The Advani Ratha Yatra and the two attack dogs of the Congress Party

published on October 15, 2011

Dr. Vijaya Rajiva

One bright day the 85 year old L.K.Advani of the BJP  started out on what would be his 6th Ratha Yatra. The excitement not only in the BJP ranks but in the general public was palpable. As Swapan Das Gupta put it : the carnival atmosphere of Indian politics is somewhat different from the Western style of politics. Indians of whatever religion or caste or creed are enthused by the  celebratory nature of the Indian/Hindu psyche. At the same time, as  Gurumurthy of Swadeshi Jagran Manch  also once said : This land was built out of tapas. Here, tapas signfies effort and devotion to the well being of the country.

Combining the two has been the distinct achievement of the subcontinent whose culture has survived several millennia and will no doubt continue to do so for the next several millennia, unless humankind decides to blow itself up one fine day. The Advani Yatra combined both aspects, the colourful celebratory aspects of Indian society and the sombre critique of corruption.

Needless to say, this  aspect of the Ratha Yatra worries the Congress Party. More skeletons will tumble out of the their closet and that too ones from the highest echelons. The ignoble Rajput and the Clown have gone all out to attack Advani. This is politics as usual and Digvijay Singh makes no attempt to hide this. His crude pronouncements against Advani such as Advani’s so called ‘communalism’ are clearly  intended to woo the minority vote bank. The Clown who fancies himself a latter day Bhishma is Mani Shankar Iyer. He gets a laugh or two from some audiences and he projects himself as a non partisan commentator on the political scene. And yet he is far from being non partisan.

He is even more of a mindless votary than Digvijay Singh of the Congress Party’s Nehru-Gandhi wing. Both men are now assiduously promoting Sonia Gandhi’s son, and doing this by attacking L.K. Advani. Mani Shankar called  Advani a fraud, a street politician, and sundry other names, too crude to be repeated here( in an NDTV program called Politically Incorrect).

Mani Shankar is more intelligent than the ignoble Rajput and has a superficial air of refinement. And he  is familiar with the English language. But both have in common the methods of gutter politics and both are afraid of their Hindu identity. The ignoble Rajput does this because of his wooing of the minority vote, Mani Shankar does it because he has shed his Hindu identity to stay in the good books of the eminence grise of the Congress Party.

His embarrassing attack on Advani during the NDTV program (Politically Incorrect) was correctly described as gutter politics by Swapan Das Gupta during the same program. One cannot even describe it as an ad hominem attack. It was simpy ‘gutter politics’. It was an astonishing, frenzied personal attack on Advani.

During the program Mani Shankar shamelessly  presented a  caricature of Advani  to  the by and large young audience who are not familiar with this patriot’s building of India’s first and only serious opposition party and is considered even by his enemies to be above corruption. Who better than L.K.Advani to lead the anti Corruption movement ?

What then is Mani Shankar afraid of ? He clearly recognizes that his Party is upto its neck in corruption but he has been deputed to be an attack dog by his Party. He does this without batting an eyelid because he claims to be a Hindu but does not understand the Hindu ethos in the way that his hero the late Jawaharlal Nehru did not understand it. Generations of Congress men and women have been nurtured in this vacuum. The story of Jawaharlal’s alienation from his Hindu heritage is a chapter in itself, but to return to Mani Shankar. He referred to himself as being more Hindu than Advani in exactly the same way that Renuka Chowdhary (the Congress spokeswoman)  claims to be a Hindu and falls flat on her face when she tries to say the word Ram. Oh she would not, never put a ballot in the ballot box with the name Ram she said in a recent television program. She stuttered over the name Ram. So much for the Congress Hindu ! She could not even bring herself to say the word Ram.

The Ratha Yatra today is about the single issue of Corruption in the government. This tawdry aspect of Congress politics needs to be exposed relentlessly and Indians must be encouraged in  the building of the country through the larger dimension of tapas. Tapas signifies effort and devotion to the well being of the country. This is a forward looking Ratha Yatra and an authentic one. Both the ignoble Rajput and Mani Shankar Iyer fear just that.

(The writer is a Political Philosopher who taught at a Canadian university)

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