Meeting with Advani and many tales to tell…..
In a Facebook posting after my meeting with L K Advani on December 16, 2014; I had posed a simple question whether the not so often said maxim, “the Success is the ultimate failure” would really apply to the BJP patriarch.
This is neither the first time nor the last time these issues are being debated. But the former Deputy Prime Minister did made a big difference to Indian politics. My friend Manish Anand rightly said while complimenting me for the ‘exclusive meet’ that in retrospect when the history of Indian politics is written – the veteran Advani would always be remembered for bringing about major transitions.
Another senior journo and a longtime BJP watcher, Sri Krishna, who has seen Advani nurture BJP when it was 2 MPs party, puts it more succinctly:
"What BJP is today is due to the immense organizational ability of Advani. It is rather unfortunate that he had virtually vanished from the main political arena".
In June 2013 when in Goa conclave BJP made Narendra Modi the saffron party’s chairman of election committee – a prelude to BJP’s PM-candidate – I wrote in The Statesman, it was almost a “forced retirement” for the Lohpurush.
In my book, ‘Ayodhya:
for Peace’ published 2011, I had a chapter ‘L K Advani: Politics of Rath Yatra’
dedicated to him. “It goes without saying that Ayodhya movement and L K
Advani’s name would go synonymous with each other”. And in a way Advani, not
the usual run-of-the-mill politician, had found his “political roots in
Ayodhya’s Ram”. Well, that was 1990…but 23 years later by 2013 the story had
changed. It turned more a melancholy. Battle
As I was talking to him on quite a few issues which Advaniji did not want to be quoted, unknowingly I was getting lost into a thought on Guru Dutt’s life and films, especially the path-breaking ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’. In that film, life offers the protagonist nothing but failure and humiliation. Similarly in another Guru Dutt film, Pyasa, the hero is let down by the people who are closest to him.
Unfortunately, Advaniji has experienced the same when Man (Narendra Modi) virtually created and protected by him (post Godhra assault) has by 2013 “overshadowed” Advani in mass popularity.
Respected Advani, as I know him has been a film buff himself. During his days as Home Minister, I had traveled with him to
Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. In the freewheeling interaction, he used to
share about his liking for films. Sikkim
Thus on December 16 afternoon, as Advaniji came out of Lok Sabha and walked towards his room in Parliament House ..…far off secluded from political chamchas that often kept gheraoed him even till 2012…..one song that came haunting in my mind was : waqt ne kiya, kya haseen sitam (rendered much deeper meaning than its words by the powerful voice of Geeta Dutt).
|Guru Dutt's Kaagaz Ke Phool: Conflict of Man and Success|
But as we look back and about what we interacted; there’s not really much to share as many things were said in confidence. In journalism, we call it “off-the-record”. Of course, a simple breaking news he shared with me was when he said, “I will revive my blogs soon”.
Then of course, he spoke a bit on the Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha, a panel he is heading as the chairman. I had thought of an interview, that was flatly declined, but politely.
But before moving out of his room, I requested him for a selfie and he readily agreed, saying: “So everyone takes selfie…” – whatever that would mean!
I had enquired about his health and his wife, Madam Kamla. “She has improved now…of course she uses a wheelchair,” he said sounding emotive.
Half an hour later, I rushed to Parliament House canteen for lunch and as I was placing orders, I recalled our travel with Advani in 2000 to
At the Chief Minister’s residence in Gangtok when a large table was laid before us – with delicious veg and non-veg Momos being most attractive of all – minutes later, Advaniji had counseled us: “pet bharna (full stomach eating) is a misconcept….one should keep enough space for water and air”. We saw him picking up one roti and two spoons of dal – that was his dinner.
Politically the same evening, I was again lost in a debate about Congress-mukt Bharat agenda of Advani’s onetime chela, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It’s really irony on what has come out today between the two.
In 2002, it was Advani who had even chosen KPS Gill as Modi’s Security Advisor and undoubtedly the stint of the super-cop had a soothing impact in
Gujarat after first
three-four months of indiscriminate hate campaign and riots.
Back home, I was scanning few pages from the chapter on L K Advani in
my book ‘Ayodhya:
for Peace’. One
para in page 133 read: “In course of traveling with him in BSF aircraft to northeast, he had told us how the success of regional parties like TDP, AGP and
various Lok Dal groups had encouraged him (Advaniji) to believe that there was
a ‘big vacuum’ as people were looking for genuine alternative to the Congress”.
Now, that’s political vision for you! And his disciple Narendra Modi is only precisely harping on the same point in circa 2014. The lesson: a disciple only carries on the legacy of his Guru’s vision.