A promise Indian politics should keep
“Even if Pramod had not been in the BJP, he would have been an inspiration to young people across the country” – Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
The Indian political process and history is inconsistent and inadequate without an understanding of what Pramod Vyankatesh Mahajan aspired to and built both as a politician and pracharak. An idea in itself, the most pragmatic political contest of its time, the sarthi of rat, and the man who voted for Hindutva was Pramod Mahajan. The last decade of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century have seen the rise of a peerless statesman, a well-equipped strategist, a competent orator and a karyakarta of the Bharatiya Janata Party who never said no to anything he was tasked to do. From an English teacher, deputy editor of Tarun Bharat to a full-time pracharak in 1974, his entry into politics was to bring him to the front ranks of the BJP.
Pramod Mahajan was what Plato describes in The Republic as an “astronomer,” the philosophical ruler who could rule by virtue and was skilled enough to make decisions that were good for everyone. In his “Ship of State” allegory, Plato explains leadership through a metamorphic ship where sailors without knowledge of navigational techniques compete with each other to steer the ship. All in all, there is one person who knows the skills of nautical astronomy and can guide the ship better than anyone on board. He is what Plato calls the “philosophical leader”. He who can read the stars and sail can steer the ship, so he who is skilful can reign better.
With a satellite phone in one hand at one of the BJP’s national conventions, a technocratic approach to modernizing politics, and a vision way ahead of his time, Pramod Mahajan was one of the people who crafted the organization and led the party to adopt a modern approach. to register a significant electoral impact across the Nation. We saw ways and methods both in him as he was a continuous learner who would go all the way to adapt, assimilate and implement what he learned from any part of the world. If we skim through his speeches from the archives inside and outside parliament, there is a structured reflection of his vision and imagination for India to position itself competitively globally.
Pramod Mahajan had been in the three levels of what we can say is the ‘Sangathan’ system. It was one pracharak in RSS, became youth president and held various important positions in the organization, and was an electoral interpreter who held various ministerial portfolios. A campaign expert at fundraising and election management for the party, he was almost everywhere on and off screen for the BJP. We can agree and disagree on his worship of politics, but we can never undermine his contribution not only to the party but to the nation. He was the same man who significantly transformed the party’s political approach and played a key role in forming the first full-term government for the National Democratic Alliance.
He can be credited with having realized the dream of a “digital revolution” in India. He was tech savvy and as India’s communications minister, he took the job very sincerely as what he did in this field was unparalleled. A networking for investment, the idea of IT parks, an overhaul of the IT industry, calling for global partnership, and unparalleled pragmatism in understanding the interdependence of economics and politics . He was no less than Bill Clinton both in campaign management and in emphasizing the growing importance of “political economy” for any nation and the world.
The “all-season man” in Indian politics was Pramod Mahajan. Access to all sections of the party, the Sangh Parivar and its network across the party line made it unique and a political pillar of its time. The man who not only stitched together the famous BJP-ShivSena coalition, but managed Bal Thackeray and other key political players of his time so effectively that democratic institutionalism was never compromised. He knew when to move the horse and when to call the politics cards better than any of his contemporaries. He can be called a connoisseur in achieving consensus, whether it was all he knew about the art of convincing and we must not forget how he managed to generate the most popular consensus for “missile man” APJ Abdul Kalam as President of the Union of India.
Contemporary political youth have so much to learn and to ingest from the life of Pramod Mahajan, for he was a political entity in post-independence India who set himself the task of radically modernizing the political configuration in India without abdicating the principle fundamental. of ‘Hindutva’. He ensured that opportunities were decentralized and that every small karyakarta of the party felt this connection with him. The unassailable leader himself was not infallible, he knew we would face defeats in the electoral setup, but what was most amazing was his willful instinct to rise again. His gracious acceptability of election failures or any political formulation was his greatest strength, and the most salient feature was his ability to adapt to dissent.
As we move towards realizing the dream of the New India under the leadership of our Prime Minister, we must recognize the determination of the leaders who gave their all to ‘Maa Bharati‘ and one of those freaks was Pramod Mahajan. The vision we must keep alive and the promise we must keep. Electoral success as well as democratic solemnity and the inviolability of institutions were his fundamental ideas and although not physically, we will always learn from his life, his convictions and his beliefs.
If Machiavelli wrote his book “The Prince” in the 21st century, it would certainly have revolved around Mahajan’s political style.
The author is the founder and director of the House Of Political Empowerment Research And Innovation Foundation. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.
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