IT is one thing to exorcise a ghost, but quite another to exorcise a ghost-writer. Satiricus wonders if the BJP leadership is having such sombre thoughts about his old acquaintance, Sudheendra Kulkarni. But perhaps Satiricus is being stupid (as always) in differentiating between the BJP leadership on the one hand and Kulkarni on the other. For only the other day, the Indian Express, India'sbiggest English language (and therefore automatically the most knowledgeable) newspaper, described Kulkarni as a BJP leader.
Actually Satiricus was really happy, but more than really surprised at the description. For he does not recall seeing him seated among the leaders on the dais on the day the BJP was inaugurated. On the other hand, Satiricus does recall visting Kulkarni in the Blitz office. Since then he has apparently blitzed his way up the political ladder?and now here he is, virtually at the top, hogging a headline spread all across the Express front page. Whether or not that makes the man a media-made leader, Satiricus does not know. All he knows is that as a lowly individual of the Bharatiya janata, it behoves Satiricus to sit at the feet of this Bharatiya Janata Party leader and try to understand, to the best of his retarded understanding, this thinker'sthoughts as revealed in this precious paper. Unfortunately, there is a serious problem here.
The problem is that Satiricus is only a Hindu, and consequently unable to understand and beware of a Hindu-only approach, as cautioned by Kulkarni. Of course, it is obvious even to a dimwit (read Hindu) like Satiricus that no political party, however Hindu (or ex-Hindu), can have a ?Hindu-voter-only? approach, for the simple reason that electoral democracy is a numbers game?the game of counting the number of heads on your side without counting on what'sinside those heads. So he fully agrees with Kulkarni'sdire warning: ?With a narrow Hindu-only approach, never will BJP occupy the dominant position in Indian politics…?
But while accepting the wisdom of these sage words, Satiricus also feels flummoxed. For although it is unfortunately true that once upon a time, long, long ago, the BJP had openly exploited this narrow approach to broaden its parliamentary strength from 2 to 84, did it not shed this narrowness immediately on coming to power as the head of a coalition consisting of two dozen hangers-on? After narrow-minded Hindus (like and including Satiricus) voted the BJP to power, they thought the BJP in power would do three things every Hindu always wanted?Ramjanmabhoomi, abrogation of Article 370, and a Common Civil Code. But then, apparently all Hindus are as stupid as Satiricus, so they could not understand a simple fact?the fact that if the coalition was to remain on the throne, Rama could not claim it, but had to be sent back into vanvas. Whenever the naturally dharmic Hindus complained, they were explained that coalition Dharma was as broad as Hindu Dharma was narrow, and what could the poor dears in power do about it?
Funnily enough, Satiricus recalls that in those glorious anti-Hindu-only times, the phrase ?Congressisation of the BJP? had become quite common in the media, and even a Congress columnist like Rajeev Shukla had openly wondered why the BJP was failing the Hindu voter, when the Hindu vote was the surest and most democratic way to power.
So, will Sudheendra permit Satiricus to express the silly opinion that it was not adopting the Hindu-only approach that caused the BJP electoral grief, but rather not adopting the approach that caused it. Anyway, after turning against Hindus, Kulkarni turns to Muslims and says, ?Should a party like the BJP ever come to power in alliance with other parties, we would be living in a fool'sparadise if we thought that we can retain power from one election to another by ignoring the Muslims altogether.?
Now, here Sudheendra is taxing soft-brained Satiricus'ssoft brain a little too hard. For, was not the BJP in power in the NDA alliance? And had it then been foolish enough to ?ignore the Muslims altogether?? Not that Satiricus noticed. Rather, had it not been wise enough to ignore the Hindus almost altogether? But as if this is not enough to make Satiricus'sconfusion worse confounded, Kulkarni, like a true politician, makes two virtually contradictory statements more or less in the same breath. First he says, ?The BJP'sapathy towards Indian Muslims, who number at least 15 crore, means we will be gifting the Muslim votes to our opponents?, but immediately adds that ?even, some traditional Hindu voters of BJP… are seen to be deserting our party…? Does that make sense to Satiricus? But perhaps in politics it is not necessary to make sense. And, as a poet put it, ?Words are like leaves, and where they most abound, much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.?
In Kulkarni'scase, for instance, Satiricus cannot make out if he is talking about the BJP'sapathy towards Indian Muslims or BJP'saparthy towards Indian Hindus. He has wisely warned against ?gifting? away the votes of Muslims, who are about 15 per cent of the population, but not against the ?deserting? of the party by even traditional BJP-voters among the Hindus, who are 85 per cent of the population.
And finally, Kulkarni says that the very thought that a ?Hindu party? voted to power with a ?Hindu political agenda? would be an ?undemocratic? ?chimera?, and an ?impossibility?. So there we are. Politics, after all, is the art of the possible. So, the BJP should forget the impossible Hindus and serve pseudo-secularism as devotedly as possible.
(The author can be contacted at D-402, Veena Sargam, Sector No. 11, Mahavir Nagar, Dahanukar Wadi, Kandivili (W), Mumbai-400 067.)