The Story of a Yogi?

As I present to you this article, it would be safe to provide a disclaimer before I end up being a controversy’s child analogous to the very subject of my discussion today. I, through this article of mine, do not intend to hurt any one person, group or religion’s sentiments.

As the timeworn saying goes, and I quote Sherlock Holmes,

“Sentiment is a chemical defect found on the losing side.”

However, it is quite ironic how sentiments are stirred within the gullible population of the nation by our ingenious polity. With respect to this statement, which many might consider to be superfluous, clarity of thoughts and expression (which is clearly absent in our political system today) is required. But my writing shall not disappoint you.  I cannot possibly pen down my intellect without being politically incorrect, because that would be HYPOCRISY, which is something I am yet to major at. So, I hope you shall pardon my callous use of language and a naïve approach towards the harsh realities we are bordering towards in the literary format that I present to you.

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Once upon a time, INDIA- my BHARATA MATA, your HINDUSTAN, and our BHARATA DESH was a golden bird whose wings were clasped to the ground by the British Raj. They robbed us of our glory, they plundered us of our wealth and treasury, and they ransacked us of our faith from fraternity. It is easy to shrug off a matter by saying “let bygones be bygones”, but it is these past horrors that come to haunt us. Here, I mention the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy as formulated by the British which has blemished the very sense of solidarity among us. The ending of British rule in India was to be the advent of a new era, but who knew that old grievances would tailgate further coherence of independent India.

We are no longer bound by a foreign force, but are fettered by the distinct ideologies of ‘dharma’ and ‘jaati’, the seeds of which are deep rooted and watered in the many political parties  that have varied political prejudices which further determine the fate of our polity. BJP adheres to the very ideology of Hindutva and Hindu Nationalism. Thus, the very façade of loathing the CM of Uttar Pradesh should be ruled out if at all we have voted for Bhartiya Janata Party in the first place, and thus, I skip right to the man of the hour- Yogi Adityanath. However stern and focused a politician he may be, there is a huge miss in this influential CM.

A YOGI or A DHONGI

This saffron-clad sadhu turned politician appears and claims to be the flag bearer of Hindutva. With his razor sharp tongue, Yogi Adityanath has a strong foothold over Uttar Pradesh, which has already led to a hue and cry among the Muslims with the bizarre comments that have been made by him attacking the Muslims.  A strong mascot of the Ram Mandir issue, his influential and robust leadership will lead to a deepening of the crack between the Hindus and the Muslims into an abyss, after which, there will be no turning back. His vigorous speeches are fanning the fire of communalism, keeping it alive among the myriad of other problems our country is facing. We call ourselves a SECULAR state, however, the government, or to be precise, this particular leader is swaying the whole crux of his substance on a theocratic basis, instinctively libeling Islam or Pakistan.

In one of his recent speeches in Lucknow, he made a hostile remark which raises a very prominent question on how such a type of leader will lead India’s most populous state with such venomous intolerance and biased prejudices that the state of Uttar Pradesh has ever seen-

“Akbar, Aurangzeb and Babar were invaders. The sooner we accept the truth; all the problems of our country will vanish.”

Such judgements have been passed by this man who is entrusted with the precarious future of the many citizens the state contains. To further analyse his statement, it ridiculously means that by demeaning one caste, we all can fight poverty, violence against women, religious conflicts, and the varied troubles our country is foisted with.

Having mentioned ‘violence against women’, this saint of a person once commented –

“If they take one Hindu girl, we will take 100 Muslim girls”,

Justifying even further how violence against women is inevitable where the leaders harbour such opinions.

Another arguable sin which a high priest like him committed was to incapacitate our belief in the phrase – ‘sab moh maya hai’, because when he went to give his condolences to the family of the Border Security Force soldier who was mutilated by the Pakistan army, he brought with himself an air-conditioner, a sofa and carpet which were conveniently and immediately removed from the house after his departure. This shows a sheer lack of humanity, but a serious penchant for materialism which takes precedence over the jawan’s precious life. Here, on one hand, where yogis are supposed to shun power and worldly pleasures for a life of meditation and spiritual quest, this man has preached and invoked violence.

Thus, to dream of a utopian country where our leaders avoid the power politics and begin to sincerely preach Hindu-Muslim harmony is to live in a bubble, but I guess, it is in this bubble where we are safe, where we have the sensible notion of Right and Wrong, where we are united towards our outlook for a peaceful nation.

For the dearth of words, I would like to add to my article a minute variation of the classic combination of words that has, of late, caused a phenomenon on social media (Thanks to Dr. Shashi Tharoor).

Exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations and outright lies being broadcast by a votary priest masquerading as an abhorrent meteoric hypnotic.

There cannot possibly be a happy ending to this, because the situation is only to worsen. The irrational need to indoctrinate their particular ideologies among others does not stand a strong ground and is not acceptable in a country where we are promised the freedom of thought and the freedom to practice, preach and perform different religions.

“A dhoti clad priest
In the garb of an inexorable beast;
The vast shaved head
Many evils which it’d embed;
Wisdom which the saffron tilak exudes
Crimson which his brainchild may produce;
Enthralling mantras his tongue rolled
Caste-based differences which he evoked;
‘Dharma’ and ‘Jaat’ as we all smear,
The inevitable end is near.”

 

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The author, Mahima Maniar, is a student of Political Science at Loreto College, Kolkata.

What now, UP?

Swapan Dasgupta, a right-leaning commentator, while being interviewed by a journalist from ‘the Guardian’, commented, “He (Yogi Adityanath) has made provocative statements in the past and the question is whether he continues that style of politics as Chief Minister because the new job entails new responsibilities.”

And this question of situational transmogrification keeps Uttar Pradesh’s boiling cauldron coolly interesting!

But this is the guy, whose decisions after assuming power have been no less stirring than his political image –the only point of difference being the degree of sanity.

He banned the illegal abattoirs—this is actually along the National Green Tribunal directives. Uttar Pradesh Police had to form ‘Anti-Romeo Squad’ (although, its way of functioning is as disgusting as dubious its guidelines are!), acid-attack victims are being taken care of- legally, socially and monetarily, stress has been given on sanitation in 30 districts of the state, pan and tobacco have been banned in government offices (will UP lose its desiness?), vigilance has been hiked onto food-grain mafia, attention has been given to speedy construction of roads. To the relief of nearly 2 crore 15 lakh farmers, Rs 30,729 crore worth of farmer loan has been waived off. Interestingly enough, he has shifted the burden of responsibility of some key areas, like illegal mining, ration card distribution, directly on public servants—the list of daddying up is impressive.

But the fact of Adityanath being Adityanath is something which cannot be ditched. The fiery Hindu priest, who praised Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and once likened Shah Rukh Khan for speaking the same language to Hafiz Saeed, was chosen to run India’s most populous and (parliamentarily) most instrumental state, by BJP, which spearheaded by PM Modi, emphasized economic development over communal agenda to win this election. The 44-year old MP Yogi, also known as, Ajay Singh Negi, is the poster-boy of demagogical Hindu assertion. He is facing criminal charges of attempted murder, defiling religious place of worship, instigating riots in Uttar Pradesh, where the Muzaffarnagar Riots and lynching of Akhlaq Ahmed had triggered a quagmire of lawlessness. He had to spend 11 days in jail in 2007 for violating public restrictions imposed in an area at risk of erupting into communal violence. His senses perceive Mother Teresa as a ‘part of the conspiracy to Christianise India.’ His followers get indoctrinated by the discredited idea of ‘love-jihad’—simply, a man of travesty.

So BJP’s decision to make Adityanath queu-jump to the post of UP CM was thought of to be an assault on secularism in India- because he seems to be a confused soul with psychic penury in interpreting ‘Hindutva’ into ‘Hinduism’ (rather, militant Hinduism). BJP’s chest of strategies was pried open. The decision seemed to mock ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas.’

For long he was identified as a vermin of the fringes who didn’t really come in the way of Modi’s policy of inclusivenss. It looked veritable that BJP would form its government on the agenda of governance. But then, in electoral politics victory is the ultimate desire- no matter what comes in its way.

But, brilliant raconteurs like Trump happens in this funny world. So happen Adityanaths.

But this doesn’t ensure irreversible despair. Despite his communal and biased background, Adityanath has neither perpetrated any act of repulsion nor spoken carelessly, after becoming the CM. Despite the recrudescence of fake-Hindutva, he has been able to calm himself down to act like a man of rectitude. And we do not know what is coming. This is not to exonerate this monk and waffle into pugnacious polemics, but to glance with inquisition and speculation at the present state of affairs.

Nothing can be of such sensory pleasure to know the replacement of ‘Mandir Wahi Banayenge’ by ‘Vikaas Wahi Karenge.’

But will it happen?

The author, Sambuddha Bhattacharjee, is a student of Political Science at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata.