Sanjay Varun Modi
In a pluralist democracy, as for instance in Germany and the UK, there is space for Rightwing political parties. But there is no space for a Rightwing party which is also xenophobic, racist, sexist, women-hater, preaching and practising hate politics and open/secret violence like the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazis. That is precisely why the BJP defending Varun Gandhi's hate speech becomes an abject aberration, against civilised public discourse, social and political norms and normative rules of protocol and human conduct in an era of modernity. It is all the more shocking when even a professional lawyer like Arun Jaitley actually stands up to defend Varun Gandhi, as do the BJP president and a failed, mediocre journalist trained in floating a pack of morbid lies like divine truth.
There is no reason why the BJP should go against basic human decency to accept a candidate who has called for mass violence against an entire community, who has made fun and used derogatory references against another community, and who has instigated mass hysteria to create communal polarisations and potential public violence. By no stretch of imagination does this seem either logical or rational, and only the most viciously xenophobic outfit will patronise and propagate such a barbarian, vulgar philosophy. This doesn't jell with the political conscience of a party which has been in the ruling regime of such a vast, pluralist country with huge demographic, ethnic diversity, and which still wants to rule it again, in a representative, secular democracy with global stakes and a big population of the educated young without the trappings of any form of fundamentalism.
So what will Varun Gandhi do with the 14 per cent population of Muslims (and Sikhs, Christians, neo-Buddhists, Parsis, Jains, dalits, adivasis) in India, and the Muslim population all over the world, including in Indonesia, Malyasia, the subcontinent and the Middle East? Will he chop off their hands and declare a collective unilateral death sentence? Will he ban all foreign policy initiatives with Muslim countries or those with Muslim populations? So what will he and his party do with the middle name of the first black president of the US?
By backing him, the BJP leadership is making yet another 'historic blunder' which Atal Bihari Vajpayee did by not removing Narendra Modi and initiating action against known BJP-VHP-Bajrang Dal functionaries and police officers in what was clearly a State-sponsored genocide in Gujarat, 2002. By which ethical, religious or social principle can they defend the bloodbath in Gujarat, as, in the same way, the Godhra train killings are unacceptable in any civilised society? As the SIT investigations under the apex court's orders are proving, even as Sangh Parivar luminaries like minister Maya Kodnani and Jaideep Patel (with blood on their hands) are in the dock, a muscle-flexing dictator like Narendra Modi is clearly seen as accomplice and mastermind. Indeed, even top Gujarat cops, Modi loyalists, who were reportedly accomplices in the massacre, as in Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya, are being cornered by the SIT with irrefutable evidence. So does it make sense to pump their chests and say that Modi is the best thing ever to have happened to the BJP?
A responsible political party cannot condone mob hysteria and mass murder, and then bank on the tacit or overt electoral support it will trigger. There might be sections of people who are obsessively Muslim haters, but a responsible party cannot pander to the mindless hysteria of this blood-thirsty section, or pamper them through moral 'appeasement'. For instance, there are MCPs and women-haters in all societies. Can their perverse arguments against women be given legitimacy for vote-bank politics? It's exactly like the syndrome of neo-Nazis glorifying the holocaust or the Al Qaeda and Taliban justifying the massacre of innocents all over the world.
And what's the big deal with an upstart like Varun with no public record of social work, political vision or intellectual insight. Obviously, his mother's obsession with animal rights has nothing to do with human rights, especially that of the minorities (so, in this Animal Farm, what's the colour of blood, ma'am?). Indeed, only a Ku Klux Klan party like the Shiv Sena can support the universally hated forced sterilisation campaign of Sanjay Gandhi.
Besides, what is Sanjay Gandhi's notorious legacy? The BJP and RSS know it too well, especially LK Advani: the Emergency, midnight knocks, mass arrests and police brutality, censorship and clampdown on dissent, while Sanjay Gandhi's goons went berserk and ran amok. No wonder his foul-mouthed son has inherited his grand legacy.
Meanwhile, the Congress fielding Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler, widely accused as catalysts in the State-sponsored mass murder of Sikhs in November 1984 in Delhi, is like the flip side of the BJP coin. And, to think that the prime minister had apologised to the nation forthe massacre.
So what does this mean for a secular democracy with aspirations to be a superpower in the global arena? Hope? Or abject despair? And, the infinite abyss of stunning shame.
So what will Varun Gandhi and his party do with the middle name of the first black president of the USA?