[Reader-list] fwd: Praful Bidwai / Floriano Lobo on L.K.Advani
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Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2008 20:00:57 +0530
From: "floriano" <floriano.lobo at gmail.com>
Subject: [Goanet] The Prosaic Thruth about L K Advani - Commentary by
floriano lobo (goasuraj)
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The Prosaic Truth about L K Advani
By: Praful Bidwai
NT-April 10, 2008
Vol XLVI No. 51
So powerful is the spin machine that certain political leaders command
that the media becomes a willful accomplice in lionizing them. Take PV
Narashima Rao for instance. This cynical advocate of defeatism in the face
of Hindutva and globalization was glorified as both a scholar
extraordinaire who knew 14 languages, and a Chanakya or master-tactician.
Reality was more prosaic. Rao was no great linguist. He allowed the Babri
mosque to be razed through 'masterly' inaction. And he accelerated the
Congress' decline after losing the 1996 election.
Now, the media is building up Mr. LK Advani as a leader whose swearing -in
as the Prime Minister is imminent - exactly the way Mr. Atal Behari
Vajpayee was promoted in 1998 as ' the man India awaits'. Mr Advani, we
are also told, is an erudite person, with sharp analytical faculties and
eager to engage with ideas. He has a gentle, humane, side too.
Those who have followed Mr Advani's career will doubt the validity of this
description. His autobiography 'My Country, My Life' should confirm their
worst assessments. Reading the book does not lead to the conclusion, set
out in Mr Vajpayee's foreword, that it is authored b an "outstanding
leader whose best.. Is yet to come".
Mr. Advani emerges as a leader whose time has already passed. His ideology
and politics have no relevance for flesh-and-blood people in today's India
who want an open, tolerant and just society, free of discrimination on
grounds of birth or religion, who long to be emancipated from poverty, and
who are yet to enjoy real, substantive democracy.
Mr. Advani's 986-page book is tediously descriptive. It narrates numerous
anecdotes, some interesting, but most without insights into events or
personalities. Mr. Advani does not rise to the mark. He does not distance
himself from events and does not look at them critically. The book is a
self-justificatory apology for his role in them. It also reveals a series
of obsessions and clich?s: "Hindu India's" centuries-long story of victim
hood, prejudice against efforts (eg Ghandiji's) to forge a citizen-based
identity independent of religion, deep suspicion of liberal, consensual
Nehru-style politics, blind faith in aggressive nationalism as the key to
India's emergence as a great power.
Even in the best part of the book, pertaining to the Emergency, Mr Advani
does not rise above petty, person-centric polemics. He shows no
understanding, whatsoever, of the deeper causes of the structural crisis
of governance in that period. He condemns Indira Gandhi for saying that
"the nation is more important than democracy", and for invoking 'the
foreign hand' to violate civil liberties.
But, Mr Advani forgets that his own party is distinguished by the primacy
it accords to the nation, and to a strong Centre, over and above democracy
and fundamental rights. Mr Advani closely observed or played a role in
some momentous events - the Emergency, the Ayodhya mobilization, the 1998
nuclear test, India's worst state-sponsored violence in Gujarat. But he
offers no analytical insights or self-critical reflection into these.
Totally missing is the larger social-political context, which made these
events possible - including the historic decline of the Congress, rise of
identity politics, the consequences of neo-liberal policies, and spread of
Mr. Advani's entire discourse on national security is banal, and his
understanding of terrorism, pathetic and driven by a Pakistan obsession -
as if the Kashmir militancy never had indigenous roots in popular
discontent and Indian policies. Terrorism must be, can only be, smashed
with force. There is no need for addressing its root-causes. This thinking
befits a small-town thanedar, and not India's home minister.
Mr Advani foams at the mouth at threats from Pakistan. But he does not
explain why India's 10-month-long post-December 2001 mobilisation of 7
lakh troops was no answer. Nor does he explain why Mr Vajpayee extended
'the hand of peace' to Pakistan in April 2003, barely a week after he had
ruled this out, and how he himself suddenly became a votary of peace with
Pakistan. Mr Advani held 20 secret meetings with former Pakistan high
commissioner, Mr Qazi Jehangir Ashraf, but does not explain why they
produced no results at Agra or later.
The book contains outright lies, too. During Mr Advni's June 2003 US
visit, India all but agreed - subject to clarifications - to send troops
in aid of the occupation. He says" "Right from the beginning .. Atalji and
I were firmly of the view that sending .troops .. was out of the
question.." It wasn't in India's national interests" to support the unjust
However, it was officially reported that India agreed, in principle, to
send troops. A huge 8 statement by the Indian Embassy in Washington says,
Mr Advani told the then defence secretary, Mr Donald Rumsfeld "that the
matter was under consideration of the government."
Mr. Advani merely repeats his 2005 remarks on Jinnah's 'secularism' in
Pakistan, based on his August 11, 1947 speech, which he interprets as
defending "equality of all citizens in the eyes of the state". But Jinnah
created a state on the basis of religion. Mr Advani believes that it is
legitimate to use religion to come to power, and then build a nominally
Mr. Advani is silent on as to who pressed for his resignation after these
remarks, but it's known that they included his own prot?g?s (eg Mr Arun
Jaitley). Yet, he recalls: "One day... I was told I should step down from
the presidency of the BJP". He calls this 'profoundly agonising', but does
not gather the courage to say it was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,
which issued the directive!.
Mr. Advani's account of the Kandahar episode is a classic white lie. He
repeatedly claims the BJP would never compromise with 'terrorists' - when
it actually exchanged hostages with them. He ludicrously says he was
unaware that Mr. Jaswant Singh was asked by the Cabinet Committee on
Security to go to Kandahar and carry out the exchange. This gravely
damages Mr Advani's credibility, and his unique selling point as 'Loh
Purush' (Iron Man. If he was unaware of Mr Singh's brief, he was unfit to
be home minister. Either way, Mr. Adjani loses.
Mr. Advani's idea of 'secularism' is grotesque. He never rises above the
religion-based "us" and "them" identities. He condemns 'Graham Staines'
killing and repeats the clich?, "some of my best friends are Christians",
but reverts to crass Hindutva on the freedom of religion: conversions 'a
threat both to Hindu society and national integration", and Hindu
organizations cannot be "blamed for protesting against" it.
The most nauseating part of the book pertains to Gujarat. Mr Advani
rejects the settled truth that the post-Godhra violence was
state-sponsored. As proof, he narrates two instances in which he
interceded with Mr Modi and prevented Muslims from being killed. But for
every such example, there are probably 10 instances of premeditated
murder, including the gruesome dismembering alive of former Member of
Parliament, P Ehsan Jafri, which Mr Advani failed to prevent.
Since the day Advani (I shall refrain from using the prefix 'Mr' as it
signifies 'gentlemanliness', and, as far as I am concerned, Advani is far
from being a gentleman. To me he has always been a conniving rat) was
projected as the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, I have been wanting to
say my bit, but infact was waiting for a chance to do it. And by God,
Praful Bidwai has given it to me in his excellent article above which I
shall treasure so dearly. So here I go.
The author is very right about Narashima Rao. With him, it started a spate
of India having 'gutless' and shameful Prime Ministers, including the most
impotent 'Atal Behari Vajpayee'. I have never considered the good Dr.
Manmohan Singh as the Prime Ministerial material ever. In fact he is too
good to be a Prime Minister. He is most highly qualified, dignified and
gentlemanly. But he is too soft a person and therefore unsuitable to be
the Prime Minister of a nation which needs to deal with characters such as
Musharafs and Lalloos.
And to come to my favourite 'ADVANI', to me and in my archives, he has
been the master manipulator and a candidate to be locked behind bars at
Delhi's Tihar Jail rather than have him seated on the Prime Minister's
chair of India. Cause he will undo what India has gained over all these
years since Independence and take it to its NADIR rather than to its
ZENITH. And, if there should be just one person in the over billion people
of this nation refusing to accept Advani as the Prime Minister, even if he
succeeds to get to that august chair, it will be me, floriano lobo. I
would rather die than live the day to see this rat being hailed as India's
Advani has never intended to retire from politics, as we have heard him
tell Barkha Dutt on NDTV and as he would have us believe. He has, on the
contrary, blackmailed the BJP into projecting him as the party's Prime
Ministerial candidate. Why? Because it has been his obsession and a long
time cherished dream to be India's Prime Minister. And he has been
espousing that dream as early as in 1966, as the then 'Jana Sangh' leader,
speaking to a crowd in the 'Nav Jivan Co-operative Housing Colony at
Mahim, Bombay, shouted down for speaking in chaste Sindhi. "Yaad Rakhna"
he had told the crowd "Ek din meim yhe desh ka, India ka, Pradhan Mantri
banke hi rahumga". Advani has come close to that position, being the
Deputy Prime Minister and the Home Minister. And he has seen to it that
the enquiry/hearing by the 'Liberhan Commission' on the demolition of the
Babri Masjid in which case he was indicted, has been scuttled to save his
own scrawny neck. As the Home Minister he has invariable brought pressure
on the CBI to absolve himself from the sin of planning and executing the
plot to demolish the Babri Masjid. I have reason to believe that Babri
Masjid, or religion or any other thing for that matter is not really his
cup of tea. But he will use anything and everything that will help him get
closer to his dream throne. With Babri Masjid, he was sure of taking the
throne. He used religious fervor to whip up the passion in the gullible
Hindus to achieve his dream. And he almost accomplished it. His next try
was the Jinnah affair. Again, it was the retirement bait. This man will
never stop trying until he breathes his last.
In my Sunday Ramblings -20 (Published in the Goan Observer - Vol I, No.32,
dated June 11-17, 2005) I had predicted that Advani would even go to the
extent of patching -up with the hated "Italy ki Beti" (Sonia Ganshi) in
his quest for the PM's Throne. Three years later he has done exactly that
and my prophesy has come true.
I remember the chat I had with Audhut Parrikar, brother of Manohar
Parrikar, at his house in Khorlim, Mapusa, over a cup of tea, immediately
after the demolition of the Babri Masjid. I used to consult him on some
technical problem I had vis a vis MS fabrication. Since the Babri Masjid
affair was hot, we naturally lapsed into political talk when he had said
to me "You should join the BJP, you know?". To that, I had replied "Why
not? But on one condition though ! First you must lock up Advani in the
Tihar Jail ". At that time I was not to know that his brother had played
an active role in the 'Kar Seva' contingent from Goa to help Advani bring
down the Babri Masjid.
The Babri Masjid was demolished when I was sailing. The news had
devastated me. And I had written an article on this episode and had it
posted to 'Herald' which never got published, thanks to Rajan Narayan, who
was its editor at that time. I had concluded that article in this manner
"Advani must be tried and shut-up in the darkest of the dark dungeons
where he can see in his mind's eye the film of the demolition of the Babri
Masjid a-million-times- over until he goes raving mad."
Advani is a liar of a thousand lies. I am not the only one to say this.
Many have written about it. And Praful Bidwai has said it here to make it
my day, sort of. And, by virtue of this, Advani 'cannot' and 'must not'
become the Prime Minister of India. If he does, it would be a 'SHAME' to
this great nation , a country with great potential !!!
Now coming back to Goa and Goans and the reference that I have made to
Manohar Parrikar above, I am of firm belief that an individual is free to
choose his/her ideologies and how to go about selling those to others. But
as a Goan, I would want Manohar Parrikar to make a deep introspection to
see if he is being used by shallow leaders like Advani for their own
selfish game. Whereas Advani may not think twice about changing the
direction to suit his plans, his followers are stuck with what they have
been given to believe and cannot change the direction off hand. The demand
for the resignation of Advani as the chief of the BJP from Arun Jaitley
sums up what I have said above.
For me, Goa is my 'smaller' country from the perspective of being a
pre-independent-India baby with the Portuguese colonial yoke. And if I am
to have my loyalties to my larger country which is India, the larger
country must have some considerations towards my smaller country which is
a wholesome part of me and cannot just use it to the hilt and let it go to
dogs with not an iota of consideration of preserving it in the manner that
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave us to understand that Goa, like the rest of
the states of India will be preserved in its cultural and linguistic
mosaic. As a fourteen year old, I have heard him say these words from his
own mouth, live, at a public meeting held at the sprawling open fields
that is now the stinking 'Kadamba Bus Terminus'. If that promise is not
forthcoming, it is but natural that I will protest and protest hard until
my voice is heard.
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