Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lessons for BJP

Seattle, after 188 days of miserable weather, is sunny and warm and I've been immersed in Indian elections on Indian Channels. Being a US citizen, and having been away for a very long time, my interest in India may sound academic or voyeuristic, but its neither. It's affection, it's love. So even if I am not voting I am wishing India well, and my allegiance isn't with a political party or ideology it's with India and the Indian.

And my first impression of BJP on TV was dull, dreary, pedantic, morose, unshaven, unpleasant guys, and then morbid, fear mongers after watching the "bhai ho" advertisements.

So the first lesson for BJP: smile, shave and be pleasant
  • Don't sound pompous - talking like normal people do is okay - no need to sound like Hindi scholars
  • Connect with the masses at grassroots level
  • Don't try to scare people into voting for you
  • Define yourself - what does a Hindu party mean -
  1. does it mean a minority hating group of guys who will spend national resources on Hindu festivals? If that's the case you're not my guys because I do not wish to hate or kill people carrying last names different than my kin, nor do I want you in my private prayer religious space - so if you are that then you are deranged deluded fools because no one in the connected Google MTv world will vote in a Hindu version of Bin-Laden.
  2. however if you are an organization that will abolish reservation that bars Hindu's from equal access to opportunity, will introduce Uniform Civil Code so that the law is of the land not religion and allow Indians to buy land in Kashmir then I would like to wave your flag because then you are making India an equal playing field for the Hindus
  3. what does a lower caste, marginal farmer, share cropper Hindu mean to a Hindu Party - for almost a 1000 years of recorded history Hindus have been oppressed by Hindu kings, landlords, money lenders, religious heads, denied dignity and denied knowledge, our culprits being the chief practitioners of our faith. So while we ponder the Muslim atrocities - all real and all documented - we need our own moral rectitude, so what does a poor, lower caste Hindu mean to the BJP?

Growing up in Punjab I saw RSS camps (shakhaas) but never any milk of human kindness type of actions helping poor Hindus. In small towns before the days of sewers Jamadars carried human excrement in baskets on their heads, and Sant Fateh Singh's followers brandished spears and swords demanding Punjabi Sooba - and RSS/ Jan Sangh were quite absent from either countering the Punjabi Sooba or doing something to uplift the Jamadars. The pattern remained the same - throwing stones, breaking windows protesting this and that but not protecting a single Hindu when Bhindranwale went on a murder spree, so the thing is you talk about being a Hindu party but you do not help Hindus, which is ludicrous.

Dalits found their voice in Samajwadi Party and then Bahujan Samaj Party because BJP abdicated all responsibility towards the marginalized rural poor Hindus, while carrying the reputation of being a party of urban traders and small businessmen. So in a country where many people live in villages that disconnect between the Hindu party and the poor Hindu resonates loudly.

If there were 1 single act of redemption and reinvention for BJP then that single act has to be service to the masses at the village level.

Breaking the Masjid was symbolic of pent up anger of a 1000 years but hunger and human needs are not symbolic. People need hope, health, food, education, water, peace and instead of developing an agenda to deliver those you are still stuck in blame games and fear mongering.

So to summarize:
  • Be positive
  • Be pleasant
  • Be clear about your identity and aspirations
  • Be nice - after millenniums of atrocities Hindus need to be nice to other Hindus and help erase dogmas like Swami Dayanand did.
  • Be modern - recruit educated, rational, young people into your cadres lest you become obsolete because of being obstinately obtusely irrelevant.


nayan said...

Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it. I will be back for more!

MW said...


kareena said...

Excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it. I will be back for more!

saurabh said...

hii , it was great to read u . n hope u will continue like the same spirit .

ms said...

BJP and its satellite parties have not won a single election on the basis of following hindutwa. mostly they are seen as an alternative to congress, some percentage of their following is based on this. whatever the party promises is generic to all political entities and so they do not have to deliver anything per se. if one party was a true representative of its elctorate, there would be no need for coalitions. see, what we all overlook is the real problem - corruption at all levels and sections of politics. the plight of the hindu is terrible - he is part of a religion that is unpopular due to the actions of very few fundamentalists.