"Zee News at 9.40 p.m. on Saturday (August 21)
showed clipping of Vajpayee addressing an election rally at
Thiruvananthapuram," declared the spokesman of the Congress (I) in a
written statement on 24 August.
"He declared that the building of Ram Mandir,
abrogation of Article 370 and bringing in the uniform civil code
were an intrinsic part of the BJP's manifesto."
In fact, Vajpayee had addressed no public meeting
at Thiruvananthapuram at all. But hardly one to be deterred by
facts, the Congress (I) went on to describe Vajpayee as "a habitual
liar," as one who was making a "completely ridiculous" statement
when he expressed surprise at what Govindacharya, a General
Secretary of the BJP was reported to have said.
In fact, the answer Govindacharya had given to a
journalist's question had been twisted, and words had been put in
his mouth in the first place.
A day had not passed, and The Indian Express made
out that the BJP's candidate for New Delhi, Vijay Kumar Malhotra had
said that Dr Manmohan Singh should take off his turban so that
people could see whether he was a Sikh. In fact, Malhotra had said
nothing of the kind. He tried repeatedly to contact the paper to
have it correct the concoction, to no avail. He sent a strong
denunciation of the report, his contradiction was not published.
The concoction was picked up. It became the ground
for much moral-breast beating by the Congress (I), and by secularist
newsmen. The latter were led by the very editor who had done most to
invent "atrocities on Christians". The damage done, after three days
The Indian Express put out the truth -- but as Malhotra's
Such lies have by now become a hallmark of
campaigns of the Congress(I). One day it is "Rs. 50,000 crore loss
because of the telecom scam," the next it is some other concoction
about purchases of telephone exchanges.... The amounts involved
being so huge, the least you would expect is that they would follow
up their allegations, that they would produce at least an iota of
proof. None has been produced on any allegation. Just "spit and
And so confident are they that no one else will
examine their allegations that they do not bother to check even the
basic facts before hurling the accusation -- as in that concoction
about the Prime Minister addressing a public meeting at
Thiruvananthapuram. The Prime Minister and his family being involved
in the purchase of telephone exchanges? I checked. The purchases are
handled entirely by the Telecom Commission. The head of the
Commission told me that files concerning purchases do not come even
to him, that these are handled entirely by two subordinate members
of the Commission, that the file on them just never goes to the PM's
office. But what concern is that of the Congress' Spit-squad?
The other feature of the Congress (I) campaign has
been, "No to this, No to that, No to everything." Pokharan-II,
Lahore, economic revival, communal harmony, Kargil -- "No, No, No."
No, even when the step is one that their own governments had been
trying to take.
Recall what had been declared as far back as 1991,
"We are deeply concerned that Pakistan is developing nuclear
weapons. It is hoped that they will desist from this disastrous
path. They have already inflicted four wars upon India. In case
Pakistan persists in the development and deployment of nuclear
weapons, India will be constrained to review her policy to meet the
threat." And which party had said this in its 1991 manifesto? The
Pakistan certainly persisted in its clandestine
programme to develop and deploy nuclear weapons. Congress(I)
governments scheduled nuclear tests in 1983, and again in 1995. On
both occasions, western powers got to know of the preparations. They
brought pressure to bear. And Congress (I) governments cancelled the
tests. By contrast, Vajpayee's government successfully carried
through the tests.
Buddha's tradition abandoned, Ashoka's tradition
abandoned, Gandhiji's non-violence abandoned, shouted spokesmen of
the Congress (I). When the backlash of popular sentiment hit them,
their Working Committee turned turtle: we congratulate the
scientists, it said in its Resolution, but the government is yet to
go in for nuclear weaponization!
When the weapons were developed, the party was back
at shouting, "This government has plunged the sub-continent into an
arms race"! And the latest, "No, whatever its merits, why did they
release the nuclear doctrine paper at this time?" That is always a
favourite: when you can't find fault with something on merits,
demand, "But why now?"!
But what could be a better time for releasing the
paper? Elections are supposed to be a time when different parties
acquaint the people with their views on issues. Here is an issue
central to our future. An expert group has prepared a formulation
about what our stance to nuclear weapons should be. In the main, the
government agrees with the formulation. What better time than
elections could there be for circulating the proposed doctrine among
the people? It really would be good, wouldn't it, to hear the great
thoughts of Sonia Gandhi on the nuclear doctrine?
Moreover, the paper is a reminder that the country
is now a nuclear power. The person who becomes prime minister shall
have his or her finger on the nuclear trigger. In whose hands they
want to place that trigger is surely something people should reflect
upon. But as that reminder is ever-so-inconvenient for the Congress
(I), they cry, "But why now?"
The third feature of their campaign has been a
peculiar species of logic. Who is to be given credit for the 1971
victory? Indira Gandhi, of course. Who is to be given credit for the
Kargil victory? The army alone!
For the victory, the credit goes to the army. But
if some section of Military Intelligence did not detect the
intruders in time, the Prime Minister is personally responsible!
If intelligence was not collected in time, it is
the failure of the Prime Minister personally. On the other hand, for
the Harshad Mehta bank scam, neither the then Congress (I) Finance
Minister nor the then Congress (I) government is to be considered
responsible. That was a "systemic failure"!
The lies, the casuistry, the foreign-ness put me in
mind of days long past. "Through Madura there ran one day a striking
piece of news," writes J. N. Ogilvie in his work, Apostles of India.
"It was told how a strange ascetic from some far land had arrived,
drawn to the holy city by its great repute, and that he had taken up
his abode in the Brahman quarter of the city. Soon visitors flocked
to the house of the holy man to see what they should see, but only
to find that the Brahman's servants would not permit their entrance.
'The master,' they said, 'is meditating upon God. He may not be
disturbed.' This merely helped to whet the people's desire and
increase the fame of the recluse. The privacy was relaxed, and daily
audiences were granted to a privileged few."
The account is about that great Italian hoax,
Father Robert de Nobili. A missionary, De Nobili came to India in
1608. In Church lore, he is credited with having secured among the
largest harvest of converts for Jesus. What a current ring accounts
about de Nobili have! The personage in seclusion, and then, ever so
carefully, "The privacy was relaxed, and daily audiences were
granted to a privileged few."
Mosheim in his Ecclesiastical History described the
key insight of this fake: "....Considering, on the one hand, that
the Indians beheld with an eye of prejudice and aversion all the
Europeans, and on the other, that they held in the highest
veneration the order of Brachmans (sic) as descended from the gods;
and that, impatient of other rulers, they paid an implicit and
unlimited obedience to them alone, he assumed the appearance and
title of a Brachman, that had come from a far country, and by
besmearing his countenance and imitating that most austere and
painful method of living that the Sanyasis or penitents observe, he
at length persuaded the credulous people that he was in reality a
member of that venerable order. By this stratagem, he gained over to
Christianity twelve eminent Brachmans" -- does the Working Committee
of the Congress too consist of twelve members?! -- "whose example
and influence engaged a prodigious number of people to hear the
instructions, and to receive the doctrine of the famous
De Nobili put out the fiction that he was a "Roman
Brahmin" -- Romaca Brahmana was the title he gave out. Francis
Ellis, in his contribution to the 1822 Transactions of the Asiatic
Society, explained, "Nobili, who was looked upon by the Jesuits as
the chief apostle of the Indians after Francois Xavier, took
incredible pains to acquire a knowledge of the religion, customs,
and language of Madura, sufficient for the purposes of his ministry.
But this was not all: for to stop the mouths of his opposers and
particularly of those who treated his character of Brachman as an
imposture, he produced an old, dirty parchment in which he had
forged, in the ancient Indian characters, a deed, showing that the
Brachmans of Rome were of much older date than those of India and
that the Jesuits of Rome descended, in a direct line from the god
Brama. Nay, Father Jouvence, a learned Jesuit, tells us, in the
history of his order, something yet more remarkable; even that
Robert De Nobili, when the authenticity of his smoky parchment was
called in question by some Indian unbelievers, declared, upon oath,
before the assembly of the Brachmans of Madura, that he (Nobili)
derived really and truly his origin from the god Brama. Is it not
astonishing that this Reverend Father should acknowledge, is it not
monstrous that he should applaud as a piece of pious ingenuity this
detestable instance of perjury and fraud?"
It turns out that forgery was a regular industry
with de Nobili. He produced a "fifth Veda" into which he had
smuggled notions which would help inveigle people into Christianity.
Ellis found the original forgery in the possession of Catholic
missionaries in Pondicherry. He found that our artful missionary had
similarly produced versions -- with convenient alterations and
interpolations -- of the Rig, Sama, and Atharva Vedas too. And
several other "scriptures"!
To deceive people into conversion, de Nobili not
only altered his own appearance, he disguised rites such as baptism,
the service etc. And he asked his disciples as well as the new
converts to retain Indian appearances: "....His converts retained
the 'Shendi' or tuft of hair which marked the caste Hindu," Ogilvie
writes, "they wore a sacred cord indistinguishable from that of
their Hindu neighbours, and they bore an oval caste mark on their
brow, the paste composing or being made of the ashes of sandalwood
instead of as formerly the ashes of cow dung."
When his rivals in the Church charged de Nobili
with dissimulation, he argued that what he was doing was in accord
with the prescription of Saint Paul: for had Paul not advised
missionaries to be sure that they became "all to all"?
But one problem continued to dog our benefactors.
In spite of all that dissimulation, the wretched natives never quite
got over the foreign-ness of de Nobili and his associates. In his
Annual Letter of 1651, Father Antony Proenca pleaded with his
readers, "Among my readers, there will surely be some who could
procure for us some lotion or ointment which could change the colour
of our skin so that just as we have changed our dress, language,
food and customs, we may also change our complexion and become like
those around us with whom we live, thus making ourselves 'all to
all', Omnia Omnibus factus. It is not necessary that the colour
should be very dark; the most suitable would be something between
black and red or tawny. It would not matter if it could not be
removed when once applied; we would willingly remain all our lives
the 'negroes' of Jesus Christ, A.M.D.G. [to the greater glory of
After his death, de Nobili's mission went through
many vicissitudes. But the techniques -- that of deceiving people
into believing that they were "Roman Brahmins," the show of
austerities -- remained the ones he had pioneered. Mosheim recorded
of de Nobili's successors, "These fictitious Brachmans, who boldly
deny their being Europeans or Franks, and only give themselves out
for inhabitants of the northern regions, are said to have converted
a prodigious number of Indians to Christianity; and if common report
may be trusted to, the congregations they have already founded in
those countries grow large and more numerous from year to year. Nor
indeed, do these accounts appear, in the main, unworthy of credit,
though we must not be too ready to receive, as authentic and well
attested, the narrations that have been given of the intolerable
hardships and sufferings that have been sustained by these
Jesuit-Brachmans in the cause of Christ. Many imagine, and not
without good foundation, that their austerities are, generally
speaking, more dreadful in appearance than in reality; and that,
while they outwardly affect an extraordinary degree of self-denial,
they indulge themselves privately, in a free and even luxurious use
of the creatures, have their tables delicately served, and their
cellars exquisitely furnished, in order to refresh themselves after
The dissimulation is on display on the public
platform every day. In the beginning, the recluse. Then the
carefully planned public exposure. The daily audiences to the
privileged few. The central claim of being the "Roman Brahmin". The
stout denial to being European. The falsehoods which are put out on
behalf of, and for the advancement of the Romaca Brahamana.... Alas!
The "lotion or ointment" is still not at