HOME | ABOUT US | Speaker | Americans Together | Videos | Please note that the blog posts include my own articles plus selected articles critical to India's cohesive functioning. My articles are exclusively published at www.TheGhouseDiary.com You can send an email to: MikeGhouseforIndia@gmail.com


Who are we?

Together as Indians, we are Hindus, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Atheists, Nastiks, Buddhists, Bahá'í, Tribals, Jews, Bo’s, Qandharis, Bakarwals inclusive of every group of Indians. Anyone who breathes the air off the land; drinks the water, eats the food and or chooses to be an Indian, has Indian blood running in him or her. We are all Indians and are all created equal, no one is more privileged than the other.

We should not allow any evil force to pit one Indian against the other. Each one of us should make an effort to tell them to work for an India, where Indians together can create an exemplary India. We should ask them to join us and build a cohesive India where authentic sab ke saath, sab ka vikaas ho. Sab ka Samman ho, aur sab ko nyay mile.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Reflections on Ramadan Celebrations, Eid Mubarak

A few questions are answered here; why do we celebrate on different days? What is it with the Moon? How do you greet Muslims on this day? What kind of culinary delights are out there? How do Muslims celebrate in different parts of the world?  Ramadan TV Commercials? A bit of politics too.
I urge Muslims around the world to take a minute to stop and appreciate the men and women who serve our nation, police, firefighters and others who are out there for the safety of individuals and families.  I have done this time and again, and I always remember the Louisville experience, where the police officer asked me to forward the email to him, asking Muslims to appreciate them, and after the Eid prayers, he had forwarded it to many police officers.  I urge Muslim organizations to issue a press release to this effect, and this is our appeal from the World Muslim Congress, a think tank committed to building a cohesive America.
Pluralism is alive and kicking in Islam – i.e., respecting the otherness of others! Indeed, there are many schools of thought, and the good clergymen always point out the different traditions, Dr. Imam Kavakci, one of the leading Muslim Scholars, always advised on that basis.  It is up to the individual to follow what he or she is conditioned or comfortable with.  The non-pluralistic Muslims resort to name calling the others who take a different path. But all of them celebrate the festival.
A month-long fasting should clean up our bodies, hearts, and souls, it means you are no biased towards anyone, you have no wall between you and another human and that you are committed to peace and harmony.  What others do to you does not matter, but how you behave towards others is all that matters in making America great again. By the way, I am an independent, and not a Republican or a Democrat and I am a Pluralist Muslim, like a majority of Muslims – i.e., respecting the otherness of others, and accepting the God-given uniqueness of each one of his beautiful creation.
Mike Ghouse
When is the Eid? Ramadan Celebrations?  Is it Friday, Saturday or even Sunday? For some, it will depend on when the moon (first day) is sighted.
Pluralism is alive and kicking in Islam – i.e, respecting the otherness of others! Indeed, there are many schools of thought, and the good clergymen always point out the different traditions, Dr. Imam Kavakci always advised on that basis.  It is up to the individual to follow what he or she is conditioned or comfortable with.  The non-pluralistic Muslims resort to name calling the others who take a different path. But all of them celebrate the festival.
Since the beginning of Islam, there have been debates as to what constitutes moon sighting. Some interpret that there has got to be a minion to declare that they have seen it themselves with their own eyes, while others do not accept it unless they have seen it themselves. It is also acceptable if the moon is sighted elsewhere, but now, each group has to have their own moon sighting. In the United States, there is an organization that monitors moon sighting and announces it in advance. Over the millennium we learned to accept and respect the otherness of other.
Politics plays a crucial role in our Temples, Synagogues or Churches, Mosques are no different. A few scientifically-inclined-Muslims have adopted NASA’s calculations believed to be precise. However, four different traditions are operating concurrently; i) Strictly Calendar, ii) NASA  iii) Sighting with bare eyes and iv) sighting by others in the community.
The NASA-oriented and the Calendar-group miss out the fun, joy, and exhilaration of waiting and watching the needle thin moon on the horizon. The whole family gets out on the rooftops, or higher grounds, some even climb electric poles, and a few will drive out where they can see the sky without obstacles, kids would climb on parent’s shoulders, and a few go from place to place shouting in excitement, did you see it? It is like the belief in Santa Claus, Angels, and other myths, each tradition fulfills one’s emotional needs and every one becomes sentimental. After all, if celebration does not have the excitement, it is not a celebration.
America’s spirit of freedom touches every soul, no matter what religion or tradition they follow. American Muslims are no different, they prefer to have a pre-set date to start fasting and the celebration called “Eid” pronounced as Eeed as in Eeel. The idea is for them to take a day off from work or get an optional day off for their children from the schools. Always, the joy multiplies when the family and friends celebrate it together. They prefer to start on a pre-set date and trust the calculations.
The conflicts are the same everywhere on the earth. Each group subscribes to one of the four systems mentioned above. America is no different; you will find celebrations on one or three different days in any given city, the Sunnis, being the largest group has the greater division within, while the Sufis, Shias, Ismailis, WD Mohammad, Bohra and Ahmadiyya follow the pre-determined dates.
The consensus may be attributable to having central spiritual leadership in all groups except the Sunni. However like the American Public wishes to see the Republicans and Democrats drop the party lines and focus on what is good for America, the Muslims also wish they could celebrate the Eid on one single day. It ain’t going to happen, it is human to differ. It is against the spirit of Ramadan to denigrate, diminish and devalue other practices.
The essence of Ramadan is to become humble, simple and free from ill-will, anger, meanness, and hate. Let’s fill our hearts with goodwill and honor Ramadan by saying “Eid Mubarak” or Happy Eid to everyone who celebrates on a different day in the same town. The essence of Ramadan is joy and let’s not prick the bubble; God has not signed a pact with anyone behind other’s back to favor one and disfavor the other.  Let’s allow God to be an honest God who is just, kind, merciful and loving as Quran says. Let’s rejoice the differences of interpretations. If you want to celebrate every day, go to every celebration.
In the spirit of Ramadan, I pray that Ramadan gets into our hearts and minds and make us embrace all factions of Muslims without undermining their tradition and further pray that we treat every human on the earth with dignity, respect, and care.
The Shia-Sunni conflict we see in Iraq is new to both groups of Muslims, conflicts have always been there but the violence in conflict took birth after we (The Americans) invaded Iraq and sowed the seeds of division. Shamefully, the Shia and Sunni played it out. Our short-sighted foreign policy is pitting Saudi Arabia against Iran. Iran is not a threat to anyone, it is the false propaganda by Netanyahu, and salesmanship of defense contractors to sell Arms to Saudi, and the stupid Saudi monarchs have bought the idea, I wish we can sell peace and democratic education that will benefit us all in the long haul. I wish, the leadership of these two nations make a bold move and meet in Singapore and hash out the differences.  I also wish in the spirit of Ramadan, the Pakistani people will wake up and correct the ugliness in their constitution that shamelessly discriminate Ahmadiyya Muslims. Above all, I wish Muslims chose to follow the foundation of Islam; Amin, that is caring for every human being and seeking peace and harmony by respecting the otherness of others.
That is indeed the wisdom expressed in Qur’an, Al-Hujurat, Surah 49:13: “O mankind! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. The noblest of you, in sight of God, is the best in conduct. God Knows and is Aware of everything you do.”

MUSLIMS MUST DO THIS

I urge Muslims around the world to take a minute to stop and appreciate the men and women who serve our nation, police, firefighters and others who are out there for the safety of individuals and families.  I have done this time and again, and I always remember the Louisville experience, where the police officer asked me to forward the email to him, asking Muslims to appreciate them, and after the Eid prayers, he had forwarded it to many police officers.

WHAT ELSE? 

Everything you always wanted to know about Ramadan is here at www.RamadanNews.com
Ramadan Commercials by McDonald at http://ramadannews.com/ramadan-commercials/
What does God want? http://ramadannews.com/happy-ramadan-what-does-god-really-want/
You can also read “The Rituals of Ramadan” followed by the “Spirit of Ramadan”.
Usually, Arabic Speaking people call it Ramadan, all others call is Ramzan, both are acceptable terms.
There should be at least 100 ways of wishing the festivities:
Ramadan Mubarak!
Salamat Hari Raya
Eid Mubarak
İyi Ramazanlar
Ramadan Kareem
Hayırlı Ramazanlar
Hoşgeldin Ramazan,
Happy Eid-ul-Fitr
If you know the greetings in any other language, please send an email to MuslimVision2020@gmail.com to be included for the next Eid.
      
                     
Mike Ghouse is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day through the Center for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and its affiliate sites including www.RamadanNews.com and www.MuslimSpeaker.com and www.InterfaithSpeaker.com
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Monday, June 11, 2018

Will RSS consider Pranab Da’s Inclusive Indian Nationalism?

I am pleased to share the following article from Ram Punyani, one of the pluralists that I respect.

Excellent piece indeed. Mother Teresa had said, if you want to make peace with your enemy (or perceived enemy), go talk with them. Talking among friends will not change anything.

I have chosen this formula, and have gone and dealt with extreme right-wingers, and have been able to receive concessions on their extreme rhetoric.

I agree with your last paragraph and what his daughter has said. Now the burden is on Congress to highlight the pluralism aspect of his speech, flood the internet to counter-narratives that you have rightly predicted will float.

With your permission, I will publish this piece at www.CenterforPluralims.com and http://MikeGhouseforIndia.blogspot.com

Thank you

What do we do at the Center for Pluralism

Mike Ghouse
Center for Pluralism
Washington, DC
(214) 325-1916
Mike@CenterforPluralism.com
www.CenterforPluralism.com

Will RSS consider Pranab Da’s Inclusive Indian Nationalism?
Ram Puniyani
Dialogue is the core part of democratic process. The question comes; can there be dialogue between two opposite ideologies on Indian horizon, the one of Indian nationalism and the other of Hindu nationalism? We witnessed a strange spectacle when the Pranab Mukherjee, the lifelong congressman and believer in plural, inclusive Indian nationalism accepted to speak on the platform of RSS, the apex organization promoting narrow, divisive, exclusive Hindu nationalism. The visit of Ex-President to address RSS event was strongly opposed by large section of Congress leaders and many others, on the ground that RSS is adept at gaining legitimacy from such visits while at the same time working at cross purpose to the message of the invited guests.
Mahatma Gandhi was one such visitor to RSS, who was killed due to the ideology of hate propagated by RSS “All their (RSS) leaders’ speeches were full of communal poison.  As a final result the poisonous atmosphere was created in which such a ghastly tragedy (Gandhi’s murder) became possible. RSS men expressed their joy and distributed sweets after Gandhi’s death.” (Sardar Patel’s letter). Whether there can be a dialogue with RSS has been a question on the minds of many.
What happened in Nagpur event when Pranab Mukherjee paid visit to Nagpur (June 7th 2108)? To begin with Mukherjee visited RSS founder K B Hedgewar’s birth place and wrote, “Today I came here to pay my respects & homage to a great son of Mother India KB Hedgewar ji.” Whether out of courtesy for the host one should write in such a manner is a matter of debate again as Hedgewar guided by his Hindu nationalism called Muslims a Yavan snakes. Hedgewar-RSS also kept aloof from the freedom movement, which gave us Independence and later Indian Constitution.
Mukherjee to his credit did talk of pluralism and inclusive nature of Indian Constitution, India being a meeting ground of different people, “It is our composite culture which makes us into a nation. India’s nationhood is not one language, one religion, one entity.” He advised the RSS swayamsevaks, “You are young, disciplined, well trained and athletic. Please wish for peace, harmony and happiness. Our motherland is asking for that, our motherland deserves that”, and also that “any attempt at defining our nationhood in terms of dogmas and identities of religion, region, hatred and intolerance will only lead to dilution of our national identity.” The highlight of his speech was his recalling Surendranath Bannerjee for his phrase “Nation in the making” as this phrase aptly defines the emergence of Indian nationalism during freedom movement, in contrast to RSS assertion that we are a Hindu nation from times immemorial.
He also remembered the values of Gandhi and Nehru in trying to understand India’s past and Sardar Patel’s contribution in merging the princely states into India. Mukherjee toed the line of Indian culture as a synthesis of different streams, “It is our composite culture which makes us into a nation. India’s nationhood is not one language, one religion, one entity.” And more significantly he pointed out that secularism and pluralism are the soul of India which is constituted by "It is Perennial Universalism of 1.3 billion people who use more than 122 languages and 1600 dialects, practice seven major religions and belong to three major ethnic groups, who live under one system, one flag and one identity of being Bharatiya,” He proceeded to reflect on the vast pluralism enshrined in the Indian society. “India's nationhood is not one language, one enemy and one religion,”
In a way, despite slipping on the point of praising Hedgewar, he did speak about the values enshrined in Indian constitution. Mostly what one does not speak on such occasions also matters a lot. The present scenario created due to RSS Hindu nationalism, where hate has been created around emotive issues like Ram Temple, Cow-beef, love jihad needed to be underlined. The direct connection of the present atmosphere of narrowness and intolerance needed to be drawn out. He did not mention the important fact that the current intimidating, sectarian atmosphere which is building up in the country is due to Hindu nationalist agenda. While he correctly articulated the pluralism and diversity of the country, he failed to mention the political fallout of RSS agenda and left an open space where vague homilies, ‘we respect different opinions’ are put forward by the RSS ideologues without at all registering the differences which are too deep for such ‘respecting others opinions’. The contrast between agenda of two nationalisms, Hindu nationalism and Indian nationalism needed to be drawn out.
True, RSS has grown into huge organizations, and the discourse emanating from its stable is dominating the social scene. Today undoubtedly values of pluralism, which Mukherjee talked about, need to be underlined more than before. In the aftermath his speech what is more likely to happen is the attempt to show that what RSS says and what Mukherjee said are complimentary. It will be an exercise in creating further legitimacy for RSS. For RSS, building Ram Temple (demolishing Babri mosque) is part of nation building, for RSS taking up the issue of cow-beef is nation building. While for the stream of Gandhi-Nehru-Patel-Indian nationalism such issues have no place on political horizon. What matters for this stream is what Mukherjee pointed out apty “People are at the centre of all activities of the State and nothing should be done to divide them. The aim of the State should be to galvanize them to fight a concerted war against poverty, disease and deprivation. Only then can we create a nation where Nationalism flows automatically,”
Surely despite good articulation of Indian nationalism by ex-President, the likely outcome of the visit has been well described by his daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee, who said, ‘the speech will be forgotten and pictures will remain’. The pictures will be circulated with different content, enhancing legitimacy to the divisive agenda of RSS.   

Monday, June 4, 2018

India's Constitution

The short-sightedness of Modi Government will ruin India. If they turn India into a Hindu Taliban state, the world will have more problems again as we had in Afghanistan.  No Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh or other will have peace of mind; fear mongering will reach its zenith that will lead to investors pulling out of India, which will collapse the economy in a domino effect. In trying to hurt, harass, lynch Muslims, Dalits, and Christians, the BJP will hurt every Hindu.  His friends will take the money and go elsewhere, to hell with the average Indian. I hope people wake up now than later.

The good news is, it will not happen, the 2019 elections will bring strong opposition and the BJP and the others will fight like cats and dogs and the public will be spared from their rotten bills they are planning to introduce.

Here is Shashi Tharoor. 




Sunday, June 3, 2018

Modi, what to do with Gas prices

Criticizing the government is the most patriotic thing to do, it keeps them on their toes and prevents them free fall and take careful steps and nations are thus saved.  On the other hand, if you do chamchagiri, they become fascists and dictators, we had one, once before in Indira Gandhi, we don't want another one. 
It is Government of the people by the people for the people, and let us take the responsiblity to tell the politicians, whom we elect to obey us and not the other way around

Enjoy this clip about rising gas prices



Modi achievements, a funny video clip # 1

The purpose of the collection is to monitor politicians who promise a lot of things. Criticizing the government is the most patriotic thing to do, it keeps them on their toes and prevents them free fall and take careful steps. On the other hand, if you do chamchagiri, they become fascists and dictators, we had one, once before in Indira Gandhi, we don't want another one.

Enjoy this Video 


Ankit Saxena’s father to host iftar for communal Harmony

DNA Web Team | Updated: May 29, 2018, 10:05 PM IST
iftar file
Photo for representational purpose only.
In February, Yashpal Saxena’s world came crashing down when he got the news that his son was brutally murdered in broad daylight.
In February, Yashpal Saxena’s world came crashing down when he got the news that his son was brutally murdered in broad daylight.
Ankit Saxena, the 23-year-old photographer, was mercilessly thrashed and murdered in a market of west Delhi’s Khayala area on February 3.
The young man was killed by his Muslim girlfriend’s family who were against the inter-faith relationship.
Nevertheless, despite the hostility and drama, Yashpal Saxena always made sure that his son’s murder was not communalised.
Months later, Saxena is planning to host an iftar party on June 3 for promoting communal harmony.
‘This is just an attempt to further our cause of communal harmony…We want our son’s name to be synonymous with this cause,’ Saxena was quoted as saying by The Print.
The local police station and all the officials investigating the ase have also been invited by the family. The Saxenas are also planning to form a trust in their son’s name. They want to reach out and help couples who want to or already have married people outside their faith.
The fateful day 
Saxena was on his way to meet his girlfriend when her family caught sight of him in Raghubir Nagar and a verbal spat followed. “He was then attacked with a knife. Since the two belong to different communities, police force has been deployed in the area,” a senior police officer was quoted as saying.
Saxena’s mother was also beaten up when she rushed to the location, and it was her who took him to the hospital in an auto-rickshaw. “There were dozens of people watching my son get beaten up, but none of them dared to save him. My son was a body builder himself, but he was helpless when the killers caught and killed him. The sight of the woman’s father wielding a big kukri knife must have scared others,” the mother said at the time of the incident.
Yashpal Saxena is our Hero of the year, more about him at: http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2018/02/india-owes-ankit-saxenas-father-debt-of.html

Voters Now Know Modi-Shah

Thanks to Harbans Mukhia and the Wire for presenting one of the most hopeful articles based on reality. 
Voters Now Know Modi-Shah Aren't the Masters of Statecraft They Claimed to Be

In the closed-door meetings, Modi and Shah 'may' have laughed their guts out,  " Dekho hum ne en Hinduoon ko kaisay chootiya banaya, Daliton, easaw-iyoon aur Musalmanon ko kaise dara ke rakha hai? Salon ko ladao, aur apna ullu theek karo." Look, how we made assesses out of Hindus and frightened the crap out of Dalits, Christians, and Muslims. Let's make fools out of them and get us what we want.

George Bush had famously said, you can fool someone, once or twice but not all the times. Indians have finally risen, they will not be fooled in 2019 so that these two bigots can have a laugh at them.

"
The BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine had worked out an invincible formula: wild promises in the name of Vikas (development) at the macro level; and keeping alive innumerable micro-level communal fires on the ground."

I hope the majority of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, and others carry ready to film mobile phones and instantly report to the news agencies, not Modi news, but Indian news agencies who are not sold outs.  I urge the media to open up their resources to showcase what people see on the ground.

If BJP wants to win, let them win fair and square and not by intimidating or communalizing. Let the Election Commission put a stop to this nonsense. 


Get your camera ready, show to the world, we the people, care about genuine Vikas, that is food on the table, education, housing and jobs.... not a temple, gurdwara, mosque or a church, that won't give us a better life.  Let every Indian has an opportunity to achieve his or her dream without hindrance. 

Mike Ghouse is committed to cohesive societies, where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other.

# # #
 

Voters Now Know Modi-Shah Aren't the Masters of Statecraft They Claimed to Be


Courtesy: The Wire


For the nth time, both the ruling party and the opposition are being reminded that Indian voters are not to be taken for granted.

A striking change in the country’s political discourse seems to have been evolving over the past few weeks; now, with the by-election results out, it is writ large on the wall for everyone to see. The change is from “Can the opposition parties survive the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah onslaught in 2019?” to “Can the Bharatiya Janata Party survive the challenge to it from a single or united opposition platform?” In some ways, this is a great compliment to the vibrancy of Indian democracy, which has forever let it out not to take the Indian voter for granted. The message is there once again, for the nth time, for both the BJP and the opposition.

The BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh combine had worked out an invincible formula: wild promises in the name of vikas (development) at the macro level; and keeping alive innumerable micro-level communal fires on the ground. The formula was seen to be working for about three of the four years of the Modi-Shah regime, reinforcing the duo’s self-belief in the mastery of statecraft. Their lampooning of the past 70 years, “Kuchh nahin hua (Nothing has happened)”, was meant to impress on everyone this new departure in statecraft. A new era had dawned for Indian politics, which was unlike any other since independence.

The ‘vikas’ jumla 

The flaws in this strategy are now coming home to roost. Wild promises always boomerang on the promise maker. All the absurd assurances handed out in strident voice accompanying second-rate theatrics by Modi during the election campaign in 2013-14 are now being played out on social media in video clips to the BJP leaders as reminders; the joke is now on them. What if these get played on impromptu screens by opposition parties in their election campaigns for 2019? No repetition of their words by their opponents has the same impact as the audio-visual original clip has. Shah has also greatly aided the opposition by announcing that the promise of Rs 15 lakhs to every Indian citizen’s account was a jumla; consequently, ‘jumla baaz sarkar‘ has become the sticker on every new promise that Modi is throwing at the crowd. The second sticker is on incessant lying: jhuth ki sarkar.

The formula had a modicum of chance of working had Modi been able to fulfil any of even his not-so-wild promises – price control, help to farmers, some visible growth in jobs, controlling corruption, widening the circle and quality of education and health – most of which are within the realm of the possible, at least in part. But his performance on all of these scores is pitiful. Comparisons with the much-reviled UPA regime are now surfacing – to the detriment of Modi.

Divide and rule
It is understandable that Modi-Shah should avoid reference to vikas since last year, especially after the disastrous demonetisation. In the recent elections around the country, they have fallen back exclusively on the second string of their new statecraft: divide and rule. The dividend it paid them in Uttar Pradesh was overwhelming. It also follows, then, that the dividend that is now being withdrawn is also most dramatic in the recent UP by-polls, though this is largely true elsewhere as well. The message embedded in BJP’s defeats in the Hindutva heartland like Gorakhpur and Kairana (and not to forget Phulpur) could not have been delivered more vociferously.

The opposition parties have also taken care on two counts: the realisation that electoral arithmetic is dead set against any single party including the BJP (remember 31% vote share in 2014) and therefore combining votes is the only open option; and to focus their campaign not on the agenda set by the BJP but on the everyday problems of the people, especially farmers and the youth. In other words, the agenda should be set not by the leaders but by the people. And in the end, people’s problems consist of earning their livelihood and moving on with their lives; looking into their neighbours’ kitchens does not fill their bellies.

Like this, the agenda the BJP-RSS had set is being set aside. Life is resurfacing to assert its supremacy over divisive strategies. Interestingly, massive help from the electronic and print media, the mainstay of the new statecraft, so decisive in 2014, too has fallen prey to the inevitable rule of diminishing returns. It is fair to say that the media too has had some honourable exceptions. Once again, life asserting itself over fakery.

Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, BSP’s Mayawati, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and others attend Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy’s swearing in. Credit: PTI/Shailendra Bhojak
Modi-Shah will now hold forth on how opportunistic and unprincipled the opposition is in seeking to form a joint front against the BJP and seeking to make the forthcoming battle entirely presidential with the powerful TINA slogan. That is, if in desperation it does not launch massive communal conflagration à la 2002 or pick a tiff with Pakistan to drown out all other agenda. While several leaders like Mayawati have been warning people on these counts for over a year now, it is interesting how the same fears were expressed by the most ordinary villagers of Kairana, to at least NDTV reporters on camera after the poll results on May 31.

However loudly the BJP debaters on TV channels might shout, the elections in India have mostly been non-presidential. That is, people go to the polling booth to elect an MP and not the prime minister. It took the presidential format once when Indira Gandhi swamped the opposition in 1971 and again when Modi did it in 2014. No other election was won in the name of one supreme leader. After that presidential form of election, Gandhi had to bite the dust in 1977; let us see what happens in 2019. But the TINA factor has never worked twice. Besides, 2004 is an outstanding example of TINA’s grossest failure.

After a very successful term, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had a media-hyped India Shining record, with a young and dynamic Pramod Mahajan organising an army of even younger computer wizards at his beck and call, with the caste, religious and economic break up of every single constituency available in the BJP election war room, with a ‘world statesman’ Vajpayee, assisted by ‘lauh purush’ Advani, visible on every TV screen day in and day out, with the opposition in a shambles, with Sonia Gandhi’s candidature compromised by her foreign origin because of which many stalwart Congressmen had parted company, India still did not vote for a prime minister but for MPs from whom to choose the prime minister. And one who emerged prime minister, Manmohan Singh, was the least like a “president”. He ruled for ten long years.

Therefore, much as the BJP will try to pitch its campaign on the TINA factor in the absence of any other, it would be a fraught campaign.

The second, communal option is becoming less and less dividend-paying, and this has been established several times over in the last four years. First Delhi and then Bihar were the early warning signs. Recent election results from across the country have reinforced those signs.

Of course, hearing BJP leaders condemning opposition alliances as unprincipled and opportunistic would be great fun. Some amusement is welcome in these times of great tension.

Harbans Mukhia was a teacher of history at JNU.