Varun Gandhi, a case study !!
by Ravi Verma, Tue Mar 24, 2009 at 02:30:06 PM EDT
I would like to highlight the curious case of Mr Varun Gandhi because it offers an interesting insight into some of the most fascinating episodes of history.
First, a background.
Varun Gandhi is a politician belonging to the right wing BJP party in India. He is the son of Maneka Gandhi, who is a Sikh and Sanjay Gandhi. Sanjay Gandhi was the son of Indira Gandhi (former prime minister of India) and Feroze Gandhi, who was a "Parsee" (a Zoroastrian). Indira Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijaylaxmi Pandit, who were "Kashmiri Brahmins" (Hindus).
That would make Varun Gandhi 25% Hindu, 50% Sikh and 25% Parsee... at least by birth. If I am going on and on about Varun Gandhi's religious genealogy, then there is a point to it. Varun Gandhi can, of course, reject his religious genealogy and practice any religion he chooses. That is a fundamental right we all possess, but rarely excerise.
Varun Gandhi has, it appears, chosen to be 100% Hindu. In fact, you can safely say that Mr Gandhi has chosen to be 200% Hindu. And so, here are some interesting quotes from Mr Gandhi (all lifted from his Wikipedia entry where you can find the original references
"If somebody lifts a hand against Hindus, or thinks they are weak, there is nobody behind them, then I swear on the Bhagavad Gita that I will cut off that hand".
"All the Hindus stay on this side and send the others to Pakistan. This is the Lotus hand, it will cut their throats after elections."
(note: the Lotus is the symbol of the BJP... no connection to my handle, I should hasten to point out)
"Go to your villages and give the call that all Hindus must unite to save this area from becoming Pakistan..."
"Is it not true... that if (a woman) is asked her name and she says Bimla Devi, she is told we'll see, we'll think (about giving Government aid), give us Rs 5,000 first... But if her name is Saira Bano or whatever begum Hukum Begum... I don't even know... These people have such scary-sounding names... Karimullah, Mazharullah... If you ever encountered them at night, you'd be scared..."
Note: Bimla Devi is a Hindu name, Saira Bano, Karimulla and Mazharulla are Muslim names.
As you can see, the quote above would be roughly translated as a Macaca moment.
"There is a mad Sikh contesting... who is contesting as an agent of a Muslim... the Hindus who are backing him are the biggest traitors of Hindus."
Note: Mr Gandhi is contesting the upcoming elections in a constituency where his main opponent is a Sikh.
Mr Gandhi represents an interesting insight into other, similar examples in history. The most notable case is also in Indian history, and is that of Auranzeb, the son of Shah Jahan...the Mughal King who built the Taj Mahal. It is widely recognized that the Mughals were a multi-religious dynasty ~ the Mughal emperors actively embraced all religions. In fact, that was the source of their strength and greatness, in my opinion. As such, the great Mughal Kings had a fairly common practice of marrying outside their religion. Auranzeb had a religious geneology that was as varied as Mr Gandhi. With such a varied religious geneology, one expects secularism (at worst), or an active embrace of all religions. Indeed, Auranzeb's older brother (and primary rival for the Kingdom) Dara Shikoh was a poet/philosopher who embraced the multi-religious philosophy of the Mughals.
And yet, Auranzeb turned out to be a fanatical Muslim. As a young boy growing up in India, I often wondered how Auranzeb could have been such a fanatic with his religious genealogy. We also wondered what would have happened if Dara Shikoh had prevailed over Auranzeb. (btw: You can trace back some of the religious extremism amongst Muslims today all the way back to Auranzeb)
It seems Mr Varun Gandhi might offer some interesting clues as to how that could have happened.
Varun Gandhi was 3 months old when his father died in a plane crash. He was 4 years old when his grandmother was assassinated by her bodyguards. His father was supposed to be THE political talent in India (although a lot of people hated him). After his father's death, political power shifted to his uncle (Rajiv Gandhi, who was a reluctant politician) and to his aunt (Sonia Gandhi, who is an even more reluctant politician).
I do not know much more than this, but I do know that Mr Gandhi's life should be documented in much more detail.