Has Prime Minister Narendra Modi already received a wake-up call to end the utter fanaticism being practised in Uttar Pradesh by a man who calls himself Adityanath and pretends to be a yogi but whose real name is Ajay Singh Bist? On election as the Chief Minister of the most populous State of India last year, he has taken a complete licence for hatred and violence and fanaticism in his State.
The Saffron Parivar, including the RSS and BJP, used to swear by the ideals of tolerance and universal truths brought out forcefully by Swami Vivekananda? Have they dumped those truths by engaging in fanaticism of their own? Especially, Ajay Singh alias Adityanath, is the high priest of fanaticism, even though Swami Vivekananda said that all faiths were streams, which lead to the sea, signifying the Ultimate Reality, even for the agnostics. This ideal would destroy fanaticism, he told the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago on September 11 1893.
The Saffron Parivar has been building up institution after institution and statues in the name of the Swami and from these institutions the National Security Adviser Doval and two Mishras have joined the Prime Minister’s Office as its “highest priests of power”; as has the Lt-Govenor of Delhi been appointed. But do they ever invoke Vivekananda in their actions? The truth is plain and simple: they just do not do so.
One of the earliest examples of fanaticism is the man who went to Mahatma Gandhi’s prayer meeting with a gun and fired at him in cold blood on January 30, 1948. Is that attitude at work in U.P.? That attack was justified by many who opposed Universal humanism of Mahatma Gandhi, who went to Noakhali in East Bengal and went on fast against communal riots there before and after Independence and forced Husein Suhrawardy, Prime Minister of United Bengal and later East Pakistan, to join him in appealing for an end to the carnage going on there or anywhere else in India.
Mahatma Gandhi had no enemies, not even the British Empire, in spite of cruelty unleashed on the people of India; his ideal is if you are slapped in the face, offer the other cheek to the slapper. Non-violence was not just a creed but the most practical proposition, not just because it was not possible to face the might of the Empire, but he was completely grounded in Vivekananda’s ideals and showed it by visiting his memorial in Belur Math in 1921 and vocally affirmed it in truly forceful words.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi discovered at international summit meetings that Mahatma Gandhi’s practice of tolerance and universal humanity were flavours of the season. Could Mr. Modi hold himself back before the same world leaders? He had to own up Mahatma Gandhi in his speeches, especially because Gandhiji belonged to Gujarat, where the beacon light was lit.
Did Mr. Modi enrol a recent convert to Gandhian thought, who had started life as a Communist and later took to Saffron groupism, but denounced both creeds? Is that low profile speech writer of Atal Bihari Vajpayee now one of the low profile minions of Mr Modi? Is his name Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was dropped as a columnist by the Indian Express a couple of years ago?
Has Mr. Modi also stopped invoking both Gandhi and Vivekananda in this cold season and lack of international forums? “Yes, we can”, he might be turning those words silently in his mind, but he has several mischief makers around trying to ruin his claimed, if not acclaimed, good work in Sab ka saath, sab ka vikaas slogan, which now figures not even in his lip movements, leave alone voice.
The mischief maker in chief is indeed Adityanath, who unleashed his brand of fanaticism long before 2014 by moving from a temple office of the Gorakhpur Math to the fertile ground of western U.P. where he preached his fanaticism in full measure for years and later as Chief Minister of U.P. last year, he unleashed it as if there is no tomorrow.
He wears orange and saffron robes, but practices violence on the ground and justifies it. There is no one to check him, not the President, not the Prime Minister.
Will all this violence, let loose and continuing, prove too dear for the BJP? Will the Central leadership have the guts to get rid of a man who is doing all he can to cause the debacle of the BJP in the 2019 General Election to elect a new Lok Sabha?
He has proved that he could do it in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the BJP has just been defeated in Assembly elections in the December 11 results. He was sent there as a dummy to campaign at 74 rallies in the absence of the Prime Minister as a chosen hero or demon to wreck the prospects of the Saffron Parivar.
When the Prime Minister returned from his international summits towards the end of the campaigning, it was too late; the damage had been done.
The damage is continuing and could well be reflected in April and May this year unless the Prime Minister decides to dissolve the Lok Sabha a couple of months early to reduce the irretrievable damage he faces to his leadership. Is there a wake-up call that Mr. Modi refuses to answer? Does time tell? Do the peels of the bells of time toll now for the rulers? Could they care less and say: to hell with the morrow!
Lalit Sethi is a Journalist of long standing and a commentator on Political and Social Issues.