Kalyan Singh: A Civilisational Hero for all Seasons and Reasons

Remembering the unwavering legacy of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, a civilisational hero and a steadfast devotee of Sri Ramachandra.

You’re not a student of history if you can’t make time your best friend. Time is perhaps the only thing that puts men and events in their proper place and offers perspective—all for free.

The trajectory of events in the last four years is simply the real-life operation of a fundamentally Abrahamic and therefore, an Adharmic, and atavistic ideology called secularism. Annihilation of Dharmic systems like Sanatana Dharma is built into the very DNA of secularism, which at the core is a base political ideology.


At a very high level, I was reminded of this truth when I read news of the Supreme Court’s hearing of the Ayodhya “matter” that began today and ended almost before it began: it now stands adjourned to 29 Jan 2019 because Justice U U Lalit recused himself.

Why?

Because Justice U U Lalit had appeared as a lawyer in 1994 arguing for former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Kalyan Singh, a civilisational hero for all seasons and reasons. During his long public career, Kalyan Singh’s political fortunes have undergone several upheavals but there is a fond place in every Hindu heart for this uncompromising Sri Rama Bhakta.

An L K Advani ultimately cowered before the bullying tactics of the anti-Hindu, anti-India secular goon squad and claimed the Babri Masjid demotion as the “saddest day of my life,” a movement of which he was the most visible face and its mascot if you will. An A B Vajpayee who was never fully with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement became the one-man embodiment of Bhishma and Dhritarashtra when the demolition occurred. A Sushma Swaraj equated this historical surge to reclaim Bharata’s soul to a cheque.

Not Kalyan Singh.


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In fact, Kalyan Singh is perhaps the only mainstream BJP leader, who truly emulated Sri Ramachandra and willingly, gladly gave up his Chief Minister’s throne in service of the Ikshvakukulatilaka. In the pristine tradition of the Bhakti Pantha, it is said that the greater and the purer the Bhakta, the more the hardships he or she will be subjected to by the Devata. Whether one believes in this or no is immaterial and irrelevant here.

But what is definitely true in Kalyan Singh’s case is that his blazing and extremely promising political career was cruelly shafted by influential sections of his own party for his unwavering dedication to Sri Ramachandra. It is unnecessary to go into details of how these influential sections engineered his downfall; it will suffice to cite two names: Kalraj Mishra and Lalji Tandon acting at the behest of their then controllers in Delhi.

By 2009, Kalyan Singh was hemmed in from all sides to the sorry extent that he had to make a pact with an absolute political dredge like Mulayam Singh. Yet, even in that hour of his personal humiliation, Kalyan Singh never apologised for the Babri Masjid demolition. His written statement on 4 February 2009 is revealing.

I own moral responsibility for the demolition of Babri masjid on December 6, 1992…I had resigned from my then post of Chief Minister owing to this moral responsibility…everyone has a right to feel proud about the religion they follow. Just like how Muslims have a right to be proud of Islam, Hindus too have the same right.

Note that he owned up to moral responsibility, he didn’t apologise.

Two months later, in the run up to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Kalyan Singh contested as an independent from Itah with the backing of the Samajwadi Party. A Hindustan Times report covering his campaign reported his speech in Aligarh on April 17, 2009 as follows:

Over 16 years after Babri Masjid was demolished, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh today said he very much wanted to prevent the razing of the 16th century mosque, but stopped short of apologising for failing to do so.

Note again that Kalyan Singh still didn’t apologize.

This is truly the stuff of legends. Today the BJP might not have any use for Kalyan Singh and has relegated him to the ceremonial position of the Governor of Rajasthan. Sure, he’s 87 years old and perhaps not as sharp or active as he once was. However, as a true devotee of Sri Ramachandra, he stands tallest.

Cut back to the past again.

Kalyan Singh ascended to the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister’s chair on June 24 1991. Almost immediately, he set to work, never forgetting his goal, never falling for the trappings of high office. When the VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and similar cultural-nationalist organisations announced that they planned to carry out Kar Seva at Ayodhya on December 6 1992, the nationwide club of secular India-breakers unleashed fear-mongering and crude shrillery of the sort that remains unmatched even to this day. They were hugely successful. It appeared that there was every possibility of the central government dismissing the Uttar Pradesh government. Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had been cornered in an unprecedented fashion.

However, Kalyan Singh displayed what in hindsight can be termed as brilliant strategy. He gave a written assurance to the Supreme Court that he would save the Babri structure at any cost. This accomplished two things at the same time: it saved his government from being dismissed and eased the way for the Kar Seva. The subsequent happenings on December 6, 1992 don’t need repetition here.

Once the Babri masjid was demolished, and a makeshift Sri Rama temple was raised on the spot, Kalyan Singh bemoaned that he was helpless in preventing the demolition. But he also did something truly extraordinary: he resigned claiming moral responsibility.

This is the story in brief, of how Kalyan Singh gave up high office for the sake of Sri Ramachandra. Even in demiting office, Kalyan Singh had solidly stood by the millions of Hindus who had sacrificed and suffered so much for Sri Ramachandra.

Contrast this iconic man to scores of later-day BJP “leaders” for whom Sri Ramachandra is merely an “ideology” or a “party line.”

Kalyan Singh never wavered, there was never any room for confusion in his mind about Sri Ramachandra and his grand temple. Indeed, like typical politicians, he could have adopted delaying tactics as soon as he was firmly seated as the Chief Minister of India’s largest state, something that would’ve enabled him to enjoy the privileges attendant on a Chief Minister for a longer duration.

However, within a year and a half, he made himself ready to sacrifice his chair if it came to that. Which he knew would happen. After he reassured the Supreme Court that he would save the Babri masjid at any cost, he ordered the police force not to open fire on Kar Sevaks no matter how grave the provocation. It is for this reason that the Supreme Court in its enquiry named Kalyan Singh as a co-conspirator.

But Kalyan Singh’s humiliation didn’t end there. The same Supreme Court sentenced him to a day in prison in addition to imposing a fine of Rs.1000. It’s nothing short of a brutal irony: the Ayodhya movement put Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the Prime Minister’s seat, Lal Krishna Advani in the Deputy Prime Minister’s seat, and put Kalyan Singh in prison.

However, the BJP which came to power in 1998 was destined for a long spell in the wilderness and a general descent into intra-party chaos and skullduggery that would put the Congress party to shame. Just as long-starving man gorges upon mountains of food that comes his way suddenly, the 1998-2004 BJP not only forgot Sri Ramachandra, Ayodhya, and Sri Rama Bhaktas, it disregarded them. Drunk with power, it didn’t heed the feedback of party workers, the proverbial masses of selfless Karyakartas. Leaders like Pramod Mahajan and Venkaiah Naidu ran amok and eventually, the BJP paid the ultimate price: a shameful loss in the 2004 general elections.

Despite this, despite suffering numerous insults, despite being sidelined and discarded by his own party at times, people like Kalyan Singh never forgot their commitment to Ayodhya, and retain their devotion to Sri Ramachandra. He could have apologised and gone the way of his other party colleagues. He could have begun an intra-party slugfest in public. However, by all accounts, he never let his personal grievances and frustrations interfere with his devotion to Sri Ramachandra. Such selfless, and dedicated people exist in droves in the BJP even today.

Perhaps the BJP has since abandoned Sri Ramachandra. Perhaps it hasn’t. There’s no definite way of knowing.

But the Supreme Court which took up the Ayodhya “matter” today rekindled memories of this towering Hindu leader’s selfless commitment to Ayodhya and Sri Ramachandra.

I shall take your leave after citing an extract from Kalyan Singh’s 27-page affidavit submitted to the Liberhan Commission on December 2, 2004. Written in simple, precise, direct, and unambiguous language, it holds an extraordinary mirror to his commitment and character. In the affidavit, Kalyan Singh says that the demolition of the mosque was [Emphasis added]

“an act of God…whatever happened on that day, the deponent has no regret, no repentance, no sorrow, and no grief for that …(future) historians will record that Rama’s devotees and patriots demolished that structure, which symbolized slavery and stain. The disputed structure was a Ram temple and will always remain so.”


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Sandeep Balakrishna
Writer, author, and translator. Author of the bestselling "Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore," "The Madurai Sultanate: A Concise History," and "Seventy Years of Secularism." English translator of Dr. S L Bhyrappa's blockbuster Kannada novel, "Aavarana".