ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Mask Slips Again

The Sangh 'parivar' cannot survive without Vajpayee, just as he cannot live without his spiritual family. As a member of the political 'parivar', Vajpayee has to carry out the role allotted to him - that of a mask, as his colleague Govindacharya unwittingly let fall some time ago.

The famous gag, E C Bentley’s, about George the Third eminently suits the gentleman presently heading the Indian state – ‘One can only wonder at so grotesque a blunder’. But while some among us may laugh at him as a blunder, many others seem to worship him as a wonder – judging by the euphoric editorials and letters coming out in the pages of the national press on his 76th birthday.

While accepting them as a tribute to Vajpayee’s extraordinary knack of blundering his way to survival, one is also impressed by his unmitigated chicanery displayed recently over the Babri masjid-Ayodhya debate, which keeps voters confused and the media on tenterhooks – a game that suits the BJP. Trying to stir up a mood of pulp patriotism, Vajpayee claimed that the Ram temple movement that led to the demolition of the mosque was an expression of ‘national sentiment’. But by what yardstick do we define ‘national sentiment’? Can a mass hysteria roused among sections of Hindus, by a particular political party, through a series of agitations aimed at the demolition of a historical structure associated with a religious minority, be described by any stretch of imagination as a ‘national sentiment’? Vajpayee equated the Ram temple issue with the rebuilding of the Somnath temple. But that did not involve the destruction of an existing mosque, and lead to the violence and communal tensions that we have witnessed since the BJP’s Ram Janmabhoomi movement.

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