Pramod Mahajan, the poster boy of the Indian Right that emerged in the 1990s, is dead. As homilies pile up, Kumar Ketkar, as insightful as ever, reminds us that Mahajan’s style came closest to that of the late Sanjay Gandhi. He sums it up well:
Mahajan was emerging as a leader of the economic and political right, but without the conservative contours of Hindutva. There is nobody who is able to take that line further. Mahajan has left behind a line but not a legacy.
To me, Mahajan, the “Lakshman” of the BJP’s masquerade, represented the legacy that India is going to live with for decades, he represented exactly the kind of politics that was exemplified in the manner of his death- the violent assault on one’s own brother- a social and political homicide of India.
The mainstream Indian press, dominated by the same strata that the BJP leadership comes from and appeals to is busy eulogizing the “poor Brahmin” who went on to become a leading politician.
The ideology and actions based on the pernicious ideology of Hindutva that he advocated have been disembodied from the person. In this, Mr Mahajan was as deft as the Janus- faced Vajpayee.
In terms of style, he was brash to the point of being uncouth, once comparing Mrs Sonia Gandhi with Monica Lewinsky.
Mahajan may have gone, but the political party that he helped bring to power, continues its assault.
May his soul rest in peace.