The resignation of three Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) students coupled with their refusal to be the mouthpiece of the government must have hurt the BJP. When your children show you the mirror, reflect on questions about morality, ethics and nationalism, it is bound to prick the ego and hubris of the elders.
So calling them traitors, deriding them as anti-nationals, sympathisers of JNU jihadis and agents of Pakistan is a tempting and natural reaction.
But, the BJP and its nationalist bhakts would benefit immensely if they listen carefully to the three ABVP leaders who quit on Wednesday, citing difference of opinion with their organisation. They are reminding the saffron parivar of the core values of India, the real meaning of nationalism. On Wednesday night, joint secretary of the JNU wing of the students' organisation, put up an open letter on his Facebook page announcing that he is quitting ABVP with two other leaders.
It would have been much better if a senior leader of the party or one of its spokespersons had reflected on recent events, given precedence to morality over politics, conscience over opportunistic jingoism and stated the obvious. But, now that these conscientious students have spoken out, the BJP should reflect. The party should ask itself whether thugs with the Tricolour in hand denigrate the nation or add to its pride with their street violence and cowardly attacks on unarmed students, journalists and the very foundation of democracy.
At the peak of the Ram Mandir agitation, the BJP was mocked by its critics for having 'Moonh mein Ram, bagal mein chhuri' (Ram on the lips, dagger in hand). It is now in danger of becoming a party of hooligans with 'Haath mein Tiranga,dimaag mein danga' (Tricolour in hand, riot on the mind).
It should reflect on how a party that once took pride in the Indian culture where a guru is considered bigger than Govind (that's Kabir), turned into a party that is busy denigrating teachers, labelling them 'anti-nationals' and threats to the nation. How, while promising to fight against enemies of the nation, it started attacking the country's premiere institutions, its own people, students and Dalits; dispensing certificates of patriotism and nationalism and street justice.
As the ABVP leaders say in their resignation letter: "Anti-national slogans on 9 February in university campus were very unfortunate and heart breaking. Whosoever responsible for that act must be punished as per the law but the way NDA government is tackling the whole issue, the oppression of Professors, repeated lawyer attacks on Media and Kanhaiya Kumar in court premises is unjustifiable and we think there is a difference between interrogation and crushing ideology and branding entire left as Anti-national."
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Kailash Chaudhry, BJP legislator from Bayatu said, "The Congress thinks Rahul Gandhi is a prince, but he is a traitor. He should be shot."
The BJP must reflect, how, with its meticulous ambiguity on the culture of Nathuram Godse, it has turned a country that took pride in its legacy of ahimsa, into a nation of rampaging lynch mobs, where its leaders are raring to kill another Gandhi. Finally, the ABVP leaders are telling the truth about the 9 February incident in the JNU campus. "Veiled persons in the event organised by former DSU persons shouted slogans 'Bharat tere tukade honge', of which there is concrete evidence in the videos, so we demand any person responsible for the slogans should be punished as per the law."
They are telling us that the event was not organised by Kanhaiya Kumar, that anti-slogans were not raised by him but people wearing masks.
BJP, this is the conscience of your young leaders talking.
Stop. Listen. Act.
And, let Kanhaiya go.