"There is nothing called a Hindu vote"

Jyotirmaya Sharma, a critic of the RSS ideology, has advice to offer to the BJP which suffered a major defeat in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections. Writing in the Hindustan Times, he asks the BJP to sever its ties with the RSS and fly independently:
M.G. Vaidya, the senior RSS leader, had once famously said that “the BJP is not the life-breath of the Sangh”. The BJP must take this to heart and commit the much-needed patricide. If the lessons of 2004 and 2009 are to be deciphered for the BJP, they are reducible to just one very significant element: there is nothing called a Hindu vote. Extending the argument, there is no political or social outfit that can claim to represent all Hindus, much less hope to transform a mythical Hindu unity into votes.
This advice is not without its merits, given that the RSS is limping along the lines of an ideology flawed by the standards of any time or clime.

Today, leaders of more and more states (including, and perhaps led by none other than BJP's own Narendra Modi of Gujarat) are giving the message loud and clear: "My state first, India next". This, despite the fact that most Indian states have a whopping Hindu majority. This message is, of course, a post-British-rule message, since before the British there was no political unit called India other than in the minds of a handful of ideologues who either twisted or misunderstood history - such as Mr. M.S. Golwalkar of the RSS and Mr. M.K. Gandhi of the Indian National Congress.

The statement "there is nothing called a Hindu vote" has for its equivalent of the pre-British era the statement "there is nothing called India". Most Indian states were followers or patrons of one or the other branch of Hinduism, but as we've pointed out elsewhere, there was no such thing called as a political unity amidst them.

In India, the term "Hindu vote" is by-and-large equivalent to the term "Human vote" since most humans in India are Hindu anyway - and equally meaningless in politics. As Mr. Sharma says, it is impossible for the BJP to build a succesful political party on the basis of an assumed political unity among Hindus which is further assumed to magically transform into votes.

Most Kannadigas are Hindus, and so are most Marathis and Tamils. But people in these states are divided on certain things, and vote on the basis of those things and of course stuff like education, employment, infrastructure, health, etc. Nobody cares for the RSS-fabricated history with absolute silence and political unity all over today's India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh (and more)!

The BJP has much to learn, and the time is opportune to cut down arrogance levels and lend an ear to what's being spoken here and elsewhere.

3 comments:

Jai Veerupaksha said...

The actual issue here is that only parties that seem to represent the interests of the larger section of people will win.Even the most hardline followers of a belief/idealogy will need to tactfully package their philosophies and the various events which eventually mould public opinion.

The reason why AB Vajpayee was able to command respect even though the NDA Govt also came to power on similar manifestos/rhetoric was that though he was seen as pro-Hindutva,he was never seen as anti anybody.

The mandate is getting increasingly fragmented due to similar/confusing manifestos where even within a state multiple regional parties are fighting each other as in the case of Maharashtra and with TN also heading in the same direction, results will become more and more unpredictable and the eventual fallout may surprise not just the voters themselves but the contesting parties as well.

The day doesn't seem too far when the Math becomes so complicated that the constitution may have to be ammended to provide for equal representation of states.Alternately in the long run our democratic set up will throw in that Alliance that comes to power which will have a representation of all regional parties and the opposition comprising of the couple of National parties if they are still in vogue at that point in time.

dandapinda said...

While there is no vote called Hindi vote. I would like to cite the example of Karnataka where I have observed that Muslims do not link themselves to Kannada. They speak a weird 'I have no clue from where they have picked up that accent' Hindi/Urdu. Now a certain book by S L Bairappa has shown this in recent times. This may not be true to the entire Islamic community but certainly to the majority I have seen in Bengaluru/Mangaluru.

As Jai Veerupaksha has said here, it will definitely require the party to get these people also to identify themselves as Kannadigas/Tulu/Kodavas and enter the mainstream and also for the party to be pro-Karnataka and anti-nothing.

But something like amending the constitution will take a lot of time. We just to sit back and wait as no matter how long the tunnel is, there is always light at the end of it.

shashi chandrashekar said...

Even rhetoric columinst Pratap simha has also voiced a similar opinion in today's vijaya karnataka about why BJP lost. He is not a original thinker per say and always 'gaali bandange turkollonu :) ". BJP geddidre,, he would written a complete different story about how Hindus have voted together for a samartha nayaka :D

High time, BJP and RSS realises that linguistic diversity is not an impediment and there will never be a Hindu vote phenomenon across india, that will romp them to power.

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