BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday came out in support of yoga guru Baba Ramdev for his 'beheading' remarks on the row over Bharat Mata Ki Jai but one couldn't help but wonder what was he was really thinking...
Baba Ramdev had in a very matter-of-fact manner said he would have “beheaded lakhs” for not saying Bharat Mata Ki Jai. The only thing that stopped the yoga guru was the law of the land. And if Ramdev's comments weren't bad enough, Amit Shah's support for his comments is even more shocking.
“Baba Ramdev is not a member of the BJP. However, I want to know from those who talk of free speech, does it not apply to Baba Ramdev,” Mr. Shah asked in an interview to a private TV channel.
So is Shah saying that freedom of speech equates to the right to behead a person?
- Or is he trying to say that Baba Ramdev is just talk -- he will never follow through on this threat -- so it is okay to support him because he gets the BJP votes?
- Or is he saying that just because Owaisi said something volatile, the BJP/Supporters must fire back a salvo of their own. The law be damned.
- Or is he saying that the BJP under him will continue to push the 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' agenda no matter how wrong it sounds.
No matter what convoluted logic Amit Shah is trying to give, it is wrong... at many levels.
For Baba Ramdev to say something as outrageous and not face any consequences is one thing. For the president of India's largest elected party to endorse it is completely different thing.
Yet, just because someone threatens to behead someone while saying 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai,' he is branded as a nationalist while someone who doesn't want to say it is anti-national.
So what is worse? Threatening to behead someone or not saying 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'; what is the crime here? And why is the BJP president, the right-hand man of PM Narendra Modi supporting it?
Scarier still is the thought that this is all a set-up for something much graver. The transition from the anti-national JNU controversy to 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' -- with the blessings of Amit Shah -- has been seamless and one wonders what extreme turn this will take next.
Will we, as ordinary Indians, be allowed to lead our lives -- within the confines of law of course (just like Ramdev) -- without any politician or Baba telling us what to do?
The fact that almost no one, not even those in the BJP, have an answer to that is unsettling and if nothing else, another reason for Modi to set the BJP president right.
We know it won't happen but well, we can hope.