down Memory Lane blames former PM Narasimha Rao for the Babri Masjid demolition. But everyone knows the demolition was an outcome of Hindutva politics of BJP. B. Raman states that this destruction of the Masjid by Hindutva forces was the single biggest cause for the spread of Islamic terrorism in India outside J&K.

Burial of Hindutva by BJP was long over due in my opinion.

n said...

who the hell was speaking about hindutva during bjp campaign and even sc called it a way of life.India is islamic for heavens sake.THe muslims decide who rules.FOR heavens sake bjp was talking development,security,inflation,recession swissbanks money for devlopment,proxy pmship 50,ooo missing crores cag report.BUT MEDIA-mafia intentionally blanked that out for congress masters AND AS USUAL CONsolidated disproportionate muslim turnout vote of 30 % against bjp by raising bogey of gujarat 2002 of varun and modi.so it is not hindutva that made bjp lose.IT is the anti-bjp OH SO SECULAR muslim vote which is based on rank communalism and islamic attitude ironically .Congress and media mafia know this and always remind muslims of 2002 before elections but pounce on some pota stuff as hindutva.Then why congress reintroduced pota after 26-11 statement yeah pota equals hindutva.artcle 370 and uniform civil code family planning too.These are true rataional secular nationalistic issues but our depraved media will call self defence by india and hindus (against jihad thru exploding muslim population) hindutva.So secularism means pandits fleeing from kashmir and getting killed in 26-11 and letting muslims do what they want for jihad.See how ndtv awarded omar indian of year and crucified varun for saying iam a hindu and an indianjust like omar did. u know media will always be against bjp just like muslims because they know the bones and crumbs and vested interests are with congress who bribe them not to forget international funding from christians and muslims.
Its unfortunate that even people like swapan are being swayed by media mafia.this is too high a price to pay for seeing swapn's face on tv on inane discussions with sagarika about congress cabinet which is just another shameful congress chapter in india's history of backwardness and corruption and slavery.NO wonder a star performer like modi is having a hard time in this wretched country of stupid cowardly corrupthindus who have a death wish.but atleast let us not be stupid by blaming hindutva when it was islam that did bjp in,because of its appeasement to none policy like it has been doing for years.GUjarta 2002,varun,m0di temple,pota etc is enough for congress to win without doing anything except loot and jhuth because muslims will vote religion and not dvelopment with 30 % of vote turnout and add the marxists,corrupt congressi supporters and the gullible fools and they will keep winning like they have a monopoly for 60 yrs.welcome to secular islamic republic of india .I AM ASHAMED TO BE A HINDU.Congenital cowards with big egos, but do they have to be stupid too?

n said...

u say - But this has also bred an intolerance of hate speech and moral policing which are now associated with Hindu groups. Hindutva has become ugly. It has repelled Hindus.

ram sene leaders were arrested and rsene fought against bjp in many seats but media lied that the two are the same and you dont question your media pals about this. This is falSe malicious congress ownde media mafia propagnada for votes against bjp and pro congress just like guj 2002,varun which are tomtommed 24-7 .ITs suprising you do not see this strategy to galvanise the minority disproprtionate vote against the bjp and some macaulayed youth are falling for this.TH e bjp is far more liberal than congress who did the emergency and i s feudal maibap licence raj and corrupt and has intentionallly kept poeple backward and poor.vajpayees liberalisation was used by media against bjp and so is modi's in gujarta.these same guys bow to the dynasty just like they did in emergency.ANd you call them liberal media.LIberal my foot.They are just congress team AND ALSO ARE FUNDED BY ISLAMISTS AND MISSIONARIES WORLDWIDE.its amazing even educated posters cannot analyze facts based on actual track record of media,congress and islam.hindutva or no hindutva,bjp has to fight muslims-media-congress nexus.instead of carrying those useless lathis,the parivar shuld fund a channel to combat the fraud english media who is swaying the shallow ignorant fashionable youth with pink chaddi type pub culture lies while hiding their motives and agenda.

Satya said...

Opposing caste based reservations is the key. BJP should start from there.

This will guarantee Media attention and Support from Youngsters.

cipher said...

Dear Swapan,

Can you please explain what other than Hindutwa (of any kind) does the BJP offer which makes it different than the Congress? All this right wing party things are humbug because, economic policy wise the BJP doesn't care. It swiftly changed lanes from Swadesi to Manmohanomics leaving Govindacharya jee trampled. (1)So what would distinguish BJP from the Congress if Hindutwa is shelved? (2) And do you think BJP has the intellectual strength to discard Hindutwa? RSS bosses would wield heavy sticks and more on any one who even utters the "M"(moderation, Muslim etc etc.) word. Remember Sudheendra jee from 2004 and Jinnah. (3) What would BJP adopt if it were to discard Hindutwa and who would decide that? Congress decided upon secularism etc. etc. from the lessons of the freedom movement though it periodically flunks disgustingly, SP, BSP, DMK etc were a result of how Hinduism was practiced through the ages. Where will BJP's inspiration come from?

Indian Nationalist said...

Nothing can be done to a person who is filled with Ignorance.

~ Bhagavat Gita


Swapan Dasgupta, this message aptly describes you.

Only hope that Lord Krishna can forgive you for your conceit.

Anonymous said...

What is this "Hindutva" that BJP should jettison?

Those who are suggesting that BJP should retire "hindutva" seemed to have bought into the definition of Hindutva put forward by known BJP baiters on English Language TV channels.

Do you think average voter is sophisticated enough to understand the difference between "enlightended nationalism" and "Hindutva nationalism". And this pseudo-liberal media would let you get away with it?

What are the enlightended nationalist issues and which one are "Hindutva"?

For example, resisting large scale and aggressive conversion activities- is that enlightened nationalism or Hindutva? (ask Mr. Karan Thapar who in the aftermath of Kandhamal, declared that he knew for the fact that there are no forcible conversions).

Getting rid of Marxist garbage in text books- is that enlightended or Hindutva?

What are the nationalist ideologies that would stand apart BJP from Congress-
Is it going to be terrorism- would congress and Media just concede that BJP is going to deal with it better?

Is it going to be economy- will the other side just concede BJP is better for liberalized economy? or Is it going to be India's safety and security?

Unifrom civil code, J&K accession and so on and so forth. The moment BJP raises them, media labels it Hindutva.

What is the meaning of moving with times?
If RSS (and Gandhiji) says that villages/communities should be self-sufficient and rely on local resources they are regressive but when Al Gore types and Hollywood greens say "grow-local and eat-local" that's 21st century modernism?

Even after 60 years of Independence, people are letting westerners (by westerners I mean British for people above 50 years of age and Americans for people under 50) decide what is modern and what is archaic (Another example would be tattoos). Hasn't BJP/RSS always been for advancement of science and technology?

I think this is going to be a useful and interesting debate. It would be worthwhile to note that there are going to be 200-250 seats in the future where "minorities" are going to determine the outcome.

LG said...

The debate is very much on! Good to see that!

Let us for a moment ignore the provocative title and look at the spirit of the suggestion. And debate vigorously!

1. It is impossible for the BJP to be a party without an ideological undepinning. In Indian polity it is a revisionist force seeking to challenge the centrist political formation and discourse.

2. Being a right of centre / conservative force it is almost axiomatic to root its appeal in tradition.

3. And in modern India, Tradition is NOT a bad word! Nationalism, Religiosity, Patriotism all evoke strong sense of identity even among the youth!

4. The challenge therefore is to channelise these energies and articulate an appropriate idiom.

5. That will call not for throwing out the idea but refining and clarifying it.

6. Again being a revisionist political force it will need to attract adherents with differing levels of ideological commitment. Different organs of the parivar will need to fulfil that role. Unfortunately today the BJP, RSS, VHP, and Sharmic Sabha organisations all seem to stand for the same thing.

Let 100 flowers bloom!

Anonymous said...

swapan

from " we are all papist now " TO " Farewell to

H- word " Iam amazed by your integrity quotient.

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting suggestion from SL Rao in his Telegraph column:

Is this a model that Bharatiya Janata Party can follow? BJP has a cadre, but it belongs to RSS with its anti-Muslim and other antediluvian views. It restricts BJP’s appeal. Until BJP is able to cleanse the RSS or has its own cadre, it will remain a party that will approach but never seize power by itself, always with its policies moderated by coalition partners. But it might consider imitating the Congress model after Advani steps down. The tallest leader left is Narendra Modi; flawed and with not many in India or abroad who will accept him as prime minister. But Modi could be president of BJP à la Sonia Gandhi, with a trusted loyalist to lead government in policy and implementation.

Narendra Modi is a brilliant party organizer and administrator. Only he can build BJP’s grassroots and even change RSS, but he must move more to the Centre of a tolerant India. As with Congress First Family, he will hold reins of the party, and direct the prime minister. He and BJP will have to identify and develop someone to be such a credible prime minister, with competence and capability and willingness to be subservient to party president.

This model is not new to India. Till his assassination in 1948, MK Gandhi, who held office in Congress (as president, once in 1924), was the final authority for all the party’s major decisions. The relationship of First Family in Congress (holding the Congress presidency) and prime minister and government is no different. By copying this model, BJP could resolve its crises of leadership and of an extremist RSS cadre."

Tatha Mukherjee said...

Swapan'da is now reduced to Fortune Cookie telling.

Neither BJP as a party, or RSS as an organization ever supported those who attacked women going to bar and dancing.

Commitment to ideology is important for a political party, particularly its core ideologies. We don;t want BJP becoming Cong's B Team.

Just curious why Swapan'da wrote this during Jammu movement, and why he thinks Congress has been more successful in confronting challenges before the nation.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opinion/Columnists/Swapan-Dasgupta/Right--Wrong/Monumental-folly/articleshow/3397881.cms

Its actually much worse than in mid 1980s.

zoomindianmedia said...

Swapanda

I am expanding on my earlier comment.

Hindutva is more than Clause 4. That said, when you have a leaders like Modi, u dont have to talk Hindutva. It is implicit.

I do agree that BJP must come out strongly against loonies (even the Hindu variants). I believe congress uses loonies like Rama Sene and MNS to undermine the natioanalist/Hindu cause. BJP will be better served by keeping away from these jokers. Another looney was this one who surfaced during the elections:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg5A_FoWlTw

The above said, BJP will be foolish if it deals harshly with Varun Gandhi and Yogi Adityanand. Without the energising campaigns these candidates carried out, BJP would have ended up in single digits in UP.

Answers to your H question are not simple? BJP to a good extent did carry a non-H campaign (similar to labor w.o clause 4).

BJP lost bcoz of its lack of effective communication channels as I had highlighted and the lack of effort on the ground - especially in the heartland states of UP and Rajasthan.

We are probably barking up on the wrong tree by over focusing on Hindutva.

http://zoomindianmedia.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/election-2009-analysis/

doubtinggaurav said...

Swapan Da,

Assuming you are arguing in terms of electoral dividend, can you explain what will be the dividend of enlightened nationalism and modernization (by which I suppose you mean liberalization). It is not clear to me that what appeals to the 'enlightened' class will necessarily be a winner, or in two words, 'India Shining'

Swabhimaan said...

If BJP abandons Hindutva it won't be any different from the Congress. What it needs is progressive Hindutva. Just shun the extremism and it is all good! BJP's mantra should be development + Hindutva. It should not discard one for the other. I completely agree with Siva.

gaurav said...

Hi Swapan, I am surprised by what you have come up with..let's start with 3 important things BJP still stands for-

a. Uniform Civil Code.
b. Status of Kashmir.
c. Temple issue.

1.What you are referring to pertains to only the 3rd point, even that superficially. Any genuine right of centre party can not & should never compromise on the first 2 points. By default, sticking to point 1 alone makes it look like what you don't want it to be. And giving up on it will certainly make BJP look like hypocrites or a cheap imitator of Congress..that is going with the flow.

2. The ability of a really good leadership and party is to successfully mold the public opinion atleast most of the times rather than the other way around sometimes. Otherwise how can the party leadership take tough unpopular decisions when in power for the long term interests of the nation. They must be skillful in such matters from political & administrative point of view.

3. If you failed in convincing the electorate then trash yourself & your approach, not your ideas.

4. If any critical thinking needs to be done, it only has to do with articulating your ideas confidently. One thing I have observed is that BJP is always trying to convince people about Hindutva or at times seems at pain in view of absurd arguments pushed at them. All they need to do is to associate every single development work done by there governments as an implementation of nationalist or hindutva philosophy. Needs some creativity but can be done.

5. As for fringe far right groups, if you are sure that they have done something wrong trash them, if BJP finds that people from RSS are driving from behind or some people have there special blessings, again set the tone with RSS right, for they must also realise that the best chance of culmination of there aspirations politically can only be done by BJP,they just need to be the advisors when asked for.
6. Finally, do what your best people did, Atalji had said that temple is a national aspiration when he was PM. No one said a word against him. He governed well & was respected because of integrity quotient. It seems some people in BJP have a sense of entitlement, regarding even its core principles. That's where the rot is. Hindutva is a fine philosophy which is not past its time but whose time has yet to come..game on!!

Sorry for the long post, couldn't stop typing !!

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,
Your latest post stands out from all the previous posts like a sore thumb. It seems to be a hastily (or ghost?) written post just to keep the ball rolling. It was a miscarriage of an answer to a good question.
You say “the BJP should quietly shelve Hindutva in the same way as Nehru shelved Gandhism and Narasimha Rao dispensed with socialism”. Why do you think it has not been done already? It was realized during the NDA regime itself, which is why you see Golden Quadrilateral instead of Ram Temple. Purists say that was the reason BJP lost UP and 2004, the BJP manifesto of 2009 was also in the same direction. May be BJP should be more conspicuous in shelving Hindutva over development.

Anonymous said...

Although continuously in one hand swapan da vehemently accusing BJP for rigidness in their ideological thinking however in your article I found that you are preaching your own brand of ideological fundamentalism which is I classified as “Corporate BJP’. In 2004 BJP subscribe your prescriptions without thinking twice such as back siding all the Hindu Nationalist issue, raising corporate slogan like India shining(BJP government spent approximately Rs. 500 crores for the advertisements campaign during 2004 Parliament elections with tax payers money !!!)and tried to become very much inclusive by appeasing Muslim voters by promising 2core Urdu teacher, hajj subsidies and Pakistan peace talk net result disastrous performance in 2004 election . On other side our so called ideologically morally bankrupt foe Congress went back to its ideological rigidly from a party of elitists it rebranding itself as party of AAM ADAMi ! Instead of high tech flashy corporate election campaign as preferred by BJP high command they flow the RSSs prescriptions! Simple low cost door to door grass root election campaign and regain Delhi. BJP repeat this same mistake again instead of going on its basic ideology RAM ROTI or INSAF it launch an Obama style virtual internet campaign although they forget the hard fact only 10 to 20% of Indians total population has internet access.! Net result BJP knock out again by Congress. If BJP transformed according to your suggestion than again they will experience defeatism in election.

senthil said...

swapan,
I agree with siva.. just because Hindutva had been made ugly (by those medias), to reject it would be a deathnell for the party..

It will give a wrong message, that the party was following a hateful, divisive, communal and ugly ideology for all these days, and even those people who view hindutva in a positive tone will get confused..
We will end ourselves in endorsing the false propoganda of the sickular ELM vultures, and thus ignorantly make their falses as true..

Do you feel, that those ELM vultures will keep quiet, if BJP abandon Hindutva?
They will immediately project like "BJP had finally got out of hatred politics".. this will be double blow to BJP, because, it will send a clear message to people that hindutva is bad, and that whenever BJP raises any issue related to Hinduism in future, the ELM vultures will always scream "BJP is again returning to Hindutva"..

Thus it will end up in catch 22 situation..

Your ideas are really dangerous and self-destructive for the party..

As i said earlier you yourself are under immense influence from those ELM hypocrites, and please come out of that..

THink in terms of normal indians and NOT just that of urban ignorant indians..

senthil said...

Swapan ji.. You would definitely be aware of how "Caste" in Hinduism had been denigrated & caricatured to extreme levels, that even the utterance of Caste pushes every Hindus to apologetic mode..

But it required a Dharampal, to expose that most of the so called OBC's BCs and some of the SC's and STs are once the rulers of india before britishers.

And today, i never was apologetic about caste system, and in turn support it..

Like wise, Hindutva needs to be dealt intellectualy, and the real meaning has to be propogated through various means..

If we dont do that, and if we reject hindutva, just because of the pseudo-secularists, then it will become another tool (like casteism) to malign us for ever..

Anonymous said...

Swapan Da ,
What would you mean when BJP will oppose Sedusamudran distruction,Sachhar commetie recomdation. The media will paint BJP again as Hindutva party. It will face the same fate as India faced ,that was without having nuclear bomb every one said they had. Only after Vajpai gov did test then only the question was settled.
So will be here. Eithjer they shun or not, its nucleus for BJP.Moreover in this election Hinduvtva was not an issue still people like you are crying faul.

Anonymous said...

Discarding Hindutva would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. There has been a massive effort by the obnoxious TV media to equate Hindutva with Jehadi terrorism and some weak minded BJP people (like the ex commie Sudheendra Kulkarni) have fallen for it. If the BJP discards Hindutva, it will fall below 50 seats.

These elections had nothing to with Hindutva. The congress won by use of massive amounts of money power. Massive doles were given under the NREG and loan waiver schemes. Something like 30 crores was spent by the Congress in every single constituency in Andhra Pradesh, this gave them the power to "purchase" votes at the going rate of 500 per head on top of the massive amounts of dole delivered earlier.

All this was possible because of the favourable global economic environment and the foundations laid by 6 years of economic reform by the NDA government.

The question before the BJP is how to tackle this. This requires a change in tactics and strategy not discarding its ideology. That would make it another rootless party like the Congress.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely, shedding away H-word is something a real boost, forget the people, who still think BJP is a party of difference.

We have seen what happened to minority Hindu's in Bangladesh, minority tamils in Sri lanka. I hardly understand why H is the way of life.

Nationalism is not hinduism, and let party rebrand itself in new cloths, and let those remaining hardcore hindus go the way of supremacy groups, nobody cares.

Balaji said...

Excellent! yes, its indeed time to jettison Hindutva which was just a rhetoric to appease the Hindu fundamentalists. Hindutva of Savarkar's era and the current Modi/Varun/Shourie/Muthalik variety is unacceptable to most Hindus. If BJP hopes to get Hindu votes, it must throw Hindutva into History's dustbin from where Advani picked it from.

And throwing Hindutva out is not jettisoning ideology. If Integral Humanism doesn't satisfy the Muslim haters, let them join Shiv Sena or revive Hindu Mahasabha.

Karan said...

Hey Swapanda,
I disagree with this lates piece of blog. I think that Hindutva is something that sets BJP apart from the rest. The willingness to not to appease any section of the society and justice to all. The way Hindutva has been prapogated is wrong. Hindutva in itself does not stand for extremism, but rights to all. When there is a terrorist attack by an Islamist radical group, channels propose terrorism has no religion, but when there is an incident by Ram Sene, people paint them as Saffron party. Inspite of them being different from the BJP. Does that not count as bias by the media. Agreed that India has become more urbanized and more cosmopolitan than the 90's. But then the youth feels the same about the matters or reservation and religion. It is just that media potrays BJP to be communal, that the youth dislikes the party. What else would explains Modi and BSY's victory in Karanataka. It would be disastrous for BJP to shelve Hindutva, but I would suggest that BJP and RSS should re-invent Hindutva in a way that appeals to the youth of the country.
Regards,
Karan.

P.S.: It was surprising for me to see you coming out with a suggestion to shelf Hindutva. I might be wrong in understanding your context of it. If possible reply me at karan.nuts@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I think this move away from Hindutva concept is being pushed by the psuedo-secular media... its aimed at finishing of the BJP ... the BJP is currently confused... but all it has to do is look back and analyze 1999, 2004 and 2009... BJP lost 2004 & 2009 because it tried to move away from CORE HIDUTVA and projected development and other things.... Majority of its base was not enthused with this and its seat count dived south...

I think maybe the party has to split... one that follows core-hindutva and another half that goes the modern way... this modern half could test its concept and also try and develop a base in states where the BJP is not strong... The Core Hindutva party can build in areas where the Hindutva feeling is strong...

since there is no clear analytical answer to this question isnt this a viable suggestion???

BJP_supporter said...

Karan, Senthil,Sanjay, Swabhiman, Gaurav and several anonymous commenters - you are wasting your time here. I doubt if any of you attended elite convents and that shows.

aw said...

Hi Swapan,

I am not sure if giving up Hindutva is any more in BJP's hands. Even if they formally announce it they would constantly have their feet held to the fire on this issue or that by a media that is definitely unfriendly.

So I think they do not have to say anything about this. But they must define red lines that crossed by candidates or events would elicit a certain response that would over time ( this is not going to be swift) lead to people seeing BJP in more positive light by the other side. And if they are going to use the media as is, to identify people who are good using it. Going specifically after minority vote would be the very thing that would turn a good many people off and that is a slippery slope.

One key step to widen their appeal: Many people on this blog have agreed that BJP must open itself to a more democratic process - they will pull in the very people from middle class and the youth that today seem to be drifting away from them. After all if membership of RSS or lack of it is seen to be same as being born in a dynasty what is the difference.

Another would be to embrace or take leadership on environment issues. This is one issue that is more than often embraced by the youth in a big way.

BJP can be seen as more modern by an increasingly aspirational society by being better with Ideas AND implementation and leadership. I think they do not seem to realize they do not provide a big difference between the quality of governance they deliver versus Others. Nor do they win the battle of ideas because they offer none. I am not sure they should rush to occupy economic right ( primarily because not all of NDA as well as BJP buy it).

Regards
Atul

Anonymous said...

Hi Swapan,

Sorry to say that I complete disagree with your analysis. The problem is with the understanding of the meaning of Hindutva. Hindutva as an ideology is actually, all inclusive, nationalistic, and brilliant. why would anyone want to shelve that? It is niether regressive, not is it anti-modern or anything like that. It is also completely secular.

Please do not mistake reality with perception. Hindutva maybe "perceived" negatively but in reality the ideology has nothing negative about it. Hence the need of the hour is to ensure effectively communicate and ensure that the "perception" is made right and people understand what hindutva is. And hindutva can very easily co-exist with modern, economically successful, educated India.

I am sorry to say but you seemed to analysed the comments in the previous posts as negative criticism without actually reading and understanding some of them.

Anonymous said...

BJP should stick to two of its core issues to overcome this communal-secular debate and these are the issues of "Cultural Nationalism" and "Integral Humanism". The point is BJP has failed to convince the Indian masses that Religion is only a part of culture and not the other way round. The Party should take the position that, cultural nationalism is vastly different from religious nationalism and integral humanism talks about an all encompassing and the most inclusive concept of a Welfare State and hate and bigotry has nothing to do with the world view of BJP.

senthil said...

Swapan,

I doubt, if you are intentionally taking this anti-hindutva stand, to gauge the mindset of the readers..

If you are really serious in this article, then there is something wrong with you..

Rakesh said...

Hi,

If not BJP who will fight for Hindus? Congress , CPI or Lalu and company. BJP should concentrate on fighting for legitimate hindu causes. I don't care if they win or not but atleast EJ / Islamists will be on tenterhooks as long as BJP pursues pro-India policies. If BJP becomes Congress -redux , definitely EJ /Islamists and ELM will have the last laugh.

Can BJP re-group and take following actions:

1) Open a toll free number for all those NRI's who are racially abused and take up those issues
2) Open a toll free number for all those students who can report ragging and other abuses happening in our country
3) Submit a memorandum to FM for increasing tax slab and other measures as put in BJP manifesto
4) Take up issues faced by ladies like securiy , inflation , reservation etc
5) Oppose religious based reservations

Venkatesh said...

Swapan Da,

Have to strongly disagree on this one. You are throwing the baby along with the bath water.

BJP without Hindutva is like Swapan Da without his pen!!!! Might as well as retire

Anonymous said...

"Bad managers look at the situation the way it should be, good managers look at the situation the way it is" - Peter Drucker.

Before we make monumental decisions on the future course vis-a-vis Hindutva, we must look at certain ground realities.

1. A rapidly changing demographic map (rise of radical muslim voters)
2. Caste dynamics preventing emergence of a consolidated Hindu vote bank
3. Overwhelming media bias against anything or anyone right-of-center
4. Rise of Taliban
5. Zero BJP presence in large parts of India

There are more such 'facts' that cannot be ignored.

If Hindutva alone is blamed for BJP's woes, we may end up with a body with no soul and little to differentiate itself from pseudosecular outfits.

Its kind of like Michael Jackson bleaching his skin/fixing his nose/straightening his hair and expecting to be counted as 'White'.

I dont think BJP will ever gain acceptance from Congress leaning voters, regardless of what it is willing to give up.

The trick is to discard the repulsive parts associated with those supporting Hindutva (violence, intolerance, etc.).

Position BJP based on principles, unimpeachable
personal integrity with national interest being the first and only arbiter of political decisions and voters will come back. In droves.

Khudi ko kar buland itna, key har taqdeer se pehle khuda bande se khud puchey bata teri raza kya hai.

Anonymous said...

Even the term nationalism is an outdated term in many ways, especially the loaded way in which BJP uses the term. BJP has used the term to imply that those with hindutva sentiments are nationalistic while others are not. Every citizen of the country of all religions/castes/regions etc who lead a normal life abiding to Indian law/constitution are to be deemed nationalists. No person/party has a right to define it any other way. The BJP can be 'socially conservative', but has no other option, but to fight it out on issues of development, social welfare, empowerment etc. Can anyone claim that BJP fares better than Congress of human development, inclusiveness, social welfare, empowerment etc? One can choose Congress with eyes closed. BJP's opposition to reservations is also not likely to resonate well with public. While the dalit reservation is proportionate, all other reservations (including the Muslim reservation) are well below actual percentage of population. A dalit or OBC cannot understand why the BJP is opposing them to occupy even smaller seats than their proportion (they do not mind if a 15% population like Muslims are allowed to occupy 5% seats and they find it reasonable) High shrill campaigns like death of merit or communal reservations etc for OBC/Muslim reservations are out of touch with ground reality. The Muslim reservation may be technically non-viable, but that is a different matter, but most people on the ground identify with the state that Muslims are in (where a 15% population needs reservation to occupy even 5% of seats and most people find it reasonable).

Anonymous said...

Actually BJP feels its self made party ,that is a mistake.
It being carried by RSS. The BJP's trouble is ,it tried to deviate from guidlines of RSS. Result every one in the party started becoming power center.
The panacea to BJP's trouble is that it should accept RSS and its ideology in full and open then the confusing signlas will never go. Moreover people like Vaundhara raje,Jaswant and like that will hear carefully the dictums of RSS rather than jaitley or whosoever it is.
These people can be shown the doors also. What worse can happen to party they are already 4/25.
RSS supporter

Anonymous said...

Karan writes,

>> I think that Hindutva is something that sets BJP apart from the rest. The willingness to not to appease any section of the society and justice to all.

Justice to all includes a need for affirmative action to sections that are downtrodden and socially/educationally/economically backward. People on the ground agree that it is reasonable.

>> When there is a terrorist attack by an Islamist radical group, channels propose terrorism has no religion, but when there is an incident by Ram Sene, people paint them as Saffron party.

"Islamist terrorism" is not a political party running for office to lead our country. Whereas hindutva extremism threatens to rule India. So the latter deserves more scrutiny. In any case, a political party has to stand above such criticism. It should be able to meet the strictest of standards. In spite of repeated apologies, condemnations, swearing against it etc, the Congress is not spared for 1984 riots. How do you expect BJP to be treated with kids gloves?

>> What else would explains Modi and BSY's victory in Karanataka.

BSY is in honeymoon period and the betrayal of JD-S is still looming large in peoples mind, and they want to give more time/chance. Modi in Gujarat plays Gujarati card and is more an exception and even then only about 2% votes separates them from congress. It is only a matter of time.

>> I would suggest that BJP and RSS should re-invent Hindutva

In what way? The issues of human development. social welfare, empowerment etc is a fair game for all. The Congress talks in those terms all the time. A legitimate opposition should counter Congress in this game and win. What is the role of Hindutva here?

Oldtimer said...

Dear Swapan,

You wrote: "But this has also bred an intolerance of hate speech and moral policing which are now associated with Hindu groups. Hindutva has become ugly. It has repelled Hindus".

A clarification from you is in order. Is "Hindutva", in your view, breeding bigotry and fanaticism or has it in (popular?) perception become associated with such negative attributes because of its detractors having the better of the battle?

Speaking for myself, I believe that "Hindutva" is a lame and apologetic way of asserting a Hindu /Indic identity. But everyone knows that it _is_ a code word for Hindu/Indic nationalism -- encaspulating an idea of nationalism that derives inspiration from civilizational roots. So the bigger question is: has Hindu nationalism itself become "ugly"? Or are you suggesting that Hindutva must be jettisoned in favor of a more clearly articulated version Hindu/Indic nationalism?

What form would your "enlightened nationalism" take? Let me explain the fuzziness it conveys to me in the context of an example. Consider the question: Should Kashmir be allowed to secede or merge with Pakistan? I sort of vaguely feel that an answer to this questoin from the perspective of "enlightened nationalism" would be No. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of Indians who would answer No to this quesion would be Hindu, while an overwhleming majority of those who would answer Yes would consist of Muslims -- who theologically have no notion of a nation -- and communists -- who pretend to be "multi-national" (except in Bengal, where they are petty linguistic chauvinists). Examples of this kind can be multiplied. Therefore the question is, what distinguishes "enlightened nationalism" from Hindu/Indic nationalism?

If questions of astitva of an entity are being endlessly debated, then that entity was perhaps confused about its identity to begin with!

pranav said...

Unfortunately the BJP ties itself up in knots over unimportant issues. They are debating about ideologies and philosophies. But when it comes to doing something important and concrete - such as demanding a paper trail for EVMs to prevent fraud by a compromised EC - then the BJP is nowhere to be seen.

BJP was in power for six long years with the so called iron man as Home Minister - but no fence on BD border, no national ID cards, no equal status for Hindus as regards running schools and temples, no eviction of Bangladeshi infiltrators, nothing.

Vaibhav said...

First, too many people are criticizing Swapan for his wise suggestion. Hindutva "word" should be shelved for it is open to "convolution" by the media. New word should be brought up that symbolizes moderate cultural nationalism.

Second, BJP should learn Congress' game to silence lumpen elements in a transparent manner. Varun Gandhi should have been made to sit down even if it was not constitutionally correct. This is the age of perception, image , populism and NOT intellectualism.

Third, go full throttle on cultural and nationalistic agenda [teaching family values in colleges, anti-alcohol, ayurveda, yunani] in additional to new issues[ IT, health infrastructure, police reforms].

BJP_supporter said...

One anonymous comment says BJP is opposed to reservations. Another anonymous comment (may be the same person?) says 'affirmative action to sections that are downtrodden and socially/educationally/economically backward. People on the ground agree that it is reasonable.'

BJP is not opposed to reservations. In fact, BJP is as guilty as every other party in the reservations issue. Prakash Javadekar makes me cringe as much as Ramadoss or Arjun Singh. The reservations issue is a powder keg that will blow us badly. NObody - not even Swapanda - has the courage to face up to the reality here. The fact with OBC reservations is - feudal lords and zamindars land lords get classified as OBCs and fix creamy layer ceilings at 4/5 lakhs income. Chandrabhan Prasad gets some of the facts/truthful positions on the OBC situation very well and very correctly, you can read his columns on pioneer (it helps him probably because he did not go to St.Stephens :-)

There may be one Sidhu or Arun Shourie, but even the BJD had a Thathagata Satpathy. Even Rajiv Gandhi opposed OBC reservations in parliament. But these are individual positions, and the party BJP did not take any opposing/morally correct stand on OBC reservations. They should have. But they can not and they will not. Who is their base in Karnataka, for example?

Who are the people on 'the ground' who agree it is 'reasonable'? What is reasonable about it and who defined the reasons? The classification of castes into BC/MBC lists? Fixing of income limits for creamy layer? Educate yourself with some supreme court rulings as a start. And not that the SC rulings mattered because things get bulldozed in legislatures anyways. Kerala legislature declared that there is no 'creamy layer' at all in that state, forget about fixing any income limit!

The worst part of Indian democracy is not Hindutva like Swapan is trying to figure out, but OBC-identity politics will rank high among many other ugly things. Most family driven regional parties are OBC. OBC MPs formed a group in parliament cutting across party lines. Read Chandrabhan Prasad.

I really dont think i (or anyone else) should be wasting their time on this blog now.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da, I am disappointed with your analysis. It seems you have not yet understood the congress well. You are reading too much into their victory reasons that they are projecting.

Arvind said...

Go back, I say, to the old slogan of "Justice to all, appeasement of none." Protect Hindu interests without hurting the cause of other communities even as you believe in promoting the national cause first and foremost. The BJP has failed miserably to explain its ideology to the common man, and instead got confused and lost in "Hindutva" --- a concept which the Supreme Court said was no more than a way of life, but which the BJP ideologues and leaders are needlessly touting and giving fodder to the cannons of the pseudo-secularist media. Consult a professional PR outfit, I say, and give it a five-year contract that would involve an interaction every fortnight with a committee of top BJP leaders. It is PR pros alone who will be able to bring the BJP out of its confusion and help to lay down a matrix for its message of building India into a super power with genuine equality to one all, the only discrimination allowed being in favour of those dubbed as being Below Poverty Line by the National Sample Survey data. Some homework by the BJP leaders is most badly wanted to express its arguments. For instance, (i) Why did the Congress majority in the Rajya Sabha refuse to accept the definition of "secular" as "equal respect for all religions" when that definition was introduced as part of a Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Janata Party Government in 1977? (ii) Since Article 44 of our Constitution exhorts the State to endeavour to create a uniform civil code for all citizens in the territory of India, albeit making that Directive principle non-justiciable, are the pseudo-secularists prepared to dub the founding fathers of our Constitution as "communal"? Ditto with our Supreme Court which, in at least two of its judgements, strongly advocated the establishment a uniform civil code. (iii) Article 30 (permitting minorities to establsh AND administer their own educational institutions) has led to severe discrimination against the majority community. As M.P.Jain, a constitutional authority, wrote in his book "Indian Constitutional Law" after reviewing various court judgements on the Article, "The position as it has developed is that, in effect, institutions of general education established and administered by religious or linguistic minorities enjoy a much more privileged position than those run by the majority in the matter of regulation by the government or university." (iv) Why should only Muslims get a government subsidy for a religious pilgrimageto their holy centre? Shouldn't Hindus, Cheristians, and Jews also get such a Pilgrimage Subsidy? (v) Why are only Hindu temples allowed to be taken over by a state government? Are we to believe that every single church and mosque is managed in a hunky dory way? (vi) The story of the absence of a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya because of Muslim intrasigence in accepting all historical, revenue and foreigners' evidence during the dialogue conducted under the aegis of a committee appointed by Prime Minister Chandrashekhar is condensed in a VHP Press Note qwhich can be provided by Ashok Chowgule, a VP of the VHP. The BJP must put out that story in all media through paid advertisements in a sustained campaign.
The above is only a part of what a professional PR agency can do for the BJP. There's no pint in the BJP leaders trying to engage in intellectual confusion over its basic objectives and ideology. What's needed is the simplicity of telling it, of telling it all, without raising the possibility of hate speeches. IT CAN BE DONE.

Arvind Lavakare

Ponniyin Selvan said...

Swapanda,

This article should have been a sequel to another one where you could have shed some light on what your perception of Hindutva is. Nobody is clear on that. For e.g a demand for Uniform Civil Code cant be seen as promoting Hindutva or can it?? But one thing is clear from your blog. You seem to be giving a vulgar connotation to Hindutva and it would be nice if you could elaborate.

parasuram81 said...

Yup! this is absolutely the right way to go!And ppl who r criticizing,will u plz pipe down a bit!He is absolutely correct when he says that BJP should shelve the 'word' n not the entire idea behind it.Its all about perception these days,people just dont care how pure n fair one's ideology is,esp given the kind of clumsy and inept media handling by BJP on communicating its concern.Moreover those who r going hammer n tongs over preserving the so-called ideology,is it desirable BJP sticks to this n yet be twiddling its thumbs for years n years in oppn? Hell no!So Swapanda is fair in his assessment of BJP needing to plan a course correction.There is no harm in charting out a fresh path with same nationalistic rigour without the 'H' word only coz its been stigmatized in such a perverse manner by media.Freezing in ideology n losing the ground to congress is much worse than tweaking ideology a little bit.Time BJP hangs up its self-righteous attitude on both religiousness n nationalism,almost all parties (barring CPM)r more or less patriotic notwithstanding their hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS
BJP STAGES COMEBACK IN UTTARKHAND WITH KAPKOT VICTORY . indian expres 5 pm 01 06 2009

Swapanda

" H " is alive and kicking and your farewell suggestion is seems premature if not .......

Random Dude said...

"Hindutva may be a backdrop but if the backdrop grabs all the (negative) attention, the everyday message of the party is lost. "

This is exactly what the BJP needs to do. Thanks for hitting the nail on the head.

Hindutva is the

* icing on a cake
* spice in a meal

IT CANNOT BECOME THE MAIN COURSE.

Hindutva of course should not be totally sidelined. But what the BJP needs is to kindle the everyday issues of the common man...become a Champion for the aam aadmi.

Balaji said...

funny, there are people here who oppose reservation for OBCs. i can give a zillion reasons why reservation is the best way forward. but the overwhelmingly upper caste crowd that used studied on tax payers money and has never given a rupee in charity, that I'm sure makes up the most of the commenters here will never understand reservation. instead let me just say that OBCs form a important voting block of the BJP. let BJP try opposing reservation and face the consequences.

and those who have heard about Sarkozy perhaps shud know that he is right wing and championed the cause of reservation for immigrants in France.

Venkatesh said...

Swapan,

Arvind Lavakare makes enormous sense. In my view the message needs to be refined and a messenger needs to be created. It is also important to start suing media outlets for defamotroy reportings. Of course the other issue is to widen the organisation and make sure there is a clear leadership structure. Any squabbles in public should result in automatic suspension. The party should be democratic, does not mean there are no rules!!! Attaboy, Mr Lavakare super post.

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

3 main issues that uniquely represent BJP are:

UCC
Art 370
Ayodhya

First one is part of constitution. Second one is a secular demand. On Ayodhya, difference between BJP and Cong is minimal- while BJP says it will enact laws to construct the temple, Cong does not say so. However, Cong does not oppose construction of a grand temple there if communities come together (which BJP also says).

Why will BJP dilute its core just because we are seeing rise of organized and more powerful Muslim vote bank and its appeasement winning as sure recipe?

There is competing Muslim appeasement going on in India, and particularly in West Bengal. Neither this is fair, nor its good for Country, or even Muslims in the long term.

Tathagata Mukherjee said...

Venkatesh>>It is also important to start suing media outlets for defamotroy reportings.
--------------------

Lots of money, often from hostile countries, interests are funding these things.

I strongly believe RTI should be applied to media houses and their key journalists and managers.

Lots of money are exchanging hands for defaming nationalists, as well as twists, skip inconvenient news.

Anonymous said...

Only 66 comments! I think Swapan da is heavily censoring comments in this blog. I am saying this after testing him. I'd posted one severely critical post which hasn't published yet.

Tatha Mukherjee said...

Pranav>>BJP was in power for six long years with the so called iron man as Home Minister - but no fence on BD border, no national ID cards, no equal status for Hindus as regards running schools and temples, no eviction of Bangladeshi infiltrators, nothing.
-----------------

Repeating lies does not make it true.

Its under Advani's tenure as HM, massive allocation was made to fence Bangladesh border. Much has been done- but still not fully completed.

Ultimately, it depends on the state Govt's cooperation and Cpim stopped it in many places on some pretext or other. Obviously for votebank.

ITS BJP AND BJP ALONE THAT HAS BEEN TAKING UP ILLEGAL BANGLADESHI ISSUE SINCE ITS BIRTH IN WEST BENGAL, ASSAM. All others play votebank politics.

Multipurpose National ID caed project started in 10-15 blocks in many states during Advani;s tenure.

Whenever Court ruled against illegal bangladeshis, BJP led NDA followed that unlike UPA who got twice kicked by Supreme COurt on IMDT- still never learnt it.

What will central Govt do if Delhi Govt under Shiela Dixit hands over voter id card to illegal bangladeshis? Its a state govt issue.

Did media play the correct role in highlighting these? obviously no.

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,
1. There can be no theoretical answer to your question which can be reached by debate alone. One option is that BJP should fight the next three assembly elections starting with Maharashtra with a purely so called Hardline Hindutva agenda with no mention of development issues, and fight the three subsequent ones with a purely developmental, economic right of centre agenda bereft of any Hindutva element even in the footnote of the manifesto. Or vice-versa. We will have the answer. It will take courage to do so, but thereafter no one will say in the middle of an election campaign that lets include an element of this as well.
2. Though it’s slightly off topic, but it was very immatured to react to Manmohan Singh’s statement that “Muslims have the first right to the nations resources” in the way it was done. Even Muslims did not took the statement on its literary face value, it was similar to the “Gharibi Hatao” slogan of 1984. Indian electorate are a matured lot. We have even seen the efficacy of the slogan “Justice to All Appeasement to None” it failed to have any effect. No point flogging a dead horse. Instead, the slogan should be “APPEASEMENT TO ALL”.

Anonymous said...

Balaji, India has around 38% OBC. Ethically it should not be more than that. This distribution depends upon state to state. This whole reservation logic is disputable and is very complex. One would also like to add a local factor. For example- an OBC of Bihar cannot use reservation in Maharashtra.

Reservation system must be discussed by intellectuals and constitution must be amended to accommodate the recommendations once the discussion is over.

BJP_supporter said...

Balaji, you tie yourself in knots swinging from Sarkozy to upper caste charity and imagining I opposed reservations. I have actually read supreme court judgments. If you read my comment it should be very clear to you that I am pointing out to the way it is being implemented. In its current form, it is not a social justice programme at all.

A system that classifies some 97% of Hindus in Tamil Nadu as backward needs massive correction, to put it mildly. And those OBCs are not exactly voting BJP, but that is a moot point either way. Reservations in its present form is an issue that hits our constitution with a bull dozer. It is beyond political.

But if I recall right, you are the one who clubbed Shourie with Muthalik, so it figures. Thanks for the bits of very reasoned debate that you manage to bring.

charuvak said...

Surprisingly, Swapanda wants us to get rid of the baby with the bathwater.

Bereft of Hindutva, what is BJP? It is another Congress clone. Is that what we want ?

Jettisoning Ramjanmabhoomi, Article 370, implementation of directive principles, all
which give BJP the distinctive nationalist outlook. But without these what is BJP?

Besides what is wrong with implementing directive principles and getting rid of article 370,
leaving aside Ramajanmabhoomi as a tactical matter ! Why is that not egalitarian and modern?
And very right of center?

BJP_supporter said...

There is one thread of opinions that Swapan is only suggesting we drop the word 'H' because it has been muddied and start doing our things using the 'N' word instead.

If we could not prevent 'Hindutva' from coming to mean 'bunch of thugs beating women in pubs; Some are articulate so they fill up the comments pages and then go back home and beat their women', what makes us confident that we will hit it with 'nationalism'?

The following can happen -
- you (meaning a leader in BJP who could well be floating this idea) declare this change of word and then you walk in to the studios of CNN-IBN
- they have Arundhati Roy on panel,she has a booker so more than the other intellectuals you have dealt with. She says 'Nazis started off with nationalism and then killed all Jews, that is exactly what this Hindoo is going to do. They are our KKK with their equal of white nationalism'.
- you start protesting, and then the Anchor (who is actually neutral for 95% of the viewing public) asks you 'but dude, have you stopped beating your wife yet'.
- Now TOI will run a three day series picking up an attack at a strip joint and link it with your new found nationalism campaign.

I thought we were smarter than thinking we will win elections by changing one word, but may be I am wrong.

Anonymous said...

Advaniji should organise a Rath yatra to liberate Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi at Mathura.

He could start his Rath yatra from the banks of Krishna river in Andhra and culminate att Mathura.

That way BJP can cross the 300 seat mark from the present 120.

Anonymous said...

Arvind Lavakare writes:

>> Go back, I say, to the old slogan of "Justice to all, appeasement of none"

Appeasement to none should not mean opposition to welfare schemes to sections of society that needs upliftment. The above slogan can be easily understood/misunderstood to mean opposition to social welfare/upliftment schemes. Majority of people in this country make use of various social welfare and upliftment schemes like reservations/scholarships etc. They do not believe that Congress is doing any injustice to them and they actually see the BJP as the elitist party that is stopping the upliftment schemes that they badly need.

>> Why did the Congress majority in the Rajya Sabha refuse to accept the definition of "secular" as "equal respect for all religions"

Secularism is equal respect to right of a person to follow his/her religion. One is also free to criticize a religion - so there is no obligation to respect all religious beliefs etc.

>> uniform civil code for all citizens in the territory of India, albeit making that Directive principle non-justiciable, are the pseudo-secularists prepared to dub the founding fathers of our Constitution as "communal"?

If they mix up legitimate issues like UCC (which even constitution raises) with hate-speeches, communal incitement/hatred/violence etc it messes up the whole issue. All the other issues that you raise are also only good enough for chat room rhetorics. There is no practical alternative that BJP is proposing either.

Deshabhakta said...

स्वपनजी, भाजपा को ऐसे गुमराह करने का प्रयत्न क्यों? सब जानते हैं की भाजपा चुनाव में हार चुकी है, परंतु आप दोष हिंदुत्व पर क्यों डाल रहे हैं? सिवाय वरुण जी के भाषण, भाजपा के चुनाव प्रचार में धर्म की बात ही नहीं हुई| आप स्वयं मान रहे हैं की भाजपा 2 से 161 तक हिंदुत्व के कारण पहूंचि| 161 से 322 की साधना भी केवल हिंदुत्व से ही संभव है|
By sticking to Hindutva BJP has been able to perform well in Karnataka and Gujarat. In north Karnataka BJP candidates have won defeating the cost based calculations just because of the Hindutva. Certainly the economics, globalisation, cosmopolitanism that you have mentioned might have lead to setbacks in cities. But how many Delhis and Mumbais do we have in this Nation?
I sincerely apologize for asking you this: are you trying to be more acceptable to be in TV studios? This is not the time for people like us, the supporters of the Sangh inspired political party, to desert or mislead the party.

Anonymous said...

Arvind Lavakare is making a big mistake of assuming that it is all about PR. Unless the BJP beats the Congress in development, social welfare, empowerment schemes/policies of Congress, the limited success that the BJP currently has will evaporate in a matter of time. A good advertisement on a bad product is doubly harmful (as it raises the expectation and falls short). Hindutva is seen as a high caste culture in this country and others may tolerate it or even support it under some circumstances, but they wont have an undue emotional attachment to it (most people, even leaders in BJP can do a Kalyan Singh at a drop of a hat).

Anonymous said...

Balaji,

>> instead let me just say that OBCs form a important voting block of the BJP

And they have no emotional attachment to "hindutva". They just support the OBC leaders of BJP (just like they support other regional OBC leaders). They can move to any other OBC leader and overnight start abusing hindutva if that gives a better shot at power. That is the ground reality. An emotionally committed vote bank of hindutva is very thin. On the other hand, there are several sections that are decidedly against hindutva in politics and that section is much larger than the committed vote bank of hindutva.

BJP_supporter said...

Image problems, heavy ideology, etc. But let us see the reality. Narasimha Rao paid a big price for the JMM MP scandal. And see the way BJP handled the situation around last year's confidence vote. They almost begged with the media to paint a ugly picture of them, 'ugly display of cash in august house' etc with some very brilliant strategy. And the chief strategist was one Mr Kulkarni.

Please look up for the word 'wuss' in any modern dictionary.

I can laugh at this. But Swapanda was/is actually very much in the media. And still this happened and nothing could be done to counter this same media. Ask this in any upper class drawing room and see what they recall from this MP bribing issue.

If it is new words we need, we need a lot of new words. My humble contribution is 'wuss'.

Anonymous said...

BJP is nothing without Hindutva, are you trying to kill BJP ?
Nationalism (cultural or whatever you call it) is what keeps the BJP core voters stuck to BJP. Hindutva defines nationalism, anyone likes it or not. A soldier goes to die for Bharat Ma, not for Gandhi or Vajpayee ?
The need of the hour is to change people's perception. To show that Hindutva is the only ideology that can go hand-in-hand with modernity (unlike, say Islamism!)
Without this ideology, India will become as morally and politically bankrupt as, say, Britain.

Anonymous said...

perhaps india donot deserve modi.pl.spare him for gujarat asgujarat know him better and hence deserve him.modi has removed illegal temples.hence onlyfools can labelhim pro-h or pro-i.modi is pro-development,pro-jobs,against poverty&corruption.perhaps india deserve corrupt media and mms who do not want swiss money to come back to india for starving poors in the name of secularism and the whole world noticing it.

n said...

toi headline reads advani blames gujarat results.this is what advani actually said.(see how media spins lies to attack modi in this case).

Speaking about the party’s poor show, Advani said, “We have to find out why our performance was poor in states like Rajasthan, UP, Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Orissa. We also have to find out why we won less than the expected number of seats in states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.”

24-7 el MEDIA is plotting against bjp and favoring congress while posing as media,when they are congress and islamic propagandists and frauding gullibles.eg they linked ramsene to bjp even if rs was contesting elections against bjp.there are thousands of such examples in last 20 years.they blame modi for gujarat when thousands of riots have taken place under congress.So also they blamed bjp for kandahar and created family pressure on tv when congress agreed with bjp at the time to save lives.but in 26-11 they blamed all politicians and dragged in bjp’s naqvi for an accurate lipstick comment on page-3 socialites like mediabarkha dutt friend shobha de as if 26-11 was caused by that naqvi comment.

Arjun said...

Oh god..the future course of action for the BJP is an absolute no brainer! Nationalism, strong stance on terror, a better representation of itself in the media and finally some actions to back all the tall claims their leaders keep making. Advani was one of the most useless home ministers India ever had and yet the BJP claimed he is strong. Nonsense! The bugger squirmed everytime he was asked whether he was aware of Kandahar. Made a complete fool of himself. Let me suggest one concrete action the BJP can take and advertise to the country: Undertake vigorous police reforms in the states where the BJP rules. Lets see if the BJP can free the police forces in its states from political interference. If so, it would have taken one of the biggest steps towards fighing terrorism. This step is not hampered by the absence or presence of a law nor is it dependent on the central government. Frankly, I can think of so many ways in which a party that executes this basic step can advertise itself as a strong party fighting terrorism. Its ridiculous how the BJP simply wanted to waltz back into power on the shoulders of an 81 year old has been and a lazy leadership.

sudeep said...

Hello Swapan

The question you have raised is simple yet profound. What must BJP aspire to?

Is it simply to be a better Congress or something different?

A question that must be answered before the one you posed is, is this the end of History in India? - that is to say, have all questions about what India must be as a nation been resolved satisfactorily?

IMO, Issues of regionalism, casteism, dalit emancipation, jihad/islamism, economic-social justice are still to be resolved. No one wants to upset that apple cart when everyone has just enjoyed 4 years of 9% growth, but in times of crisis, these questions will be back with a vengeance.

At that time, should we be stuck with two congress parties or have atleast one that is vastly different from the other?

M. Patil said...

Swapanda,

Let's see, 'Hindutva' has been successfully demonized so instead let's start using 'Nationalism'.

What is the guarantee that the same would not happen to 'Nationalism'?

b.t.w were'nt Nazis Nationalists? NDTV(Nehru Dynastys TV) comes up with the new sound bite 'Is BJP = Nazis', will this help?

For some one asking for debate you are censoring comments. Two of my comments are not published.


Malavika

Vineet said...

Swapan
- Pl. enlighten us how BJP drops Hindutva. The reality is in the details
- The media families bribed by Congress will still hound BJP. They can easily portray a murderder as innocent and a malfunctioning traffic light breaker as a hardened criminal.
If one thing BJP needs to learn it is modern faces, see the Delhi candidates, it will become clear. It has to truly understand modernism.

zoomindianmedia said...

Mr.Anonymous

OBC (Intermediate Caste) commitment to Hindutva is not as suspect as you believe.

Many are as devoted if not more committed to Hindutva than the so called FC.

You meet a Yadav and abuse Krishna. You will realise what I mean.

Pranav said...

Tatha Mukherjee: One would have thought that six years is ample time to complete the BD fence, where the terrain is not hard. Advani cannot blame State govt for delays - it should lack of drive or lack of competence or lack of sincerity.

BJP never tried to get equal rights for all communities as regards temples and schools. BJP even today has no strategy to deal with the fact that owners of media are totally backing Congress to the hilt. BJP is determined to maintain silence about dangers of EVMs.

BJP just wants to gain power by fooling people and then encouraging huge corruption through Pramod Mahajan-type sleazy characters.

Read article by Rajinder Puri at http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20090528&fname=puri&sid=1 to get an insider's view of the BJP.

No Mist said...

Dear Swapan Da,

I wanted somebody to say what you have articulated so well. The brand of HIndutva that BJP is seen to be identifies with has become a millstone in its neck and must be jettisoned. The question is how to do it the correct way.

Let me draw your attention to Shivraj Singh Chauhan's statement after the elections. One reporter asked him whether he has abandoned hindutva plank for elections. He replied that hindutva was never BJPs election plank. It is just a 'jeene ki paddhati' and has nothing to do with politics.

I think that is the right way to do it. But a more pressing question is what to replace it with. BJP must rebrand itself as Indian nationalists rather than Hindu nationalist (The Economist seems very fond of saying this). For this BJP must promote a new leadership. People like Shivraj and Yeddyurappa must take on more party responsibilities at the national level.

There is one more issue of feelings of RSS. There is no need of delinking completely from RSS. But RSS must also engage in this rebranding of itself. About other organizations like Bajrang Dal, VHP and Sri Ram sene ... they are best avoided and it will be much better if they are prosecuted and put in jail. BJP must welcome this development if it happens.

Inshaallah ! BJP will do better next time !

Arun said...

BJP Supporter is a very intelligent and also a bit of a psychic, he is able to judge people and their affiliations by reading a few lines like his previous posts on Ram Srinivasan and now about reservation, he is very quick to complain and diss people and ideas but offers very few of his own.

Before you think, I am pro-reservation let me tell you I am not I am completely against reservation of all kinds but there is a very serious problem with the Hindu caste system which the government doesn't have the willingness to address. This is an issue which needs to be dealt with by Hindu spiritual leaders and priests.

In Tamil Nadu the DMK came to power when Periyar and others like Karunanidhi garlanded photos of Lord Rama with slippers and ranted against Hindu gods and had mass support. Karunanadhi continues to rant against Hindu gods with little repurcussions from anyone. Why do the vast majority of lower caste Hindus feel that they have been let down by their religion and become easy fodder for conversions? it is because we have failed to assimilate them into our system and unless we fundamentally change that we are going to continue to be a divided society. It blows my mind that people still haven't taken steps to teach hindu scriptures and shlokas to lower caste Hindus.

There needs to be a soft hindutva which focusses on these problems and rebuilding hindu society and not ranting about janmabhoomis and temples and what not. What use is a temple if there aren't going to be people worshipping him?

Oldtimer said...

One rhetorical dude wanting to have a serious debate on secularism averred thus:

"Secularism is equal respect to right of a person to follow his/her religion. One is also free to criticize a religion - so there is no obligation to respect all religious beliefs etc."

He perhaps doesn't realize it; but he is actually right. There is no obligation to respect all religious; and there is much less to respect beliefs that are intrinsically fundamentalist, exclusivist, or as in the case of marxism/communism, require their followers to kill thousands of innocent people.

BJP should NOT demand a pointless "equal respect for all religions" policy. That is really the mindset of a people who lack confidence. In fact, BJP should realize that the lack of such of a policy has only benefitted it. A recent example is in order.

In Mangalore area, Christian extremists distributed pamphlets denigrating Hindu deities. There was resistance to the denigration and protests. Naturally, evangelicals used the protests as an excuse to run a hate campaign using friendly TV channels. "Church attacks!" the yelling went up. There were no church attacks. Just this normal everyday (meaning hysterical) NDTV hype.

This propaganda angered the people of Karnataka, because they were closer to the truth and could distinguish fact from fiction. Despite massive communal mobilization by Congress in Mangalore, the BJP won. Overall it has done better than last time in the state, and the reason can be safely attributed to voters' disgust of negative propaganda around imagined church attacks and pub attacks. Therein lies a lesson for BJP: concocting, through law, an artificial image of everybody respecting others' beliefs does not really help it. Even proselytizers and jihadis would come off as nice people if they are forced to put on a mask of respecting others. That's like sugarcoating a turd to make it look like a doughnut. People would develop complacency because there is no need to be repelled by doughnuts.

Anonymous said...

These "farewell to the H-word" type of thoughts are actually suicidal, and are being floated by the types of Sudheendra Kulkarni, the ex-commie. Once a commie, always a commie. Sudheendra is showing his true colors. I have serious doubts whether Sudheendra really had a change of heart under the influence of Advani, or is a commie implant to act as the intellectual sabateur of Advani and the BJP.

Swapanji, please rethink your position.

harish said...

Swapan da,
Its a known fact that BJP has been trying to alienate itself hindutva since it came to power. Do you think the media or the principal opponents will let this happen?

Rama sene was media creation. The fact was that rama sene contested 83 assembly seats against BJP. Nevertheless media blamed the BJP.

Even if the BJP sheds its H-image, it will still be made to be percieved as a H-party by the media and the principal adversaries.

Underlining point is they are doomed eitherways :)

Anonymous said...

Swpan Da is right in order to become egalitarian party and acceptable for the secular chattering class of Indian society BJP can initiate above mention reform program
1) Remove the Saffron colour from party flag because saffron symbolized feudalism brahamincal culture which might offend the minority instead of saffron I propose totally green colour in party flag because green symbolized youthness , modernity and progressiveness !
2) Reserve the party’s top post only for Christian and Muslim by this away BJP can become more acceptable for India’s mainstream media!
3) Don’t raise controversial issue like Islamic terrorism, illegal migrants because it only hurts BJPs prospects in the election!

Anonymous said...

Swapan Da,
Before you posted this blog did you do any analalysis?. Get the list of all constituencies. Mark 116 in safroon and see how many BJP would have won. Mark my words, MP,Guj,Kar, UP would have been in single digit inspite of Magic or any thing.
Now you mark the rest of the constituencies. How many do you think you would have won ?
My answer is Zero. Your commited voter has already voted and without any issue other did not come to you. If you abondon H word, The BJp's world is over. Voting percentage will dip. Look why Mumbai did not vote. Those people cannot vote cong and they did not want to vote for BJP.

Shrirang said...

Swapanda,
I have always been an avid reader of your columns. But I was a bit disappointed to read this column. Apart from your call for BJP to drop Hindutva, another reference to Savarkar is something that surprises me. You may be right when you say Hindutva has become stagnant. But when you say it harks back to Savarkar I fail to understand it. In fact if there is any modern Hindutva even today, it is of Savarkar's Hindutva. Neither BJP nor RSS ever adopted Savarkar in totality. His Hindutva was based on modern practises of science and technology and not on the mythological glories. Yes he was proud of our heritage and culture but equally ruthless on our superstitions,caste systems and all the evils that plague this great religion. He was far ahead of his times.

BJP_supporter said...

Arun, thanks for reading my comments. I dont think many commenters read through other comments much :-) It is mostly drive-by shooting.

And thanks for calling me a psychic :-) I can respond to your points.

1. I had posted my thoughts on TN in the previous post, covering conversions, reservations, Dravida politics etc (post titled 'whats wrong with debate').
2. When someone equates Shourie with Pramod Muthalik, or says in a blanket way that I opposed reservations - that is not what I said at all - it is difficult not to respond in kind.
3. Lower class Hindus need English education and tools for a modern job. I think if we poll them that is what will come across. This is Chandrabhan Prasad's position too. I dont think they need scriptures and shlokas. (I deliberately do not use 'caste' here)
4. That does not mean a organized system denies them access. That is not the case anyway. There are enough initiatives like Vivekananda Kendra that provide that access to those interested.
5. Hindu caste system alone is not the reason for conversions. Great men like Vivekananda have had their say on this, I dont have to add.
6. Your point on Karunanidhi getting away with all that abuse - you are right. But why? I think abusing Hinduism - in fact just one caste in Hinduism - started off with two purposes - from missionaries, and from Dravida groups. Both had different goals. There are instances of Periyar Naicker asking other religious people to pipe down when they started to criticize Hinduism in his meetings. The Karunanidhi variety abuse has a purpose,and most TN Hindus may feel they have a stake in it - it is the only thing they have, to justify adding most castes into the OBC list. They know this purpose, they know it is not true, and they dont protest because they have made that compromise in return for a benefit. But I think they are the most religious Hindus. Where is the Periyar variety atheism in Erode?

IF anyone has the guts, they will start to work among the OBC groups in TN and take this question head on - why should castes resist any attempt at reviewing the BC/MBC lists? Why dont we look at patterns of benefit and use that to prune this list? There is enough data now to apply a 'presence of abilities' test to different castes.

This can be done in any other state, but TN is probably the first to start because they have the largest population classified BC/MBC.

I doubt if BJP has such guts or honesty. We would rather play with names.

You say 'you are completely against reservations'. Please see what are your reasons for this position.

Mimi said...

Continue the Weak PM Campaign
------------------------------
Rediff reports that the Pak court has freed 26/11 suspect Hafiz Syed amidst applause. Meanwhile Kasab is making a mockery of the Indian judicial system every day as our legal system fumbles around with no conclusion to the case in sight.

I hope the BJP does not shy away from taking up this issue, and continuing the weak PM line of attack. Just because the voters voted against the Third Front doesn't suddenly absolve MMS from his 'weak' tag.

BJP_supporter said...

Oldtimer, you bring up some very good points regarding Mangalore incidents.

How many of the people here are aware of the 'Somashekhara commission of enquiry'? This question is very relevant.

Would Swapanda be willing to follow up this commission's proceedings and use them in his Studio interventions? The local New Indian Express reported some details some week or so ago. Most national media does not.

Anonymous said...

You meet a Yadav and abuse Krishna. You will realise what I mean.
==============================
zoomindianmedia, are you joking. Classic example is Laloo. Why are then Yadavas not supporters of BJP ? Why is there a MY equation floating around in UP/Bihar.

Somebody wrote they just support their caste which I think is right. Communities in India vote mostly along these lines. This is ground reality.

zoomindianmedia said...

Mr. Anonymous

It is ridiculous to claim that all Yadavs are with Lalu. Many do support BJP/JDU. Lalu lost to Ranjan Yadav.

It has been asserted that a Krishna Janmabhoomi movement would collapse yadav support to Mulayam/Lalu. Ever visit Mathura on a Janmashtami day. You will realise what is the level of Yadav commitment to Krishna. BJP of course believes Free Krishnajanmabhoomi campaign will be divisive. Also when it comes to crunch, Lalu, Mulayam will side with other Hindus not Muslims. Mulayam decided to go with Kalyan at the risk of alienating muslims.

Xians and Muslims along with Congress have been working over time to consolidate xians/muslims across the caste divides while divide Hindus. Where Hindu literacy is high (places like Karnataka) this approach failed.

Many so called OBCs predominantly and historically have asserted their Hindu identity much stronger than brahmins and other so called upper castes. Modi follows the rule. Did you know that Modi is OBC?

Fact remains that OBCs as represented by Modi at the end of the day cares for the wellbeing of India and its native beliefs unlike fanatic xians/musalmaans. You do an analysis on how the OBCs in Madhyabharat, UP, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra voted. You will be surprised.

Incognito said...

I hate this KKK-isation of Hindutva.
Simultaneously, I get annoyed by overly zealous zealots.
Why can't everyone be normal and strive for moderation?

People who want to go further hard-line are in self-denial. People who are "ashamed" to be Hindus are victims of the ultra-liberal minority fundamentalists.
Understand that Hinduism is the only religion that is central to a Secular country, a major aspect ppl seem to be missing.

Anonymous said...

Please do not allow anonymous comments because some are playing it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Incognito,

>> People who are "ashamed" to be Hindus..

Why the question? If anyone likes to be called as hindu, he is hindu and who does not like is not a hindu. What is the big deal? Same with any other religion. It is a personal choice what one religion one likes and what one likes to be called as.

>> Understand that Hinduism is the only religion that is central to a Secular country..

There are many secular democratic countries in the world. As things stand today, only some Islamic countries are struggling with secular democracy, all others have adopted secular democracy.

Anonymous said...

Oldtimer,

>> There is no obligation to respect all religious; and there is much less to respect beliefs that are intrinsically fundamentalist, exclusivist, or as in the case of marxism/communism, require their followers to kill thousands of innocent people.

I agree with the first part, that there is no obligation to respect all or any religion. The latter part about some religions/ideologies being "intrinsically fundamentalist", "requiring followers to kill" etc are at best straw man arguments (like saying that hinduism is the most inhuman religion in the world etc). But let us agree in principle that all religions are open to criticism of merits/demerits, what idea is humane, what is not etc.

>> In Mangalore area, Christian extremists distributed pamphlets denigrating Hindu deities.

Assuming that it is true, there are such books/literature on all religions, including those written by people on their own religion. Reacting with violence/vandlaism only shows oneself in poor light, like how similar islamist violence/vandalism is a disgrace to islam.

>> This propaganda angered the people of Karnataka ...

And what has angered the people of India? Don’t come to hasty and simplistic conclusions. Karnataka is honeymoon period for BJP and they came to power primarily because of betrayal by JD-S.

Anonymous said...

zoomindianmedia,

>> Ever visit Mathura on a Janmashtami day. You will realise what is the level of Yadav commitment to Krishna

That is true (Lalu's supported included in that). And there are many hindu places of worship, pilgrimage centers etc filled with people. That is the new Hinduism without notions like brahminical social order etc. It is absolutely wrong to assume that the people visiting those temples/pilgrim centers etc agree with BJP's hindutva. They do not need BJP's hindiutva to freely and independently visit their places of worship or celebrate their festivals etc. BJP’s hindutva is often seen as old style Hinduism.

>> Many so called OBCs predominantly and historically have asserted their Hindu identity much stronger than brahmins

But you should understand that in many cases, their assertion is an independent assertion of their own, in opposition to many traditional views of old style Hinduism (involving old control/domination by some castes etc).

Anonymous said...

zoomindianmedia,

>> OBC (Intermediate Caste) commitment to Hindutva is not as suspect as you believe .. You meet a Yadav and abuse Krishna. You will realise what I mean.

Their commitment to a hinduism of their own making may not be suspect (like Yadavs having their own temples/priests to assert their identity etc), but commitment to BJP's Hindutva is surely suspect. The old hinduism of castes representing higher/lower in social order and professions etc and religiously sanctioned social domination by some castes etc is now extinct. The new hinduism is free of such things - they choose what they want and give freedom to others to do the same - and they do not need BJP's hindutva for anything.

Rightist said...

Swapan Ji.

Though I am a great votary of Hindutva for BJP, i am puzzled whther in this day of dynasty doormats ( i refer indian media,bureacracy, intellegentsia,think-tanks, uneducated masses etc), diminshed "middle-class: consciusness(if it was ever there, i doubt), no clear wave towards good governance rather agianst bad UPA governance etc, the H-owrd still hold any value left except the intrinsically initiated ppl like you and me.

Having had the benefit of proficiency in two original classical languages of India (Sanskrit and Tamil ), I think the tamil proverb "Koozhukkum aasai,meesaikkum aasai) fits the present day predicament of BJP.

the rough equivalent is BJP's desire to have the hardcore Hindu voter and also its dalliance with sickular-fundamental types.ie..Hunting with the hound and running away with the hare.

We need to strengthen the Hindu Socio-Cultural spirituality, else all talk of H-consolidation will only be in bits and pieces.

BJP_supporter said...

Does 2009 result mark a consolidation of Minority vote with the Congress across India? A survey may be needed here.

Jaitley tried to say that the results in TN and AP are because voters did not like Naidu or Jayalalitha aligning with the Left.

That may not be right. Jayalalitha lost because actor Vijayakanth's party and the new Kongu party polled a lot of votes. Vijayakanth may have got some 10% vote across the state. I doubt if people voting for sub-regional outfits like Vijayakanth or Kongu party are that discerning to understand left, right and center.

It is very possible that a minority consolidation happened - Mulayam Singh could have aligned with Kalyan Singh *after* it became clear to him that he lost Muslim vote, not the other way around.

If this is the case, then for the parties like Naidu or Mulayam or Jayalalitha, the pursuit of minority votes is no longer a concern. All of them have a core of Hindu-OBC.

If the leaders in the regional parties see that they will no longer get the minority vote, and Left is no longer an option, what will be their approach? This could well change their politics. The shrill-secularism of last 20 years may be gone. In this case, the BJP's ideology will not be an issue at all.

I am not saying that this should be a big factor in BJP deciding for itself. But this could mean that BJP will not have an easy excuse for the course it has to choose.

zoomindianmedia said...

Mr. Anonymous

Brahminical Social order was a myth created by missionaries to peddle their jesusware. In Northwest India, Jat rather than brahmin was the dominant group. In Karnataka Gowdas/Lingayats, In Maharashtra Marathas and Patels in Gujarat were the dominant group.

During the british times, in parts of India, brahmins in some parts did take to english educatation that provided them temporary advantage.

BJP is an attempt to create a platform for Hindus. It is predominantly an intermediate class platform. It is a fact that significant sections of brahmins too support BJP.

BJP is one of the predominant positive forces that can prevent India from going the way of church/mosque by asserting India's native genius and heritage.

BJP_supporter said...

A couple of anonymous comments link BJP and Hindutva to 'Brahminical social order' without any proof. This is simply not true. RSS is anything but Brahminical social order. The issues with Hindu society have a history of some centuries. It is stupid to link it to the BJP.

There have been Religious institutions (Mutts) that were not associated with Brahmin community in TN and Karnataka, for several centuries. In TN there has been a decline in their activity now, even though the OBC communities have got a lot of power otherwise. But in their glory days in the 17th/18th century, some of them had reach even outside TN - one example was Kumaraguruparar, who established a branch for his Mutt in Varanasi.

In Karnataka they are still very active. There is not exactly any 'old' Hinduism, 'new' Hinduism here.

Either you guys have no sense of History, or you are too crazy and make things up on the fly.

senthil said...

/** Assuming that it is true, there are such books/literature on all religions, including those written by people on their own religion. Reacting with violence/vandlaism only shows oneself in poor light, like how similar islamist violence/vandalism is a disgrace to islam.

***/

I think, this anonymous guy belongs to the pseudo secular brigade..

Let him first list the books similar to satyadarshini in "Hinduism".. to my best knowledge, there is no book in Hinduism that says "Jesus is the false god"..

Secondly, even if it is assumed that such books are present in all religions, they doesnt print it in large numbers and distribute it in the streets, as the christians did in mangalore..

And thirdly, what do you expect the hindus to do? Just wander like dogs carrying a petition to collector, magistrate and the lawyers?

Interestingly the anonymous commenter dont find anything serious or wrong in distribution of satyadarshini..
A mark of hypocrisy..

Tejal said...

Hi Swapan,
You have brought up an interesting take about BJP giving a slip to the H word. If you actually manage to read all the comments, then here is my humble opinion.

Post-Independence rise of Hinduism has mainly been reactionary. It was driven by the systematic feeling of discontent amongst a section of Indians. In all the talk about "aligning" the terminology to keep them in-line with the Internation pressures and media skew one should not forget that there is a Bharatiya meme which has not got an honest expression. This is something that BJP should try to USE, since ideologically it is least uncomfotable with accepting it.

So Hindutva (which has more religious connotations) rather than Bharatiya (however unfortunate/fortunuate/sinister it might be). My take is that BJP should try to identify itself with the BHARATIYA to get back to the roots of our society, not being limited to the educated and OBC classes.

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,
I agree with you that “Enlightened nationalism and modernity should become the two defining attributes of the BJP. Otherwise the party faces a growing marginalisation for its inability to move with the times.” And after a couple of assembly electons the writing on the wall will be there for all to see. But the question more serious is “Is BJP going the Swatantrata Party way?” Ideologically “Swatantrata Party” was much ahead of its time but why it got dissolved? May be you would be able to throw some light. It is very important to know why it could not sustain itself when clearly there was a space for the principal opposition party to exist. IMO probably it got disintegrated due to financial related reasons.
In India, how political parties generate and utilize their funds is not yet institutionalized, which is not good for an aspiring democracy which is yet to overcome a lot of its flaws and mature, one of which is this. BJP can make a beginning in the right direction by making its financial transactions transparent and open to public scrutiny. This will not only force others to follow suit, but such forthright-ness will also help the party win hearts and minds of the electorate. The biggest gain will be that the fundings will get institutionalized, moreover, it will be good for the country even if it does not guarantee any substantive immediate electoral gains.

Oldtimer said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am not sure if Swapan would appreciate his blog being used for debates between individuals, but since you are insisting:

>> Karnataka is honeymoon period for BJP and they came to power primarily because of betrayal by JD-S.

This is funny. You want to delink campaign issues from election results where those issues were most relevant and the BJP won; yet at the same time you want to invent reasons that can't even be related to the campaign platform where the party lost. :-) I once ran into fringe lefties who wouldn't admit that Nandigram discredited leftwing ideology and party, but look at WB results.

Truth maybe bitter for you to swallow, but it is better to face it: BJP's Karnataka victory is not an accident; it is voter revulsion to a campaign of calumny.

If you look at Karnataka and West Bengal results, what shines through is the voters' sense of fairmindedness. They clearly saw through CPIM's politics of murder, and hence said no to it. At the same time, they clearly saw through Congress' propaganda in Karnataka and hence said no to it too. You can discern the same pattern in 2007 Guj elections also. Modi was called names by Sonia Gandhi, and the voters didn't like it. Congress learned from the experience, so it did better in 2009. You just can't fool local voters, though you may have partial success in fooling those who are far removed from the issues under question.

Ergo, it is quite possible that voters elsewhere in India, being located away from truth, believed the Congress story about church/pub attacks (though Renuka Choudhary lost), much the same way that where CPIM won outside of Bengal, the voters believed the aforementioned fringe too. This ought to be a lesson to BJP on how perceptions shaped through TV campaigns are increasingly influencing election outcomes. It needs to realize that it won in previous LS elections not on the strength of a development platform but because the same sense of voter fairmindedness favored it.

>>Reacting with violence/vandlaism only shows oneself in poor light,

Of course no doubt about it, but if the voters of Karnataka --closer home to the truth of "church attacks" much publicized by Christian fundamentalists -- believed that the BJP encouraged violence, they would definitely have voted it out, "honeymoon" or not. Look at the fate of CPIM thugs in WB for a parallel.

>>The latter part about some religions/ideologies being "intrinsically fundamentalist", "requiring followers to kill" etc are at best straw man arguments

It's not a strawman argument. It is central to the argument that a religious idea doesn't automatically deserve respect on account of being a "religious" idea -- it has to prove its merits on the basis of, as you rightly put it, humaneness (and many other criteria like peaceability, rationality, tolerance of dissent etc).

Oldtimer said...

Dear anonymous,

>>There are many secular democratic countries in the world. As things stand today, only some Islamic countries are struggling with secular democracy, all others have adopted secular democracy.

Being a secular democracy in letter and being one in spirit are two entirely different things. I agree with zoomindianmedia that a Hindu-majority India is guaranteed to naturally lean towards being a secular country, as in fact it was long before it became a democratic republic. (Vajpayee used to make this point in parliament with great elan).

Looked at from this perspective, some so-called secular democracies are not secular at all. The southern part of the United States is hostile to non-Christians, even including atheists. Noted British humorist and atheism activist Pat Condell says that he regularly receives emails from people in that part of the US stating that they are closet atheists afraid of coming open because of the coercive society around them. That is the secular United States for you -- a Christian majority nation, which illustrates that citizens can be religiously oppressed even when laws and the Constitution are avowedly secular. But who is afraid of being atheist in India? Must be mostly Muslims, I reckon.

Moral of the story: it is people's religious conditioning that determines whether secularism is truly followed or not; not the constitution of the country.

Oldtimer said...

Dear Anonymous,

>> Many so called OBCs predominantly and historically have asserted their Hindu identity much stronger than brahmins

> But you should understand that in many cases, their assertion is an independent assertion of their own, in opposition to many traditional views of old style Hinduism

I don't quite get your line of argument. I don't see what's the big deal about an "independent" assertion of Hindu identity, even where it is in conflict with some other assertion of Hindu identity. What should matter is that it _is_ an assertion of _Hindu_ identity. Can you explain what is this OBC assertion of Hinduism, what is the upper case assertion of Hinduism, what are the finer theological differences that are hurtling these two to -- as you seem to strongly assert -- a great conflict?

Martin Luther asserted his own Christianity, but I am not sure if his followers decline to share their identity with the followers of Ratzinger. Is Sister Nirmala, the upper caste brahmin head of Sisters of Charity, or say a Briganza, an upper caste Goan Catholic, in conflict with a recent rice convert to Pentecostalism called Yesupadam because the latter is asserting a different Christianity? How do their christianities differ?

Deshabhakta said...

This has been an amazing debate. Hope the BJP leadership reads this. There are so many constructive and practical steps put forward like - setting up of helplines for the NRI students, approaching finance minister with proposals in BJP manifesto, etc
Also I am sad to see that BJP is no where in scene in relief measures for the affected people Bengal floods.
BJP should organize Janaandolan to get back the money in swiss banks. It could be of the scale of the Ram Janmabhoomi Rath Yatra. We can build a Nation as grand as the yet to be reconstructed Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. Congress is not going to do this on its own. It is a golden opportunity for BJP to become acceptable to many new millions of people who might vote for BJP in the next elections.
Though I am a supporter of BJP, I really do not believe BJP was a constructive opposition in the last Lok Sabha. If this is taken care in the coming years, India's people both young and old will stand by BJP.

Anonymous said...

Swapan Dasgupta,

May be you should write a blog on this: What is Hindutva and who needs it?
All legitimate hindu causes are also covered/included under legitimate secular/humanist causes. All are free to follow/practice Hinduism in any way one may please. What is the problem that hindutva is supposed to address? An average genuine hindu has no need for Hindutva (unless he/she wants to deliberately provoke and create trouble). All issues like terrorism, uniform civil code etc (or even issues like ram sethu) can be addressed from a matured/civilized secular platform.

Anonymous said...

Oldtimer, Do you see the irony in claiming that hinduism is naturally secular and in the same breath asking for a hindu-rastra? Asking for a state religion is the opposite of secularism. In a secular democracy, all religions should be open to critical evaluation. In what way is a hindutva state better than a secular democracy? If hindutva is better than secular democracy, then why just India, every country should adopt it. On the other hand, if secular democracy is better, than India should also adopt it. You talked about USA. The US has put Christianity completely open to attack/criticism/debate – in other words, Christian religion/culture etc has to fend for itself and survive on merit or else perish. It cannot call itself an officially Christian state and yet claim to be secular (even if you take the best and most liberal/tolerant version of Christianity). The same is the case with hindu-rastra and secular democracy – it is a contradiction of terms (even if you take the most liberal/tolerant version of Hinduism).

Anonymous said...

Oldtimer, an example of "independent assertion of their own, in opposition to many traditional views of old style Hinduism" can be seen for example in Yadavs putting up their own temples/priests. Many of them are supporters of Lalu or other such leaders. If that hindu identity is not different from Hindutva's hindu identity, why are the two so bitterly opposed? Someone talked about a “hindu platform”. We can begin to talk about a "hindu platform" if all hindus can freely inter-marry. Otherwise there is no such a thing as hindu platform. Even if all hindus can freely inter-marry, the fact remains, that all "hindu causes", if legitimate, can be fought from a secular/humanist platform. That is the principle of secular democracy.

Know the verity said...

An analysis by Sandhya Jain which I want to share with u. I came across that link yesterday. She said what I wanted to say so I'm sharing the link. I want everybody to read it. Though she missed some reasons of this defeat but she was 90% correct.

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=584

Anonymous said...

the bjp can only win by uniting hindus and making sure the middleclass is not fooled by the english media congress sponsored campaign.The el media is even more an enemy of the bjp than congress itself.they were weeping when modi won twice on development.sardesai and roy and barkha were almost sobbing.even congress guys did not look so sad.
modi even mocked srinivas jain of ndtv before 2007 elections when all he wanted to talk about was godhra 5 yrs later and not all the development done and ofcourse maut ke suadagar agin showed how congress and media have a vested interest to bring up communal-secular issues to consolidate the communal 30 % turnout minority religous motivated vote.This is enough to win in many seats nationally example bihar,assam,up,andhra,maharshtra ( NOT counting bengal and kerala)where bjp does not stand a chance if congress gets 30 % of turnout vote because minorities show up to vote.
hindutva is a bogey created by the secular hindu hating votebank congress( mullah-marxist-missionary maculayites,media nexus)to galvanize the 30 % turn out of muslim vote using gujarat 2002,varun,ram sene mangalore pub etc which they did with the help of the friendly congress english media .

the voting math with an anti-bjp minority disproportionate turn out plus the macaulayite youth targeted with pink chaddi campaign by media bjp haters like ndtv,toi,ht,ibn,outlook,hindu etc etc and tehelka whose susan was author of pink chaddi and who pulls some stunt before every election, against the bjp . bjp will keep losing h or no h?
u are falling for devious media trap.It is like the question have you stopped beating your wife?
or asking modi to apologize.both ways devious media wins and can say i told you so.

according to media pota is h
according to media nationalism-patriotism is h
according to media uniform code is h
according to media kashmir integration is h
according to media calling mush miyan (instead of licking his feet at agra) is h

bjp was talking development all the time and even raised the swiss issue for the firts time but media blanked this out,but devious media will ask about ram temple and then rajnath will answeer it and then that will be headline and topic for debate for days just like varun,teesta sc petition,gujarat 2002.The same happened with modi for pm.Shourie clearly said that it was his opinion.then the media asked others and kept talking about it for days to consolidate minority vote.
it is the minority 30 % vote against bjp stupid.
h or no h even if bjp focuses on development like it did in gujarat and nationally and even in other elections, congressmedia will bring h bogey up to energize the muslim vote which is growing larger and larger AND HENCE CONGRESS CAN LOSE SLEEP OVER TERRORISTS and make fisrt claim to resources brazenly .Ironically this is the communal vote which cares about heaven and religion and not development because it has support from arab hawala money.
u guys are educated and only a few have caught on.h is a bogey to win 30 % minority turn out vote and congress can do nothing like it has not done anything except loot and jhuth for 60 yrs and with bangladeshis and muslim lack of family planning this will get easier unless hindus unite against the congress-mmm hindu hating,betray india jaichand umbrella

do hindus and patriots have to be stupid too?isnt being weeak and cowardly and poor not enough, to be doomed to congress islamic rule for ever.
bjp lost not due to hindutva but because of communal vote of the so called seculars under the jaichand congress muslim-mullah- marxist missionary media umbrella.
sorry to see swapan being coopted for afew moments of narcissitic attention by media

india15august.blogspot.com said...

One swallow does not make a summer

Good news for the BJP comes in the form of the Kapkot (Uttaranchal) byelection results where the party candidate won by a margin of over 7000 votes, increasing this lead from 2,800 votes in the May lok sabha election.
The election result should be kept in perspecive. Winning any election is a step forward but we must remember that we have just lost the mother of all elections, so the Kapkot victory does not change the dismal scenario.

The BJP should face the true realities of the 2009 election:
1. The BJP won 116 seats.
2. The Congress won 233 seats. (Congress 206 + trinamool congress 19 + NCP 8 ) Remember, both the Trinamool and the NCP are offshoots of the congress created after year 2000.

The Congress, then, is double the size of the BJP in the Lok Sabha. This is the reality. We can ignore this reality and focus on smaller issues but at the end of five years, we will again be big losers.

The Congrss had reached a similar situation after its 1996 defeat. Its leaders appeared old, jaded and out of touch with reality. A new leadership emerged in 1998 under Sonia Gandhi. The benefits of this leadership have been felt by the Congress in 2009, after 11 years of hard work.

The BJP will have to face the leadership issue - sooner the better. The second generation of leaders were developed by Atalji and LK Advani. Where is the third generation leadership? The second level leadership did not develop and encourage the next level. Pity.

Challenges ahead in 2009.
State elections will be held in Jharkhand and Maharashtra in 2009. These will be the first challenges to the party after the May debacle. Will the BJP reinvent itself and allow for primaries to select the candidates? Democracy is the only way for the party to survive - elections inside the party and primaries to select elective candidates.

blog: india15august.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Some of the opinions expressed here seem to believe that hindutva was originally good, but became bad or misused. While as a personal way of life, one is free to call one's way with any name or practice anything, when it comes to public sphere of politics and state, the state should not have any official religion. Hindutva as a private or personal life/belief is different from hindutva as a state policy. As a political/state ideology, hindutva was never right (even in its most moderate form). All legitimate public issues can be fought/addressed from a secular democratic platform. If it is not, the issue itself is probably not legitimate. A farewell to the H-word is a necessary course correction. But this should not be due to mere electoral convenience, but by convincing oneself that secular democracy offers the best of rights/justice/freedom/welfare to all people across the world. A racist/communal world is the last thing that we want. Many of us and our brothers/sisters and loved ones are living as religious/racial/linguistic/ethnic minorities all over the world. Secular/humanist democracy is the best bet for all sections of society all over the world. The more it is resiststed, the more it is self-demeaning for ones own religion/culture, showing itself in poor light.

BJP_supporter said...

A summary of what the more-than-100 comments really convey -
1. We are battling Media's projection of Hindutva. That is not what Vajpayee or Advani articulated, but we are held liable for Pramod Muthalik in the end.
2. Any other word we choose can be tarnished the same way by media. Media is so hostile that they made BJP look bad in the cash-for-votes confidence vote issue.
3. We need not try to be what we are not, merely because media forced us. Our opponents (media and parties) will continue to scare voters by blowing out of proportion Mangalore type issues or a local campaign speech. If we choose to do this, then the next step can be 'forget about trouble with any ideology, the congress does not have any anyway'.
4. A one line comment by Satya on reservations led us from a issue we were trying to solve with change of words, to a real issue that BJP has done nothing about. It is undeniable that the discussion in this thread is now about reservations and caste-identity politics. These issues are purely consitutional/political/social issues and nothing to do with the H word or N word. The 'party with a difference' has been frozen unable to take any stand on these, or be any different. Let us remember that Mayawati took a radically different stand (though not necessarily correct) on some of these and reaped it in UP 2007.

That is the real summary of the comments. Now, we can say 'better few but better'. Depends on 'whose better'.

Ankan said...

I saw you on CNN-IBN and you were articulating the same viewpoint as you did on this blog. I think the BJP should fall back to a 'soft-Hindutva' line instead of the in-your-face kind of Hindutva that it is accused of. To do that it will have to (a) desist from violence, and denounce any violence that may be remotely connected to the BJP or its sister organizations (b) take steps to get rid of its anti-minority image (being pro-Hindu is not anti-Muslim, just as being pro-Muslim is not anti-Hindu) and (c) project a forward looking and development oriented outlook. But it will have to keep standing up for just Hindu causes (like it did in the Amarnath land issue) and will have to develop a robust media strategy to counter the secular propaganda.

One of the most important reasons that the BJP came to the forefront in the 90s, particularly in the urban areas, was the following point you mentioned "The BJP was fresh, untested and promised to be a party with a difference". Today, a large part of the BJP comes across as a copy of SP/BSP and the party with a difference feel is gone. On the other hand, Congress has been successful in projecting itself as decent and clean.

The BJP does not need a 360 degree turnaround, it needs a course correction, a major one. It also needs a complete overhaul of its PR and media exercise which is in shambles.

Anonymous said...

Swapan da

BJP deserves not to be in power. First they are still a regional player and commit the same mistakes which Congress has been doing.

Look at Bihar. Laloo raj ended after 15 pathetic years. Nitish Kumar came in. Had he continued to be in the same mode as Laloo, there would have been a definite chance of Laloo's resurrection.

BJP acquired power in 1999. They didn't give any symptom of being different from Congress. Their politicians were corrupt, they failed to provide national security, they failed to contain Hindu sentiments. It is good or bad, but the point is whenever a change comes, this change has to win the trust of people or else people reject the change. Opposition parties must understand that they do not have time to commit mistakes and learn. They just have to execute if they are seriously interested in grabbing power.

Anonymous said...

Arun Narendhranath writes:
Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and other great leaders did not follow Hindutva because they felt that it would propel the BJP/BJS into power. They believed in the virtues of 'Hindutva' and wanted to stand by it. BJP today shelving 'Hindutva' for sake of power means insulting its founding leaders.


The real problem with BJP is not 'Hindutva' but 'Power Hungriness' (from the top leadership to the cadres). This is because it tasted power in 1998 with virtually no presence in one-third of India. The party from 98' was happy becoming an alternative to congress rather than standing by the values it believed. The solution to these problems lie in the following
a) spreading its presence in states whether it has no footprint.
b) bringing back internal discipline in the party (if you look at attachment of my previous mail, you would find internal sabotages from Merwar (in Rajasthan) to Malwa (in Madhya Pradesh). The failure in this region has little to do with 'Hindutva' but more to do with 'internal discipline')
c) post 2000, people joining the RSS believe that RSS is the passage to their political career (this a mockery on the spirit of volunteerism), this needs to be changed.
d) The Sangh needs to modernize itself. The RSS needs start online shakas

If BJP is to shelve its ideologies for the sake of power like congress (Nehru shelved Gandhism and Narasimha Rao dispensed with socialism), India would have to suffer not one but two mass-based power hungry parties with no genuine alternative. In the last decade, the only thing BJP did not do similar to the congress was to bury its ideology for the sake of power. If BJP shelves its ideology for the sake of power, it would be the last nail in the coffin.


Postscript: Power corrupts, Absolute power absolutely, post 98 the power hungriness set as an rot inside the BJP. In 2009 the party is at cross roads having the opportunity to clean the rot or to further aggravate the same. Only time would tell which path the party took.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous singing platitudes on secularism of the Indian variety - please see this short list.
1. People of Jammu on the road for a month, for temporary use of 40 acre plot in uninhabitable terrain
2. Church swinging the result in Kanyakumari and trying it openly in Mangalore (they too had access to 'secular platforms' if they had a grievance, rather than involving church in politics).
3. Afzal 'on a queue' in death row
4. A.K.Antony's comment on minorities organizing themselves against the Majority's interest, following the Marad killings in 2002.

zoomindianmedia said...

Mr. Anonymous

Intermarrying has nothing to do with organizing politically on a Hindu Platform.

Do you think Ashrafs and Ajlafs intermarry? The mosque serves as the platform. Syrian Catholic will never intermarry with xians of other denominations.

Your logic is delusional and the objective obviously is to undermine Hindu mobilisation.

Hindu mobilisation is not a simple task. But in that lies the well being of India. Totalitarian assault (from xians and islamists) indeed warrant a strong response.

Oldtimer said...

Dear Anonymous,

You seem to have a frozen image of Hinduism in your mind handed down to you by the Christian missionary chroniclers of the Raj era (later dutifully picked up by Marxist fundamentalists).

I suggest that you notice the supreme irony that the Baba Ramdev and Sister Nirmala present. The most prominent contemporary Hindu religious leader is Ramdev, an OBC, flourishing without state-sponsored Padma Vibhushans and despite sleazy Marxist attacks of the Brinda Karat kind. (In fact, the only upper caste resistance to Ramdev's popularity was reflected in the Christian witch-hunt style campaign that Karat conducted against him). At the same time, the most prominent Indian Christian is the upper caste head of Sisters of Charity (how progressive -- if it's not white people, they have got to be upper caste converts, you see?). Gets state support -- awards and all -- because a Catholic Christian is at the helm. This is very very dangerous for secularism.

Our endeavor should be to evolve India in the direction that Ramdev symbolizes, and prevent it from sliding in a direction of exclusivism, casteism and racism that the foreign control of Indian churches and foreign influence on Indian policy represent. A Hindu-majority India will never become a clone of America, the exporter of Christian fundamentalism to nooks and corners of the world, where secular laws on paper do not deliver a real-world climate of freedom for people to follow their beliefs without coercion, fear or sense of deprivation. I can understand Christian fundamentalists disputing this point, because to accept it would rob them of a justification for proselytism, but I don't see why you, an alleged "progressive", should be so Hinduphobic-ally alarmed by it.

Final point: you claimed that for Hindus to have a platform, Hinduism must be perfect, as in Hindus being able to "freely intermarry". By that token, no platform by any community is legit. I can name Goan Catholic christians who insisted on marrying only brahmin girls, let me know if you are game. You can wait till Hindu cows come home for the head honcho in Vatican to be a dalit Indian woman. When Sachar committee visited WB, a clash broke out between dalit Muslims and caste Muslims (who don't intermarry) because the latter opposed reservations for the former. Can leftwingers have a platform, given their Nandigram-style everyday routine? A lot of food for thought for you. Chew on it at leasure.

Anonymous said...

IN POLITICS PUBLIC SERVICE ABIDING BY CONSTITUTION SHOULD BE THE ONLY RELIGION.RELIGION IS A
VERY PERSONAL MATTER,BETTER LEFT TO INDIVIDUAL.BJP WASTED ITS 5YEARS BY PROMOTING GREED OF LKA AND NOT SELECTING AND USING AMPLE ISSUES AGAINST CONGRESS PROPERLY.BJP UNDER LKA WAS EVEN NOT A COMPETENT OPPOSION AND WAS BELIEVING THAT BY DEfault power will come to them.THE ONLY WAY FOR BJP IS EXPOSE MEDIA,KEEP ASIDE RSS,VHPETC. AND GIVE FREE HAND TO MODI,SHOWING HIS TRACK RECORD ,THEN ONLY PEOPLE WILL BE INTERESTED.BJP UNDER MODI MUST FOCUS ON MAIN ISSUE OF SWISS MONEY BRINGING BACK TO INDIA.

Swabhimaan said...

I agree with Oldtimer..I myself faced these kinds of arguments and these mostly come from people who have only read doctored history and doctored culture of the CBSE or Commi type. I too have..but I also found the hidden truths. Anonymous missed out that Hindutva does not become communal because it is a Hindi word and it has tried to be fair in protecting Hindu interests. Translate it into English - it becomes secularism, nationalism, cultural pride...but definitely not 'psuedo-secularism'. Then what is wrong with it? It takes time to undo years of conditioning and I see that this is the problem Anonymous is having.

Shankar Iyer said...

Swapanda, The 'fundamental question' or the tone of it or its intentions, you raise here is itself flawed. you are allowed to pose this question alone: Is BJP worthy enough now to take up the cause of Hindutva? Has BJP sullied the cause of Hindutva? This would have led the debate in the desired direction and we would have stuck to a political debate alone, which is what this forum desires to extend towards the community?

Jaideep said...

http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=3037752
When Pravin Togadia says Hindutva wasnt the reason BJP lost I am inclined to believe it. So does this mean BJP should say farewell to the H word as Swapan is suggesting? Probably yes as long as the BJP uses this to get rid off the lumpen elements within the party and not to compromise on issues such as Uniform Civil code, article 370 etc. A test case would be what would the BJP do now that the JD(U) has renewed its call for implementation of Sachar committee recommendations. Unless it strongly opposes these plans the BJP stands to lose whatever little support it currently enjoys. I hope a call to distance oneself from Hindutva does not end up with supporting minority communalism of this kind.

hyderaoji said...

All this talk about Hindutva!! A point that has to be stressed is that India is primarily a Poor Country. It is a Poor Country in a dangerous neighbourhood & internally it has several faultlines.

A political party wishing to govern such a country has to put Security, Economy, Development at the top of the agenda. Social agendas such as reservations, Minorityism, Anti-minorityism has to be such that they do not derail the first three.

This is where the BJP has lost out. In spite of all of Modi's development talk, it has not come up with a campaign which was convincing about Security & Development. In fact, Varun's talk threatened peace which is a basis for sustained development.

A credible Economic & Security agenda with a uniting face is a must for the BJP. If it is young & smiling all the better.

As they say: It is the economy stupid! Ask any farmer, Autorickshaw driver, Factory Worker or a clerk.

Identity issues come later.

Anonymous said...

Some people in this forum seem to believe that the support for secular democracy in India comes only from Muslims/Christians. That is a major mistake to assume that. Just as all fair minded people in Christian majority countries support complete secular democracy, all fair minded Indians also support secular democracy cutting across religious/caste lines. Even if all the Muslim vote goes to one party, most other parties in India will continue to be secular. For many, it is a matter of conviction, belief system, cultural ethos, morality etc which prohibits them from being communal or supporting the concept of a state religion. For most, a vote for the BJP/Sena is at best an exception or temporary (when the alternative is even worse on some other aspects like corruption, complete non-governance etc). Given a viable and reasonably performing secular alternative, most people will not vote for BJP. BJP's reaction to Varun's speech shows what it is up to. Who wants such a needless "trouble manufacturing" created out of nothing? People don't wait for forensic experts to conclude on varun's CD. They can judge what Varun/party is up to, based on the reaction itself. It is not just a technical/legalist question of whether the CD is doctored, and how much doctored etc - it is a question of what a person/party stands for and the double-facedness of BJP has come out as clearly as it can be. The BJP could not take-in nor take-out - and we are advertising about 'decisive' leadership?

mpanj said...

Folks, this is an amazing effort.

But we seem to be behaving like 8 blind men.

For those unfamiliar with the tale, 8 blind man were brought to an Elephant and asked to identify the 'object'.

Each man touched one part of the elephant and declared what they thought was the object.

One thought it was a tree trunk, another thought it was a broom and so on.

Identifying BJP's woes/solutions seems to be following a similar pattern.

Each of us are bringing a unique POV - and there's nothing wrong with that approach.

But the question is are we missing the larger picture.

Also, this process is similar to putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

With an important difference, some pieces have the the potential to change the overall picture.

Example:

An over emphasis on 'traditional' values is likely to alienate the denim clad, pub going nationalist who may agree with BJP on a number of other issues - National security, economic liberalization, etc.

De-emphasizing 'traditional' Indian values has the potential to puncture the passion of BJP's foot soldiers, robbing it of a vital resource.

People like Swapanda, Ashok Malik, Arun Jaitley, NaMo, should initiate the process to gather the larger picture.

And once this picture becomes clearer, we can start determining the media strategy, the 4 year road map, etc.

zoomindianmedia said...

Swapanda

The following article from Sandya Jain is a good read.

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=613

Sandya Jain argues that BJP ditched Hindutva and that moral perspicacity was lacking in BJP’s dealings with allies.

Her basic argument pertains to “Advani’s cohabiting with Hindu-baiters in the name of political compulsions, and abandoning the Hindu cause on the battlefield of moha, lobha, ahankaar (illusion, greed, pride)”

Anonymous said...

Hindutva as an ideology is not rigorous enough to survive scrutiny. And precious little has been done to develop it to an intellectual level. Where are the PHds on Hindutva or the graduate level thesis comparing secular outlooks (Hinduism) to the communal religions (Islam, Christianity)? Hindutva as an ideology will be subject to calumny unless it is developed intellectually and given a sound academic footing.

Anonymous said...

Swabhimaan, you say "Hindutva does not become communal because it is a Hindi word and it has tried to be fair in protecting Hindu interests". I would say that a secular state can take care of all interests and one can fight for hindu/sikh/muslim/christian interests from a secular platform equally. And that is the right way to do. All these groups live as minorities in various countries. The concept of secular democracy and equal citizenship is what is fair to all everywhere in the world.

You further add "Translate it into English - it becomes secularism, nationalism, cultural pride...". I would say, you do not have anything called hindutva for that. One can be secular and love ones nation, love his culture etc without having to do anything called hindutva and all the loaded rhetorical baggage that it comes with and the extremist groups that take advantage of it for communal purposes. Let us keep it simple. Secular democracy is what is desirable – if there are drawbacks in its implementation, let us correct it. Whether it is atrocities/injustices to hindus or muslims or women or dalits etc, let us fight for rights/justice of all groups from a secular democratic platform, regardless of religion/race/gender/caste etc.

Anonymous said...

I saw you on CNN-IBN. It was a stupid show. Why is that Sagarika 'stupid' Ghose has to be judgemental? what do you mean, RSS and modernity doesn't go together. And this idiot Ramachandra Guha was saying that Sushma Swaraj took oath in Sanskrit because she is either afraid of RSS or that Sanskrit is not 'modern'? I don't understand. Sanskrit is a good language. For Sagarika Hindus are backward and Muslims are modern and progressive. She should go out of India and settle down in Talibanistan.

Why don't these 'scholars' comment on Deoband and Urdu. They know that they won't be able to get away with that.

Anyway Indian public is stupid. This election proved beyond doubt. They want to elect corrupt Gandhi-Nehrus. So be it. Vinasha kaale Vipareedha Buddhi. As you so so you reap.

Dinesh PC said...

Swapan-da,

"BJP's integrity quotient has taken a nosedive"

BJP's integrity quotient on Hindutva issues has indeed taken a huge nosedive. No one in their most insane-st of moments would believe that the BJP has any commitment on issues that affect the Hindus.

For once, I do agree with your post-defeat BJP analysis!

Regards,
Dinesh

mpanj said...

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India-likely-to-resume-talks-with-Pakistan/articleshow/4614933.cms

WOW!!!

Didnt we all expect this.

Those incharge of shaping BJP's future must keep in mind that the next crisis facing India may require a strong leadership.

Much as Americans eagerly (and quietly) acquiesced to the draconian Patriot act, Gitmo, water boarding, etc. Indians (and Hindus) will support (in fact demand) a strong man at the helm.

One who does not harass minorities in the name of fighting terror, but someone who is willing and able to take the fight to Pakistan and beyond.

A mamby-pamby BJP with a diluted Hindutva will lack the credibility to occupy this space.

It is these future events we must account for whilst deciding on the future of Hindutva and BJP.

I, Me, Myself ! said...

Sushma as PM Candidate:

I think it is high time BJP starts grooming Sushma as the PM candidate. Electing her as Dy. Leader is a good step in that direction.

But I also read today that if Rajnath doesn't become BJP President again, then he will be LOP. That will be another suicidal step!

Sushma Swaraj can easily get an All-India appeal. She is already fluent in one South Indian Language ( not that it matters, but it shows she can easily gel with all kinds of people ).

Sushma Swaraj has a clean image, she has administrative experience, and also lets face it - she alone from the BJP can stand up to that much hyped Rahul Gandhi in 2014. She has all the qualities in her to become the Vajpayee of BJP.

The additional advantage she will have is that she will get the help of multiple Advani's. Rajnath, Arun, and Venkaiah can all assist her in this endeavour.

Please let me know your thoughts on this.

Sudhir

Anonymous said...

Well said. The BJP now faces a similiar situation as the Republican party in US in terms of alineating vast sections of the electorate. It is beginning to turn-off the growing urban educated middle class and youth- not to mention the 20% non-hindu voters. Further it is virtually non-existent with no allies in in 5 major states- Andhra, TN, WB, Kerala and Orrissa which acount for 30% of the lok sabha seats. Former allies like Trinamool, TDP, DMK, AIADMK and BJD are fleeing -JDU may be soon to follow.
If it has to win in 2014- here is what it needs to do
1- Project a moderate image in the forthcoming assembly polls -talk about growth, development, market reforms, national security, infrastructure and moratorium on anything that turns off the average middle of the road voter like ram janmabhoomi/hindutva/marathi manoos/ram sethu/pub bashing/ram sene/varun gandhi type speeches.
2. Accept that Vajpayee/Advani era is over. Try to project a youthful, cosmopolitan, suave image- Enough of rajnath, shekawath, joshi etc- nobody cares. Jaswanth singh, Yashwanth sinha, Arun Shourie, Jay Dubashi, Mahesh Jethmalani, Subramaniam swamy and yes Varun Gandhi too should go on TV for BJP if it has to match Jairam Ramesh, Kapil Sibal, Sashi Tharoor, chidambaram, Pranab. Jaitley and Shushma should lead the party in parliament.
3. Use Varun Intelligently- His speeches have to be totally scripted. He is an uncanny politician with a loose tongue but great potential. He should not go off-script at all. BJP needs Varun in UP for 2012 if has to go against Rahul, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawathi. Without a mass leader, BJP will be decimated in UP.
4. Try to win back allies and new ones too- Vijaykanth's DMDK and Chiranjeevi's PRP are good examples- each have 10-15%. Naveen, Mamta, Naidu and Jaya will not touch the BJP unless it becomes a more moderate party.
5. The most important - Do not project a prime ministerial candidate in 2014- the media will tear him/her in the run-up to elections. Tell the public that BJP parliamentary party will decide its leader because we have many capable but instead project a united face. This could be a big ammunition against congress. This way,the combined oratory of Modi, Sushma, Jaitley and Varun can together tear down Rahul in 2014.

BJP_supporter said...

One comment says "Identity issues come later.".

The KonguNadu Peravai party of the Gounder community in TN polled 6.5 lakh votes in 12 Lok Sabha seats. In four seats they crossed one lakh votes. This party was launched only this year. The MNS in Maharashtra did much much better. We can very well type 'identity issues come later'.

Reading some of the comments, you would think the congress got 60% of the votes nationally. UPA has 46% seats in LS with may be 30% vote,NDA has 30% seats with may be 25% vote. These two blocks have enough identity driven votes. And then there is a big block outside of this too of various region/religion/caste identities. What the heck, identity politics is the *only* politics we have.

Why do we compare BJP with Republican party? Do they have a sub-regional party in the US polling 10% vote across a state in a national election,like our DMDK?

Another comment said "let us fight for rights/justice of all groups from a secular democratic platform, regardless of religion/race/gender/caste etc."

Pretty good. Trouble is we can not even define secularism, democracy, rights and justice. Particularly rights and justice. You would think constitution is where these get defined and we go from there. Well, try again.

Sorry if this spoils your appetite for easy and quick fixes like changing one word, or explaining election results with one line. IN 2004, elections were 'aggregates of several local elections'. In 2009, elections became 'bi-polar'. Well, I have been called a psychic already.

Srikumar said...

This column by Kanchan Gupta in the Pioneer is a far more credible and clear anlysis towards the BJP ideology I hope Swapan would have already gone thro this column.

We can drop the ‘H” word but we should not get trapped into congress style leftist pseudo secular mindset just to score a few points in 24*7 media.

We should have a cleary defined ideology which is relevant for present times. If we become idelogically neutral then we become just an another party like RJD or SP or DMK.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/180489/Ideology-key-to-BJP’s-survival.html

Ideology key to BJP’s survival

Kanchan Gupta

Therefore, before settling the ideology issue — should the BJP persist with ‘Hindutva’; should it stick to ‘Integral Humanism’; or, should it opt for an all new charter as Labour did in Britain — what is required is clarity of thought. Devoid of ideology, the BJP will cease to attract attention, leave alone support. Ideology is not only meant to influence policy but also serve as a restraining factor, ensuring discipline in public life and rectitude in personal life. It’s when ideology becomes a meaningless totem or inflexible dogma that a party loses its life force and the integrity quotient of its leaders suffers rapid erosion. Even a decade ago, senior BJP leaders would have been appalled by the ostentatious display of wealth by a colleague at his or her son’s or daughter’s wedding. Today they are willingly ferried in chartered helicopters to attend weddings that cost more than Rs 20 crore, as was witnessed recently in Karnataka.

The BJP, therefore, must decide its ideological direction/orientation, reframe ideology within the matrix of today’s India, and stand by it. “We have to discard the status quo mentality and usher in a new era... There is no need to cling to past institutions and traditions which have outlived their utility,” Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya wrote in his exposition of ‘Integral Humanism’. Change should not necessarily be frowned upon. Or the BJP must boldly stand up and say, “Ours is an ideology neutral party. We shall sway with the wave.”

The consequences of the former course of action would be three-fold: Those allergic to ideological rigour will make an exit, debilitating the party in the short and medium term, but strengthening it in the long term; the BJP’s integrity quotient will increase substantially; and, the drift which began in 1998 will be arrested. The consequences of abandoning ideology would also be three-fold: Those who lack morals and scruples shall take over the party and cynical ‘pragmatism’ will subsume all that is moral and ethical; the BJP will, in due course, become a pale shadow of its past and jostle for political space with parties like the RJD and SP since it cannot supplant the Congress; and, the drift will gather speed. In such circumstances, needless to say, integrity quotient (already at an all time low) will plummet further and cease to matter altogether.

doubtinggaurav said...

BJP_supporter said...

"Trouble is we can not even define secularism"

This one is easy. Secularism is anything which seem to be nice and all that. For example Rabbits are secular, Dogs are secular, Manmohan Singh is secular. In contrast communal is anything which seems nasty and not at all nice. Hence rats are communal, as are cockroaches, or BJP.

Consider this as my extension to Orwell's law of fascism.

Offtopic. Swapan Da please install disqus on your blog it is much more convenient

Swabhimaan said...

If it is only about a word then I'm ok with it as long as the basic tenets of Hindutva or true secularism are not compromised for indulging the minorities. The problem is that in our country majority grievances remain unadressed and unrecognized whereas minority grievances, however small and illegitimate become front page news. If this happens because of 'secularism' or whatever alternate word the BJP chooses I won't vote for it. If the alternative cannot get justice for the Kashmiri Pandits or provide a solution to the Mughalistan/ Islamistan issue I'll keep my distance from it.

NBS said...

Not sure if you will get around to reading this comment, but you are right, Hindutva should at best be background music while the BJP creates a niche for itself as Right of center, Development etc. In Karnataka, one year has seen tremendous development, esp Bangalore. Did they say a single word of Hindutva, no. Is it necessary? No. Can they still take care of majority interests while remaining secular, sure, why not...

Clearly, this is the way to go.

Swabhimaan said...

Just an afterthought...Hindutva is not for secularism according to Anonymous. Even if you say that Hinduism alone is the basis of Hindutva ..then it is secular because Hinduism is secular. If you deny this..then definitely you have not undetrstood Hinduism. You cannot say this for all 'religions'..definitely not Islam. I agreed for dropping the word because perceptions matter a lot. Whether these perceptions will go away with jugglery of words is questionable. And then how do you keep your existing base intact? Another image that will get reimposed (the BJP got it first when it could not build the temple at Ayodhya) is that the BJP is only concerned about political results..not pseudo-secularism or justice for Hindus. When it comes to power and wants to be in power it becomes another Congress. So..even the alternative will have to be articulated cleverly.

doubtinggaurav said...

I hope we can all agree on the maxim that while success has many fathers but failure is other man's child.

hyderaoji said...

@BJP_supporter: Regarding the importance of Identity issues. The BJP is not aiming to be an accumulation of regional parties. It is not aiming to rule only Mumbai or or only Punjab or even just Philibhit. It is aiming to rule a country of 1 billion people. To take this huge & also poor country forward, no party can afford to alienate substantial sections of the population.

The Congress learnt its lessons the hard way. Time the BJP did too.

That is not to say that it should lose its message. Delivery of the message becomes very important. Its message should be Development for All, Appeasement towards None.

Modi tried this message. But he is not a credible messenger.

Violence, hate speeches put off even sympathisers to the cause. When Pune's great Bhandarkar Institute is trashed by Sivaji's admirers, is the Marathi or the Hindu cause enhanced? When a student at the Baroda College of Fine Arts is arrested, is Hindu sensibility really assuaged? When Varun inflamed the public in Philibhit, did he win UP?

I disagree with Advanis assessment that the Third Front was the cause of BJP's Loss. I disagree with Swapanda that Hindutva is a millstone.

The BJP's campaign had neither a credible Developmental agenda nor a good social agenda.
I cant believe how the BJP did not campaign on the economy even during a recession!

All Indians crave Proper Governance with Development coupled with Law & Order. After this main issue, the Hindus who are the majority have anti-minorityism as a cause. The Minorities have persecution as their cause. How these aspirations are addressed is the challenge.

Anonymous said...

BJP_supporter, you say, "Trouble is we can not even define secularism, democracy, rights and justice. Particularly rights and justice. You would think constitution is where these get defined and we go from there. Well, try again".

Now, why do you see a problem which no other secular democracy in the world sees? All secular democracies are pretty reasonably clear on what the terms like "secularism, democracy, rights and justice" mean. Have you seen the democrat party and republican party in US fight over the definitions or have any confusion about of these terms? Or any mainstream political parties anywhere in the world has problem with definitions of these terms? Why BJP alone should have trouble with definitions? It appears that Hindutva has only managed to create needless confusion of basic terms which the whole world, all political parties, UN etc has no problem defining. Can the BJP go to a UN conference and say that terms like human rights and justice cannot be defined? Indian constitution/law, like all secular democracies in the world is quite equipped to deliver rights/justice to all sections of the society.

Anonymous said...

Suppose BJP drops H-word and no leader utters this word ever again. However, if the thugs of sundry parishads, dals, senes as ever continue to indulge in thokashahi, moral policing and goondagiri / voilcence, and senior leaders of Sangh-BJP remain silent or worse, make stupid or ill-times comments ("I will not allow pub-culture in Karnataka"), our media will as ever broadcast it 24-hr / 7-day a week. Will that make any difference to BJP's image / situation? I submit NOT. The problem is not only the word but the conduct of Sangh-related organisations and the silence or worse of BJP leaders. Until that changes, nothing will make any difference and moderate / foward looking poeple will keep a safe distance from BJP. To me, that is THE biggest failure of Mr LK Advani: he did not use his influence to cleanse BJP of sich "kooks" and inculcate tolerance / freedom among BJP cadre and he remained silent when incidents occured. - Gopi

Tarun Malaviya said...

BJP represents an idea. And while individuals and organisations can fail or fall short at times, an idea, especially a Living one cannot. The idea of Sanatan Dharam, on which the BJP is based, is being continuously rediscovered, refined, adapted and taken forward by the Gurus and teachers. In its essence, it is an open, dynamic, powerful living set of ideas.
The truth is that the BJP is only a manifestation of a much larger movement of the revival of the Sanatan Dharma (or Hinduism) and would therefore benefit from it.
Chances are that the ideas (on which the BJP is based) will have a cleansing effect on the party and enable it to revitalise and re-invent itself every time it loses its way.
Chances are that the idea will continue to exert a pull on a lot of very capable people and therfore the BJP will continue to have a greater chance of self renewal.

BJP_supporter said...

Anonymous who said "Have you seen the democrat party and republican party in US fight over the definitions or have any confusion about of these terms?"

Sir, your knowledge of American politics and the interest with which you want to transplant it into India are very thrilling. Thank you.

Obama took utmost care to ensure that he is not seen as seeking votes as a black. You can not say that about our country. But I will skip such symbolic stuff.

I agree that there are some paragraphs about 'equality', 'equal rights', 'rights to equal opportunity' etc in our constitution. They have been amended much. I have read those paragraphs and those amendments as well.

But we are also a country where a factory worker's son with higher marks is denied an opportunity to compete equally with a millionaire's son with *lower* marks. I am not sure if you know such things exist.

I am not that knowledgeable about things American. I would rather restrict to the issues within my country.

Anonymous said...

Swabhimaan, you say “Even if you say that Hinduism alone is the basis of Hindutva ..then it is secular because Hinduism is secular. If you deny this..then definitely you have not undetrstood Hinduism”

Let me then ask you, does Varun Gandhi understand Hinduism well? Does Muthalik understand? The people who deliver hate-speeches, moral policing, communal rioting etc in the name of hindutva - do they understand Hinduism? The point is, everyone can have their own understanding of each religion. One can understand Hinduism as the most humane and another can understand it as most inhumane. Your understanding of Hinduism may be different from Varun’s or Muthaliks or for that matter many others cutting across religious/caste lines. Someone can claim that teachings of Jesus are the best of all and hence it is ok to have Christian-state but not of other religions. Some other person may say that the experience of Christian theocracy was one of the worst seen by humanity – and so on. Subjective claims like that on different religions can go on and on without end. So, the best policy is a plain and simple secular democracy as seen in dozens secular democratic countries in the world, where there is equal citizenship to all and the state asserts and administers the rights/justice/freedom/welfare of all citizens of all religions/castes/race/gender etc. Many Hindus are living as minorities in many such secular democracies and doing just fine.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the comment made by one person that "Hindutva as an ideology is not rigorous enough to survive scrutiny. And precious little has been done to develop it to an intellectual level. Where are the PHds on Hindutva or the graduate level thesis comparing secular outlooks (Hinduism) to the communal religions (Islam, Christianity)?"

Hindutva wanted to survive merely with rabble rousing, provoking riots, shill rhetoric, intimidation, playing victim etc. Can you imagine a Varun Gandhi kind of election speech in any secular democracy in the world? And that too in the name of Hinduism and peppered with shrill shouts of the name of Ram. Is that anything to be proud of? Can we show that speech to our children and tell that he is a great hindu leader? What are the spiritual/moral standards that BJP is up to? There is no ideology in the world that survived long with shrill rhetoric alone as the tool. Any rhetoric can be matched with a counter rhetoric easily (only a matter of time).

An average hindu is absolutely free to believe/practice/propagate any hindu belief - not just in India but in all secular democratic countries in the world. What is the supposed problem that hindutva wants to solve? They want to manufacture sentiments that conflict/confront/provoke Muslims and then claim that the hindu sentiments are not met? Or do they want to divide the world into hindu and anti-hindu camps (like dar al-Islam and dar al-harb)? And BTW, is Varun a hindu or a anti-hindu? Does not Varun’s speech portray a negative image of Hinduism and amount to vilification of the name of Ram. So much so that the EC had to break all precedence and advice the BJP to not field Varun?

There are no short cuts to success (especially in the long term). The BJP has to dump all shrill communal rhetoric, dump the innovative trouble creators who create troubles out of no where, and fight it out on issues of development, social welfare, empowerment etc. Now the troubling question is, can it do it? Can it match the Congress on this score (except in small local pockets and some states at most)?

Anonymous said...

Someone commented "congress uses loonies like Rama Sene and MNS to undermine the natioanalist/Hindu cause"

But the question is, why should BJP's (and other Sangh groups) behavior be so close to the likes of Ram Sene and MNS that people will easily mistake their deeds as that of BJP’s? It is always easy to imitate negative behavior. For example it is very easy to bring up some guys in Philibit to give an even more obnoxious communal speeches and even indulge in some violence in front of TV cameras and people can easily mistake that it is the doing of Varun and his party. It is not easy to imitate development work, social welfare schemes etc, but very easy to imitate evil. If some loony group attacks couples/women on valentine’s day or for wearing western dress etc, everyone will assume that it must be the doing by some Sangh group like bajrangdal. And why not, the Bajrangdal leaders issue public warning on TVs that they will attack if they something like that.

BJP_supporter said...

A kid might have several balls of all colours and sizes. But when it sees a ball the other kid has, it will want *exactly* that ball. Parents would have had this mildly frustrating experience.

The vote turnout across the country was probably 60%. Assuming errors in the voter list etc let us say 70%. Out of that, UPA polled 30% according to wikipedia. Let us assume congress vote share excluding allies was 25%. Assume 5% vote bank which can never be swayed (I know, very conservative, but fine). That leaves 20%. This is 14% of the total.

There are many suggestions here, starting from Swapan, that try to go after exactly that 14%. Drive in the middle of the road; rename ideology; Counter some one there with Sushma; Adopt their model power without responsibility, by pushing Modi behind the scenes; Match Jairam Ramesh and Kapil Sibal (is there not even an outside chance that we can do better?); Do not project a PM in advance.

Even discounting those who did not vote, there are some 70% who did not vote UPA; Some 75% who did not vote congress. What can the BJP do for these voters, rather than deciding to go exactly after the congress' vote?

As an example - A lot of people voted MNS in Maharashtra. Now, if democracy is about voters, what is wrong in looking at these voters? Merely because beautiful people decided MNS is ugly, should BJP ignore these voters? These voters obviously had issues. Why can not the BJP engage with them and address those issues within our constitution and laws?

But someone actually suggested elsewhere that 'congress puts up splinters like MNS and Chiru; we should do exactly the same thing by putting up our splinters in their strongholds'. Funny really.

PS: thanks for the link to Kanchan Gupta. It is very clear that this article is a response to Swapan's post. I agree with it mostly.

Oldtimer said...

Hello anonymous,

>>Can the BJP go to a UN conference and say that terms like human rights and justice cannot be defined?

How about waking up and smelling some nice Coorg coffee? The UN's notion of "human rights" is being rejected as we speak. A few weeks ago there was an attempt in the UN to pass this motion that tried to bring any criticism of religion, especially of Islam, under the purview of violation of human rights. That;s right. To criticize Islam is to violate human rights. No kidding. One of the countries that rejected the motion is your favorite "secular" democracy, the US.

I'd be pretty interested in knowing how you got into your mind, in the first place, the fanciful notion that the UN or some other international body is the arbiter of values for us clueless Indians. Fact of the matter is, what we Indians believe in need not have the sanction of white Christian folks. The Brits left us more than 60 years ago.

For a guy who rightly claimed that people cannot be mandated to respect all religions, you are sounding pretty weird demanding that Christian notions of "secularism" and "human rights" be treated as universal holy cows. They aren't. Nothing is above scrutiny or debate.

Anonymous said...

"Trouble is we can not even define secularism"

Why not? How about this: A secular state believes in the concept of equal citizenship and the state has no official state religion and the state asserts the rights/justice/freedom of all citizens without regard for race/religion/caste etc. That is how all secular democracies in the world function and all Hindus living as minorities in those countries agree/understand it well. Why the pretence here about some confusion etc? If any community has an grievance, they can approach the court etc and have faith in constitutional authorities. Hindutva is not solving any real problems - it is first creating artifical problems and then pretending to solve them. Secular democracy like dozens of secular democratic nations in the world is all that India needs.

senthil said...

/*** Now, why do you see a problem which no other secular democracy in the world sees? All secular democracies are pretty reasonably clear on what the terms like "secularism, democracy, rights and justice" mean. Have you seen the democrat party and republican party in US fight over the definitions or have any confusion about of these terms? Or any mainstream political parties anywhere in the world has problem with definitions of these terms? Why BJP alone should have trouble with definitions? It appears that Hindutva has only managed to create needless confusion of basic terms which the whole world, all political parties, UN etc has no problem defining. Can the BJP go to a UN conference and say that terms like human rights and justice cannot be defined? Indian constitution/law, like all secular democracies in the world is quite equipped to deliver rights/justice to all sections of the society.

***/

Mr. Anonymous..

The question arises, because the secularism followed in the US and UK, is entirely different from the secularism followed in India..

Do you see a US president telling that Muslims should have first preference over resources?

Do you see Hindus in America getting Minority benefits, as muslims & christians here corner?

The major problem in india is people like you, who raise rubbish claims and throw mudslings, and behave like a moral authority..

The secularism in India had been clearly defined in Constitution.. But they were badly and willing distorted by pseudo seculars, and the ELM vultures..

Here, those hypocrites describe secularism as Minorityism.. and describe secularism as Hindu bashing..

And when a madarassa education is equated to CBSE syllabus, its called secularism.. but if sanskrit is included in mainstream education, its called communalism..

When sufi songs are sung, its called secularism.. When Vande mataram is sung, its called communalism..

When Andhra CM announces subsidy for christians, and funds building of churches, its called secularism..

I can list out many more of the kind of secularism ( or sickularism) that you have been advocating for..

Here the so called secularists are exploiting, discriminating and hostile to hinduism.. and you dont have any issue with it..

But BJP which says, Muslims and Hindus are equals, are twisted and branded as communal.. and you invent the idea of "Reaching out to all sections".. whereas in reality, its the congress which is supporting one community in the name of minorityism and leaving out majorities..

Hindutva is never against any community.. Its only for rightful reclamation of Hindu culture and history..

senthil said...

/** Until that changes, nothing will make any difference and moderate / foward looking poeple will keep a safe distance from BJP.
**/

Mr. Anonymous.. Dont think only you are the forward looking person.. People who voted for BJP in bangalore, ahmedabad are also forward looking..

Infact they are more liberal than those sickular fundamentalists..

Arjun said...

Dear Swapan,,
As a start, please ask Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley to expel that ego maniac known as Varun Gandhi straight away. Can the BJP afford to sit in the opposition with this taint known as Varun Gandhi? How about less ofsermons and more of some concrete action that defines what the BJP will be in the future?

Frankly, the BJP has always had this divide between shrill ideology and a more modern right of center outlook. Its tragedy is that it does not have a leader of Vajpayee's stature to bridge this divide. Instead the BJP relies on divisive figures like Modi to move the party conclusively in one direction. Your own stance on this is extremely contradictory. How is your outlook on a modern right of center outlook compatible with Modi who was abhorred by Vajpayee? Advani has been such a coward that he could never bridge the intellectual/ideological divide in the BJP (His pusillanimity after the Jinnah comments was shameful!) You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Start with Varun Gandhi and then please provide some suggestions on what to do with the Modi dilemma. You cannot grow your base with such figures leading the party. Modi won the battle but conclusively lost the war with 2002. unfortunately so has the BJP. I dont have much hope for concrete action. One should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity especially in the BJP.

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with your analysis. Don't tell me that the guy in guntur is worried about idealogical debate. BJP's catchment area is very limited compared to congress. BJP doesn't have a presence in many states and how long you expect North/West to yield
more than 50% of seats. Honestly, BJP has become too lazy and didn't put any effort to expand it's base since 1998. It should stop outsourcing it responsibilty to allies. BJP should
dismantle NDA and should have only seat adjustments in future (Don't let allies undermine it's interest). BJP doesn't realize that alliances can materialize only if it offers
something to the allies in terms votes. Look at what TRS did to TDP in A.P. TDP was forced to change it's stance on separate telengana because
it realized that TRS has a strong base in Telangana. Imagine the possibilites, if BJP's vote share touches mere 12-13% in AP and TN.
TDP and AIADMK will be compelled to have an alliance with BJP (They will conveniantely forget about the minority vote). BJP steadily lost it's base in AP and TN. It should focus on these states.
BJP's base is intact in WB and kerala. They should try to double it in next 5 years. BJP sould discard old leadership at state level and central
level. BJP should do away with the policy of "entitlement". You can't project somebody as a CM(VK) or a PM(LK) just
to honor their services to the party (80+). Vajpayee govt damaged BJP's credibilty (Kandhahar, Bangaru Laxman and George Fernandea corruption deals, compromising on uniform civil code) the way PVN govt damaged congress.
BJP should stop this nonsense of a discussion on idealogy. It should focus on expanding the party base.
BJP should realize the hard truth that power flows to delhi via states. BJP was always ready to compromise
it's state units interest/growth to obtain power at center. So, get out of Delhi TV studio's and move back to Guntur, salem, Trivendram, Malda.
BJP should throw it's full weight on local body elections in these states and make it's presence felt.

BJP should follow what it preaches. BJP should get rid of corrupt leaders to bring back the memory of "Party with a diffrence" instead of party with
diffrences. Pls don't forget that Manmohan singh's image took the urban voter away from BJP not the idealogy (Large chunk of BJP sikh voters).
Ram Temple issue mayn't be relevant after Babri Masjid demolishion but Uniform civil code and JK integration are very relevant today.
BJP should pursue a robust debate on Uniform Civil code which will put the so called left leaning psuedo secularists on back foot.
BJP should force the liberals to take a stand on women libery which is so dear to them. It should promise that they will only form the govt if they are in a position to implement uniform civil code.

Anonymous said...

yeah to the 6/4 6.15 pm anonymous,

the problem is the media which falsely links ram sene to bjp.The problem is the congress that pays people like ramsene to invite media beforehand just before elections( just like godhra muslim congress counselor burnt train for conspiracy for political gain) and then rake up a pub and pink chaddi campaign against bjp nationwide even if false only for votes of minorities and stupid macaulayed youth who are beyond knowledge ana analysis.

The problem is people like u who do not see gehlot making the same statement and tasleema being banished and media keeping quiet because they are on congress payroll.God save india from such people.

h or no h,despite congress misrule, the minority vote is energized only by communal feelings like modi,varun,godhra,hindutva even if bjp never brings up this thing,media does to help congress get the 15% to 20 % growing minority vote which votes and hence can be as high as 30 %,sufficent to win in most of india's seats.do the math guys and see how easy it is for congress to win thanks to their own created system.

Any wonder mms brazenly speaks of first claim and losing sleep over terrorists and batla encounter knowing hindus vote will not be crucial and most of them are idiots like the ones discussing h here.

h or no h bjp will lose because media-congress gang will consolidate 30 % minority turnout vote before elections even if bjp talks and does development,it is disadvantageous to congress-media to discuss their lack of it for 60 yrs,so 24-7 varun,godhra,ramsene modi as pm etc which is to play to minority gallery come out and vote for congress or bjp will win.

Anonymous said...

i cant beleive the unaware and gullible comments here.someone said bjp did not campaign on recession.The el media for heavens sake blanked
out any issue which would help bjp.Modi was screaming votebank vs development but the idiots here only rely on ndtv-ibn-toi-ht,ie,hindu,outlook all bjp haters.

I herad modi an d advani speeches on u tube at their meetings,they were talking development,girl child,economy. ironically they have ladli yojna schmee at national level after implementing it at mp and gujarat.And yet they are made to appear sa being against women even if they have women leaders.

modi made a speech years ago at cho's function on utube where he said that he was so aghast by the anti-girl statistics on day 1 of his cmship that he started work and now things have changed.

What did mms and sonia campaign communalism and secularism and the idiots here are analyzing
about bjp and giving it advice including sworn enmeies of the bjp like media and minorities.

guys go and watch cricket and movies.that is what indians are good for.they dont even see the math which the congress media knows well,get the 30 % minority turnout vote and some middle class pseudo idiots who get swayed by media lies by raising hindutva bogey even if bjp is talking only about development.

media hence did 24-7 muthalik linking him to bjp even if ramsene was fighting bjp in elections.So how much does congress pay muthalik and media from its loot to fool the idiot voters who live in india. most can be bought in corrupt india and congress is the master at this.

pink chaddi was 24-7 on ndtv ibn toi etc and
nishi susan whose idea it was is from tehelka
who alwayhs has a anti-bjp stunt before elctions.

people shud have knowledge memory and analytical skills before commenting.I am amazed at the gullibility of hindus,being cowards and poor is not enough it seems.Learn from the minorities who are so communal and make no bones about it and the hindus are lecturing each other about secularism and so called h as if bjp can win if hindu vote is divided and minorities will not vote for it and show up as 30 % in votes cast.

Anonymous said...

see how devious media uses swapans article and tom toms it to bash bjp and see the selected headline.modern india abhors bjp values.Fact is Bjp has modern SINCERE PEOPLE who care about the nation,modi and chauhan and raman singh are all bjp and so are jaitley and naidu and swaraj and they dont come across like fundoos despite media propaganda.



With friends like swapan bjp does not need enemies,he is being coopted na the media ironically makes sure to call him a bjp idealogue when they are rabid bjp haters and congress sycophants but pose as neutral.

And the first articel we got from swapan was congratulating congress while the media would blame bjp for communalizing the middle class or india if bjp had won.

hidnus will always be namby pamby when it comes to asserting themselves against slavery which is what congress islamic proxy oh so sceular rule is and english media are being paid by worldwide
islamic and christian boies.that is why only in india the media is against the opposition while in most countries media fights the government,the indian el media campaigned for the government and against opposition.ONly in india because only india has this stupid species
called hindus who love being self hating dhimmis and selling out like the corrupt jaichand english media .So whats new?tis is the story of india till islam takes over in 50 yrs.

even goats know they will be killed but not hindus.they will be too busy grand standing and lecturing each other about secularism and bad hindutva values like swapan ol does below.Yeah we have great congress values jai ho slum dog and jai ho corruption and water scarcity and poverty after 60 yrs with india being # 1 in swiss bank deposits.BJP was speaking about swiss bank deposits for development yes that is a very bad value just like modi's stellar devlopment and we have swapan playing into el media's hands
with articles like these isntead of writing an investigative article on evms to let us know whether they are tamper proof and why did the upa staes escape the anti-incumbency effect.

http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.aspx?ddm=10&pid=1869&eid=5

swapan has to make up his mind whether he plans to sell out the bjp for the devious anti-bjp media attention on tv and olook etc.In that case he is atrojan horse

Anonymous said...

bjp did not lose because of hindutva or would have won because of it.It lost because of islamitva and missionaritva and marxitva and english mediatva.The first two account for 30 % of the cast vote TACTICALLY CAST AGAINST TTHE BJP. enough to win in most seats Prannoy roy and others are laughing their way to the bank.

No one wrote about the 400 crore bailout to media by congress.despite posting losses for years,ndtv stcockprice has risen two fold that puts hundreds of crores in ndtv roy's pocket

modi demolished hindu temples for development.Yet media will call him hindutvaite.


hindutva has nothing to do with it.mms won because of mmmmms.

mullah-missionary-marxist-media-macaulayite
though the communal hatred of the first muslim votebank against bjp is enough about 30 % vote cast.the media's job is to deliver this vote by raising communal secular issues and hiding bjp issues like swiss bank,missing 50000 core cag,recession,inflation which would hurt congress
even if bjp was raising them.

Instead they gave us varun,godhra 2002,modi as pm
,pink chaddi,linking ramsene to bjp all falsehood just to energize congenitally anti bjp muslim vote.

congress can keep winning without doing anything except 60 yr loot and juth.

It helps to have gullibles in this country who are blaming hindutva whatever that means.the votingmath is against bjp because muslim pop is growing.No wonder congress encorage sbangladeshis.

Anonymous said...

cant beleive that people think rsene are part of bjp and lk can control them. rsene was contesting against bjp in knataka elections.the media is intentionally hiding facts to campaign for congress and consolidate vote against bjp.ndtv ran a pink chaddi rseene camapign 24-7 and it swayed gullibles like 6-4 anonymous 6-12.no wonder media is gloating over the success of its campaign .elmedia is owned by congress.Even emergency media was better,they were atleast afraid,here the media is doing it for personal profit and bribes like their vested interests against hindus due to islamic and christain funding.

the elmedia is controlling the agenda by swaying people like swapan to write articles like these which are then spread around,articles that they themselves write a dime a dozen but hahving a so called bjp idealogue write them furthers their agenda even better.

Sanjay said...

Swapanda,

BJP’s Media management badly needs overhauling. Just look at the people representing BJP in prime time televised debates. Yesterday night we had a criminal lawyer (Mahesh Jethmalani) debating on diplomacy and foreign policy, he may be a forceful and articulate speaker, but not an expert on foreign relations? It reminded me of the days not far back when on TV, celebrities like Mahesh Bhatt, Shobha De, Simi Garewal and the ilks discussed just about everything under the sun from Genetically modified seeds to Nuclear disarmament in Queen’s English. No wonder the moderator is everytime perceived as biased against BJP.

If that is the standard BJP wishes to set, then having a couple of former Miss-Indias as official spokesperson for the party will not be a bad idea afterall, at least the moderator would be biased towards BJP then.

Anonymous said...

12 Anonymous are for ideology, 6 against. One anonymous does not like comment by other anonymous but does not know how to argue because he will be arguing against anonymous. Anonymous knows all supports all says all keeps all happy so all are unhappy

Anonymous said...

Swapanda, I think you have fallen hook, line and sinker for the line that is taken in the TV studios. You seem to indicate that "assertive Hindutva marked by hate speeches and moral policing" is what the BJP represents. It is true that a large part of the new generation of voters believe so, having been fed this line day in and day out for last five years. Have you ever thought for a minute why they do not believe that Congress's support for madarsaas in UP, because of which an entire generation of Muslim girls are being robbed of their education, is regressive and repulsive? The answer, as I am sure you know, is : because no one in the media talks about it.

It is not my case that the BJP should embrace its loony fringe and bring it to the forefront, in fact it would be best to make sure that violence and hate speech is totally rejected and condemned by the party. Nevertheless, many, including you, seem to be under the illusion that the media will give a speck of a fair deal to the party if the BJP does manage to shed its loony fringe. Please do not forget that this media did not ask a single question to the government after the cash-for-vote scandal and made the BJP the primary villain of the whole episode, and the above is just one example.

To succeed the BJP has to reflect a modern and tolerant right of the center outlook, without apologizing for its core beliefs. It also has to contend with an ever hostile media, and needs to deal with it in an extremely shrewd manner (including bypassing the TV channels that consistently give it a raw deal). Until the BJP can develop the spine to communicate directly with the people and call out the bias of these journalists, hence damaging their credibility with the people, it will continue to be second best.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Swapan is just echoing the line taken by BJP opponents like Ramchandra Guha, who flourish in TV debates. In loss, you beliefs do get shaken. If you take advice from your opponents on what to do, you are doomed (not too long ago, Vir Sangvi was advising the BJP that Murli Manohar Joshi would be ideal leader of opposition!).

I am not proposing that BJP make fanatical Hindutva its face. It has its core beliefs, but it needs to articulate it better and smarter. And no, anti-minority fanaticism is not BJP's core belief; a strong nationalist outlook where Hindus do not have to apologize for their existence IS. The BJP needs to find the right messenger (like it found Vajpayee) and the right message (like it found after Pokhran and Kargil) to succeed. If it pretends to be what it is not, it will not go too far.

Swabhimaan said...

Especially for Anonymous who has a big trouble with Varun Gandhi..ok what he said was harsh...but there was a context that was lost in the noise.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/164149/Varun-was-harsh-but-so-is-truth.html

The BJP did not do a good job either ...either it didn't know about this problem or it gave in to pressures of the 'secular media' and the 'secular opposition'. Why were the reasons never brought up by any spokesperson? You have Kapil Sabil praising M.F Hussein and Arun Jaitley can't counter him and bring out the truth..Why is the BJP feeling guilty? Why is it not being firm? It is totally confused and is not able to defend itself..Sure when there are incidents of the Shri Ram Sene types I don't want it to say things like 'such things happen because there are pubs'. The BJP has to strike a balance, draw a line. Be firm when you know you are not wrong even if it is unpalatable for the media and the opposition. How many Hindus know about Pilibhit? Also be firm against the lunatics whichever Sena they belong to.

Had the BJP talked about the situation in Pilibhit I wouldn't have been hearing people saying Varun was wrong..Maneka was wrong in supporting him and the BJP was also wrong. Speak out the truth! Why can't you? If this results in polarisation...let it be. Who is gaining at the expense of BJP's confusion? Clearly it is the opposition.

BJP_supporter said...

There were several anonymous comments (possibly the same person) lauding the American clarity on Secularism and several other 'modern' things. The same comments chided the Hindoo for his inability to grasp such things.

Well, this must have got the attention of atleast one of the several millions of Hindoo Gods, for they send this our way -

President Obama speech quote (link http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124409999530984503.html - this is a keeper)

"I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear," he said to repeated applause in the ornate-domed Great Hall. "But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. "
-x-x end quote -x-x

If you are so washed up, you might read this several times over and over and not get anywhere. So a bit of explaining might be needed.

This is an equation Obama is trying to set between America and Islam.

America is a Nation. Islam is a religion.

For this equation to make sense, America needs to represent a religion. We know it does not. Hence Islam needs to represent a Nation. Which for many people it exactly does between Indonesia to India to Egypt.

Go figure.

Oldtimer said...

Let's look at the CPIM. An extreme leftwing party conisting of creepy old stalinists and Christian/Islamic fundamentalists who find in Marxism a 'secualr' cover for Hindu-baiting. Yet, the CPIM never shied way from showing
its true colors. For living up to its fanatical ideology, the party got a drubbing at the hustings at long last.

Can BJP's defeat be attributed to borrowing some elements of that ideology?

Take for instance the nucelar deal. The BJP's opposition to it was virtually indistinguishable from CPIM's. Note that CPIM separated from the Congress because of the deal, and went on to lose the elections. How can we not assume that the same revulsion shown to the CPIM for opposing the deal (to the extent of attempting to bring the government down) reflected on the BJP as well?

Take the farmer suicide hungama. Using communist newspapers, Sainath and co built up this pernicious propaganda that the economic liberalization of the 90's and globalization of this decade resulted in farmer suicides. BJP took up the same cause, and prattled on and on about farmer suicides. Did it do well at least in places where the suicides are claimed to have happened? No!

So here's the irony. Leftwing nutjobs are accusing the BJP of being an extreme rightwing party. But the BJP campaigned on the same platform as leftwing extremists!!

Indian Nationalist said...

The one thing which has skipped everyones mind including our so called intellectual genius who very recently has found the fine benefits of secularism that there could have been a possibility of foreign collaborated (Read CIA and MI5) Election voting machine Rigging in over 300 seats.

Who knows BJP should have got 200 seats but was not allowed to do so by US/UK?.

Then people like Swapan DasGupta would not had the license to blame Hindutva for it.

How is that the AIADMK, the communists, Laloo Prasad, BJP, BSP, Mulayam, SAD, Ramvilas paswan and others who were AGAINST the congress heavily and those who internally collaborated with the Congress namely Naveen patnaik Won so handsomely contrary to Congress's own favorable opinion polls?.

zoomindianmedia said...

Mr. Oldtimer

BJP paid the price for deploying neandral communist sudheendra kulkarni and using his communist strategems like doublespeak.

I have an elaborate set of analyses
http://zoomindianmedia.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/election-2009-analysis

It will be revealing.

doubtinggaurav said...

Just to set record straight on secularism, contrary to what few anons are implying secularism is a big issue neither in UK nor US.

As far as UK is concerned its head of state is also head of church which violates even the most basic definition of secularism.

Coming to US even though it has establishment clause, it remains the most religious western nation which is well evident in its polity, many of the contentious issues (eg Evolution, Abortion) are more or less religious in nature.

I don't wish to be rude but seriously anons who are lecturing BJP on secularism should quit smoking whatever they are. I will be frank, I would like nothing better than to see idiots like Varun Gandhi and Pramod Muthalik driven out of broader Hindutva movement*.

However I hold no delusion that this will somehow make BJP secular (and by extension respectable) in eyes of our secular liberal establishment,for the simple reason these idiots are hardly the primary reasons BJP is termed anti-Secular.

Those reasons include abrogating article 370 and uniform Civil Code. Now one can make an argument that these issues are counterproductive as far as elections are concerned, but to argue for eschewing these issues in name of Secularism is bizarre, not to say a little perverted.

Which is why I propose that other commentators stop taking these secular anons seriously.

Personally I am of opinion that secularism is just a euphemism for dhimmitude, intended to mask over our intellectual indolence and spiritual cowardice.

* This has precedence when William F Buckley and Barry Goldwater cast out John Birch society from the mainstream American conservative movement.

Anonymous said...

zoomindianmedia, please do not clutter this blogspace by advertising yours.

karthik said...

http://www.rediff.com/election/slide-show/2009/jun/05/slide-show-1-why-the-bjp-lost-elections-2009.htm

I urge everybody to go thru this article.Even BJP would do well to retrospect by reading this..

Anonymous said...

Swapanda,

In these times of recession, a lot of industries need government bailout not just media. India being a poor country, first priority must be given to those industries which employ a lot of unskilled and semi skilled labour, and ones these industries are bailed out and govt can still afford only then those industries which support the relatively well off section of the society like media should be bailed out. BJP must question govt in parliament as to the procedure by which Rs. 400 crore was sanctioned as bailout package for media.

Anonymous said...

All this debate is useless.
There is a 2 day old news item about a Hindu "Mahant hacked to death in Orissa" tucked
away in corners of newspapers. Nobody would have read it, nobody will discuss it.

All BJP needs to do to win next time is have it's own media which can highlight such issues.
Hindutva is not wrong, the way it is projected by media is.

karthik said...

I dont know why my ealrier comment wasnt allowed..Was it inadvertent?

Anonymous said...

i have lost alll respect for swapan after this article.Usually el congress media write such articles depending on results,if bjp wins it does so because it has communalized electorate or fear factor,if it loses it it is because of hindutva.

So yeah,it won knataka,gujarat,chattisgarh,mp,jharkand,himachal,
and bihar and decent perf in maharashtra despite raj t because of hindutva and it lost in uttarakhand and rajasthan because of hindutva.great.

media people are pushing their anti h agenda
as usual whther bjp loses or wins and swapan
is helping them for being invited to tv shows and write articles on their pages for his own interest.

ironically the devious media make sure his bjp
affiliations are screamed about,while they hide their own congress and anti bjp t shirts.

M. Patil said...

BJP_Supporter said

"I am not that knowledgeable about things American. I would rather restrict to the issues within my country."


June 4, 2009 7:38 PM

Here is some info about Secularism in U.S.

Acoording to First Amendment

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


This means there is institutional separation of Church and state. And this does not preclude presidents taking oath on the Bible. Nor, did this preclude Presidential Candidate Barak Obama from speaking to members of Churches like a Biblical Prophet. In fact Pastor Rick Warren, who is Christian Evangelist (fundamentalist) gave invocation during the Obama inauguration.
And Reverend Billy Graham had been giving invocations for decades and his Church is the source of funding for the Nagaland Church. It is more appropriate to say that Nagaland Church is a subsidiary of Baptist Church of U.S. It is interesting to note that according to this Reverend Hindus are pagans and are destined to Hell.
In the U.S., all donations to the Church are tax exempt, and the govt has no control over this money unlike in India. More over former President George W Bush signed ‘Faith based initiative’, according to which U.S. govt funds religious groups blurring the strict separation of Church and the State. During the reign of Bush 43, almost all the money (according to frontline of PBS nearly 99%) for this faith based initiative went to Christian groups. The rest went to interfaith groups.
In other words Christianity is held in high esteem in the U.S and A. No one here brings up slavery and genocide of the Native Americans at the drop of a hat. Even though Southern segregationists made theological justifications for Slavery based on the Bible.

Anonymous said...

see desi english mafia disguised as media conclusions,all pushing their own agenda and advising bjp as if enemies' advice shuld be heeded.

1.sardesai says people hated muthalik and dont care about terror and pushing 26-11 issue.(muthalik was falsely linked to bjp by the same media 24-7 with tehelka's pink chaddi stunt joining in as usual with some tape stunt before elections and now they blame bjp,heads they win tails they win) theese guys must have bribed muthalik for that mangalore pub stunt with cameras waiting.indian bollywood-cricket drugged unaware short memoried gullibles fall for anything

2. wife sagarika ghose says voting congress is voting for nation

3. barkha says modi appeal only in gujarat but never said that sonia-rahul have no appeal in states they lost even after campaigning eg kntaka,gujarat,mp,chattisgarh,himachal,bihar,jharkand and winniing wb and kerala due to vote against left and up due to tactical muslim vote against bjp. yet dynasty has appela and modi has no appeal ouside gujarat even if actual dta shows that many constutuencies in knataka voetd for bjp in may assembly elections after modi campaigned and many in recent elections did just that after modi campaigned.

guys instead of falling for media-mafia fake hind analysis trap against bjp and hindu assertion against conversion and jihadi threat,please think.out of 28 % congress vote 20-25 % was minority vote.The rest was CORRUPT BABUS WITH SWISS BANK MONEY and people wh has stake in congress win like media and ofcourse some idiots who believe that muthalik is bjp thanks to media 24-7 false fraud congress paid propaganda to make minorities come out to vote against bjp and sway some pub culture ignorant middleclass youth.muthalik rsene contested against bjp and there are rumors that he has links with congress and media and the entire mangalore pub deal was staged like earlier tehelka stunts.

amazing no one questions this.everyone forgets the steps congress toook for power.use governors in jharkand,bihar goa.install cec and prez for 2009,abuse cbi for bsp and sp support in parliament.22 july cash for vote which media hid while playing varun tape 24-7. an all this recently not counting emergency,1984 nt rama rao
coup etc etc in 60 yrs.

so why cant muthalik be bribed and evms tampered anyone.ane we are discussing hindutva when islamitva is repsonsible for congress win.no wonder teesta can keep filing petitions in sc which appointed nanavti and now sit till modi hanged.

these desi english mafia disguised as media are unadulterated evil which is a combination of arrogance due to congress bribing and backing and worldwide muslim christian agenda against assertive non appeasing hindu leaders eg modi and bjp against muslims first and pro conversion
congress policies.

no wonder ndtv vir sanghvi area against patriots modi and admiral mehta after 26-11

Harsh said...

Hindutva needs a reinterpretation: from an hardline approach characterised by moral policing and aggressive mobilization to a strategic approach in which strategic interests of the Hindu community are safeguarded. In the former the focus is on a golden past but in reality its a harkening to the customs and institutions of the 18th century. In the latter the focus is on the future and the welcoming or at least tolerance of changes in lifestyles and social mores because in the strategic sense they do not really matter. What really matters is that strategic interests of the Hindu community vis a vis other communities are safeguarded. This means ensuring that temples don't get nationalized with their coffers in government hands and that Hindu sects don't suffer from government control so much so that established sampradayas have had to go to court to declare themselves as minorities. In its current form Hindutva is only about rabble rousing, empty sloganeering, moral policing and grandstanding. It also means that the new Hindutva should focus more on execution and results so that shouting and violent brigade is not allowed to hijack community interests.

For example, the Church in Kandhamal may be using unfair means to usurp tribal land but the problem is that the RSS personnel have not brought a single case to light. All we have are vague rumours. Had things been the other way round you could have been sure that the church would have launched a painstaking investigation and minutely detailed every single family that had gained benefits illegally or every person who had been involved in fradulent conversion. Instead what the Hindutva brigade did was engage in riots and punish innocent people that revolted even their supporters. What was the result of that tamasha? Has a single family been identified that has illegally usurped land? has a single eviction notice been served?

Or take another example. The bangladeshi infiltration issue is a serious one. But even in BJP ruled states there is not even the slightest interest to round up such people and put them for deportation after a due process of law. The US does it routinely. Yes the volume of illegal infiltrators in the US is much higher but still the ajuthorities manage to deport an appreciable number of illegal annually. What is the record of India under the NDA years or of the BJP governments whose leaders talk about infiltration and raise up riots but do nothing in actuality to identify and deport such illegals?

We do not need this kind of Hindutva which in actuality is not an ideology but just an attitude. This attitude has nothing to do with glorifying Hinduism or protecting the interests of the Hindu community in a substantive sense. Instead its based on a visceral hatred of all that is different from its idealized 18th century vision and its actions are nothing but expressions of frustration. After every agitation or riot the Hindutva brigade looks smugly at the devastation and says to itself "We taught them a lesson". Perhaps you did but the reality is that the rest of us have to pick up the pieces and the real issues that were involved are swept away in the outcry that followed.

We do not need this Hindutva. The sooner it goes the better it is.

Pranav said...

Swapan, you need to make your definitions clear. What is Hindutva? You had written a blog post entitled "Pumpkin Republic" (http://www.swapan55.com/2009/05/pumpkin-republic.html). Are you repudiating that as a part of your current disavowal of Hindutva.

Swabhimaan said...

I agree with Harsh completely. The Sangh should let the BJP take up these issues. I don't know how they can ne convinced..but there has to be a beginning. Let BJP take up this initiative, convince the Sangh that it won't give up Hindutva and ask the other Sangh bodies to co-operate. Why can't they work together for their common goal? It will benefit all of them. I am sure the media war against the Sangh and the BJP will have no effect when the 'aam aadmi' is convinced'. His sympathies will lie with the Sangh and not the media then. Hindutva
(inclusive of development) can win!

senthil said...

Regarding the secularism of the USA, it is highly exposed during the recent presidential election..

They have proved, that only a christian is going to be elected to the top post, and only those who go to churches has the means to contest..

Anonymous said...

Swapan by writing this article u have done great damage to BJP than this defeat. U'll realize it after some years. This defeat was expected, it may have surprised limelight hungry (specially electronic media) people like u but for zameeni worker like me it doesn't come as a surprise. I wonder why r u behaving like this,there is no need to press panic button. All it needs to recover from this defeat is: impeccable credibility, impressible leadership, ideological clarity and apologetic attitude on Hindutva matters, aggressiveness in the parliament and while dealing with sickular media specially electronic. Hindutva is the way to go but before going on this path you need to show credibility, sincerity and there must be strong right-wing media. U can reject the demand of strong right-wing media (I also used to reject it out rightly) but later I also begun to fell it importance. I hope you will also change your thinking regarding this.

Coming back to the reason of defeat and Hindutva I would like to say you are not understanding the magnitude and impact of this defeat. This defeat is a conclusive death of BJP and I see no hope of it recovering from it. Unless it follows my above mentioned points. But since it doesn't have that kind of leaders who can pull it off from the mess it's in I see no hope. Worse it's surrounded by advisers like you who are pushing the party into deeper abyss. I want to write more on this but time is coming on my way so will do that later.

Just one line for you in the end : you are out of your mind, take a break. Don't react under peer group pressure. We understand as a "socialite" their are lot of pressure on you. For e.g. : fear of exclusion from liberal dominated socialite circles, parties etc. But still these reasons doesn't justify your Hindutva denouncement for personal satisfaction. And ya one last question: Why don't you held Advani and Jaitley responsible for this defeat ? Why are these people not come under scrutiny from you ? Why you jumped on the conclusion so easily and early that ideology (Hindutva) is the reason behind this defeat and it's an impediment for the BJP ? You didn't explain us why BJP was wining assembly polls if people "abhors" Hindutva and BJP so much ? We want answers of these questions Mr. Swapan da. Stop concealing truth and shielding your friend. We are grown up kinds!

Kumar said...

"We understand as a "socialite" their are lot of pressure on you. For e.g. : fear of exclusion from liberal dominated socialite circles, parties etc. But still these reasons doesn't justify your Hindutva denouncement for personal satisfaction. And ya one last question: Why don't you held Advani and Jaitley responsible for this defeat ? Why are these people not come under scrutiny from you ? Why you jumped on the conclusion so easily and early that ideology (Hindutva) is the reason behind this defeat and it's an impediment for the BJP ? You didn't explain us why BJP was wining assembly polls if people "abhors" Hindutva and BJP so much ? We want answers of these questions Mr. Swapan da. Stop concealing truth and shielding your friend. We are grown up kinds!"

I agree, makes lot of sense!!!

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