18th June 2011
Swatantra party reached out to Hindus in a way that Jan Sangh couldn’t
In his book, Rajaji: A Life, (Penguin, 1997), Rajmohan Gandhi wrote: 'Its tone being liberal as well as conservative, Swatantra reached out to moderate Hindus and non-Hindus in ways not available to the Jan Sangh'.
I was reminded of this when someone, in response to an article on Wall street journal, falsely alleged that: "Jan Sangh was built on the erstwhile Swatantra" – thus implying that BJP has something to do with Swatantra's constitutional conservatism and classical liberalism.
But this alleged relationship between Swatantra and BJP is untrue. There never was one. There NEVER can be one.
Rajaji represented the ELITE Hindus – those who philosophise and consider the world in a wholistic manner. I read Rajaji's work and think about what he said. I would NEVER read Advani's writings.
Rajaji aligned his conservatism with classical liberalism (and economic liberty) without creating a conflict between the two.
BJP, on the other hand, panders to the lowest common denominator among the Hindus. Rajaji would NEVER have gone about like that clown Advani, bow and arrow in hand, pretending to be Ram. Rajaji was not a nautanki nor a dhongi. He would never have allowed violence – like the demolition of Babri Masjid – to occur on his watch. He knew what was in India's interest. BJP does not.
As far as I can see, Advani and BJP are pure opportunists (even consider their recent and sudden support for anti-corruption movement! after being corrupt for nearly 30 years!). BJP stands ONLY for power, not for reform. And NOT for India. BJP is an enemy of India (so is Congress). Let's never forget that.
What FTI is offering to India is classical liberalism, integrity, good policy, and religious freedom. Its arms are open to all Hindus, all Muslims, all Christians, everyone. It does not have any agenda or pogrom in mind against any group (unlike BJP which is aligned to some RSS founders who wanted all Muslims to be driven out of India).
FTI does not want the government to impose a particular religious view on anyone. Let everyone in India hold their own preferences in such private matters.
FTI is not opportunistic. It does not care for power for the sake of power. It does not go about demolishing Masjids and rousing the rabble and spilling blood in the streets. And it will never ask the police to shoot innocent Muslims (like Modi did) .
Let's be clear about this – that while FTI is working to revive the grand ideas of Rajaji and classical liberalism, BJP is working to undermine India and make it a less safe place for everyone.