Strategic voting has never been a Hindu forte. At the time of elections, media is flooded with reports about how Muslims and Christians manipulated the outcome by their en bloc voting, which in secular parlance is strategic voting to defeat the only whipping boy of Indian politics, the BJP, which according to them is seen as a Hindu party. The BJP gets beaten by both ends of the stick. The protagonists of strategic minority voting dump it and ostracise it as a Hindu party. The leaders who aggressively espouse Hindu grievances condemn it for not being Hindu enough.
Broadly speaking, it is seldom that Hindus vote as Hindus. Hindus vote as Jats, Yadavs, Dravidians, Dalits and even as Brahmins. But only the call of nationalism, the need for asserting territorial integrity of the country, make Hindus react as a united whole and in this they are not swayed by political affiliations. Both the BJP and the Congress benefited from this Hindu sentiment. Till mid-eighties Congress rode to decisive victories cashing in on the Hindu aspiration to keep India one. The emergence of casteist formations with their open and sectarian appeal to the minority vote coupled with the Congress overdrive to keep its traditional vote banks intact created a situation where Hindus lost their political worth. The politics of vote bank divided the social fabric and weakened national unity. The Congress under Rajiv Gandhi cynically overturned the political balance, even over-ruled the Supreme Court wooing communal vote banks. This fast depleted the national mandate that gave him unprecedented victories.
Change is the only permanent facet of politics. In every act of Muslim fanatic assertion Indians are reminded of the tragic sequence of Partition. A weakened Hindu society, split on caste lines, falling prey to the whims of short-sighted and disparate political gamblers offer a frightening prospect for the Hindu. The majority community, the mosaic of the Unitarian federal structure is under siege from within.
It was the revered His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda, the founder of Chinmaya Mission, who first envisaged the Hindu vote bank idea in the mid-eighties. It was the outcome of a deep felt cultural angst, the fear of Hinduism being submerged by the onslaught of Semitic evangelism, Islamic fundamentalism and pusillanimous political paganism. At this stage discussions veered around the need for creating a Hindu vote bank or a strong Hindu lobby in the centres of power. Simply put, Hindus have to be made aware of their political strength. An osmosis of the religious Hindu into a political Hindu like his Muslim and Christian counterpart.
The debate is endless. Can Hindu be used in a religious context? What is the definition of a Hindu? Who after all is a Hindu? How can the majority community shrink itself into a vote bank? And if it happens, it could prove counter-productive. This will encourage other communities to become more assertive and focused. And the very phrase vote bank has acquired bad connotations by usage. Should Hindus who have been critical of vote bank politics all these days make a U-turn on the same absurd strategy? Even there is a fear that the parties indulging in Hindu vote bank politics will frighten away the liberal Hindu votes and the votes of other communities. All these considerations make such parties sympathetic to Hindu sentiments wary.
Unlike in the context of other en bloc votes the Hindu vote bank idea is rejected outright because of two critical concerns. First, it is uncharacteristic to fathom a universal Hindu political personality. To unite Hindus under one banner is like keeping a basketful of crabs together. Second, all political parties in India are largely headed by Hindu leaders. Only that they don'tspeak or look after Hindu interest. Both these assumptions are arguably valid. But they miss the major concern behind the vote bank idea. The vote bank is a weapon to remind Hindu of his innate strength.
Hindu vote bank is not a status quo of a vested religious interest. It is a dynamic process in redefining Indian polity. The crux of this idea is to make Indian polity Hindu centric, whatever may be the definition attributed to the term Hindu. Like, the political character of western democracies is Christian. Not to talk of Islamic countries, where there is neither democracy nor religious freedom. Awakening the Hindu consciousness in the political circuit is the demand of the Hindu vote bank. Creating a realisation that the Hindu too has a stake, a sensitivity and anger, when it comes to his core existential question, is the purpose. Hindus cannot remain spiritual islands invoking philosophical platitudes, when their very identity, their legitimate share in the national resources is denied.
Hindus are taken for granted. All electoral calculations are made as if the Hindus do not exist. The engineering of Hindu vote bank is the maturing of the Hindu constituency to ensure an electoral outcome of his choice, solely dictated by his collective understanding of the best possible national goal. Only this will restore, defend, protect and preserve the Hindu-centric power structure of this land. Thus the Hindu vote bank need not be loyal to particular political formations. It is a bargaining chip to protect permanent Hindu interests.
The need for this comes from the experience of the past six decades of secular democracy. It is not only the political space, but the geographic area of the Hindu is getting squeezed. Besides the alarming demographic invasion, proselytization and petro-dollar alienating large population of India from the national mainstream, there is the danger of the vicious secular ploy of dividing and dissipating Hindu society.
For argument, they say Hindus are in a majority. Then they dissect on caste lines. They promote the theory that Vanvasis are not Hindus, Dalits are not Hindus and that Hindus are only the so-called upper castes. And that argument, if accepted, makes us the minority. But atrocities, political discrimination in the name of religion are justified with the plea that as majority Hindus should bear the brunt. What is this logic?
A well-established fact is that the dominant English press in the country is anti-Hindu. It is insensitive to Hindu feelings. But a more vital aspect of this is that the media ownership pattern particularly after globalisation has slipped into the hands of multinational companies and interests, who are either Islamic or Christian in their political belief. The systematic campaign through the media to defame and devalue Hindu interests, and leadership speaking for Hindu cause, is the direct outcome of this economic phenomenon. In the end Hindu is powerless, penniless and landless. Even numbers are slowly being worked against him. This aspect is discussed in greater detail in the following pages.
T is time for a new politics. We witnessed it working in Punjab. Why not all over India? This is not about dividing. This is about reconciling to realities. At one level the rural India travels to the urban India in search of its dream, a job, a better living and a secure future. And at another level the urban India sets the trend for the rural India to follow. Simply put, people travel from villages to cities, ideas travel from cities to villages.
Any political idea that loses the urban trust loses the India of tomorrow. That was what happened to the NDA in 2004. That is what is happening to the UPA today. The urban middle class is uncertain and insecure about the future of his children. The cream of urban Indian youth is migrating to the west, even to the far east. India is witnessing the highest human talent exodus of modern history, thanks to the politics of quota and Sachar. Is India becoming a place unsafe for the average educated Hindu? Why should the middle class Hindu children seek their dreams in the west? This is another worry confronting the Hindu. The deprivation of the real Hindu is not only political but also economic. His history is distorted, his religion is lampooned, his heroes are caricatured, his social fabric is destroyed. All this because of his immense capacity to tolerate and his self-denial of power.
Hindus have to survive and dominate their land for humanity'ssake. This is the only guarantee for peace, co-existence, freedom and democracy. Should India become like Pakistan, Bangladesh, China or the West, whose record in keeping peace is nothing to emulate, secularism and democracy will become unworkable.
Considering that India is Hindu majority, issues concerning the community should have found a place in the manifestos of political parties. Why should Ramjanmabhoomi, cow-protection, Ram Setu, protection of Hindu temples, common civil code, writing a national history, subsidy to Hindu pilgrims, conversion by inducement or fight against terrorism be issues of partisan politics? Relatively these are more secular than most issues on which there is a political consensus. There is a strong Babri lobby, there is a stronger evangelical lobby. There is a Pak lobby, like a Chinese or US lobby, there is an Afzal and anti-Narendra Modi lobbies. Staines and Setalvads will get Padma Shri for Hindu-baiting. But in India there is no Hindu lobby! There is no Hindu issue on which parties across the board will sit and argue so that the majority sentiment is also taken note of.
The Hindu vote bank will emerge more as a consequence of the three years of UPA misrule. This coalition has presented the nation with a centre that cannot hold or rule. It indulgingly promotes crude chauvinism, terrible antagonism and deafening rhetoric of fissiparous elements weakening the country. The terrorists never had it so easy. Instead of working to unite the people, the UPA has an agenda to encourage social tension.
The CPM may not be in a position to rule a single state on its own. But it has the capacity to batter and bully the Prime Minister. Perhaps realising the limit of its democratic aggression, the CPM is now concentrating hard to become the umbrella party of all internal and external terrorist desperados, goondas, goons, criminals, Maoist insurgents and other anti-India outfits. It has a well-defined anti-Hindu plank. The Congress under Sonia Gandhi has lost its nationalist moorings and the will to cultivate patriotic feelings in its ranks. They have no respect for the Constitution, the Supreme Court or democracy.
This leaves the Sangh and its affiliates as the only churning force of cultural nationalism. The year-long Shri Guruji centenary celebrations proved the biggest-ever national campaign after independence for social harmony. It was also an attempt to reach out to all sections and reassure everybody that Sangh is an endeavour for progress, protection and peaceful rejuvenation. Out of the faith and goodwill it creates will unfold the glorious dawn of renascent India.