The Rahul Gandhi Gamble

During the first general election of 1952, a candidate of the Rama Rajya Parishad who was standing against Pandit Nehru asked him asked him why he did not support a ban on cow slaughter. "Don't you love cows?" he asked. Nehru replied with his British sense of humour, "I love horses too." That was his way of putting the distance between loving an animal and deifying it.

Rama Rajya is again in the news with the BJP claiming that this is the one ideal of good governance that all Indians have always cherished. So it will be Rama Rajya, Rama Setu and Rama Mandir for the BJP? It shows how out of touch with India the party has become.

The Dalits cannot have much love for Rama Rajya after what happened to Sambuka in the Ramayana. Even the OBCs may object to the upper caste bias of the epic and modern women may not want a husband who treats them so badly as the hero of Ramayana treated his wife.

Also has the BJP learned nothing from the Rama Setu debate with DMK chief M Karunanidhi? The Ramayana is a different text in North India from what it is in the South. The anti-Brahman movement in the South was virulently against the North Indian version of Hinduism. The BJP has a long way to go before it realises that Hindu society lives on division and sub-division. It has survived for centuries without a single political authority precisely because of its ability to prevent any single group to get so large as to dominate. Hinduism is not a unifying creed.

Now after sixty years of sovereignty, we are once again seeing the same fragmenting tendencies rule the party structure. Like some ancient dynasty, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty ruled over all of India for 42 years till 1989 with only an occasional usurper. Since 1989, the dynasty has never been in full power. It has to adjust to the demands of many regional subahdars and local nawabs.

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