Politics of Rathyatra: Advani as the child of Savarkar

Radhakanta Barik

1992 is the black year for Indian democracy and Indian film world. Both these important institutions have a close bond from aesthetics point of view. Film world get engaged with aspirations of the people and express those suffering and joys in an artistic manner. Bollywood has been successful in creating surrealism in the arts and films. This is being done with the convergence of artists, actors, lyricists and technicians and play back singers. They create something which touch the inner world of the viewers. That helps them to remember those songs in their moments of desperation and joys. By 1990 slowly there has been a decline in quality of films of Bollywood especially in production of film songs where lyricist, playback singers and choreographers converge under the direction of film director. Something went wrong in the year 1992 that the number one hit song was Choli se Pichhe kya hai where movement woman's breast has been constructed as an image for the film song. This is a straight attack on woman body and artistic sensibility of viewers. Politics has its beauty and logic of action where collective aspirations of people get expressed. Any action in democracy is the product of democratic process where various stakeholders keep engaged in creating a consensus which reflects in policy making. In any situation of conflict there can be an intervention of parliament, judiciary and civil society.

 But Advani, Joshi and Vajpayee were not ready for a dialogue and solution with the help of intervention of various public institutions such as parliament and judiciary. They showed their desperation for capturing power by creating blow to democracy and getting vulgar and diabolic in their actions. They carried their criminals in the name of Karsevaks to Ayodhya before 6 December under the leadership of Advani and Joshi. They encouraged their supporters to create a blow to four hundred years Masjid and with the help of machines they destroyed the old Masjid. This action of these leaders can be termed as the vulgar and a body blow to democracy like the film song Choli se Pichhe Kya hai.

Politics of rathyatra started by Advani in 1990. In last two years the rath got old and broken.  A broken rath moved in the mostly rural district of UP coming from the most urbanised State of Gujarat entered into Ayodhya on December6,1992 with a single most agenda that the Babrimasjid to be destroyed. The most of criminals in disguise of the Karsevaks came to Ayodhya who were well armed to destroy the four hundred years Masjid built by Babar. With the winning of 120 seats in the parliament in 1991, three old leaders sat together in the BJP headquarter at Ashoka Road of Delhi and planned for destroying the Babrimasjid. Their discussions went for almost two days before reaching such a crucial decision was taken that three old people talked in their private parleys that how long they could wait for their positions in forming the government at Delhi. These people were Vajpayee, Advani and Dr Joshi whose desperation for power shaped the decision making process of the working committee of BJP. They examined the importance of number of MPs in the Loksabha.

By getting 120 MPs they threatened central government and pressurized him to get many policy decisions in favour their supporters specifically industrialists and business men. This result made them to think to salute the broken rath of Advani. Everybody thanked the genius of Advani who imagined the capturing of throne in Raisinha hills. There was enough hint that if they would win the Lok Sabha then the Advani would be the Prime Minister. This ambition fired their imagination for which December 6 was organised. UP government headed by Kalyan Singh created all arrangements for these so called Karsevaks. It is ironical that the word Karsevak is not from the Hindu text but a Sikh concept. In the planning it was decided the whole army of karsevaks would be led by Advani and Joshi whereas Vajpayee would remain some kilometers away from Ayodhya in the city of Lucknow where he would enjoy a drink and meat kabab which he enjoys the most. Another not so young man sat in the corner of the hall where the meeting was held and noted down the minutes of the meeting was Modi. Innocence of these leaders has been questioned by Liberhan Commission on the Babri Masjid Demolition," It cannot be assumed even for a moment that L K Advani, A B Vajpayee or MM Joshi did not know the designs of the Sangh Parivar. Even though these leaders were deemed and used by the Parivar as the publicly acceptable faces and the articulated voices of the parivar and thus used to reassure the cautious masses, they were party to the decision which had been taken." The report further added that the whole gruesome Shakespearean tragedy was held because of these power hungry politicians.

Advani's rathyatra politics created schisms in social structure of UP. The rich peasantry with high caste linkage went with the BJP. They boycotted the Congress Party. The backwards went with Mulayam Singh and Dalits with the Mayawati. Social trust among them got declined. No community trusted the other one. It is interesting to note here that the forward castes went with respecting Ram-Hanuman cult and they used to tell 'Ram Nam' whereas the backwards and Dalits refused to say those words. Once the god got politicized with the help of a community and class then the backwards wanted their cultural symbols and signs. New signs got thrown by these social groups. Dalits started using Jay Bhim in the place of Ram Nam. Backwards went with namskar as it shows UP is a fragmented society. Advani ‘s  rath moved in muddy roods which pushed the Muslim community toward either Mulayam Singh or Mayawati.

In the process the Congress lost its social support of all castes and all classes. Though they retained a certain percentage of votes in UP. It reflected in politics of UP. Politics of UP got polarised among various castes and communities. This reflected in political instability of UP. After 1990 politics of the Rath became a fragmented one. Leg of the rath went with BJP, body with backwards and dalits. Whose combination for the first time brought Mulayam as the chief minister. Mulayam and Mayawati became popular leaders of the country. The BJP with the support of the Rich peasants provided muscle power known as karsevaks who created riots in many towns. This resulted in rise of the BJP in UP politics. The number of riots had a proportional relation with the rise of BJP. In 1991 election the BJP became the single largest party who created a chief minister Kalyan Singh from Lodha community. Lodhas are known as inferior Rajputs who gave a boost to the high caste combination in the regional politics. Muscular politics of the BJP got further strengthened with the karsevaks getting killed by the police firing of Mulayam Singh. Caste combination with money and muscle provided by the BJP brought Kalyan Singh government. Advani's broken rath started moving while creating a bloody communal politics. Political stalemate has pushed the muscular politics of the BJP.

As the rathyatra politics of Advani got momentum the BJP had acquired a plenty of money with it. Money and Mandir, Muscle all blended so beautifully under a leader Advani who has a smiling and soft voice. These three Ms dominated politics of UP. As Shakespeare says that smile smile make you a villain. Indian politics had a dramatic entry of a villain where the political drama got unfolded. Bollywood's sole villain Pran could not compete with Advani. With Advani's coming as a villain Pran as a villain character got replaced with new heroes as villains of the film world. UP the heartland of Indian Republic turned into arena of political turmoil after the rathyatra politics. Advani, a Sindhi refugee suffered a lot during the partition as Sindhi could not have a State for themselves as Punjab. Their anger shifted to UP as the State was the cauldron of communal politics before Independence but saved from any burnt from the Partition. Advani could mobilise his Sindhi intelligence with the rathyatra politics to disturb UP.  As Advani’s intelligence needs to be placed  in the context Sindhi community that they can create an imaginary palace and could be thrown to public for earning money. For them illegality and legality has a thin hair. The best example they have created industrial empire by selling goods manufactured in the name USA but in reality these goods of low quality get produced in United Sindhi Association. This explains that they can make money from nowhere.

 The 1990 rathyatra politics planted seeds of another partition on soil of UP. Political instability started getting momentum which reflecting the aspirations of UP not in development but in Mandir- Masjid politics. Today in his old age he remains dumb and quiet without uttering a word in the parliament or outside. Advani's rathyatra politics disturbed the culture of Ganga-Yamuna tehzeeb. This brought the confluence of Islam and Hindu blending in its cultural flowering where Kabir to Nehru represent the cultural vibrancy of its. In popular culture of UP people sing Kabir's doha to satisfy their intellectual urges. Two important languages and literature grew on this soil. Urdu and Hindi both grew here. Premchand started writing in Urdu and shifted to Hindi. Both friendly literary worlds turned into hostile worlds by Advani's rathyatra politics.They saw that Urdu has no place in UP literature today. No body has estimated his performance in politics of India till now. We are trying to evaluate his role as a breaker of Ganga- Yamuna tehzeeb.

 It is an interesting and intriguing point that the number of rich peasants were the less in number but how could they change the balance of social forces in favour of Advani's rathyatra. Rich peasants controlling land before the green revolution had a very limited income. They had to pay rent to the landlords before the abolition of the zamindari. Their life style was not so much different from the small peasants. The only thing he used to have his land got cultivated by the labour . He did not invest his labour except his supervision over the production system. With the green revolution his income got tripled and his control over technology boosted his consciousness. His disposable income with his additional income from the procurement helped him to invest in his social network. Social network in India are caste and kinship network. That required nurturing and sponsorship. With disposable income he started doing this. The network started recognizing his contribution. In politics they used to be loyal supporter of the Congress Party because of national movement and kinship network. By 1990 this got weakened. He wanted to play a role in local politics and share power with the political elite. He wanted to be the Block chairman and do factional politics of his locality. He wanted to share the income generated at the block level and the meager amount helped him to be corrupt. Dynamics of local politics where the rich man was involved got expressed in Srilal Shukla's Ragdarbari.

There was no mafia which has emerged in the 1990s. Violence and Sex are integral part of politics of 1990s which started by Advani's rathyatra. Big money got pumped into local politics which transformed the texture and tonality of politics. This money came in dollars and pounds from the Gujrati traders working on foreign soil. This violence and big money got articulated through rathyatra politics. This sort of violence got articulated through a mafia. Advani's rathyatra politics gave space to mafia and sex and money. They provided security to the movement of rathyatra.Rath was moving in the broken and dilapidated roads of the small towns got protection from social network from Thakur, Brahmin network. VP Singh cannot be produced in this vicious network nor Kamala Pati Tripathy can be the leader with a tika on his forehead. Today's politicians look alike with sindur on their forehead with pistols in their suits and they spend time in liquor and women. Mandir politics changed the landscape of UP where these items became easily available to the local leaders. Mandir politics allow them to exhibit their violent personality. Complexities of politics of UP got changed with the rathyatra politics of Advani.

Rich peasantry of the wheat belt abandoned the Congress Party and joined the Advani's rathyatra politics. It had a hidden agenda that it is a party of the rich peasantry who could attack the workers belonging to Dalits and backwards. This motivated the rich peasantry to join the party. Congress had an approach of Gandhi-Nehru - Ambedkar strategy of rural development which benefited each section. This angered the rich peasantry. They remained with the Congress as long as it implemented the Zamindari abolition. It created a green revolution strategy. I had an interaction with the rich peasantry belonging to Pawar community of MP where they openly expressed their anger against the dalits and backwards. As these people are more educated than the pawar community and they get jobs without paying bribe which made the rich peasantry angry. That their children are not serious of education and even some of them educated them have to pay bribe for getting jobs. This anger made them to be a part of the politics of rathyatra. This brought the marriage between wheat and whisky as we have discussed. They provided the muscle power for organising the rathyatra politics in UP.

Why did educated middle class working in government jobs go for supporting Advani's rathyatra in 1990. We took the case of Study of the RK Puram which has the largest concentration of educated people of New Delhi. This part of the city planned in the lines of the American city planning where class dimension and spatial dimension went together. R K Puram is the model town for the government employees where all categories of government servants live in. As the central government organisation is structured in the worst hierarchical lines like the Hindu caste system. It is eight layered organisation from sweepers, peons to secretary. Each segment has to live in one sector where they should not confront the other segment. I got a chance to live in here as the government servants used to let out their houses on subletting which benefited the lowest paid teaching job which I hold those days as a lecturer in Zakir Hussain College of Delhi University. I got a chance to conduct the research work in the constituency of the RK Puram which is itself an assembly constituency. Space of RK Puram is segregated in spatial manner by which ethnic and castes live in specific sector. R K Puram sector I for dalits working as sweepers in a one room set with common toilet. Sector 2 where people of Uttarkhandi working as fourth class karmacharis live in. The sector 3 and Sector 4 where South Indian clerical staff live in. Sector 8 is a mixed group because of multistory buildings where the engineers, doctors and IAS people live next to LDC clerks where I used to live in on subletting. Sector 12-13 provided space for the senior officials belong IAS, IPS and other central services.  Each segment does not confront the other just like Indian villages which is spatial planned by which each caste live in a secluded place. They have less anger against the other which allows them to live in their wonderland. The planning in American style helped them to have their collective ego intact. The RSS has a headquarter in sector five on public land illegally. They have a close link with each sector through their nominees. Moreover, the market complex of each sector of all 13 sectors controlled by the traders supporting the Hindutva. This helped to create a support base for the BJP and Advani's rathyatra. Majority of houses had a picture of the Rammandir where Ram is standing with an arrow and in an angry mood. This is being planned in such a manner to show Ram not as a smiling person with blessings for his followers. But a militant Ram throwing an arrow at the imaginary enemies. R K Puram carried the support for the Hindutva politics as most of them consume Whisky and have an association with the rural rich which brought the marriage between whisky and wheat became the basis of the Hindutva politics of Advani's rathyatra. This gave the foundation of militant Hindutva politics as Savarkar imagined in 1909 while having a dialogue with Gandhi in the city of London where Gandhi's first written book Hindi Swaraj released. Gandhi argued that the nature of Indian society is structured in a non-violent manner which got questioned by Savarkar where he told,' I believe in violence'. This got experimented in Advani's rathyatra politics.

Advani, a seniour leader of the BJP admitted in an interview with Prannoy Roy of NDTV for getting life time achievement award by the channel unashamedly that he considered his greatest accomplishment was the rathyatra as a part of the Ayodhya agitation. By planting of trees of communal division of a society he did not feel ashamed of the issue. As a theatre lover he might have an aesthetic pleasure for this violent mobilization of karsevaks for creating riots all over UP for the first time. After the partition UP experienced a large-scale riot and destroyed the scenic beauty of the city of Ayodhya located on the river side. The city has a rich tradition of communal harmony which did not get disturbed by Advani's rathyatra. For the first time the Indian historiography turned into an issue of Indian communal politics. Both ancient and medieval historians turned into controversy which resulted in creating pliable historians who supported the issue of Babri Masjid was built after the destruction of the Ram temple. But all historical records show that there is no truth of the claim by the Hindutva forces. Advani has written an autobiography where he would have expressed has anguished feelings over the issue.

 In Hindu tradition this is the last stage of life that is banbasha when everybody feels detached and feels remorse of their past deeds. But as the Hindutva leaders did not have any attachment to Hinduism they did not recognize the various stages of life. Advani gave the foundation of the movement of communal fascism which resulting in fruits today under the leadership of his closest follower Modi. As a good sincere student of his Modi has removed him from all positions and cases against him have got opened up. Advani might end his last stage in the jail if the judgment will come soon.

On 25 September 1990 Advani after consultation with astrologers started his rath yatra. It was an air conditioned vehicle attached with all gadgets. He had a drawing room to meet local leaders. He had a small room in a corner where he used to meet local traders and rich persons to collect purse. That was his hobby in collecting money and creating riots against the Muslims. After the yatra got completed he bought a house in South Delhi. His yatra to Ayodhya was supposed to get completed within five weeks. On the way the militant groups did not pray in the name of Lord Ram and they spoke in an abusive language against the Muslims. They did not have Lord Ram in their lips nor in their hearts. Advani looked cool but he could give provocative speeches against Muslims. Moreover, as a student in1970s in JNU was regular visitor to National school of Drama where Advani in suits used to come to see the plays. He saw the plays in blood on the streets against the Muslims where he was the main play director. There were attacks on the Muslim houses and Masjids but administration did not take action against them. A group of social activists created a map of the route which is available where they have shown the route was planned in such a manner by which the Rath could move in the towns dominated by the Muslims. It was a well organised orchestrated against the Muslims. On the way only, Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav stopped the yatra and placed Advani in house arrest. This anger they carried against Lalu Prasad for which he had been kept in the jail. Modi was paying back his guru dakhina to Advani by sending Lalu to the jail.

Rath Yatra started from Somnath of Gujarat to Ayodhya was bonanza for the BJP. Gujarati traders working outside funded heavily. This was raised by the income tax commissioner Desh Bandhu Gupta who got suspended by the central government. This money used by the BJP for creating riots on the way. Rich state Gujarat funded for riots in UP. Their bond became strong. The VHP leaders made huge money from Rath Yatra of Ram led by Advani. Advani in his book says that Somnath represents the cultural nationalism where blending between religion and politics has been done. (Life and Times of L K Advani, Pentagon paperbacks,2002, ch.Ram Rath Yatra)

BJP floats many groups who are being controlled by the party. These groups sprung up after the party passed a resolution that construction of the Ram temple would be done on the spot where the Babri Masjid was standing. This Palampur resolution got passed where the experienced leaders like Vajpayee and Advani were present. Advani took the responsibility of leading the Rath Yatra. Vajpayee remained as the ideologue. Some of the foreign trained journalists such as Chandan Mitra and Dasgupta started writing in an obtuse language on cultural nationalism. Both were rewarded by nominating them as MPs. Once for a discussion in IIPA we invited Mr Goyal who was speaker of Delhi Assembly he demanded that their articles to be handed over to him before speaking. It is very intriguing that Gujarat and UP had a close bond in Hindutva politics. First they experiment in Gujarat and then they proceed to UP. Mandir politics started after the independence when Gujarat went for construction of the Somanath temple. This was handled by Nehru in a ruthless secular manner for which the Conservatives and Hindutva openly exhibited their anger against Nehru. Nehru as the Prime Minister of India did not allow the President of India Rajendra Prasad to inaugurate the temple as he sent in a letter to Prasad telling him as he was holding the highest post of the Republic he could not attend the function.

At the time of partition there was a conspiracy by the civil servants with the Hindutva forces in UP in opening the Babri Masjid for others. Nehru as the Prime Minister wrote to the District administration to lock up the Masjid. It was locked and politics of UP remained cool. Here the District Collector played an important role in opening the Masjid. Gujarat being an industrialised state where UP was an agricultural society with only industrial town Kanpur was there. But the Hindutva leaders wanted to experiment their violent politics on the destruction of Kanpur. Today there is no industrial town of UP. Babrimasjid politics destroyed the industrial city as I got a chance to interview some industrialists of Kanpur that they all belonged to Bania caste whereas workers belonged to Muslim community. As riots continued to happen on regular basis they did not attend their works which led to closure of their industries. This explanation seems genuine as Kanpur got closed its key industries. Some shoe factories were left which got closed by Yogi by imposing the banning of cow slaughter. Hindutva politics kept UP as the backward and Gujarat as developed without any social development.

Politics has its beauty. Power has its legitimacy in politics. It requires sensibility to understand politics. Constitutionalism guides politicians how to appreciate politics. For the first time Advani   did not have sensibility to understand the beauty of politics. He looks at power outside politics. This has deleitmitised him as a political leader as he looks at power located in rathyatra politics. This is being mixed with fraud and blasphemy. Advani's rathyatra of 1990 provided political clues in mobilisation of a section of society in the name of the Rammandir. Social elite of North and West got mobilised by the slogan of the rammandir- Babrimasjid. In the villages of Surat district I was conducting a survey in the post rathyatra scenerio we found that most of the houses belonging to Patidar community had created a picture of the imaginary Rammandir on their walls. In the urban areas of Delhi specifically one found that the houses of middle class specifically office goers living in the R K Puram one found the photograph of the Ram Mandir on the walls of their official residences. Is it marriage between wheat (rural rich) and whisky (urban middle class) brought the politics of the Hindutva as a force in India. In 1991 election it showed the result as it jumped to 120 MPs in the Loksabha. Once the vultures tasted the flesh of human being they decided to go in a big way to mobilise the rich on the platform of the Ram mandir. That was the time Mulayam Singh Yadav tried to control with the help of law and order machinery by arresting some karsevaks which resulted in firing and killing some karsevaks. Violence and blood helped politics of Hindutva in states of UP and Gujarat where there was a mobilisation of the rural rich and urban middle class which resulted in creating a phase where in every locality they succeeded in creating a fascist who could use violence against the poor and minorities. As Paul Brass who has written many books on UP raised a critical point that Advani's rathyatra politics produced 'a multiplicity of Krishallnachts in numerous urban sites' which display many of the symptoms of the prefascist stage. (Brass, P., 1997, Theft of an Idol: Text and Context in the Representation of Collective Violence, Princeton)

There was a discussion among the journalists who went on reporting the destruction of the Babri Masjid and they reached a conclusion that the Hindutva forces led by Advani in the name of the Ram Mandir never used the question of Mandir where as they spoke of destruction of Pakistan and gave the foundation of the Hindu rashtra. They used terrorist tactics against the media and the public which they have been using for twenty five years. They experimented Hindutva politics in the case of Gujarat. They created fear in the minds of masses and have been ruling for such a long period under the leadership of Modi. They created a masculine politics against the women. They use a small group of terrorists like cow vigilantees today to threaten the minorities and dalits. This they used during Vajpayee's period against the painters and writers. Modi's time they have made it more sophisticated. Moreover, the state has been forced to side line itself while the terrorists are active in the street. This meeting was held on the occasion of the twenty five year of the Babri Masjid destruction by the press club chaired by Siddharth Vardarajan, an editor of Wire.  After twenty five year one remembers the violent incident in their lives as the psychologists tell that violent actions against people would not be forgotten. They told the story in a style which creates horror today.

Sixth December of 1992 remains as a sad day for Indian democracy. Indian constitution framed by Ambedkar allows each religious group to practice his or her own religion but could not defend the place of worship known as the Babri Masjid which got destroyed violently by the members of the Sangh Parivar. This remains a metaphor in Indian politics which explains that you do not have to follow constitutional means but you can go for mob violence. This action pushed Indian democracy like Ram vanbash for a period of twenty five years. This language of violence produced the Hindutva leader Modi and his Gujarat terror network which is the product of 2002 riots. The lumpens of the Sangh parivar basically belonging to the RSS which has been upgraded by 1992 as the political organisation which got hidden like Chholi Se Pichhe kya hai that vulgar song and vulgar action of the RSS have a same meaning for Indian culture and Indian democracy. They admitted in a book published recently by American political scientist. This is a political design created by fertile imagination of the RSS thinkers. Their actions threw new signs and new messages. Three domes of the Babri Masjid like three pillars of the Indian state- democracy secularism and the rule of law. They brought a language of violence in Indian politics which got replaced the dialogic language.It is a threat to judiciary and parliament where these dialogues take place. They want to forcibly capture the state power and create a Hindu rastra. Babri Masjid stands for political metaphor which gets used in their rhetoric off and on. Whenever their agenda has not implemented in democratic means suddenly they shifted to language of violence. This is the logic of Hindutva politics.

Crowd behavior shows that they do not support politics of violence known as the Babri Masjid- Rammandir politics. On December 6, 1992 travelling in Tamilnadu Express from New Delhi which started at 10PM in night showed their silence without any discussion among themselves. This crowd was a multi caste and multi class society or it represented Indian society in microcosm. Their collective action by observing silence rejected the mode of Hindutva politics and rejected the language of violence. Crowd action rejected the mob violence on the temple town of Ayodhya on December 6,1992.

Advani’s rathyatra politics is a mode of violent politics which is against democracy based on equality and justice. Although he spoke of cultural nationalism by combining religion and politics ignoring the traditions of Gandhi but brought Savarkar into centre of politics of India. Only one top leader Jyoti Basu has defined Advani’s politics in subtle words that a criminal as the Home Minister of Vajpayee cabinet.

Aug 05, 2018

Prof Radhakanta Barik [email protected]

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