Ever since the BJP announced its decision about their nominee for the Prime Minister in September 2013, the hearts of every Congressman started overflowing with love, respect and sadness for Mr. Lal Krishna Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister and the PM nominee of the party for the 2004 elections. The Congress, as also various other parties, had been ridiculing L.K.Advani, even forgetting common courtesies. They made fun of his “ambition” to become the Prime Minister and the Rath (chariot) campaign undertaken by him in the past to facilitate the party to come to power at the centre. As the BJP (Bhartiya Janata Party) proved to be no match for the guile and machination of the Congress Party and its allies , the BJP lost to the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) in 2004. How “progressive” was such an alliance has been proved by the historic scams, non-governance, debilitated economy, unconstitutional centres of executive power in contravention of the constitution of India and several of its ministers being jailed for corruption. The UPA were living under the illusion that the BJP, which they pejoratively termed “Hindutvawadi” and “communal”, is a rigid political party that will show no flexibility and continue with its grandstanding in a system corrupted by the UPA beyond redemption. In L.K.Advani they imagined only such a politician, who would cause easy defeat to his party’s dreams to come to power at the centre. They were, perhaps, not too wrong. L.K.Advani is a man of impeccable integrity. He is a nationalist. He does not practice caste or regionalism like most UPA politicians. He is educated, intelligent, erudite and sensitive to public needs. He is widely travelled in India. His value system brooks no compromise for political gain. These are no virtues for the pragmatic politicians that the political spectrum in India witnesses as ministers today. In fact, these are shortcomings which limit the maneuverability of the politician who loves slithering. The doctrine of “Aya Ram, Gaya Ram” is in wide practice in the country (revolving door policy). With all the pragmatic types united, they saw an easy victory in L.K.Advani being their rival in election 2014. Unfortunately for them, the BJP outsmarted them this time by nominating Narendra Modi as the party’s PM candidate. This upset the strategy of the Congress and its allies.
They over-played the communalism card once Narendra Modi was declared before the elections the prime ministerial nominee by the major opposition party viz., the BJP. They advertised the Gujarat riots and other things, bringing down the public discourse to such a low level that each day rang the death bell for the UPA with the motormouths of the Congress indulging in licence to say whatever came to their mind or tongue. They started displaying sudden liking, love, respect and admiration for L.K.Advani, fighting a kind of a battle for him in the Bhartiya Janata Party. What crocodile tears? The other group that was playing politics in the name of Advani was that of Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, who expressed intense hatred for Narendra Modi and hardly ever accepted him as the PM nominee of the NDA (National Democratic Front). He and his party, Janata Dal, were equally nursing secret ambition to become Prime Minister of the NDA. The flexibility shown by the BJP in making adjustments with all kinds of allies and Narendra Modi displaying prowess to successfully work with a team as diverse as the NDA, the UPA’s apple cart was upturned. The defeat of the forces of corruption represented by the UPA-I & II, numbed the Congress Party for almost a month. Other parties like the SP, BSP etc have yet to gather their wits to come to terms with the debacle faced by them. The Congress Party has once again started with its special affection for L.K.Advani. They are trying their best to portray him as a victim of the intra party feud between the Advani and Narendra Modi groups. Their followers in the media have started writing special editorials to drive a wedge between the two camps. Great dissemblers! They are feeling sorry for the treatment the party is giving to LKAdvani. They have mischievously started comparing him with Bhishma Pitahmah in the Mahabharat. There is nothing like this in a dynamic political situation. Had the BJP not shown flexibility or had they not opted for Narendra Modi at this critical juncture, UPA-III would have been ruling us in opporession even today. It is Modi alone who has routed not only the Congress Party but several others and got for the BJP an absolute majority on its own, so that it can’t be blackmailed by supporters or allies. It is Modi again who has given the party an opportunity to be generous to the NDA partners. This partnership has satisfied the people as a government, representative of all interest groups in the country. Attempts to create a “mahabharat” in the ruling party led by Narendra Modi are bound to prove sour grapes.
The commiseration brigade is indulging in a futile exercise, like those columnists, who write in the newspapers long sentimental articles on the plight of the domestic servants. They have so many demands from the government and the people on humanitarian grounds, but hardly ever paying them even the prescribed minimum wages under the law. One woman has written about her three maid servants (just note the designation), complaining in a typical sophisticated way about the two of the elderly maids and grudgingly complimenting the third one who appears to be a minor by the description of behaviour. You underpay, violate the law, breach all norms of human consideration and also make big issue about their plight because of the government or the people? Same is the prescription of a popular name of a novelist turned columnist in the Times of India today, June 14, 2014. He too is vexatitous about the plight of these maid servants and has prescribed norms (sanskars) to treat them humanely. My question to him also remains the same: are you paying your maidservants the prescribed minimum wages and other facilities? Even our top grade officers posted abroad regularly violate these norms. Preaching is easier than practising. Dissemblers do more harm than the perpetrators.
In the name of modernity, all good norms (sanskars) have been jettisoned in the last 50 years in India. Maltreatment of domestic helps or children or women or elderly are new vices afflicting the Indian society. When the individuals choose to violate social or family rules, which are not law as passed by any legislature, they express contempt for “society” or “morals” and profess not to care for the society. Their logic is confounding as they demand to know what the society gives to them. But when crimes, especially those against women, take place the same people complain of public apathy as nobody from the crowd comes to help them. Once human kindness dries up because of curtness or cussedness of members of the society or the family, the results can be disastrous. One big epidemic that has gripped the Indian society is the neglect of the aged parents/grand parents or even siblings by sons/daughters/daughters-in-law staying in the traditional joint family. It has crossed the limits of decency as the son/daughter/daughter-in-law have started “abusing” their father/mother/grand father/grand mother etc physically and verbally. The Government has been compelled to take notice of the problem and a law has been put on the statute book in 2007, giving the parents legal rights to claim maintenance from their children. It does put some sense in the swollen heads of the children, but is really no solution to my mind. I have been watching the developments in this area since such a law made by the government of Himachal Pradesh came to my notice sometime in 1996. The parental need, especially a widowed mother/father, is much more than mere maintenance. Old age can be painful without the loving care of the family members. One becomes emotionally, financially, socially, medically dependent on others in old age. I have seen from close quarters scores of persons who survived the trauma only because of the care provided by the family members. We have been trained from early childhood to treat our parents like God. The story of Shrawan Kumar, who carried his blind parents on his shoulders to all places of pilgrimage, is ingrained in our minds. It is shocking for us to read in the newspapers the stories of physical and verbal abuse of the aged parents. They are no poor sons or daughters or daughters-in-law. They are rich, highly educated and well placed members of the society. What kind of humanity do these people expect of others in society? It is not too difficult for parents to change the scenario for their better existence- they have just to take to some practices in the west like re-marriage or spending all their earnings on themselves. Why should parents spend the last penny only on the well being of children who not only can have the cruel heart to ignore them but also to abuse them physically or verbally? Norms of civilized and cultured behaviour are taught and cultivated in the family as a valued member of a decent society. Unfortunately, the family itself has suffered fracture today: it slipped from a joint family institution to a nuclear family unit and that too has suffered divorce, replacing family ties by one sided master servant hurtling relations, where also complaints are the plot of novels and theme of news stories or documentaries.
Today’s biggest affliction is this insincerity of emotions, this disruption of the emotions, this fouling of the norms of valued patterns of individual and family and social behaviour. The overflow of commiseration for L.K.Advani or the maid servant is evidence of such feigned love, respect, concern. Today’s generation has to re-learn the lessons it has deliberately chosen to forget. Apologise to the parents if you have hurt them. Do whatever you can do within your means to love them or care for them. The BJP needs and shall continue to need the L.K.Advanis as also each son, daughter and daughter-in-law will need the parents.