October 1999

‘Bad people, Good people’

(Reproduced below is the editorial published on September 30, 1999 by Jansatta, the Hindi daily published by the Indian Express group of newspapers, under the headline, Bure Manush Bhale Manush ).

The BJP spokesman and general secretary, Venkaiah Naidu says that certain organisations which have associated themselves with one of the anti–BJP ads inserted in the newspapers by the movement, Communalism Combat, are recipients of foreign funds. A list of such organisations has also been provided by Venkaiah Naidu. Included in the list is the name of Manushi, which does not accept any donation even from an Indian source, leave alone foreign ones. Naturally, Manushi, has condemned the BJP statement. The organisation maintains that it has never received any donation from abroad, nor has it applied for permission to receive foreign funds. Not just that, Manushi has also supported the ad of Communalism Combat which exposes the anti–women attitude of the BJP. Manushi (a publication which describes itself as ‘A journal about Women and Society’) is not connected with Communalism Combat. The other organisations named by Naidu have so far not given their reactions to his statement but after Manushi’s response, the BJP’s charges lack credibility.

Though it appears to be a simple matter, this episode has serious implications. It reveals how BJP responds to its opponents with baseless allegations. The manner in which different political parties have been flinging mud at each other — in this the BJP is undoubtedly ahead of the others — have muted voices such as that of Communalism Combat. Despite this, the BJP general secretary is scared of this voice and is trying to make it appear as a conspiracy supported by foreign funds. Interestingly, in this attempt, even an organisation whose credentials are beyond question and which has never accepted foreign funds is being implicated. In saying this we by no means imply that others who do receive funds from abroad are all part of some conspiracy. There are many organisations in the country that receive foreign money but they are no part of any conspiracy. In fact, more than anyone, the government itself is dependent on foreign loans and grants.

It is not as if Venkaiah Naidu is not aware of all this. He is not unknowingly making references to foreign funding. In fact, it is a false propaganda being dished out in reaction to an ad. No doubt, the ads of Communalism Combat have political implications. At one level, they appear to be opposing the BJP and in the process helping the Congress. But the BJP is doing nothing to challenge the contents of these ads. Instead, it tries to make the motivations of such groups suspect and to encircle their very existence with a question mark. The simple implication of this is that any one who opposes the BJP is evil, a foreign agent and anti–national. This is but an elaboration of that concept of nationalism that the BJP has for long been trying to don and which it tries to use as a shield against every attack on itself. Those who questioned the BJP–led government’s role in Kargil are dubbed anti–national; others who try to put the BJP in the dock on other issues, too, are being charged with receiving foreign funds!   


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