India is a country where a party (Congress) which calls itself as secular, divides the nation in the name of religion. But a party (BJP) which was formed on Hindutva principles is following secularism. Today, BJP under the leadership PM Modi has reached a position where it seems like there is no proper opponent. But do you to know with whose grace BJP reached to this height? It is none other than the former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi.
Those were the days when Hindu voice was unheard even though RSS and Bharatiya Jan Sangh were relentlessly working to empower Hindus; but they weren’t able to win a huge share in the elections. They kept on fighting against the unfair practises followed by the Indira Gandhi govt. When she got the clue that the nation is slowly turning against her, she imposed emergency and suspended the human rights. Emergency was lifted after 21 months and for the atrocities committed against the Indians, she lost the elections. A coalition government was formed in 1977 but it broke off in 1980. Bharatiya Jan Sangh-the political wing on RSS-merged with the Janata Party but the after the separation from the coalition government in 1980; on April 6 Bharatiya Janata Party was formed.
When BJP was trying to emerge as a parallel party to Congress, Indira Gandhi was assassinated and due to this, Rajiv Gandhi led Congress emerged victorious on sympathetic waves. Rajiv Gandhi was coroneted as a youngest Prime Minister of India. He was known for his immature decisions and slowly he started to wrap himself with scams. After the death of Indira Gandhi, Indira witnessed a massacre of thousands of Sikhs. It was during his tenure, terrorism in Kashmir sprung up. Who can forgive the “Bhopal Tragedy” in which he helped the person responsible for it to flee from India?
Nehru and Indira Gandhi, both did appeasement politics and how can Rajiv Gandhi be different from them? In 1986, Rajiv Gandhi made a mockery of the Indian Court in the “Shah Bano” case. As per Indian law, a 62 year old divorced women Shah Bano was entitled to receive alimony (maintenance money) from her ex-husband. But the Muslim community wanted to follow their own personal law. As per their law, a man need not pay maintenance money after divorce. But a person needs to follow Indian constitution until he/she is an Indian citizen.
The Supreme Court of India which followed the rule book ordered the Muslim man to pay his ex wife monthly allowances. This triggered the Muslim religious organisations as they began protesting against the Supreme Court and Rajiv Gandhi government.
Rajiv Gandhi didn’t want to lose his vote bank so he introduced a bill to modify the Constitution of India.
Just to favour a community, he changed India’s constitution. As he had 2/3rd majority, the bill was easily passed. This is what the secularism of the Congress party.
This put the existence of Hindu at community at risk and to save their condition from further worsening, they had to come out on streets. The agitation was led by Advani Ji and it was organised really well. The Hindutva moment got a big boost after this; the majority Hindus started to realise that they need a party which will uphold their interests.
Rajiv Gandhi sensed the danger as he realised that the Hindu majority may stop voting to Congress. At the mean time the Ayodhya Ram Mandhir which remained shut from several years added to the impatience of Hindu leaders. Rajiv Gandhi didn’t wanted BJP to take advantage of this, so he filed an appeal to unlock the doors. Everyone was surprised to see the speed in which the government bodies worked. Within hours of the verdict, the gates of the Ayodhya Ram Mandhir were opened. Until then, only a priest was allowed inside the temple to perform the Puja once a year.
In 1986, Rajiv had committed a biggest mistake by favouring Muslims so he can’t ignore his Hindu voters too. But he unintentionally favoured the Hindus in the Ayodhya disputes. There were several evidence to prove that from centuries, Hindus were going on pilgrimage to Ayodhya in UP but there is no evidence to prove that it was built by Muslims.
But certain Muslim brigade started to oppose this but Rajiv Gandhi smartly managed them but either giving a portfolio or increasing in Hajj subsidies or giving some plot.
Soon, it lead to another moment and that was “Ram Janmabhoomi Movement” and the Hindu organisation strongly demanded to grant permission for building the temple for lord Ram. But there was lack of awareness and unity among Hindus. So BJP yet again couldn’t emerge as a strong player even though it was slowly increasing its power.
But in the early 1985, Rajiv Gandhi insisted on producing a TV serial on Ramayana and finally the contract was handed over to Ramanad Sagar. So as everyone knows, it created history. Even people of other faith watched it with utmost interest and respect. But Rajiv Gandhi had committed a mistake. Yes, Hindus were never united even though their existence was under threat. But since the telecast of Ramayan started, there created a sense of unity among Hindus. During the serial, the TV set was garlanded and was considered like a religious material.
This was a big boon to BJP because as the unity among Hindus increased, BJP organised a “Rath yatra” from Gujarat’s Somnath Temple to Ayodhya Ram Mandir. Advani Ji had sensed peoples’ desire for building a Ram Mandhir and reacted for it in time. So by the mid 1990s BJP had established itself to an extent that it can challenge the Congress. Moreover the Hindus started to realise that they were not valued by the then government. So ultimately BJP was benefited. Even though BJP advocated for Hindu rights, it didn’t forget to value “Sarva Dharma Sahishnuta” (All religious tolerance).
Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991 but he indirectly helped BJP and can be called as a father of BJP. He never had an intention to uplift Hindus but the fear of losing votes made him to take up certain decisions that proved fatal to him.