New Delhi: Journalist-turned-politician and BJP MP Tarun Vijay firmly believes that JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar is being used as a political instrument by opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi because they are unable to stand the great strides that the Modi government has made in areas like economy and global diplomacy.
In an exclusive interview to indiatvnews.com, the former editor of RSS mouthpiece 'Panchjanya' blasted Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for comparing Kanhaiya with martyr Bhagat Singh.
Tarun Vijay pointed out that even an illiterate Indian would not compare the two. He went to the extent of saying that "comparing Bhagat Singh with Kanhaiya is like comparing Jawahar lal Nehru with Pol Pot (Cambodian despot)."
The debate over ‘nationalism’, he said, was not about chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan alone. "It is actually connected with a person’s feelings for the motherland".
“The debate over nationalism is not even about symbolizing certain expressions. It is a debate over your feelings for the country. You can say that I don’t want to chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” but there has to be a reason for that. What is the reason?” he asked.
Interestingly, Tarun Vijay said that BJP is well aware of PDP’s stand on Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru but, according to him, "bringing Mehbooba Mufti’s party into the national mainstream is the biggest service to Mother India today".
“BJP joining hands with PDP is as good as it was when Congress joined hands with PDP. It is in the interest of the country. You can isolate them and push them into the laps of extremist elements or you can bring them into the national mainstream,” he said.
The BJP MP also termed AIMIM supremo Asaduddin Owaisi a ‘personified poison’ and accused him of always saying things that go against the national ethos, civilizational mores and India’s cultural heritage.
Here goes the full transcript of the interview:
Q: How do you look at the ongoing ‘nationalism’ debate in the country? BJP and RSS are saying that not chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ amounts to disrespecting the constitution of India . However, the opposite viewpoint, represented by Congress and Left, insists that nationalism can’t be reduced to mere chanting a few slogans. What’s your perspective?
Tarun Vijay: Then why do they say ‘Lal salaam’ and ‘Chairman Mao is our Chairman’? Why do they have all those symbols of respect for their ideology, Lenin and Marx? These are simply expressions, the way you show your respect and feelings for someone you adore.
What is tricolour? It’s a piece of cloth. Casabianca gave his life for the flag of his country and stood guard at the masthead of that naval ship. Why would he have given his life for a piece of cloth?
Why do we feel that if someone insults a piece of cloth, that is known as national flag, the tricolour, must be punished? And why are there provisions in the law that showing disrespect to (i) the tricolour (ii) any symbol that represents faith of the people or the faith of the democracy has to be properly taken care of?
We respect our parents by touching their feet. The Marxists can say what is there in touching their feet.
Q: But their point is that it can’t be made mandatory. Let a person decide whether he wants to go for it or not.
Tarun Vijay: Nobody is making it mandatory. Who says we are making it mandatory? You slap someone who is elder to you, then what does it mean? I just touch the cheek of the other person in a stronger way? So these expressions are real statements of your feelings for national symbols.
You can say that I don’t want to chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” but there has to be a reason for that. What is the reason?
Q: Asaduddin Owaisi says that the Constitution does not ask him to chant “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and therefore, he can’t be forced to do the same.
Tarun Vijay: Owaisi is pure poison. He is personified poison. You can see his statements. He always says things that go against the national ethos, national civilizational mores and our cultural heritage. There are people who want to make headlines through such retrogressive and foolish statements. I don’t think we should give much credence or significance to them.
‘Nationalism’ is not about ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan only. Nationalism debate is not even about symbolizing certain expressions. It is a debate over your feelings for the country. Would you like to have the observance of anniversaries of criminals and terrorists and create an atmosphere in our universities that goes against the country or would you like to have anniversaries of Bhagat Singh and Ashfaqulla Khan observed? This is the difference that makes the basic plank of the nationalism debate.
Q: Your opponents point out that while BJP opposes the celebration of Afzal Guru’s death anniversary by some students in JNU, your party has joined hands with PDP which considers Afzal Guru a hero and has serious reservation over his execution. Is it not contradictory?
Tarun Vijay: Those who say celebration of Afzal Guru’s death anniversary is right must be questioned. What is the reason for them to think that not Republic Day, not Mahatma Gandhi’s martyrdom day but Afzal Guru’s day of death should be observed? Why? There has to be some reason. Let me understand what is the reason behind that.
We know PDP and bringing them into national mainstream is the biggest service to mother India today. BJP joining hands with PDP is as good as it was when Congress joined hands with PDP. It is in the interest of the country. You can isolate them and push them into the laps of extremist elements or you can bring them into national mainstream. That is what we are doing. It is the biggest service to the national cause.
Q: Do you think that post-JNU episode; your opponents are trying to prop- up JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar as some sort of anti-BJP face? Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and other prominent politicians have already met him.
Tarun Vijay: I don’t think so. He has now become a political instrument in the hands of those who are unable to stand the great strides that the Modi government has made in areas like economy and global diplomacy. Therefore, they have to manufacture some other point to oppose Modi govt. They are now trying to converge on supporting those who were hanged on the orders of Supreme Court and insulting those who sacrificed lives for the country.
Rahul Gandhi, Sitaram Yechury and the JNU crowd of leftists never showed any respect or feelings for Hanumanthappa, Siachen martyrs, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai or those who sacrificed their lives fighting communist terrorism in Chhattisgarh. All the Maoists and Naxals are adherents of the same ideology that is followed by Sitaram Yechury. They follow Leninism and Marxism. They follow Marx and Engels. Stalin and Mao are their ideals. And their slogan is ‘Chairman Mao is our Chairman’. They never say a word against the violence being perpetrated by their co-ideological comrades in Chhattisgarh.
So the point of convergence has become Afzal Guru against Modi govt. Let it happen and the people will reply them befittingly.
The main plank of Congress had always been nationalism. It is made of nationalist causes but with these people, they have become nowhere people.
Q: Do you think the Congress is completely confused over how to respond to this nationalism debate? On one hand they supported the suspension of AIMIM MLAs for not chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ in Maharashtra Assembly but here in New Delhi, Shashi Tharoor compares Kanhaiya Kumar with Bhagat Singh.
Tarun Vijay: I think they have lost their mental capabilities. It is a sign of intellectual bankruptcy. Congress has become a rudderless boat in the high seas. They are unable to form a civilized, logical and people-friendly response to the situation arising at JNU and other places. Blinded by hatred for Modi govt, they are now finding refuge in Afzal Guru.
Coming to Tharoor’s remark, even a duffer who is an Indian will not compare Kanhaiya with a martyr who sacrificed his life for the country. Kanhaiya is standing with those who mock at those who are defending India. He must be regretting what he has said. Comparing Kanhaiya with Bhagat Singh is like comparing Nehru with Pol Pot.
Q: There is a section that believes that despite all those provocative slogans, slapping ‘sedition’ charges on students was not fair especially when it’s not clear as to who actually shouted these slogans. They say students should be allowed to question, dissent and disagree.
Tarun Vijay: It is for the police to decide. We have posters with us which called for meeting in support of Kashmir’s independence, secession. They opposed the cancellation of their meeting that was to be held in support of Afzal Guru. Everything that is happening there has a very visible streak of sympathizing with those who are assaulting India’s unity. They are holding meetings for Nagalim, Manipur’s liberation, Kashmir’s independence. They are defending those who have been shouting slogans against Indian soldiers, Indian Army. They have never said a word against Maoists and Naxals who are killing our soldiers. They know where they stand. Everything that they do is against the ethos of Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad and Ashfaqullah Khan.
Q: Do you agree that ‘freedom of expression’ including ‘right to disagree and dissent’ should not be curtailed under any pretext?
Tarun Vijay: I agree. Freedom of expression means that a billion of people can have a billion of opinions but it cannot be an absolute freedom in any country including ours. You cannot have a freedom to burn the Constitution and say that I disagree with this Constitution. You cannot have a freedom to wield guns and say that I don’t believe in parliamentary democracy and that I believe in the revolution of the proletariat through the barrel of a gun. You can’t have the freedom to secede from the country. So, every freedom comes with some regulations.
Q: How would you react to statements of some of the teachers who have been accused of making provocative statements? For example, Professor Apporvananda of DU came out in support of Umar Khalid, called him ‘my son’ and encouraged him to keep questioning the state. Prof Nivedita Menon of JNU says that India is illegally occupying Kashmir.
Tarun Vijay: They are running a school for anti-India secessionists. They are not fit to be teachers at a place where patriotism and love for your country is taught. JNU should not become a ‘jihadi adda’.