Vajpayee’s description of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is true of all religious fundamentalist organisations, particularly his own saffron VHP/RSS brigade: “They stand for an aberrant mental outlook and a highly regressive socio-political agenda, which rejects the ideals of pluralism, secularism, freedom, and democracy and has no respect for national boundaries.”
The activities of all tentacles of the Hindutva brigade – the hatred spread against the religious minorities; the efforts at rewriting Indian history; the tampering of the secular content of our education system; the attempt to change our Constitution, etc. – all testify to the unfolding of an agenda whose basis is precisely what is stated above.
In the process, it does not matter to them if the unity of the country is jeopardized; it does not matter if millions of minorities feel more insecure. It is cynical, to say the least, that communal passions will be whipped up for political profit.
However, it needs to be noted that it is under the patronage of this government that nationalistic jingoism is being whipped up to bolster the electoral prospects of the BJP in the forthcoming assembly elections. The UP elections are particularly crucial. Its results will determine the survival of the Vajpayee-led government at the Centre.
Vajpayee needs to be told that the Indian people have always risen as one entity against foreign threat. They will continue to do so. But beware, they shall also rise against the cynical exploitation and misuse of their sentiments – religious or patriotic – for partisan political benefits of the BJP.