The Hindu (mis)leadership
by Sameer Bhagwat on 22 May 2009 10 Comments

The most surprising aspect of the Hindutva discourse has been that the leaders of the movement have been chosen by its visceral enemies. Take a recent example: Narendra Modi for a period of time, post-Godhra, was accepted as the tallest Hindu leader, and for many this still endures notwithstanding his staggering temple demolition drive.

What was the basis for this impression in all sections of Hindu society? It was Modi’s alleged complicity in the riots against the Muslims; the belief that he had “blood on his hands.” This premise resulted in Modi’s elevation to Hindu hriday samrat (whether indeed a society should lionise such persons is another subject). Here it is sufficient to state that no majority community should be pushed into such a situation of abject powerlessness, for only then do such perversions creep in.

Of course, in public such reasoning would be denied. Who said he was complicit, it will be asked. The secular media had its own reasons for maligning him. Modi himself vehemently denied his alleged role, but because of the shrillness of the electronic media in implicating him as a mass murderer, reason was drowned and the only two camps were those who opposed Modi and those who supported him.

Those who supported him - large sections of Hindu society - were vehemently opposed to the anti-Modi liberals and bleeding heart intellectuals. Thus, ironically, Modi became a Hindu leader not on the basis of anything he himself had said or done, but more on the basis of what his detractors, and the detractors of Hindu society, said about him. He became a leader by default, which status he enjoys even now to some extent.

What were the glaring facts of the riots themselves?
1] Several scores of rioters were shot dead by the police.
2] Hindus killed in the riots by Muslim mobs exceeded 250 (totally belying all charges of a pogrom). Hindu society has not asked for any account from anybody for the murder of their own community members, least of all from Narendra Modi, till date.

The last 5 years have more than confirmed Narendra Modi to be only a secular leader (heading towards becoming secular) doing nothing at all about the sizeable Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrator population in Ahmedabad itself (no, not even in sound bytes). Yet the myth of Modi being a Hindu leader endures, though for most the veneer is wearing off.

Hindu society fell victim to a sustained disinformation campaign carried out by forces inimical to it, and in the process ended up creating a hero where absolutely none existed. Now it finds itself bruised as its aspirations are thwarted by the very persona in which it invested so much. And because it invested so much, it prolongs its miseries through self-deception, reading strategy where there is only chicanery.

Exactly the same thing happened before with L.K. Advani. The same secular media demonised him and, taking its cue from its sworn enemies - if you guys hate him so much there must be some good in him - Hindu society made him its leader, irrespective of what pronouncements Advani himself made. Even as Advani declared 6 December 1992 to be the saddest day in his life, Hindu society anointed him ‘Sardar the Second.’ 

In power, when Advani called for governance-sans-ideology, Hindu society blamed Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The blinkers finally came off (not even after Kandahar) after BSF Jawans were murdered by Bangladeshi (Muslim) goons and their bodies sent back like animal carcasses. Advani as Home Minister pleaded helplessness as he was busy batting for Sheikh Hasina to win the elections in Bangladesh – a supposedly grand strategy, as Hasina was supposed to be pro-India; but she was already the PM when these monstrosities took place, and she lost the elections to boot!

The die-hard Advani fan finally bit the dust when Advani eulogised Jinnah. Whatever clarifications Advani may have offered, two points need to be borne out:
1] Where was there a need to say anything at all?
2] The most objectionable part was that the comment was one of open admiration - and this to a man directly responsible for bringing ruination to millions of Hindus... and from a man who was one such!!!

Those who have not figured out Advani by now will never do so; and since the learning curve of Hindus has quickened considerably, Modi is likely to be de-rated much quicker. Hindu society should do its own homework and not outsource it to the secular media and plump for the ones whom the secular media reserves its choicest abuses for.

To those who oppose the fundamental premise of this article, I ask only the following question: If Modi had been hauled over coals by the media for the 250+ HINDU lives lost in the Gujarat riots, or if the media had cornered Advani on the betrayal of Kar Sevaks’ sacrifices in pulling down Babri mosque by describing it as a saddest day, would they have become the Hindu leaders they became?

This system is not entirely without merit though. The key thing to see is whether the concerned person proudly owns up to the epithets awarded, or runs around trying to convince one and all that he means no harm, that he is, in fact, highly secular. Both Advani and Modi repeatedly affirm their secular credentials (guess who’s the top cop in Gujarat now?)  which by itself is no crime, but certainly disqualifies them for Hindu leadership.

In this context, Pramod Muthalik (not Varun Gandhi) seems to be the next candidate up for evaluation. The situation that exists now for Hindu society vis-a-vis it’s own leadership can be brought out by the following analogy:
In a city there exist: A middle class colony (read Hindus); a goondaland (read you know who); a secular media (read a secular media). The residents of the middle class area are constantly harassed and roughed up by the goons, causing considerable angst. A resident, say, Chote Lal Ji (CLJ) promises to do something. This raises the hackles of the secular media and they wait for a suitable opportunity.

One day, when CLJ is passing through goondaland, he is severely beaten up by the goondas. The secular media goes to town with gory details of how CLJ  thrashed the goondas up, they even fabricate evidence as to how CLJ has plans for finishing off the goons altogether, and just for effect get some goons photographed, heavily bandaged and in hospital. They feel smugly satisfied at having thoroughly discredited CLJ.

But the script unfolds differently. Seeing the media reports, a resident, Ram Lal Ji (RLJ) thinks ‘at last, someone to fix the goondas, this is the man we need.’ He finds that large sections of middle class residents echo these same sentiments. CLJ’s own protestations to the contrary are brushed aside by his admirers as ‘strategy’. CLJ says repeatedly that the way out is to win the goondas through education and love, but the middle classes pay little heed. In the Mayoral elections that follow, CLJ triumphs, leaving the secular media aghast, causing them to raise the pitch and level still more serious charges against CLJ. The jubilant middle classes thinks its payback time and asks CLJ to deliver on the promise (not his own mind you, but what the secularists alleged he would do). 

True to form, CLJ dilly dallies and dithers before imposing a stiff tax on the middle classes (MC’s) to enable the education and uplift of the goondas (partly also out of sheer terror as the beating he suffered is still fresh in his memory).

Finally the coin drops, and the MC’s bemoan the great betrayal. None of this would have happened if the MC’s had listened to what CLJ actually said i.e. (i) that he was roughed up by the goons and not the other way around; (ii) he had no intention of harming anybody and would do his best to elevate the goondas.

The MCs failed to measure known facts with the two versions (that of CLJ and that of secularists). If they had attempted that, they would have discovered the many injuries of CLJ, as also the speed of recovery of the goons and would have concluded CLJ’s version to be more accurate and the secularists’ version to be trumped up.

As it happened, the MCs were totally swayed by the polemics of the secularists. Thus Hindus have always had their leaders chosen for them by their opponents (albeit in a reverse psychology way).

One must not sub-contract ones principles to leaders who then negotiate on their behalf, but stick firmly and unrelentingly to the principles themselves and support and reward those who come forward to uphold these principles according to the efforts made and successes achieved.


Sometime on, Bhure Lal Ji (BLJ) is passing through goondaland. BLJ is assaulted severely by the goons. The secularists accuse BLJ of tormenting the innocents as also of having unleashed a reign of terror on goondaland, all the while shedding copious tears for goondalanders. Seeing the media reports, a resident, Ram Lal Ji, thinks ‘At last someone to fix the goondas, this is the man we need!’

The author is an independent thinker and lives in Chennai

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