When Supreme Court defined Hindutava as a way of life

Hindutva: Back on the agenda

NK SINGH

 

“When we say this is the Hindu nation, there are some who immediately come up with the question, ‘What about the Muslims and Christians dwelling in this land?’… But the crucial question is whether they remember that they are the children of this soil. No! Together with the change in their faith, gone is the spirit of love and devotion for the nation. They have also developed a feeling of identification with the enemies of this land. They look to some foreign lands as their holy places. It is not merely a case of change of faith, but a change even in national identity.”

 -Guru Golwalkar, former RSS chief, in his treatise, Bunch of Thoughts.

Is Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi’s grand dream of ruling India’s first “Hindu state” any different from the Hindu nation of the RSS, in which the minorities are identified with the “enemies of the nation”? Does Joshi disagree with Shiv Sena boss Bal Thackeray, who promised during an election campaign that with the Shiv Sena in power everybody will have to take diksha (initiation) into the Hindu religion?

The Supreme Court apparently thinks so. In a landmark judgement last fortnight, it absolved Joshi of the charge of garnering votes in the name of Hindutva by ruling that his promise to establish the first “Hindu state” did not amount to appealing for votes in the name of religion. It also said that Hindutva and Hinduism are a way of life and not confined to religion, and therefore, its use in a speech did not amount to corrupt electoral practices. Continue reading “When Supreme Court defined Hindutava as a way of life”

Meeting CMs in bedrooms and washrooms

First Print 16 Dec 2018

 

NK SINGH

In my long career as a journalist I have met nearly two dozen chief ministers in various states of the country. But there was no one like Bhairon Singh Shekawat, the former chief minister of Rajasthan.

My first meeting with Shekhawat, who later on became the vice president of India, will remain etched in my memory forever.

It was early 90s. I had landed in Jaipur in connection with a story about the BJP-ruled states in the country. I sought an appointment with the chief minister. I was asked to come at 8.30 to his official residence for the interview and also join him for breakfast.

On the appointed day and time I was outside the CM House in Jaipur’s Civil Lines locality. I was a little apprehensive as my taxi entered its gates.

In my experience, security personnel did not like a vehicle with commercial number plate. But the couple of lazy-looking policemen simply waved the car as I told them that I had an appointment with the CM.

This was the first surprise. I was based at Bhopal, where, as India Today correspondent, I had to deal with Sunderal Patwa as CM. He was a tough nut, not easily accessible even to his own partymen.

Often my requests for appointments materialized long after the concerned story had appeared in the print. Meeting a chief minister was such a hassle — going through elaborate security and a maze of maddening bureaucracy.

As I entered the gates, I found an office complex on the right side. I went looking for a staff member to inform Shekhawat that I had arrived. But it was quite early, I guess and most office rooms were locked.

I spotted a couple of employees in a room and told them about the appointment. They simply asked me to proceed towards the sprawling bungalow.

This was the second surprise. Till now I had not been frisked, I had not been asked for identity papers of any sort, I was not even questioned about whether I really had an appointment with the CM.

As I stood on the deserted veranda of the bungalow, I thought someone would soon take me to Shekhawat. But there was not a soul in sight.

After waiting for a couple of minutes I knocked at the doors of the first room and entered. It turned out to be the drawing room, but totally deserted. I returned to the veranda.

Soon I spotted a busy-looking domestic and he turned out to be well-informed, like most domestics. He directed me towards one of the rooms.

I thought I had been directed towards a visitor’s room where the CM would meet me. But the third, and final surprise of the day, awaited me as I opened its half-ajar doors. Continue reading “Meeting CMs in bedrooms and washrooms”

बेडरूम और बाथरूम में मुख्यमंत्रियों से मुलाक़ात

Prajatantra 16 Dec 2018

Meeting CMs in their bedroom and washrooms

NK SINGH

यह किस्सा भैरों बाबा के बारे में है. मतलब अपने भैरों सिंह शेखावत, जो अरसे तक राजस्थान के मुख्य मंत्री रहे और बाद में भारत के उपराष्ट्रपति बने. भाजपा के कद्दावर नेताओं में से एक. उनके जैसे राजनेता बिरले होते हैं.

वे भले भाजपा के नेता थे, पर उनके दोस्त अपनी पार्टी में कम और दूसरी पार्टियों में ज्यादा थे. यारबाज आदमी थे. आम लोगों के लिए सर्व सुलभ. लोगों से उनका जीवंत संपर्क किसी भी जमीनी नेता के लिए रश्क का विषय हो सकता है.

अख़बारनवीसी की अपनी लम्बी पारी के दौरान मैं विभिन्न राज्य के दर्ज़नों मुख्य मंत्रियों से मिल चुका हूँ. पर भैरों बाबा जैसा दूसरा कोई नहीं मिला, कभी भी. उनसे पहली मुलाक़ात हमेशा याद रहेगी. Continue reading “बेडरूम और बाथरूम में मुख्यमंत्रियों से मुलाक़ात”

जब एक जनरल चुनाव लड़ता है

Prajatantra 25 Nov 18

When a General fights an election

NK SINGH

छपे हुए प्रोग्राम के मुताबिक़ सुबह ७ बजकर ५५ मिनट पर चित्तौरगढ़ से भाजपा उम्मीदवार जसवंत सिंह का क़ाफ़िला चुनाव प्रचार के लिए रवाना होनेवाला था।

और ठीक 7.55 बजे अपने सुपरिचित सफारी सूट में उम्मीदवार महोदय उस दिन का चुनाव अभियान शुरू करने के लिए चित्तौर के सरकारी सर्किट हाउस में अपने कमरे से बाहर आए।

बरामदे में उस वक़्त हम केवल पांच लोग  थे। मैं था, एक फोटोग्राफर थे, जसवंत सिंह की गाड़ी के ड्राइवर थेऔर चुनाव इंतज़ाम में लगे भाजपा के दो कार्यकर्ता थे।

सिंह ने पूछा, “और लोग कहां हैं?”

“वे आ रहे हैं,” कार्यकर्ता चिंतित नज़र आ रहे थे।

“लेकिन हमें 7.55 पर निकलना था। कोई बात नहीं, हमें निकलना चाहिए। “उम्मीदवार ने कहा।

जसवंत सिंह ने एक चौथाई सदी से भी पहले फ़ौज की नौकरी  छोड़ दी थी.  लेकिन फ़ौज ने उन्हें कभी नहीं छोड़ा। वह अपनी  राजनीतिक लड़ाइयाँ फ़ौजी तरीक़ों से लड़ते थे। Continue reading “जब एक जनरल चुनाव लड़ता है”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Out But Not Down

NK SINGH

 

Mujhe door ka dikhayi deta hai,

Mein deewar par likha padh sakta hoon,

Magar haath ki rekhayen nahin padh sakta.

(I can see far ahead,

I can read the writing on the wall,

But I cannot read the lines on my own palm.)

-A poem written by Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birthday in 1993.

If politics is the art of the possible, what the BJP tried to achieve was virtually the impossible. The party’s failure to win over even one additional MP-its strength on May 28 stood at 194, the same as when its government was sworn in on May 16-demonstrated its inability to read the signals: that the new liberal mask had convinced no one. Continue reading “Atal Bihari Vajpayee: Out But Not Down”

सरकार गिरी पर अटलजी ने सौदेबाजी नहीं की

Atal Government fell because it could not muster even one extra vote

NK SINGH

मुझे दूर का दिखाई देता है,

मैं दीवार पर लिखा पढ़ सकता हूं,

मगर हाथ की रेखाएं नहीं पढ़ सकता

-अटल बिहारी वाजपेयी की 1993 में अपने जन्म दिवस पर लिखी कविता।

अगर राजनीति असंभव को संभव कर दिखाने की कला है तो भाजपा ने वस्तुतः ऐसा ही करने का प्रयास किया। एक भी अतिरिक्त सांसद को अपने पक्ष में कर पाने में विफल रहने से जाहिर हो गया कि पार्टी दीवार पर लिखी इबारत नहीं पढ़ पाई। वह यह समझने में  असमर्थ रही कि दूसरी पार्टियों के सांसदों का समर्थन पाने के लिए उसका नया उदारवादी चेहरा किसी को नहीं लुभा पाएगा।

ग्यारहवीं लोकसभा के गणित के मद्देनजर -जिसके अंतर्गत भाजपा और उसके सहयोगिगयों के 194, संयुक्त मोर्चे के 180 तथा कांग्रेस एवं उसके सहयोगियों के 139 सदस्य हैं।-पार्टी ने जो विकल्प चुना वह ऐसा दांव था जिसके गंभीर परिणाम हो सकते थे। फिर, भाजपा ने सरकार बनाने का राष्ट्रपति का न्यौता आखिर क्यों कबूल कर लिया? Continue reading “सरकार गिरी पर अटलजी ने सौदेबाजी नहीं की”