March 14, 2000

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Varsha Bhosle

Kya mach gaya? Tehelka!

I think, God loves atheists. No, honestly, can you imagine my plight as a columnist if I'd still been brandishing the "Hindu nationalist government's" flag...? Today it's impossible -- and patently unfair -- to try and stop the godless pinkos and Nehruvian secularists from laughing their asses off. And today, your favourite Savarkarian steak-eater will finally attempt to answer a January mail that took her to task for "fulminating against the sanghis."

But before I begin, let me tell you why I've been absent from these pages. Well, I'd been chewing over the political situation from a distance and counting my options... It was in August 2000 -- the same month that embarked on its defence-corruption sting -- that I decided "I want him out, out, OUT. And so should every self-respecting Indian." The intensity of my reaction wasn't based on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's raising the Haj subsidy -- ehsaas of the religious appeasement came much after that of the threat to the security of the nation. My doubts had begun on the last night of 1999, with Masood Azhar's release, and it took me six months to realise that I deserved to wear a dunce cap, and another two to commit myself against the halwais, plural. However, the doubts did persist even then. But today, I'm glad that it was I who first gave voice to the anti-Vajpayee sentiment from within the so-called Hindutvawadi fold.

Sure, in the early days of my "intransigence," I even got a harsh ticking-off from a veteran columnist I much admire, and who had been pulled onto the government's "consultant" bandwagon after the election. I'm happy to say that two months ago, his conscience forced him to write: "Prime Minister Vajpayee seems set to repeat the mistakes that first Nehru and then Indira Gandhi made in being soft towards Pakistan and the separatists... Mr Vajpayee has expressed his 'pain and anguish' at the thought that many Kashmiris have become 'refugees in their own motherland'. This is because Delhi has not put down militancy with a firmer hand, always being afraid of what the world might say... What is involved is India's security. This cannot be allowed to be jeopardised." Can't help it: I told him so...

To me, the Tehelka revelations aren't about corruption -- it's all about India's security, her defence. In the months to come, there will be hordes of saffron apologists who will put their spins on what the tapes clearly show -- that corruption exists in the Sangh Parivar, too. After the BJP came to power, it had become the norm to suggest (and I'm guilty of it, too) that it was the non-RSS-background members of the BJP who were the wheeler-dealers of the party; that the till-then-secular allies brought in the stink; and, that whatever faults the RSS cadres had, corruption wasn't one of them. But the presence and the utterances of Raj Kumar Gupta have put all that to rest. Yes, the RSS says that since the organisation is not a trust, there's no trustee. Unfortunately, that doesn't say anything for Gupta's Jhandelwalan headquarters connection. But is that important? Not to me, anymore.

I am even amused by Bandaru's alleging a Congress conspiracy in the scandal. But even if the entire Opposition had conspired and funded (which I'm sure it didn't, for then Tarun J Tejpal would have had crores to wet the sting), doesn't the dingbat realise that traps are successful only when the suspect walks into them? Why would the BJP need money in US dollars...? Why did Bandaru specifically ask for dollars when none were offered? Is that legal? Is that what an RSS member asks for...? It was downright gratifying to see Bandaru accepting on the video "the flesh of our flesh and the blood of our blood," so to speak, :-)

However, the most damning thing in my eyes was not the taped evidence at all. It was the Cabinet's -- and not just the PM, mind you -- refusal to accept Defence Minister George Fernandes's resignation last night that got my goat. It tells me loud and clear that this government is as interested in being accountable as Laloo Prasad Yadav is. Too, I feel that George *must* resign whether his resignation is accepted or not. Because his position as DM has entirely been compromised by Jaya Jaitly -- she with the previous connection to Ajay Jadeja. It's very simple: no matter how clean George is, if he is (R K Jain states in the transcripts: "George doesn't take money... It's not easy to give money to George"), he's still obtuse enough to keep so close a person who tells a supposed arms dealer, "Then we can step into the picture." The Samata Party prez to "step into the picture" for an arms purchase matter? For what?! Nope, stupidity and defence don't go together. As I said, God loves atheists: Admiral Bhagwat and his pinko lawyer have had the last laugh...

As for the various army men, retired and serving, sold for a bottle of Blue Label and a few pieces of gold, what to say? They have managed to sully the last institution that the ordinary man had respect for. Four words: they should be hanged. And no, that's not going over-the-top. For after I read the full transcripts of the tapes, I realised that the brigadiers and lieutenant colonels and major generals were, not helping, but *creating* people who induce corruption. They showed the Tehelka journalists the ropes of bribing, they gave instructions, they showed them -- and us -- how to go about giving graft. They were teaching total strangers how to tear the country apart. What struck me then were the closing lines of Tarun Tejpal in's editorial: "We spent 11 lakhs on the story. If we had a little more money we could have ripped open the entire system end to end. We were just a group of amateurs, a leanly funded media organization with limited resources. Suppose we had been the ISI." So tell me, when people who have sworn to defend the country, set about raping her, shouldn't they be hanged for treason?

You see, I tend to assess people by the declarations they make -- and with that I come to the aforementioned January mail that knocked me for my "tirade against sanghis." I preserved the letter because, though it slammed me, it wasn't quite hate-mail: "[My friend] happens to be a practicing psychologist and what he told me sounds very worrisome. He says that all Indians are characterised by a large amount of self hatred. This self hatred is nurtured and perfected during the formative years. The educated elite have massive crush on western belief system which is systematically cultivated during their years in schools and colleges. One product of this process is the pinkos which reject everything Indian or Hindu. The other product is Hindu Hitler who is very narrowly focused in western style nationalism in India. There are others also in the brigade who are selfish, opportunistic or plain stupid but they need not concern us at this moment. It is the 'rational' and 'educated' who we need to investigate. And these people are ultimately very self righteous... and very, very negative. They revel in name-calling and find aggression very cathartic. And the most defining aspect of their personalities is their love for absolutes and extremes. Their infatuation with over night radical solutions."

Well, the point that the above passage made is: "So it is better to work from inside and purify slowly. Bloodletting though very heroic can pull the whole structure asunder. Please cultivate some familiarity with alternate systems which are working towards same goal and do not dissipate your energies fighting for small things."

Such advice is not new to me; in one newsgroup in which I participate, some members have clearly said that they would be inclined to attack Hajpayee but never the RSS -- for it's the only organisation that supports Hindus. My answer to this is, the Sangh Parivar has always claimed to hold the ideal of nationalism above all else. Whether it is the ABVP or BJP or VHP or what-have-you -- all have spent the last half-a-century screaming from the rooftops about a strong state, first and foremost. For example, what does the manifesto of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch have to do with Hinduism? Why did the VHP want a monument at the nuke site? Right -- "the country," not "the religion." But today, more than ever, they stand exposed for what they are: Groups using the concept of nationalism and the emotions of the devoted to secure power for themselves. Everything that this government has set in motion in Jammu & Kashmir is everything that THEY said they would never do -- when the Congress was in power. So also with the Haj subsidy...

So no, I reject this idiot thesis of "self-hatred." Tell your psychologist friend, Bhosle loves India too much to become a slave to religion. Too, I respect myself too much to become a submissive bhangi of characterless people. I say it again: I want this government out, out, OUT!

Varsha Bhosle

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