Our Country and Advani’s Life

BG Verghese critically reviews L.K. Advani’s autobiography, “My Country, My Life”…. the life may be his, but the country is fortunately far more than any single individual’s. The title is reminiscent of the individualism propagated during Rajiv Gandhi’s time: “mera bharat mahan” (“my India is great”) which IMHO, would have been more slightly more generous had the “mera” (my) been replaced by “hamara” (our). That is, if at all the slogan was apt in the first place.

Mr Advani has also referred to Satyapal Dang, the CPI leader from Punjab as “the late Satyapal Dang”. The veteran leader has responded by proclaiming that he is still alive, and that though Advani may admire him, it would be most unfortunate if Advani became the Prime Minister.

A few excerpts from the review, followed by a statement issued by Comrade Satyapal Dang.

So where does this leave “cultural nationalism”? Mr Advani describes the 1992 Babri demolition as a “Hindu awakening” and is pleased to cite Girilal Jain’s certificate that “You have made history”. Having taken a bow, Mr Advani describes the day as the “saddest” in his life. Yet he laid the ground for that day with his 1990 Rath Yatra that sowed dragon seeds of hate. The event was followed by a trail of riots that took 600 lives. He lit the fire but blames the wind.

The same with the Gujarat riots, one of the worst blots in India’s record since Independence. Mr Advani commends Modi, but disowns any responsibility as a leading BJP stalwart, Gandhinagar MP and Union Home Minister. He cites the communal count of those killed in police firing to suggest even handedness and promptitude of action, setting aside contemporary evidence of official complicity which continues to this day. Police officers who stood firm were promptly “promoted” and transferred! Speaking over AIR, Mr Modi told terrified victims of the holocaust that if they desired peace they should not seek justice. Nothing more despicable could have been said. Alas, Mr Advani fiddled while Gujarat burned.

Here is the news item with Comrade Dang’s rejoinder as well as Bhai Ranjit Singh, the former Jathedar of the Akal Takht pointing to yet another discrepancy in the book.

In chapter 7 of the book “The trauma and triumph of Punjab” Advani has written “as the late Satya Pal Dang, an Amritsar-based Communist leader whom I admire for his courageous campaign against Khalistan”. Though Advani said that he admire Dang, the latter said it would be most unfortunate if a person like Advani became Prime Minister.

The facts on high profile Nirankari murder given in the book are also distorted, which earned flak from Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar, Akal Takht, who spent a long time in Tihar Jail in connection with the assassination of Baba Gurbachan Singh Nirankari. He said Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala was never among the list of 20 accused persons as mentioned in the book. He claimed that there were only four persons arrested by the CBI who were later released on personal bonds.

The former jathedar said it was shocking that Advani did not know the bare facts pertaining to the Nirankari murder case because Giani Zail Singh was not the union home minister when the four arrested by the CBI were released. The union home minister was P.C. Sethi, he claimed.

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bhupinder singh

reader, mainly and an occasional blogger

3 thoughts on “Our Country and Advani’s Life”

  1. the historian chaman lal who has researched and published on shahid bhagat singh has pointed out yet another gaffe – advani has written that bhagatsingh, rajguru and sukhdev were hung for their part in throwing a bomb in the assembly in delhi when in actual fact they were sentenced for the assassination of sanders in lahore.

    advani and dang are two contradictory faces of indian politics. while the former has capitalised on the exceptionally deep hold of religious faith on the indian masses the latter along with the rest of the mainstream communist movement in this country has failed to understand this and so has got marginalised.

  2. I read Praful Bidwai’s review today and it seems that there are quite a few other gaffes in the book. I dont have the book, but given Advani’s background of reviewing Hindi movies, one cannot really expect much.

    About Com Dang, probably I will write some other time in more detail, he is a very sectarian leader within the CPI, but his stand against terrorism in Punjab is commendable and he is widely respected for holding up secularism in the state during some of the worst days.

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