" In my beginning is my end"
" In my end is my beginning "
(TS Eliot, The Four Quartets, East Coker)
The ominous auguries of the inevitable beginning of a long drawn out and predictably painful end of the Modi-Shah dominated Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) era of Indian politics, though not yet perhaps of the RSS project of the Hindu Rashtra, Akhand Bharat and Vishwa Guru Bharat, are casting their looming shadows over a widely and variously divided India already, and need to be objectively analysed, intensively studied and widely discussed to prepare us for potentially tumultuous times to come in the foreseeable future of our increasingly brittle and fragile Nation State at a crucial juncture in World History.
The sudden meteoric rise of Yogi Adityanath on the horizon of Right Wing politics in India is problematic in more ways than one, for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Party President Amit Shah, for the BJP as a national political party, for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for Uttar Pradesh (UP), for Corporate India, for the country in general, for the future of peace in the Indian Sub Continent, for political, economic, and strategic equilibrium in the Asian Continent, and for the balance of power in the world as a whole, in that order.
The shocked disbelief, upon Yogi's sudden elevation, among the minorities, not only of UP, but of the entire nation was matched by that of most liberal secular Indians, as also of many not-so-secular but otherwise liberal Hindus who staunchly support Modi and the BJP.
There was palpable discomfort in the political establishment in Delhi at what was clearly a decision taken in Nagpur, which was echoed by many sections of the media, mainstream as well as social, and among the sophisticated business circles of Mumbai, which gave a very low key, subdued response to the coronation of the Yogi after a fiercely fought election that many believed was carried on the shoulders of the charismatic Modi, who certainly gave his all to the high intensity election campaign, and the organisational skills of the redoubtable Amit Shah, who was never short of funds, strategies or men to make BJP 's hegemonic dream of painting India saffron from shore to shore, come true.
But there is little doubt that it was the RSS which was the real long-term architect of the victory with its 75 years of organisational work across the country, and it was RSS whose workers brought voters to the booths, besides providing the vital underpinning of a well crafted and tirelessly propagated ideology of muscular Hindutva. And Modi's mere acknowledgement of it in his victory speech at the Party Headquarters in Delhi, and his tributes though rich and fulsome, were just not enough recompense - far from it.
Modi, more aware than many in his nationwide audience of the Juggernaut that propelled him and the BJP to the famous victory, nay the triumphal conquest, the clean sweep of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, the very heart of India, was eloquent, and his words had a resounding relevance for his masters in Nagpur as well as the rank and file of its prachaaraks and volunteers, when he said on 12/3/17 in the saffron party's headquarters, in a speech beamed live across the length and breadth of India, and later played on loop by all news channels for nearly twenty four hours, the following momentous words :
" Chunaao jeetna ek baat hai, lekin BJP ki Sanskriti ko desh ke kone-kone mein pahunchaana, doosri baat hai. Chaar peeddheeyaan Khap gayeen iss karya mein, tab jaakar aaj ye sapna saakaar hua hai"
("Winning Elections is one thing but to take the BJP culture to every corner of the country is quite another thing altogether. Four generations have been used up before this dream could be fulfilled today")
Since BJP, which morphed out of Jan Sangh, the Hindu Mahasabha and the Janata Party did not even exist that long ago, it is the RSS that the Prachaarak in him was harking back to.
But how could mere words satisfy the RSS which had already waited in the wings for three quarters of a century for this very hour, and which has painstakingly but swiftly "normalised" its open emergence as the real power behind the ruling dispensation in Delhi over the past two and a half years, in what would have seemed an alarming, ominous, almost menacing extra-Constitutional control over an elected even as recently as in 2015. The people's mandate for development, the corporate mandate for "economic reforms", and perhaps in some cases for a soft Hindutva, was taken over by RSS's Hardcore Hindutva agenda of the Hindu Rashtra. Through a raucous purchased media helping to mould fickle and shallow "public opinion" into the Nagpur Consensus, through its suddenly violently aggressive Student Wing, the ABVP, through its multifarious loosely-affiliated vigilante groups of Gau Rakshaks, Anti- Romeo Squads and other often even armed Senas (one of which the Hind Yuva Vahini was formed by Mahant Yogi Adityanath ) or even the saffron terrorist "revolutionary" outfits inherited from pre-independence days, such as the infamous 'Abhinav Bharat', now openly patronised by the Central Government, and by Governments of BJP ruled states, they have taken over the dominant narrative in the popular psyche, and intensified it to a point of no return.
BJP and Modi are now riding a tiger. The virulent forms of harder and harder Hindutva, more and more fanatic, more and more violent, less and less concerned about any adverse consequences, foul-mouthed, reckless, impatient, completely entitled and completely uncivilised, the A++ teams of Hindutva, such as the Shiv Sena , the Maharashtra Navnirman Sewa, and now the Yogi's Vahini have taken over after snatching the initiative from a relatively cautious and mature Modi, who clearly prides himself on being a man of the world, the darling of the NRIs and PIO, and even fancies himself as a jet- setting global diplomat, lionised as he is by the corporates, especially his cronies, hungry to exploit his powerful leadership for personal profits, and ready to invest heavily into his all-conquering Ashwamedha Yagna Yatra across the length and breadth of the country.
Unfortunately, in an Ashwamedha Yagna it is the brave free-running Sacred Horse himself, who after his signal conquests, has to be offered up as sacrifice in the sacred Yagna Fire. Modi, well versed in the arts and crafts of his parent "cultural organisation" and well aware of the ruthless cold eyed "cruelty-for-an-over-weening-collective cause" that characterises its celibate patriarchs, suddenly felt the cold tap of imminent political or even Gandhi like-Death on his yoked 56 inch shoulders. " Sangatthan se badaa koyi nahin": No individual however great, is greater than the organisation (read the Sangh and its sacred cause of the Hindu Rashtra).
"For at my back I always hear
Time's winged chariot hurrying near
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast Eternity"
The fate of the Lauh Purush of the BJP, Modi's mentor in the BJP, he of Rath Yatra and Ram Mandir fame, the canny LK Advani and his colleagues like Murli Manohar Joshi, put out to graze in the Parlok Sabha of the Margdarshak Mandal, a retirees club waiting for the Dark Horseman, away from all mischief right under the watchful eyes of their erstwhile protégé, emasculated of patronising power, teeth pulled to eliminate any stray or random thoughts of interference, in a sort of earthly purgatory .
"Because I could not stop for Death
He kindly stopped for me
The carriage held but just ourselves
After all, a man cannot serve the Nagpur Masters and the Delhi Meddlers at the same time, even though he may dodge the Lok Sabha and ignore the Rajya Sabha, and in fact treat the Parliament with the contempt he thinks it deserves.
To come back to Modi's hour of glory on 12/3/ 2017, after the declaration of the UP and UK poll results, and power in Goa and Manipur was very much within reach of money power and masterly manipulation, it was literally "Roses Roses all the way, with ne'er a spray of Yew" for the tired but jubilant Modi, the Superhero and Rock Star of BJP's Right Wing politics, and its undisputed single biggest vote catcher, crowd puller, demogogue and election winner in the entire history of the saffron Party.
But alas, earthly fame is always fickle, public memory is notoriously short, all good things must come to an end, and into each life some rain must fall.
After being feted as God's greatest gift to India that is Bharat for the Holi Festival week from the declaration of 5 State election results on 11/3/17 through the successful moneyed and manipulated BJPisation of the fractured but still clearly pro-Congress mandate in Goa and Manipur, before the euphoria among workers and fans evaporated, the Modi-Shah duo and their backers did a clear eyed assessment of losses as well and set about creating a narrative that would keep their infallible image intact so that all- important corporate funding and international (read American mostly) backing for Modi-Shah led BJP should not falter or start to hedge its bets by subtly shifting some backing to other emerging or re-emerging forces.
In this context, the first exercise in damage control by the Modi-Shah combine was to claim credit for the Congress win in Punjab for the BJP by spreading the word that it was BJP read Modi Shah who dog-whistled their urban Hindu voters to vote for the Congress rather than for the Aam Aadmi Party when they saw that the Akali-BJP combine was collapsing under the weight of two-term anti- incumbency and the misdeeds and corruption of the Akalis, particularly the Badal family. This could be true but it could equally be at least in part a planted narrative for BJP with a mere 6% vote share in the Punjab elections, so that the Modi -Shah could claim control and even patronage over the winning Congress, a party they recognise well and know how to deal with and defeat, rather than the maverick AAP which has been a thorn in their flesh in Delhi. The typical Modi Bhakt in Punjab as in the rest of the country lapped up this narrative which allowed their twin Teflon warriors to come out of the Punjab debacle (blamed totally and conveniently on the irredeemable Akalis, and not on their partners in crime the BJP ) with their egos and their all -powerful, infallible, ever-victorious image, aura and haloes intact even after a thorough drubbing in the border state.
There is however another side to this conveniently neat story. Two other sides, rather. One, the manipulation in Punjab was done by the canny, powerful Akalis and not the puny and forgettable BJP. The Akalis prefer the Congress to AAP, and the Badals prefer their cousin Captain Amarinder Singh to the unknown quantity Kejriwal , because under the Congress, they have less of a chance of being sent to jail, and even if they are, the Captain will ensure that they get their Diet Cokes and Colour Cable TV during their few days of convenient confinement, unlike Kejriwal and his ilk who were publicly rubbing their hands in vicious glee at the thought of sending the Badals to jail especially for drug production and sales .
Yet another coexistent angle to the real narrative of AAP's defeat in Punjab is that India Against Corruption, Kejriwal's original organisation, was in fact a creation of the RSS in consultation with now National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, meant to discredit the Congress, and Kejriwal's decision to take part in electoral politics and bring riff- raff into the party increasingly without properly verifying their credentials, led to the party getting divided with stalwarts like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan breaking away to form Swaraj Abhiyaan. AAP is the B team of Hindutva and Kejriwal an alternative to Modi in case a softer Hindutva strategy has to be fallen back on, or Modi gets too big for his boots, which is why Modi hates him and wants to destroy him and his party completely, while RSS maintains a studied silence about their jousts with one another, in New Delhi. So it may have been the BJP's game plan but not that of the RSS, to shift the Hindu vote of Punjab to the Congress by invoking separatist Khalistani movement fears.
The first signs of a rift can be seen right here.
( End of Part I )