I had hailed the Bharat Jodo Yatra as soon as it set out as a potential game-changer.It could catapult Rahul Gandhi out of his accustomed comfort zone,enable him to have direct contact with the masses,and make over his image as an inept political amateur.Most of which it has begun to accomplish according to media reports.It has brought back cheer and hope to the wilting ranks of resistance to the imperious fascist storm-troopers.One hoped and prayed it would stay the course and succeed in reviving the spirits of democratic people.
But this morning I was taken aback by a photograph in a section of the media of someone in the guise of Hindu god Shiva marching in step with Rahul Gandhi.I could not for my life find any reason for such a trick.
Unless it is a subtle BJP plot to sabotage the spirit of the March it can well be a daft suggestion by the inveterate Congress old guard who still believe the Congress can steal BJP’s thunder.They don’t learn any lesson from past fiascos.To cite just one rankling example his father had committed the bad mistake of yielding an advantage to the BJP by unlocking the Babri Masjid to Hindu fanatics.There had been other examples too
People have now discerned that the flamboyant demonstration of Hindu religiosity by the BJP has no genuine piety about it,and that it has a rather mean political motive.This is the moment the organisers of the March have chosen to imitate its tactics.Earlier attempts by Rahul Gandhi to visit temples and display his sacred thread(Jeneu) had proved damp squibs.So why have one more go at this?
People have become weary of banal and bombastic religious rhetoric hiding profane motives.They want a revival of true secular democratic politics.The March so far has done something to revive the memory and power of those values in place of the stifling and more and more demonic slogans now rending the skies.And at this very moment its organisers score a self-goal and weaken the defences of their side.
There should be no mistake about it.Though the common people act like cheer-leaders for insane actors drumming up religious hysteria they actually act under some kind of drug and are desperate to cast off the spell.
They know in their bones these orgies have cost them dear not only in necessities of life but in the very quality of life.True courage requires that believers in democracy take the lead in calling the bluff of religious pied pipers and bring back the people from the road to a ruinous precipice.
Hiren Gohain is a political commentator