For nearly two decades, the BJP appeared to be the political party with a difference. The party stood for what many Indians wanted - opening of the economy, strengthening of the defence capability, a universal recognition for India's strengths. The BJP did all that just too well. They capitalised on economic initiatives taken by the erstwhile Prime Minister, PV Narasimha Rao and took India to a pedestal on the world stage, gave India a voice.
All credit for this goes to the statesman, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, who charismatically took alongwith him friends and foes alike. Mr. Vajpayee drew on the immense goodwill he had built over the years and weaved together a rainbow coalition of political parties, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and almost gave India the governance that we needed.
But off-late, we have seen a complete disarray in the BJP, the NDA is practically non-existant today. Why has Mr. Vajpayee's legacy been squandered away just like this?
Mr. Vajpayee, it can be concluded, had the knack for identifying the capable people for the right job. That's why we had seen several initiatives being taken in all spheres. And these were successful.
As long as success was there, there was power, ensuring that the different factions stayed together as one. A part of the "staying together" can also be attributed to the "Vajpayee factor".
Today, the BJP doesn't have the success, the power or the "Vajpayee factor". And the result - a complete chaos and disarray.
Jaswant Singh's expulsion points to that disarray. Do Jaswant's views on Jinnah really impact India? Does it really matter whether Jinnah was a nationalist or not? Isn't Jaswant entitled to his own views as an individual?
Despite Jaswant's statements that Jinnah was a nationalist, they would not solve the problems between India and Pakistan today.
The fact remains that India has a distinct national identity today. We are very different from what Pakistan is. We are a young, ambitious and forward looking nation and we have no place for retrograde thought.
Whether Partition was a good or a bad thing is another question. The "grandparent generation" is still nostalgic and romanticises about anything "sarhad paar". They regret the Partition and still fantasise about bazaars of Lahore, the culture and the prosperity that was left behind, etc. etc.
But, I have a question. Would you have ever wanted to live in one nation with millions of fanatics, share a border with the Taliban?
My answer to this question would be a big big NO!
So while millions of lives were lost in the Partition, a lot of blood was shed, the Partition was a blessing in disguise for India. We got rid of the baggage of an inward looking, crazy and regressive set of people.
We became a leaner and meaner nation. We got an agility to move on. And the result - today Partition is absolutely irreversible.
So why all this controversy on Jaswant's book?
And to top it all, when the BJP is looking for a firm grounding, it expels its global face.
What a Major Mistake!
(Caricature courtesy: http://jaswantsingh-mp.com/)