India Uncut

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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Uma Bharti: honest, but wrong

In an excellent column in the Hindustan Times, Vir Sanghvi writes about Uma Bharti:
BJP voters know that, unlike many of her colleagues, she means what she says. There is a certain transparent sincerity about her: what you see, is what you get.

Which is probably why I respect her. She is entirely unlike your average politician. Nothing is off-the-record. She is what she is. She has more mass appeal than the rest of the second-generation BJP leadership put together and yet, she never once finds it necessary to fudge her position or to tell a lie.

Much is made of her adherence to hard-line Hindutva — she is currently on another pointless march to Ayodhya. And while I do not agree with her tendency to mix religion and politics, I have to say that I have never once heard her express her political views in terms of hatred for other communities. Give me Uma Bharti’s brand of Hindutva any day over Narendra Modi’s genocide.

What does it tell us about the BJP that Uma’s largely harmless religious posturing is regarded as crackpot-like behaviour while Modi’s record as a mass murderer makes him a hero to the party leadership? Perhaps Uma’s problem is that she really believes in the religion that her colleagues seek to exploit for electoral advantage.
Read the full piece.

While candour and honesty are qualities to be admired, they are unquestionably serving the wrong cause here. Bringing religion into the political sphere -- indeed, into the sphere of policy -- makes conditions ideal for the likes of Modi to spring up, and individual freedoms are inevitably threatened. I share Sanghvi's admiration for Bharti's "transparent sincerity," but her politics, although purposeful, is misguided and wrong.
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