Mirza Ghalib has said – “Kaaba Kis moonh se jao ge Ghalib, Sharam tumko magar naheen aati.” How dare could you go to Kaaba with the same face? Are you not least ashamed?” The embodiment of ‘Kaaba’ and ‘House of RSS’ are diametrically opposite entities and the couplet doesn’t fit efficaciously into the situation. However, of all other opportunistic chameleons of politics who are making a beeline at the BHP darbar, M J Akbar has surprised me the most. Granted that he had been writing against Nehru family and Congress for quite long but I was still giving him the benefit of doubt – I took his writings an honest difference of opinion indeed! No, I was expecting too much in this materialistic world. Here was a journalist who enjoyed, 20 years ago, close association with Rajiv Gandhi; he is a trainee assistant of Khushwant Singh who is known for his fair pen; he is a pen many of journalistic firmament respected.
To share with the reader the tenor of his write-ups I’m reproducing a review of his book ‘Riot After Riot’ published on Oct 15, 2004:
“Law and order have two enemies: the Full Truth and the Complete Lie. When people realize the truth, they start revolutions. When they are fed lies they begin meaningless riots. Lies are the staple of every communal disturbance. They are spread by people who have a stake in this stupid violence, who have something to gain out of impoverished Hindus and Muslims fighting each other. Businessmen, traders, politicians, goondas, leaders of ‘cultural organizations’(like the Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh —RSS) feed the people with lies, watch these lies become convictions in people’s hearts, watch the passions build up, and then these leaders actually set up the events which will provoke a conflagration. They simply stick a pin into the nerves of people, and it is only a matter of time before the people explode. Then, when the first round of violence is over, when the initial steam has been let oft the lies keep on circulating. The people must not realize that they have been fooled or they will tear down their false heroes. There is fuel already in the murky events that make up communal violence, and upon this more lies are heaped and spread. After all, if the Hindu and Muslim live in peace, how will the RSS find another convert? How will the trader sell arms? How will a shopkeeper have the pleasure of seeing a rival’s shop burn down? How will the goonda loot? How will the communalist kill a fellow human being? Keep the lies floating friends!”
Today, he has joined BJP. On previous days he was close to Congress. No 180 degree turn -“I have come back to politics because of policy (main rajniti me niti ke liye wapas aya hu). The crisis in front of the country is known to all. This is an opportunity to do whatever little we can do for our country,” he said after joining the party. “It is our duty to join hands with the voice of the nation and bring the country back to a recovery mission. I look forward to working in BJP.” he told reporters.
He is the same Akbar who had earlier contested the elections from Kishanganj in Bihar on Congress ticket. Today, BJP president Rajnath Singh welcomed him in BJP with compliments: “Now prominent people from media too are accepting membership of BJP to give this country a stable government. Akbar is known to be one of the stalwarts in media and has accepted to join the party. I welcome him.”
The journalist who was strongly critical as the above comments of his book and other works reveal is unabashedly backing Modi today. According to M J Akbar “It is not only that there is crisis. But now I also see a solution to the crisis. Narendra Modi’s leadership is essential for the country. In ten years, no other politician has gone through so much scrutiny as Modi has gone through. He was scrutinized by police, central government, CBI, court-appointed institution. And those who rake up this issue all the time, I want to tell them to read the Justice Krishna report. How many people are there in Gujarat who are in jail through the legal system. More than 100. Can one tell me the numbers as far as the 1984 and 1993 riots are concerned.” He also hoped that Muslims will join hands with BJP as they are equal citizens of the nation and will come out of the “politics of fear”.
So, politics is a strange game where you don’t scrutinize your Bedfellows. There are bad bedfellows in life and politics is no exception.
By Naim Naqvi
Image Source: MJ Akbar