By Ranadhir Mitra
I am an NRI, born in 1931 and raised in an extended family of social/political activists in Bhagalpur, Bihar. I had schooling under the British system (I am a 1948 matriculate) and training in nationalism because of the freedom movement that my family members were involved in (via the Hindu Mahasabha, Forward Block, the Jugantar?revolutionary Congress, etc. plus my joining the RSS along with one of my elder brothers?now deceased.
While my elder brother (Bijoy Mitra) chose a political career in Jan Sangh and served Bihar as MLA/minister in the late 60s, I took the path of a common man getting a degree in sciences, serving in the community development programme in Cotanagpur area for five years and then moving to the USA (Columbia, Missouri) in September 1964. Here I pursued a Ph.D degree in environmantal physiology and joined the Department of Pathology in a medical school, living continuously in this town since my arrival here in the Fall of 1964.
Although I have US citizenship and comfort here, my love and concern for my mother-land have never ceased; in fact, I get enraged to observe the wretched conditions prevailing now (watching satellite TV and reading papers on the internet) compared to the condition in 1964, when I left some 40+ years ago. I have been following politics in India all along and my hopes perked-up when the BJP-NDA came to power; but alas, that was too short-lived ? it was nipped mainly by the constant harping of pseudo-secularists as communal in the last elections.
I am amazed to see a Prime Minister ?begging for vote to strengthen Soniaji'shand? like a puppy-dog, but I am really flabbergasted to see BJP taking the same dirty punch lying down [?BJP, the communal force?BJP dividing society on communal lines?? etc., etc from Sonia, Manmohan and the whole Congress outfit in unison]?without a counterpunch from BJP on that point!
If the BJP wants to take over the reins in Bihar then they better take this strategy to reaffirm its motto??equality to all with appeasement to none? by a strong counterpunch while there is still time.
Did BJP not learn how this emotive slogan washed off all their ?feel-good-development? points? No, I am not proposing that the BJP should ?initiate? action on this line, not even raise the ?Godhra? burning retort in campaign; what I am proposing is a ?counter-punch? from BJP by lodging complaint with the Election Commission for arousing communal passion, and (2) instructing the BJP rank and file to expose the ?communal? nature of Congress itself to the masses with slogans like ?who divided the country? ?On what basis did they divided us? ?the did were most number of communal riots occur?
The BJP'ssilence to this ?communal? charge only reconfirms it in the voter'smind?like Hitler's?Tell a lie a thousand times to make it true?. If the BJP wants to take over the reins in Bihar, then they better take this strategy to reaffirm its motto? ?equality to all with appeasement to none? by a strong counterpunch while there is still time. This, I feel should be done immediately by Uma Bharti (she is effective with the masses like Lalu), Arun Jaitly, Sushma Swaraj, Nitish Kumar, M.A. Naqvi, Jaswant Singh, L.K. Advani, Atal Behari Vajpayee and others.
I am writing this with the hope to reach the BJP leadership ?the only party which I believe can pull the country out of the current mess.
(Ranadhir Mitra is Adviser, Cultural Association of India, UMC and the Vedic Society, UMC University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri-65212.)