It is a great tragedy that a very senior and upright leader like you at this venerable age of 82 must find yourself in such a great dilemma. Whether to retire or not? From active politics?
Yes, this is a great tragedy simply because you are in a dilemma. Age gives wisdom. That is the Indian view, if not the view all over the world. In all cultures and all nations.
We have just to see the election results in Japan. Any senior politician of the stature and standing of Advani or for that matters other senior politicians like Arjun Singh of the Congress or George Fernandes of Janata Dal must be seen as very senior leaders and also elder statesmen. They are so in my opinion and assessment.
So, I take this occasion to say a few things that might impinge on the minds of others who are still active players in the Indian political scene.
You see, Advaniji, politics is politics, it is a power game and also an area and an arena when it gives enormous opportunities for men and women to come centre stage and hog the limelight as it were for sometime.
Practical politics is often ruthless and it has always been so. So, any politician who considers himself or herself has to take some lessons in history. That is political history as well. We see the very big guys, like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao. How big they were! They almost became demigods in their times.
Then, how the mighty had fallen. The masses, the crowds once worshipped or whipped up to worship through sheer uncivilised methods of mass frenzy, then, had to pay a heavy price. They very same masses then spit and kicked their statues and they are now hounded out of any civilised society, civilised conversations!
So too in Indian politics.
I have a theory of history. It is this: history is not about events or the big and powerful men and women. As most histories are. Nor even as about the big abstract themes, as propounded by Arnold Toynbee.
History is also not about winners, those who got “defeated” are also historic figures, as you can see.
So, whom you now imagine have “defeated” you and sent you into sunset might not be the real winners. Who knows they might prove to be nobodys and very soon forgotten. Who knows you might again stage a comeback. That is in the very nature of politics.
As I say and strongly believe that only in politics, those miracles do happen!
It is not your age or the dictates of the RSS that might fix your destiny.
Who knows that when the situation so develops perhaps the party, the BJP you, as history would record, have singlehandedly created after your rath yatra, may still might look to you in time of a new historic situation.
But then age doesn’t wait for us, for many of us to come back and stage a comeback. Only other great historic figures, like the tragic Napoleon, might have such opportunities to stage a comeback, though he was eventually “defeated”, he remains to this day in men’s memories as one who left his imprint in history.
History you must read and only history can give you the satisfaction and the consolation you might need at this hour of reckoning.
“History defeated me” bemoaned Mussolini. Yes, there are such moments.
There is nothing like a historic inevitability. Human minds are the most capable of creative powers and great imagination.
So, human ingenuity would come to your help if you so play your future course of action. The point is that the RSS can’t grow a political party.RSS is a shadowy outfit, totally unsuited and it would never bring the BJP back to the centre of power. Only a mass base and a hard mass contact programme can bring any political party to power or near power centres.
So, Advaniji, you still would remain relevant and only through democratic means that a party leader emerges in these days. So, you might still remain relevant and you might still be the tallest leader even if you hand over formal power as leader of the Opposition.
Not Jaswant Singh nor Arun Jaitley nor Arun Shourie. They may be capable leaders and yet they would find themselves standing under your shadow as long as you are there and stand up and speak your mind out.
So, please take heart and a political party must function as a political party, must adopt some democratic norms in the age of democracy as our century is.
As for Arjun Singh, I have also to say the same kind of advice and consolation.
You have had your innings; you have your own reasons to feel vindicated.
You have left behind a legacy in Madhya Pradesh. You made MP as centre for culture and arts and much else in literature and in other spheres.
You have groomed some leaders. As for your leftover grievanes, you have to blame yourself to play the sycophant politics in the Congress party.
The Indian National Congress is a 125 year old grand old party. There have been giants, before and Gandhi. Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah has come out on time and a reading of the massive volume, now in your leisure time must give you enough material to mull over what life gave you in the Congress, as the great Jinnah found out sooner in his political career from a fellow Kathiawadi, Gandhi, both coming from the same region, within a distance of just 40 miles and both had developed very early in their lives, a prejudice and a jealousy for the mutual suspicion and rivalry.
Yes, we have to count our place and the space and the time when we come into politics and we have to take our own positions keeping the future likely scenario.
In this sense, I won’t blame Jinnah what he did when events and circumstances forced his hands.
So, what Jinnah had eventually was not just a “moth eaten” Pakistan but what he sought after with Gandhi playing big brother by his side. In this stratege, can be blame just Jinnah alone and absolve Gandhi and his disciples?
It is for the future and present historians to go on and on and they will do so.
As for ourselves, you have to take your own judgement after the events you tried to shape for yourself or for your supposed future benefactors.
Why blame Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi? They are also helpless and clueless players on the political stage too!
You conspired against Narasimha Rao, right? And you unnecessarily brought in Sonia Gandhi into politics, right? Then, you have to pay a price too, right?
How you justify Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister?
It is all part of the price we have to pay when we blatantly disrespect history’s lessons and seek short-cuts to fame and fortune!
As for George Fernandes, he was my hero at one point of time.
Even now, I bow my head before this great revolutionary leader who proved many costly lessons in politics.
He of course didn’t stick to his ideology, he had to court BJP, his ideological enemy and then his helper and now his last resort, the JD (U) proved a deserter of your great ideologies.
But then, here too I would say that you might have stuck to your ideology and might have left the scene gracefully long time ago. Why you have stuck to the same pitfalls, power and glory in this way?
Now, I come back to my theory of history. History is about ideas, ideals and men of principles. History remembers those individuals and ideals and ideas that convey something big for the mankind. That is how our senior leaders in the global arena, Jimmy Carter, Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela and others who all stood the other day on the Israel-Palestine border, in the West Bank to tell Israel to stop their construction on what is not their territory. Yes, these are the figures whom history would remember and venerate.
So, you, my dear fellow Indian greats, seniors and much respected in your own ways, you must all take heart, you now go for greater goals and ideals, you become world citizens and join the larger causes and advocate peace, no war, disarmament and become wisemen of the current Indian political scene. Wish you all long life and much useful selfless service. Thank you, great men of our times!
Advaniji has plenty of good deeds on his hands. He can devote his life to promote Indo-Pakistan relations. You may set up a foundation and work for Indo-Pak understanding, friendship and reconciliation among Hindus and Muslims in the subcontinent, Who knows you may go over to win a nobel Prize for Peace!
If Jimmy Cater can do that why not someone of your stature? And who better qualified? That would also be a sweet revenge for your detractors!
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