In this blog post we are dealing with about a short history of Bharatiya Janata Party. Also discuss on the topic BJP and Ram Rajya and BJP and Hindutva.
Bharatiya Janata Party
In the mid-term election of 1971 conclusion secured only 22 seats. In 1977, after the emergency was declared by the Congress Government. The Jana Sangh joined the Janata Party, and then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was born out of Jana Sangh and Janata Party.
The BJP became successful in winning 270 seats under the leadership of Morarji Desai and others. But the BJP did not remain united for so long, but won only 31 seats of 524 in 1980 election and the Congress, under the leadership of Mrs. Indira Gandhi; returned back to power in Lok Sabha elections of 1979-1980; and State Assembly elections of 1980.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Indira became the victim of political assassination in 1984, and the Congress led by Rajiv Gandhi won the elctions of 1984.
The BJP won separately only 2 seats in 1984 election. But the BJP became so successful in the Lok Sabha elections of 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999 both at the Central and in the State Assemblies of India.
Here we quote, “The BJP obtained 85 Lok Sabha seats in 1989, 119 seats in 1991, and 160 seats in 1996, 180 seats in 1998 and 182 seats in 1999. The BJP and Sangh fraternity practiced the strategy of Hindu mobilization on the issue of Ram Janmabhoomi.” (C.P. Bhambhri, Bharatiya Janata Party-Periphery to Centre, Delhi: Shipra Publications, 2001, p.17). It was during 1990s that BJP has emerged as an important pillar of Indian politics.
Bharatiya Janata Party and Ram Rajya.
Like RSS, the Bharatiya Janata Party, from its very beginning, has believed in the ‘revival of Bharatiya Nationalism.’ It has emphasized that the Bharatiya culture should be revived in order to make our country modern, progressive and strong.
It is this emphasis that helped BJP to gain in political strength compared to other communal parties. BJP’s favourite theme was Ram Rajya Parishad which also stood for the revival of Bharatiya culture; but which appeared to be too orthodox and backward looking to some Hindus.
For instance, in the 1951 election, the election manifesto of Ram Rajya Parishad promised a return to the glorious days of Lord Ram. BJP election manifesto spoke of ‘One country, One culture and One nation’ along with increase of food production; public ownership of industry, encouragement of small scale cottage industry; discouragement of strikes and lock-outs, strengthening of the Indian army; regulation of foreign trade in the interest of self-sufficiency, emphasis on swadeshi; Complete integration of Kashmir with India, prohibition of cow-slaughtering, etc.
Bharatiya Janata Party and Hindutva.
The ideology of Hindutva (Hinduness, Hindu identity consciousness) is another point of emphasis given by Bharatiya Janata Party. This ideology, started by V.D. Savarkar in 1930s, has become one of important candidates in the competition of identity politics of India; where a riot of identities takes place now and then.
According to Savarkar, Hindutva is not a religion but a history; and ‘Hindu’ is one whose religion has grown ‘out of the soil of India.’ But one should not forget that Savarkar and the Sangh Parivar (Hindu Joint Family) appropriate Indian indigenous religions; like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and the multiple Hindu sects’ religions because they belong to their holy land, Indian soil.
By this definition of Hindutva, Muslims and Christians are completely excluded because their holy lands are beyond Indian territories. According to this idea, Hindus are ‘insiders’ and all non-Hindus are ‘outsiders’. Hindutva is constructed on the ideology of ‘we’ and ‘others’.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)
Bhambhri wrote, “The BJP without Hindutva is a hollow and rotten shell” (C.P.Bhambhri, BJP-Periphery to Centre,p.xix).
It is the fundamental ideology of BJP that education should be co-related to the traditional culture and values of life. The policy of the BJS in the field of education has been stated as follows:
- a) Elementary education through mother tongue.
- b) Secondary and higher education through regional language with Hindi as compulsory subject.
- c) Those whose mother tongue is Hindi must learn at least one of other Indian languages.
- d) The study of the national language, Sanskrit, should be made compulsory.
Although Dr. Mukherjee, the most prominent president and founder of the party said that the Jana Sangh; unlike Hindu Mahasabha, would not restrict the membership to the Hindus alone; and would not be a communal organization, most of the members of Jana Sangh were Hindus.
In fact, many of Jana Sangh Party members were members of Hindu Mahasabha. Many of them, including their leaders, often criticized the Muslims for their lack of patriotism. They always emphasize the necessity of indianizing the minority communities of India.
In conclusion, let us see the views of Dev. Dutt on what the BJS is from his article of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in the CISRS publication of 1971, entitled “Political Prospects in India”:
- a) The BJS is the successor to the separatist communal politics of Hindu Mahasabha.
- b) In its early stages the BJS gives the impression that it was a parochial party concerned with issues such as Kashmir, refugees and the cow, etc.
- c) Its close association with the RSS has given it a communal violent outlook.
- d) Its association with parties such as Hindu Mahasabha, Ram Rajya Parishad, has given its impression of its inclination to conservative ideals.
- e) The style of politics shows that it is concerned with showmanship rather than integral humanism.
- f) The BJS has failed to spell out the details of a society based in Bharatiya culture.