Dear Yashwant Sinha, Look At Your Hands, They’re Blood Stained
For the times are so desperate that all of us would embrace you and hold your hands which are bloodstained.
Dear Shri Yashwant Sinha ji,
I read your letter in The Indian Express where you ask those in your party to speak up. I understand that you wrote the letter knowing well that they would not speak and would never respond to you. This is not something unique to your party. The very nature of a Party organization ensures that the discretionary faculty of individuals who constitute the party surrenders before the wisdom of what is known as Party.
Rather, you would be seen as a child gone astray from the family. You know and all of us were told by your own colleagues that you were an expired politician and a retired man looking for a job when you should be spending your chauthapan singing bhajans. But, look, who all are responding to you? People from parties opposed to your party. They have lauded your call and condoned the delay in the awakening of your conscience.
Your colleagues will not speak, nor will the leaders you have specifically addressed. If they are alive to rub their hands in public, they should thank their stars that a seven-decade-long democracy is the ecosystem in which their party functions. Otherwise, the Stalinification of your party is complete and all your leaders are like kittens who cannot even open their eyes in the presence of their chief. (https://kafila.online/2013/07/26/the-bjps-very-own-stalin)
The fact that your letter had only a strategic motive and was not sincere is proven by the fact that immediately after issuing this letter, you informed the Press that you were going to do something big on this Saturday at Patna. We know that the meeting you are organizing is being attended by opposition leaders apart from Shatrughan Sinha, the other disgruntled voice of your party. So, your letter is already being seen as a signal from you of the final countdown of your disassociation from the party. It is, therefore, not an honest appeal and like your colleagues say it is merely a public posturing.
It is interesting that you have chosen especially Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and have tried to shake their souls. These two worthies you think are the kind of leaders we need. You are not alone in this belief. We remember poor Nitish Kumar trying to convince your party in 2013 that Advani should be made the Prime Ministerial face for his statesmanlike qualities. Joshi has also with the passage of time acquired this hallow. I, a teacher, remember him baying for the blood of our seniors like Romila Thapar by calling them intellectual terrorists.
Joshi like his senior Advani should have been attending trials for various mass murders and crimes that took place after he led the anti-Muslim RamJanma Bhumi Mukti Abhiyan if there had been even an iota of seriousness in the Indian legal system regarding with respect to mass crimes. They are the prime accused in one of the most heinous anti-constitutional crimes in India which is the demolition of the Babri Masjid. It should be a matter of deep introspection for people like you as to why they are still thought to be fit to lead this nation.
That is, however, explained easily.
It’s because of who you really are.
In your letter, you do not mention, leave alone repent, your role in a similar act of violence barely a year ago. It was April 4 last year when you tried to force your way with your supporters through a Muslim dominated area of Mahudi, a village in Badkagaon of the district of Hajaribagh. This route was closed for religious processions after a violent clash in 1984. But you made it a mission to get this road opened for Ramnavami processions. You led a crowd, were stopped by the police but you squatted there and challenged the police to arrest you. Even before your colleagues could refer to your ageing abilities, you invoked your age by remonstrating the district officials by invoking your seniority, “I was a deputy commissioner 50 years ago when these officials were not even born,” Yashwant told the applauding crowd while recounting how he hoodwinked cops to reach Mahudi.
You were arrested by the officers who knew what their constitutional duty was. When being taken away, you said loftily, “If you arrest us and take us away, our soul will remain here.”
That makes we wonder about the current location of your soul. Has it moved in the span of one year from where you had left it? Do you know that the demonstration you had led under the slogan of Jai Shri Ram had left at least two dead in its aftermath? One Hindu and one Muslim? Do you feel that you were complicit, even if not directly, in these murders?
I have been for the last one year following your trajectory. How seamlessly you moved into the peacemaking role as part of the citizens’ initiative for Kashmir from your rabble rousing avtar of Mahudi.
Have you ever thought that the large scale violence that we saw this year on Ram Navami actually followed what you had instigated only a year back on the same occasion?
Your son, who this year had to write against you had supported you then. The Telegraph reported the next day, “Yashwant’s son and Union minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha expressed his annoyance over the administrative measures in a couple of afternoon tweets one of which read: “Ramnavami ka pawan julus nikalne ki swatantrata sabhi ko hai aur main Mahudi ki janta ke saath hun (Everyone has the right to rally on the auspicious occasion of Ramnavami and I am with the people of Mahudi).”
We have yet to see any expression from you repenting your role in this violence, even condoling the deaths of those who had to pay for your obstinacy.
It is a small incident, you would argue and I do not disagree with you. But it shows your carelessness about human lives.
Your letter also demonstrates that you are an inverted Marxist because you resort to what is known in the Communist parlance as economism.Three-fourth of your letter tries to convince your readers that since this government has been unsuccessful in creating jobs, has failed to address the agrarian crisis, has mismanaged economy and created a huge democratic deficit it would harm the prospects of the party. But it is interesting to see that there is only one sentence regarding the most disturbing phenomenon of these four years- when you write that minorities are feeling alienated.
This aspect of your letter reminded me of a statement by you in 2013, when the election campaign for the 2014 elections had just begun. You were very worried and warned that the more Narendra Modi speaks the more BJP would lose. After making this statement you realized your folly and rushed to explain, “We should bring the debate back to current issues which are basically economic issues. The issue of poverty, the issue of bread and the issue of unemployment. These are the issues which are hurting people. It is not communalism or secularism. These are the issues. So we should bring the debate back to these issues.”
Five years after making this statement, you want your party members to believe that since economic prospects of the country under the present leadership are grim, the party would have to pay for it. Would they not smile at you?
Do not you think that the alienation of Muslims in Gujarat was precisely the achievement of the present supreme leader of your party which catapulted him to the throne he is adorning now? That you along with your colleagues became his ‘BAND BAJA BAARAT’ precisely for this ability?
Why am trying to tell you all this? For the times are so desperate that all of us would embrace you and hold your hands which are bloodstained. Even Muslims would welcome you in this new role.
I have often thought that how cruelly those who benefited most from the resources of this poor country, ravage its body and soul! How unruffled they move, with a sense of entitlement in this unfortunate country and how helpless we are that, we who instead of bringing such people to justice put Chandan Tilak on them and take out their procession?
From a Helpless Onlooker.
(Apoorvanand is a professor at the Hindi Department of University of Delhi.)