Monday, January 28, 2013

BJP back to its basics: Must the party oppose Tipu Sultan university?

Tipu Sultan
On one hand, BJP tries to project itself as an alternative to the Congress at the national level. Its leaders repeatedly announce that the party will treat Muslims alike and there would be no injustice.

But when it comes to actions, its leaders can't even bear symbolism. They are not willing that a university is named after a King who valiantly died fighting the British, unlike rulers who made pacts with East India Company.

Tipu Sultan could have saved his throne and secure his personal interests just like the Nizam or Marathas. But he took a bold stand, tried to form an alliance with other rulers, and finally died in the battlefield.

Tipu had no foreign lineage. He was born here and died here. Still, the 'Swadeshi' BJP has serious problems with him. Isn't it just blind hatred? As per plans, this university has to be established in Srirangapatna [Srirangapatnam] in Karnataka.

Now there are a few states where BJP is no longer seen as an 'enemy' among sections of Muslims, as in MP and Chhattisgarh. The case of Bihar is different because here JDU is playing the dominant role and hence Nitish Kumar overrules BJP leaders' objections.

In MP also,  BJP didn't let the AMU branch open, due to RSS pressure. But there were no fiery speeches or statements. In Karnataka, BJP leaders are openly hostile to the project. They are also spreading baseless propaganda. They claim that the university would need a large chunk of land, which is wrong.

The senior office-bearers of the party are mouthing an imaginary figure of 2,000 acres [required for the university] which is 20-40 times more land than is required for the project. Barely 50-100 acres would be needed. But the aim is to make a mountain out of a molehill and inflame passions.

The BJP government has refused to give land. The Centre has said that it doesn't need state government's ascent or land. Waqf property and local Muslims are willing to provide the land or it can be in a private-public partnership model.

 Still, BJP leaders are saying that they would not let this university come up in Karnataka. When local party units and their leaders act in this manner, shouldn't central leadership tell them to mend ways?

Can BJP leaders remember the GREEN in their own flag!
Of the hundreds of universities, there are barely a few named after Muslim freedom fighters or legendary personalities belonging to minority community.

Even this symbolic gesture is not palatable to the BJP. It shows that either their cadre remain as lumpen as they were in eighties and nineties.

Or, they are total fools that they expose their intentions by openly opposing such nominal things.

Rather than trying to reach out to Muslims, they continue to act in bizarre way. It is understandable if Shiv Sena does it, but it is against political acumen, if a national party does it.

Now see the double standards. The then Maharaja of Gwalior [Scindia] had sided with the British in 1857 and in a BJP ruled state the line from the famous poem on Laxmi Bai*, that terms Scindia as 'Friend of British' during the revolt [first freedom movement], was removed. History changed to remove the blot!

The party has no objection to this dynasty. Was it just for Vijayraje Scindia's closeness with RSS? Though the titles were abolished long back, the BJP government establishes institutes named as 'Rajmata' Vijayraje Scinda University. See link here.

Naming an institution after her is fine. But why such feudal honorifics that in fact glorfiy Raj? Which other personality, other than freedom fighters, has ever been given such respect? Once again, in the present case, the Saffron party gives a message that it is against Muslims.

Such pettiness of mind of many party leaders is the reason that BJP keeps stumbling in its bid towards capturing Delhi. Already, BJP is facing a serious crisis in Karnataka. After Yeddyurappa's exit, there is little hope for the party to form the next government.

Then, why it is hell-bent on turning it into an emotive issue and distancing Muslims further! Think, if, Atal Bihari Vajpayee would have opposed naming the university after Tipu Sultan?

[*'Khoob ladi mardani voh to Jhansi wali rani thi'--Poem by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan]

1. Who is afraid of Tipu Sultan?
2. Tipu Sultan University caught in politics