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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Much needed reality check for BJP and ‘woke’ Hindus

Yesterday’s assembly election results were not unsurprising for any seasoned observer of Bharatiya politics. It was clear that after 15 years at the helm in Chattisgarh and MP, anti-incumbency was going to play a major factor in those two states. Still, Shivraj Singh Chouhan put up a stiff fight in MP and Congress fell 1 short of a simple majority.

In Rajasthan, Congress and BJP have alternated in power for the last 25 years. But here too, Congress fell one short of the elusive simple majority mark. It was only in Chattisgarh that Congress won a decisive victory. Congress lost power in Mizoram and failed miserably along with its ally TDP in Telangana.

Clearly, there is no pro-Congress wave in the country as Lutyens’ will inevitably try to spin, and neither is there any widespread acceptance for Rahul Gandhi as a potential PM – anecdotal accounts exist of voters clarifying that they prefer Modi at the centre, but will vote against BJP in the assembly elections due to local factors.

Yet, these elections have come as a timely reality check for both BJP and the ‘woke’ Hindus of Bharat (A ‘woke’ Hindu being one who is aware of real issues and challenges facing Hindu society). These results indicate a perceptible shift in the public mood which cannot be ignored.

Lessons for BJP

1.) Congress-mukt Bharat remains a distant dream unless you emulate the ruthlessness of the Congress & secular ecosystem. BJP ideologues like Swapan Dasgupta are wrong when they say ‘strategic restraint will expose the Stalinists in due course of time.’ Creating a new order, by definition, involves destruction of the old one.

Congress under Sonia Gandhi did all it could to create a BJP/RSS-mukt Bharat during the 2004-14 period, although it did not proclaim this loudly, by creating the saffron terror bogey, trying to fix Modi for the 2002 riots & Amit Shah for the death of a dreaded gangster Sohrabbudin (they had rightly identified these two gents as the greatest threat to their loot & plunder style of politics), and by pursuing an anti-Hindu/far-left legislative agenda through the extra-constitutional NAC despite just 145 LS seats during UPA-1.

Now, in opposition with a mere 44 seats, Congress has manufactured the Rafael controversy out of thin air while caring two hoots for national security implications if this deal is scrapped; has openly arm-twisted the judiciary to follow its diktat through impeachment threats, unrelenting fake PILs (Judge Loya death, Ayodhya case interventions) and attacks through their media ecosystem; exploited their deep assets in Lutyens’ Delhi, bureaucracy & judiciary to stymie corruption probes against their top leaders; and are now even issuing open threats trough press conferences (!) to officers involved in these probes.

Yes, BJP’s hands are tied to some extent due to the solid ecosystem Congress has developed over 50 years, but it is clear that going out of the way to occupy the high moral ground and a desire to be seen as neutral and abiding by Constitutional morality, has meant that the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and their trusted operators are still untouched as we head into the 2019 LS elections. Congress will continue to remain a credible alternative for career politicians and ordinary voters, until the time its top hierarchy & their Lutyens’ propagandists are decisively punished for their misdeeds.

2.) If you fail to enthuse your core voter or support your booth-level karyakarta (worker), he/she will turn cold. They will still cast their own vote for you, but will not go the extra mile to convince 10 other undecided voters to vote for you.

None of the anti-Hindu legislation introduced by Sonia Gandhi (RTE, minority-only funding) has been rolled back or even debated. On the contrary, minoritarian schemes like ‘Nai Manzil’, ‘Hunar Haat’ have been increased. No pro-Hindu intervention was made at the highest level of Government when Hindus were fighting off sustained attacks like Sabarimala, Diwali cracker ban, Dahi Handi ban, freeing temples from Government control, missionary mafia etc.

Why do so many BJP workers lament that their own MLAs, MPs do not value them after the elections? If a BJP volunteer/worker is not able to assist people around him in getting their work done through our notoriously inaccessible police, bureaucracy etc., why won’t the ordinary person gravitate back towards the secular power-brokers who know how to look after their own? Basic needs trump ideology.

A lot of middle class people, BJP’s core votebank, are upset with the Government, due to real or perceived grievances. But instead of assuaging them and accepting their feedback, some top ministers and babus are prone to arrogantly dismissing such concerns with contempt.

3.) Development alone does not lead to power. Elections are won on lost on emotive issues. Vikas or development is today a necessary, but not sufficient condition to win elections. Congress can win as the default option even without any tangible delivery due to its powerful ecosystem and short public memory. But BJP has to provide development and also deliver on the emotive Hindu issues, to win.

When the dice is loaded against you and you are fighting an entrenched establishment consisting of news & entertainment media, academia, intelligentsia, activists, judiciary and bureaucracy, trying to appease your critics or be accommodative towards them is suicidal. The left-liberals and large sections of minorities will always hate you, irrespective of what you do. 

On the contrary, siding with your core voter and claiming legitimate victimhood against the secularist establishment is the correct approach – this is something Modi can learn from Trump (although it is best to avoid Trump style twitter rants). The core BJP voter won’t mind the Hindutva agenda not being implemented due to whatever hurdles, as long as we know that our leaders are trying their best and are vocal about the anti-Hindu forces – that creates motivation to deliver an even bigger mandate for BJP in the next LS election. Stand up for your civlizational values and confront your enemies – only that will get you respect.

Here’s a worrying statistic which shows how a simple focus on governance execution, without paying equal attention to narrative creation, can hurt you –

Congress knows it just has to stop you from getting to a majority. The rest of the secular me-too Congress clones will coalesce around it to cobble together a coalition. But BJP has to win decisively every time – a tough ask, but not impossible if it acts upon civilisational issues.

Lesson for ‘woke’ Hindus

1.) Politics alone will not solve our issues. We need new Hindu religious organizations. Badgering RSS and BJP for anything and everything is not going to get us anywhere. While it is important that we engage with these organisations and provide feedback, at the end of the day they will work as as per their own priorities. RSS is at heart a non-religious organization – even VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) doesn’t have any overtly religious agenda. Caste affiliations are again serving a social need, but hardly creating an overarching sense of Hindu-ness.

What we need are new-age organizations and religious institutions that revive the true essence of Hindu Dharma and remove the confusion and apathy that plague present-day Hindus. We need charismatic preachers that can teach the key Hindu holy texts (Gita, Vedas, Upanishads etc) in simple language to the youth. An AOL (Art of Living) is good, but its serving a very small segment of urban society.

If we are not living and practising as Hindus, then how are we ever going to convince the HINOs (Hindu in Name only) and future generations to value Dharma?

In a crude sense, we need the Hindu version of Tablighi Jamaat –  a non-political global Sunni Islamic missionary movement that focuses on urging Muslims to return to primary Sunni Islam, founded in 1927 in the Mewat region of Haryana. We need the Hindu equivalent of the Christian missionary sects and movements like Southern Baptists, Pentecostal, Joshu Project etc. albeit without their hateful propaganda against non-believers.

After the Arya Samaj which was founded in 1875, has there been any significant Hindu religious movement that promotes primary Hindu values and practices among ordinary Hindus? This is not to say that one has to agree with all Arya Samaji ideas like rejection of murti puja, but there can be no denying how the Arya Samaj infused much needed energy and spirit into Hindus at a time when we were being intellectually hammered by British colonizers and their sepoys.

Yes, there have been person-centric groups (cults?) that have mushroomed from time to time and a foreign-oriented ISKCON, but where are the new grass-root organizations that are boldly carrying the core message of Hindu Dharma to the common man? Only a practising & aware Hindu will care about Hindu issues, irrespective of region and caste. We are living in an age where Hindu youth are easily exposed to memes like ‘Durga was a prostitute’, ‘Ram was a male chauvinist pig’, and ‘Ravana was not so bad’ – so its no wonder that terms like ‘Rapistan’ or ‘Brahminical patriarchy’ find easy acceptance. Only a coherent, well-drilled Dharmic narrative can defeat the Hindu haters.

We need spaces and common platforms where Hindu issues can be openly discussed and debated, rather than the hush-hush way it happens now. Christians congregate in churches every Sunday and are constantly engaged by their parish clergy. Muslims don’t miss their jumma namaz and faithfully follow instructions handed out by their local mosque/madrassa.

2.) Hindu charity needs to be revived in a big way. If an urban Hindu yuppy feels like donating money, he does it to media savvy charities and NGOs that operate within Western frameworks – CRY, Oxfam, World Vision etc. Some of these charities are thinly-veiled Christian missionary groups, but almost all of them are left-liberal and subtly anti-Hindu.

Where is the openly Hindu charity in Bharat today? RSS social work is laudatory and is being better publicised now due to the efforts of groups like Seva Bharati, but there is still a large unoccupied space for out & out Hindu charities. Our temples have been occupied by the secular state and their wealth is being siphoned off, but we must create some viable Hindu charities despite this huge obstacle. We cannot wait for the lengthy legal battle to reclaim temples to come to its logical conclusion. We must use modern tools of the digital age to build an ecosystem consisting of hundreds of such Hindu charities.

Big business and wealthy Hindus today are by & large de-Hinduized. So although we do have a Narayan Murthy and other rich Hindus doing charity, building universities & schools, the institutions they create are controlled by Hinduphobic academics and what we end up getting is a left-liberal university like Ashoka university. This has to change – the ‘woke’ Hindus have to engage with big business and young entrepreneurs to correct their perspectives which have been moulded by secular-liberal frauds.

The bottomline is that Hindus and whatever party they choose to represent it don’t have much time – the demographic clock is ticking, and with each passing generation we are getting further de-Hinduized due to toxic school curriculum and sustained attack by mass media, missionary proxies etc. The time to act is now.

Hindus have no option but to campaign hard for Modi in the 2019 LS elections – return to power of Congress and other pseudo-secular forces in 2019 would deliver a death blow to the infant Indic ecosystem, kill the economy and and set in motion a chain of events which will most likely lead to a second partition. But at the same time, we have to go beyond politics and create the new socio-religious institutions that alone can ensure the survival of a robust Hindu civilization & presence in the next century. The coming decade appears to be a do-or-die moment in Hindu history.

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