Adityanath as UP CM: Some people can't digest Hindutva won, secularism lost

Makarand R Paranjape
Makarand R ParanjapeMar 22, 2017 | 09:37

Adityanath as UP CM: Some people can't digest Hindutva won, secularism lost

Aditya being one of the names of the sun, the anointing as the new chief minister of the Mahant from Gorakhpur who bears that name may be considered the heralding of a new dawn in Uttar Pradesh.

If it were an independent country, UP, with a population of over 200 million, would be the world’s sixth most populous (after China, India, US, Brazil and Indonesia). But more importantly for India, it is not only our Hindi heartland but also, sadly, our most backward region.


The two are linked: UP’s huge population and its backwardness. Because it sends so many elected MPs to the Lok Sabha, it is India’s principal political catchment area. Keeping it backward helped sustain the divisive votebank politics of the past.

Elections in UP were fought on caste and religious lines, with the ruling party favouring one caste or community over the others. For the first time in several decades, this is set to change.

Secular Hindutva

A new political configuration has emerged in this decisive BJP victory in UP. For lack of better political terminology, an astute commentator called it “secular” Hindutva. Why is it secular? Because its appeal is not to a particular caste, community, or section of the electorate, but cuts across a broad swathe of interest groups and coalitions among the Hindus.

No wonder it has also been dubbed a rainbow coalition. But the BJP victory also clearly signals the consolidation of Hindutva, not only as a force to unify Hindus, but also as an unabashed foregrounding of dharmik, cultural identity.

Yogi Adityanath is not only UP’s new CM, but is also the head of the Gorakhnath Peeth.

Yogi Adityanath is not only UP’s new CM, but is also the head of the Gorakhnath Peeth, a formidable and highly respected religious, social, and cultural institution in the Purvanchal area.


A telling photo records the initiation of a very young Adityanath into the Nath order of ascetics, with former VHP president Ashok Singhal at the mike, addressing the gathering. Adityanath looks humbled, anxious, almost overcome by the momentous occasion.

Since that modest beginning, however, the Yogi has gone from strength to strength, elected with overwhelming margins for five times to the Lok Sabha, starting his first term at the age of 26. While the English media has tried to portray him as a rabble-rousing Hindu fanatic, on the ground he is better known for straight talking and getting things done.

The Naths, at one time, were not only great scholars and mystics, but also fierce warriors and keepers of dharma. No wonder, there is no meekness or apologetics in Adityanath’s Hinduism, something that deeply offends and threatens a section of our secularist intelligentsia, who are shell-shocked.

Does the BJP’s triumph and Adityanath’s elevation to chief ministership signal the beginning of India’s civil war? Not if the initial reaction by the chattering and twittering classes is anything to go by.

The media has constantly harped on his “militant” and “communal” past, some baiters even going to the extent of saying that it’s time for women, minorities, LGBTs, and beef-eaters to leave UP.


The fact that Hindutva has won and secularism lost is hard for them to digest.


It is Hindutva that today is perceived to rise above sectarian interests, while secularism has been exposed as being cynically, if hopelessly, communal. But the secularists have shown themselves not only to be losers, but such bad ones at that.

They continue to compound their ignorance with arrogance. Instead of admitting that they were wrong all along, they are now desperately trying to remain relevant by pretending to play the role of a meaningful opposition to the Modi-led BJP juggernaut.

No one is listening to them, though. Instead of pontificating, they would do well to eat humble pie and go back to school. Let them try to learn something about India, a country they live in but don’t understand. Perhaps, trying to read a text more than 200 years old in a language other than English might help.

As to Yogi Adityanath and his team, they have their work cut out for them. With great power, as they say, comes great responsibility.

Law and order is the first priority of the new UP sarkar. All sections of the state, especially the most vulnerable, need to feel safe again, assured that their life and property will not be threatened at the slightest pretext.

A clean, less corrupt, if not corruption-free, administration is next.


Three: vikas, or development, the plank that BJP got elected on, once again, for all sections of the population, not just for the favoured ones. Four: education, especially at the primary level, which is in such a mess in UP, with many thousands of school teachers drawing salaries without doing any teaching.

Five: infrastructure, which needs massive investment, but is the prerequisite to attracting businesses to the state. Six: communal harmony, social development — minorities and majorities need to work together for the benefit of the state, with much greater cooperation if not integration, something that government can facilitate.

Seven: the building of a grand Ram temple at Ayodhya in a non-aggressive, non-exclusive way. The list seems endless, the challenges colossal. Where there’s a will, however, there should be a way.

Such a massive mandate, coupled with support from the BJP government at the Centre, makes many hopeful. Crucial to the success of Yogi Adityanath and his team is efficient and harmonious intra-party relations.

In-fighting, envious bickering and internal politicking will be nothing short of fatal. Both central command and the Yogi must show zero-tolerance to those who defy either the discipline or the ideology of the party.

Work equals worship should be the watchword. Only then will UP’s rising sun not only satisfy his supporters but silence his critics.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: March 23, 2017 | 11:59
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