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Saffron, khaki and Reds - The Sunday Observer

Varsha Bhosle ()
January 4-10, 1998

Title: Saffron, khaki and Reds
Author: Varsha Bhosle
Publication: The Sunday Observer
Date: January 4-10, 1998

In December, Chief Election Commissioner M S Gill wrote to Prime
Minister I K Gujral, urging the promulgation of an ordinance to
permit defence personnel to cast their votes by proxy, instead of
through the usual postal ballots. Apparently, postal ballots
invariably reach too late, often after the counting of votes is
over, virtually disfranchising the security forces.

The EC, then, convened all nationally recognised political
parties - the Congress, BJP, JD, CPI, CPI-M, BSP, and Samata
Party - to get a favourable consensus on its proposal to
introduce proxy voting for the forthcoming general elections.
Naturally, no such consensus was reached.

Representatives of all the parties - that is, all except the BJP
- wanted the decision to be left to Parliament for "a wider
debate since it involved an amendment to the Representation of
the People Act". Meaning, let's sit on it at least till this
vital election goes by....

If they have their way, an estimated five million security
personnel will be kept from exercising their suffrage in this
election - people who are good enough to protect the posteriors
of the liberals, but not significant enough for politicos to
recommend a special ordinance to hasten their enfranchisement.

The Representation of the People Act.... Very serious. Amendments
to it must be left to the sages in Parliament. Which institution,
under the aegis of these scrupulous parties, has more or less
become a representation of criminals. Parties declining the EC's
proposal include the Congress, which feeble old dame will always
be remembered for passing an overnight, debate-less amendment in
order to nullify the Supreme Court judgment on the Shah Bano

Why the BJP supported the proxy-voting proposal was never a
mystery to me: Votes of the right will go to the right.... Only
later did I read that 95 retired officers from the army and the
BSF, including generals, major-generals, brigadiers, colonels,
captains, squadron leaders, etc, had formally joined the party.
Sure thing, it put paid to any apprehension this jingoist may
have had about the BJP. I mean, even if Sitaram Kesri were to be
welcomed into the party now, I can't envision the khaki battalion
doing the nodding-Gadgil bit. All in all, it's lookin good!

But just as I was beginning to smack my chops, entered the CPI-M:
On 27 December, while inaugurating the 16th state conference of
the party in TN, politburo member R Umanath warned the nation
that the entry of defence cadres into the BJP would pave the way
for the establishment of "military rule" in the country. Also,
if the BJP came to power at the Centre, the RSS would intrude in
defence affairs. Shudder, shiver, shiver, shudder....

As proof, Comrade Umanath quoted the "reported remarks" (said by
whom, reported where, are to remain secret bytes) of one of the
retired army officers while joining the BJP. To wit, "the armed
forces can do anything better than others, whether it is
administration work in the government or running the politics of
the country". The comrade said the statement sends a "dangerous
signal" to the country and would ultimately "jeopardize its unity
and integrity".

Which makes me ponder over the Left's concept of this unity and
integrity of India.

While decoding the pinko rationale, one must remember that all
leftists hold Marxism, though a mid-19th-century European
contrivance, to be a valid ideology for India. However, Hindutva
- stemming from Chhatrapati Shivaji's "Hindvi Swarajya", endorsed
by Samartha Ramdas, and advanced by Veer Savarkar - is a
philosophy alien to us. That's basic Red.

Now, what was the role of the Left during the Quit India
Movement? In the '30s, the Soviets had condemned World War II as
an "imperialist war" ie, Imperialistic Britain and France pitted
against to-be-imperialistic Germany. logically, the commies
should have fought against Britain. In truth, what they did was

However, when Germany attacked the USSR, overnight, the
"imperialist war" became the "peoples' war" and the comrades
resolved to support the Allies. Britain's enemies - including
Indian nationalists like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, - became
the CPI's enemies, and the Stalinists merrily betrayed Indian
freedom fighters to the British Raj.

About their political overview, Bhabani Sen Gupta writes: "The
CPI envisaged India as the home of many nationalities whose
political aspirations had to be met in a scheme for independence.
The resolution gave each of 'these distinct nationalities' the
right to a sovereign or autonomous state within an Indian
federation or union, with the right to secede if it so
desired.... The CPI recognized the 'justness' of the League's
Pakistan demand.... The CPI offered the Muslim 'wherever they are
in an overwhelming majority in a contiguous territory', the right
to 'form their own autonomous states, and even to separate if
they so desire".

Funny thing is, Mr Sen Gupta (JNU alumnus I K Gujral's buddy),
writes all this while declaring the CPI's "patriotism".

Ah, the JNU.... Who doesn't know of the grip pmkos have on
Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University - which campus echoed with
cries of "China's chairman is our chairman" in the '60s? Its
Professor Romilla Thapar has written that the John Stuart Mills
classification of Indian periods into Hindu, Muslim, and British
is incorrect, since there was nothing like a Hindu period! You
see, Hindus were always just a motley crowd with no common
civilization, culture or literature. It's well in line with the
Stalinist dictate that India should be divided into 19

More pinko patriotism: In February, Sitaram Yechuri (the radical
>from JNU and CPI-M politburo member), when asked to name the
aggressor in the 1962 Sino-Indian war, skirted the issue, arguing
that it was "not in the national interest" to address the
question since the answer could have "international

And what of Bengal's commissar - projected as a future PM? During
the same Sino-Indian War, Jyoti Basu addressed a meeting with:
"It's being Propagated that the country has been attacked by the
Chinese.... If the country has been attacked how is it that this
by-election is being held?" It was Lal Bahadur Shastri, then home
minister, who angrily retorted: "How an Indian could make such a
statement, I can't even imagine."

Even after Mr Basu's recent admission that Communists had made a
"wrong assessment" of Netaji Subhash Bose by branding him a
traitor, what's happening to the 150-odd survivors of the INA and
Rani Jhansi Regiment...? In the 50th year of Independence, this
aged, dying brigade is locked in a war against the Marxist
government, fighting for financial assistance and having to prove
their. credentials - months after the scheme was to have taken
off. Sunil Gupta, general secretary of the INA association, says,
"It certainly hurts to be pushed from one door to the other when
we try to pursue the matter at Writers' Buildings. The tragic
part is that we had never begged for it."

Comrade Umanath is worried about the RSS, eh? A circular dated
21 January 1930, written by RSS founder Dr Keshav Hedgewar,
states: "The Congress Working Committee has appealed to the
nation that 26th January, 1930, should be observed as the
Independence Day We are naturally overjoyed to find that the
Indian National Congress has finally declared that full swarajya
would be its goal. It is our duty to see that all those who
believe in this goal co-operate in observing this day as the
Independence Day."

An organisation about whom Dr Zakir Hussain said, "The
allegations against RSS of violence and hatred against the
Muslims are wholly false." Whose founder went to prison for
participating In the Civil Disobedience Movement in 1932. A group
which was lauded by Gandhiji as being rooted in high ideals and
public service.... Good lord, if such was the RSS, in Hitler's
stead, I'd have gassed the swayamsevaks for discrediting Fascism!
Question is, with an eye on history, whom would you rather have
"intrude in the defence affairs" of India - Jyoti Basu's CPI-M or
Hedgewar's brainchild?

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