The Bold Voice of J&K

Of failing narrative, rising desperation

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Navneet Anand
So confident were they of the victory of Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election that the sweep by Donald J Trump sent shockwaves among opinion-makers. From journalists to political scientists, TV debaters, social commentators, intelligentsia – all moaned in pensive silence. Their trade of manufacturing consent, and opinion, came in for sharp reviews and appeared in grave risk. Deluged with scorn, they soon shifted their narrative and turned to chanting about how horrible Trump would now be as an American President. And, as this breed of American analysts stands thoroughly exposed, its clones in India seem to be toeing a strikingly similar stance – expressing monumental shock at the elevation of mass leader Adityanath Yogi as Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
Stunned into silence by the magnificent victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, these opinion-makers got a shot in the arm when the name of Adityanath, a five-time Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur and hugely popular among party workers across the State, was confirmed as the new Chief Minister of this Hindi heartland. Soon Twitter and Facebook were awash with crooked, and curious narratives. While some said it was the beginning of the end for the BJP, others lamented the apathy of the party’s leadership in elevating a person who is known to be a hardliner. Many dug out past statements of Adityanath and derived innumerable conclusions. Uttar Pradesh was doomed, they cried.
A few took the discourse to a new level by asking if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s notion of vikas meant promoting Hindutva – through installing a yogi as Chief Minister. They also questioned sneeringly if this was Modi’s idea of a New India. Soon the battle lines were sharpened and it became a war of words between proponents of New India, and sceptics who seemed to be echoing ‘I Knew It India’. Yogi became India’s Trump and trounced the social media with utmost disdain. Some went to the extent of calling the decision odious and ominous and moaned how our enemies would be exulting and how the safety valves are shutting down. Inexplicable to the core.
Look at some of the inherent fallacies of these arguments. Yogi Adityanath has been an extremely popular mass leader. As an MP for many years, his political training is complete and so is his understanding of the aspirations of the people. Instead of an ascribed status – where people are handed out power on the basis of their birth, and a practice so rampant in the Indian National Congress – Adityanath has achieved this status with hard work, and through democratic means. By disparaging the democratic processes which catapulted Adityanath to the chief ministerial post, critics have only exhibited their own narrow, sectarian and constricted world-view.
They said that since he is a hardliner, Adityanath would care only for Hindu, and it is alluded that his administration would be anti-Muslim. This is a loaded construct. Ram Jethmalani recently wrote that Hindutva is not hostility to any organised religion nor does it proclaim superiority of any religion over another. At the core of Hindutva is Sadeva Kutambhekam, or, ‘We are all one family’.
The Supreme Court had said in 1995: “Ordinarily, Hindutva is understood as a way of life or a state of mind and is not to be equated with or understood as religious Hindu fundamentalism… it is a fallacy and an error of law to proceed on the assumption… that the use of words Hindutva or Hinduism per se depicts an attitude hostile to all persons practising any religion other than the Hindu religion…” Jethmalani rightly warns, “Let the manipulators of the word Hindutva realise that articulating it with religious connotation is in violation of the letter and spirit of the Supreme Court judgement.”
He has hit the nail on the head. Any attempt by the Left-liberals to distort and manipulate the use of term, Hindutva, and the desperation by this brigade to defame and decry a democratically-elected Yogi Adityanath on the basis of their prejudiced outlook, is highly condemnable and should be showered with all the scorn it deserves.
(The writer is a strategic communications professional)

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