A National Botch-up? A Nationalist Botch-up?

Anand Mazgaonkar

How they danced and celebrated on 12th February ’16, as if they had found the ultimate anti-national – the very last one – and put him where he belonged, Tihar Jail. It was very much like they had started to celebrate election victory in Bihar around 9 am that November morning in 2015. Reality started dawning around 10 am that November day and again this March evening.

BJP Accountants are now looking at the Cost-Benefit of Project JNU, Project Kanhaiya and must be thinking how could they have got it so completely wrong. They must wonder why these botch-ups are so regular? Why should BJP spokesmen have to clean egg from their faces on TV every night, in full public glare? Our hearts should go out to Sambit Patras and Nalin Kohlis. But even open air defacation is a reality in India so they should not be too embarrassed.

Kanhaiya Kumar- Nationalism Debate and RSS - Raag DeshWhat went wrong must be very important for BJP bosses and strategists since they now want to rule for at least 25 years. Was it a problem with Political Mathematics or was the problem Mathematical Politics? Did some overzealous ABVP greenhorns set them up for this? Or, was the doctoring of the video clips messed up. They may not have been able to assign the job to Mr Gajendra Chauhan since he hasn’t had the time to properly settle down at FTII!

Did Nagpur get it wrong and issued the suicidal instructions? Or, was it a problem with interpretation of instructions? After all the instructions may have been issued in Sanskrit, or in Vedic codes. It might be interesting to investigate whether these ‘nationalists’ send their children and grandchildren to Sanskrit schools. There’s no way they could fall for English medium or Convent schools run by Christians who’re only interested in ‘conversions’. Clearly, if BJP doesn’t manage to rule for 25 years India might be 90% anti-national Christians and Muslims, and 10% nationalist Hindus. Hope the Sakshi Maharajs and Yogi Adityanaths save the country.

Disastrous projects, in themselves, are not unique. Elections in 2004 and 2009, India Shining campaign, the Rs. 10 lakh suit, the Ram Mandir, Delhi and Bihar elections are cases in point. The problem with leadership botch-ups is that the rank-and-file gets nervous. The Cabinet might suddenly want to participate in Government decision-making! (Mrs. Indira Gandhi was not as courageous as Mr Modi, so she made only one infamous decision without taking the Cabinet into confidence) Senior leaders might want to have say on policy matters. (It will be interesting to see if Kanhaiya inspires M/s. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yeshwant Sinha to squeak again.) Partymen might demand that decisions be made by a gang bigger than the coterie of three. ABVP may start asking questions so that they don’t look stupid. Shakha-men may even demand training in learning to think.

The Parivar should immediately issue a whip banning all its followers from hearing Kanhaiya Kumar’s speech because his simple, searching words might resonate with the most indoctrinated of robots. Scientists and Psychologists might be very interested in a comparative study between robots and Parivar folks. The jury on who is more impervious to reason is out.

And they have to suffer all this ignominy because their astrologers goofed up badly and the flopped Operation JNU was probably launched at some inauspicious moment. One can only imagine what such high risk games can do to the credibility of jingoists and pseudo-nationalists. The combative hot air balloon performance by Smriti Irani, the high voltage theatrics of the PM himself and the hyped up Budget were all washed out by the release-on-bail of a 20-something year old. Poor PM instead of basking in glory is left with scattered pieces of something worse than an aircraft crashing over 7, Race Course Road. How he’d wish that he were rather with Obama or Sharif clicking selfies.

It is one thing to tweet and roar about everything except issues of substance. But this business of rabble-rousing, stoking fires and trying to govern at the same time is so hazardous.

Some people believe Nationalism means loving one’s country, serving the interests of all its people, being tough with those violating the law, defrauding the country and stripping the country of her resources. Therefore, one would expect some action against the billionaire loan defaulters. When that doesn’t seem feasible Practical Nationalism, In-Practice-Nationalism consists of finding scapegoats, framing individuals, conducting media trials on fake evidence, and deluding ourselves that we’re indeed tough.

Such being the atmosphere, Justice, including Court orders, are often like Budget promises. There’s something for everyone! There’s bail for the accused packaged with free advice, there are film songs for those with a cultural taste, there’s shot-in-the-arm for the State with a no-guilt certificate, there are kid-gloves for the Police. Everyone goes home happy from the abode of the Goddess of Justice.

The shaken and overwhelmed authors of the disastrous project are so shaken, you can hear them shrieking on TV channels. Anyone who were to announce a Rs. 1 crore award for any BJP member being sober, talking sense and giving any assurance of sanity would have his / her money absolutely safe in his / her own pocket.

But whatever happens, if Kanhaiya cannot be silenced or contained some other diversion has to be created.

Anand Mazgaonkar