By George Menezes
I write to you in anguish. A mixture of sadness and anger. I do not expect you to remember me. I am therefore attaching a picture of my induction into the BJP’s National Executive at the instance of my friend Ram Jethmalani and the invitation of Mr. Vajpayee.
I joined the BJP because I believe in the checks and balances of Parliamentary Democracy where a non performing Party is replaced by another that holds out hope of good governance. I had hoped that the BJP would do better than the Congress did despite years in power with large majorities.
You could have done better, much better because of the discipline in your Party, because, at that time, you did not have people tainted by corruption. But as they say in cricket, which you understand, you blotted your copy book.
We had a nice moderate group in the Party. Ram Jethmalani, Shanti Bushan, Rajinder Puri and some not so well known members like me.
What hopes we had! All dashed to pieces. Each one of us quit for reasons of their own. I quit when your Rath Yatra started to assume menacing proportions leading to the destruction of the Babri Masjid mosque.
It is an irony that I am writing to you instead of the Government in power when heinous acts of genocide are being committed against my community in Orissa, Karnataka and other parts of the country.
Logically I should have appealed to the Government and Party in power at the Centre. A Party that most members of my community vote for, opting for the evil of non governance and corruption over the evil of communalism.
But the Congress of today is a Party in power that lives in denial, thrives on ignoring the inhumanity heaped upon minorities that are too miniscule to be vote banks.
I write to you because you are “Prime Minister in waiting”, because of the faint hope that something at St Patrick’s school where you studied has rubbed off on you. Compassion and concern for human rights, for example.
I write to you because the atrocities unleashed on a peace loving, completely patriotic and law abiding people is taking place in the States governed by your Party and executed by the cadres that owe their allegiance to you.
Violence that diminishes the possibility of dialogue or the functioning of the rule of law is a dangerous instrument in the hands of those who use it. As I write this, violence is the first choice of a Party in Mumbai who want to drive North Indians (you excluded perhaps) from the State.
You have always had a strong commitment to fighting terrorism from Pakistan. I appreciate that. I urge that you extend that commitment to the terrorism that is home grown and used against brothers and sisters who are Indian first and Christians, Muslims and Dalits later.
For the good of this country I pray that you can control your cadres and not vice versa. I pray that unlike many leaders in this world who encouraged their cadres to violence and had violence visiting them in the long run, you will use the power that God has given you to do good.
In the seminars that I conduct on “Self Awareness” (I conducted some for the RSS cadres in 1985) I encourage participants to write their own obituaries so that they can work towards living up to those obituaries.
May your obituary read that you were a statesman and not a mere politician. That together with statesmen from other parties, you brought peace and tranquility to a nation that was being torn asunder. That you were able, against great odds, to uphold the Constitution of this multi-religious, multi-cultural and beautiful country.
God bless you and give you a long life
George Menezes who is at present, President Emeritus of the All India Catholic Union, has been an Award winning writer, an Indian Air Force officer, a diplomat with the Indian Embassy in Paris, a member of Pope John Paul's Pontifical Council for the Laity, a member of The Asian Bishop's Think Tank and a member of the Nation Executive of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He retired as Director Human Resources of Hoechst Pharmaceuticals after which he had a stint as Associate Diretor of the Xavier Institute of Management.