Ten speeches. A few new threats. Some lessons in history. And the party was underway.
Begun on October 13, 1983, almost 10 years before the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) ‘Brand Hindutva’ campaign – the Ramjanmabhoomi movement – culminated in the demolition of Babri Masjid, the militant youth wing of the VHP marked its launch date here on Monday with a function drawing on old symbolisms and programmes and challenging the UPA government to ban the outfit.
“Ram is being compared to Ravan,” said Vinay Katiyar, first Bajrang Dal president (he had led the karsevaks during the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992) reacting to the demand for the ban. “If two Christians die, the UPA calls us communal. There was no role of the Bajrang Dal in Kandhamal. It was a fight among tribals.”
Praveen Togadia, international general secretary of the VHP, announce the launch of an anti-jihadi movement by the Dal in October-end and to project the UPA government’s softness on terror. “As a group we just limit ourselves to Hinduon ka jagran (awakening of Hindus). But if you still ban us, and lay hand on our langots (loincloth), we’ll remind you of your nani (we’ll teach you a good lesson).”
What's a party without a few songs? The Bajrang Dal cadre that had assembled from seven districts of Uttar Pradesh learnt a few: “Puri-Cuttack se naam duniya bhar mein ho gaye hain, Lekin is mein Azamgarh chhota Pakistan ho gaya hai…(The world has come to know about Puri and Cuttack, but, meanwhile, Azamgarh has become a mini Pakistan)” and “Chahe jitne rishtedari rakkho apne Babar se, yadi Bharat mein rehna hai to Ram kahon tum adar se…(You may keep your relations with Babar, but if you want to live in India you have to be respectful to Ram).”
Religious leaders and former BJP MPs Swami Chidmayanand and Dr Ram Vilas Vedanti were present at the event.
Several attendees said the Ram temple as being a project that “will take many years to build. No one wants it actually, not even the BJP. If it is built, the BJP will lose its biggest issue”. And in this election, the party needs every bit of help it can get.