Communalism Repository | March 10, 2005

Masks Unlimited
Vajpayee, Babri Demolition and Gujarat Riots

by Ram Puniyani

Vajpayee had been one of the Unique Selling Points of BJP till the
last elections. It was around his moderate image that it could get
other parties like Samata, JDU and the like to become the part of a
coalition with a party, which till 1996 was untouchable for its overt
communal orientation and its role in Babri demolition. After BJP took
to the Rath Yatra for Ram temple Vajpayee was not in the forefront and
gave the impression as if he is not in total agreement with the
'politics of hate' generated around the temple movement. Just prior to
this he had authored 'Gandhian Socialism' as the credo of his party,
BJP. He did project his moderate image and it was also groomed with
care. Many of his politically moderate statements were used by the
media and also by other sections to project him as one of the Best
Prime Ministers India ever had. His 'poetic nature' and ability to
shed tears in the aftermath of Babri demolition became legendary and
served as the pivot around which many a gullible citizens pinned the
hope for future of India around him. He also became the mascot of
Shining India campaign.

Its not that all believed in this picture which was deliberately built
by his careful stance and the support of the helpful section of media.
There were those who felt that he is merely play-acting as a moderate
while his commitment to Hindu Rashtra i.e. the agenda of demolition of
Indian democracy, is second to none. Amongst those who knew this were
also from amongst his fellow swaymsevaks, the RSS volunteers. And one
of them could not withhold his assessment of this man and called him
as the mask of RSS, of Hindutva politics. This swayamsevak had to pay
the price for speaking the truth and he is cooling his heels outside
the corridors of electoral politics, out of the possibility of the
seats of power. His name is not difficult to guess, the well-known RSS
ideologue, Govindacharya. One really does not know why Gobvindacharya
decided to make public his assessment of Vajapayee and in turn to
invite his wrath. So be it. As the adage goes you cannot fool all the
people all the time so is the parallel understanding that the truth
will triumph and the hidden agendas and goals cannot remain hidden
beyond a point. And that's what happened occasionally during the rule
of BJP led NDA coalition, and that's what came out last week
(March-Feb 2005) when two unrelated things tore off the last
(hopefully) mask from the face of the ex-prime minister Mr. Vajpayee.

In one of the video CDs he is seen expressing his glee and feelings
about the impending Kar Seva of 6th Dec. i.e. the plan of Babri
demolition. It can not be dismissed as being in the lighters vein, he
proclaims that he does not know what will happen tomorrow and also
that he has been instructed not to go to Ayodhya. His body language in
the video is that of a diehard politician who is assertive and seems
to be part of the conspiracy but his role seems to have been to take
care of the fallout rather than being at the site of destruction. One
recalls that it is the same person who shed tears on the razing of the
mosque. Later he went on to say that this is what happens when the
sentiments of majority are not respected by the state. He also bounced
back and demanded the particular type of treatment for Advani and
other demolishers. For some time the rumor was also making rounds that
he is planning to leave the party to float some other outfit.
Brilliant performance!

In one of the interviews to a Malayalam magazine, Manav Samskriti,
Ex-President K.R.Narayanan points out that there was a conspiracy
between the Gujarat Govt. and the central Govt. headed by Vajpayee.
Despite Narayanan's repeated requests through personal communications
Vajpayee stood his ground to let the butchery go on in Gujarat as
planned by another member of his parivar, Narendra Modi. Around this
time he also did call that this Gujarat carnage was a shame for the
Nation, he also stated that what face would he show abroad where he
was due to visit shortly. But surprisingly while at that time he could
have dismissed Modi, instead he just gave a mild rebuke to Modi that
Rajdharma (Kings moral duty) should be followed. Again this was said
in round about way. Interestingly in a convention of the party around
that time he did go on to state that wherever there are Muslim there
is trouble and also hinted that Gujarat carnage was a revenge of the
train burning by Muslims! He postponed his trip to Gujarat during the
carnage on the plea that he was going by the advice of his security
people! Brilliant again!

On the parallel track one sees that around that time there were many
an attacks on Christian missionaries on the ground that they are
converting the gullible Adivasis. On a trip to Gujarat, rather than
assuaging the feelings of the missionaries who were battered he went
on to demand a National debate on the conversions!

In a way it was just the logical extension of his politics right from
the time he started his career in the RSS, in early forties. It was
the time when youth of the country were full of the sentiments of
Indian ness. He came up with his poem Hindu jivan hindu Tan man,
(Hindu life, Hindu body and soul), much acclaimed in the RSS shakhas.
At that time youth of the country was participating in the freedom
movement, boycotting the schools and colleges. Due to closure of his
college he returned to his village Bateshwar where the village youth
participated in the Quit India movement and went and broke the forest
law as a symbol of that. Vajpayee was an onlooker along with his
brother, and was arrested. Soon after his arrest he gave a
confessional statement to get released, " I along with my brother
followed the crowd, I did not cause any damage. I did not render any
assistance in demolishing the government buildings" (From facsimile of
the confession letter). But in order to garner the support for
himself, especially from NRI's, he circulated an article on the net
claiming that he had participated in the freedom struggle! "I also
participated in the Quit India movement in 1942 and was jailed"! This
lie of his was nailed in an article in Frontline (Dube and
Ramkrishanan, Feb. 20 1998) but of course it did not deter this person
in his usual games.

These are things overtly known but not too well known to the public.
It is despite this (or rather because of this) that an aura was
created around him and he did bask in the limelight of self-glory. As
a matter of fact his association with RSS and his loyalty to the
agenda of RSS, the one of Hindu Nation and Hindutva politics remained
the central point of his politics and gave him the craftiness and
ability to pretend moderation and double speak, a role which suited
him perfectly.

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