In the epic Mahabharat, Bhishma or Bhishma Pitahmah was the eighth son of Kuru King Shantanu who was blessed with a wish- long life (more precisely the boon of Ichcha mrityu) and had sworn to serve the ruling Kuru king and grand uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas. An unparalleled archer and warrior, he once fought his own guru the mighty Parusrama and defeated him. He also handed down the Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhistir when he was on his death bed of arrows in the battle field of Kurukshetra.
The epic of Mahabharat has twice been shown, in two very long spanning, super hit TV serials, and many of us are aware that when the first one was aired, normally on Sunday mornings, trains were made to stop, by passengers for watching the serial. And so, not much needs to be explained and told about the life and character of mighty Bhishma Pitamah.
Bhishma means He of the terrible oath, referring to his vow of lifelong celibacy. Originally named Devavratha, he became known as Bhishma after he took the Bhishma pratigya (terrible oath) the vow of lifelong celibacy, and of service to whomever sat on the throne of his father (the throne of Hastinapur) and had he not taken this vow, he perhaps would have fought from the Pandava’s side.
And in today’s context BJP refers LKA (LK Advani) as their Bhishma Pitamah, more on the cadence of Hindu mythology. But, at times I wonder if LKA would even agree, if asked to play this larger than life role that ends on a bed of arrows, unless this also has been imposed on him as his forced retirement of sorts.
For logically speaking, if BJP positions LKA as its Bhishma Pitamah; then Bhishma Pitamah is surely in the company of Giriraj Singh a BJP leader and a minister who is a misogynist and a serial offender of the kind.
And Giriraj Singh rattles the soul of Rajiv Gandhi, when he insults Sonia Gandhi. His reeking comments about women remind in some ways of the misdeeds of Duryodhana and Dushashana, and the episode of disrobing Draupadi and he further goes to insult Nigerian women who happen to be dark; not realising that in some ways he is insulting Goddess Kali and also Hidimba who happens to be Vir Ghatotkacha’s mother and wife of Bhim who also was dark and from the Asur clan and therefore in every possible manner insulting Indian women. And in all of this the present day Bhishma Pitamah (LKA) helpessly keeps silent. So then why would he remain the Bhishma Pitamah of BJP?
Further Bhishma Pitamah of Mahabharta was stuck to the wrong throne where he had no powers to govern, and neither had the choice to move away, even if he wanted, on account of his pratigya, but what about LKA who is not bound by any pratigya? So should he stay on, even if the party degenerates morally?
Until now, LKA has stayed on with BJP, nursing his recent political bruises and insults, but what happens when the population of people like Giriraj increase and the throne itself comes under fire; for he is apparently not stuck to any pratigya; and then will he still stay on as Bhishma Pitamah or move away? For let’s not forget LKA started the famous ‘Rath Yatra’ that led to BJPs victory in the Lok Sabha polls; and that exhibits he still might be a man with convictions and fire in the belly.
And for Giriraj Singh who happens to be a father of a daughter and a believer in Hindu mythology, needs to regularly remind himself that we have many Goddess, who appear in many colours including black. And, the exemplary example of male God could be of Lord Shiva who turned blue because he drank all the poison that came out of Samudra Manthan. And, so India is not colour allergic, maybe Giriraj Singh is.
And BJP should be careful while using mythological titles such as ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ for patriarchs such as LKA, especially when it has colour allergics and misogynist leaders like Giriraj Singh. The latest caution point being L.K. Advani deviating from the tradition of delivering his customary speech which he did over the last 35 years in the recent BJP National Executive meet. Perhaps, he is smelling the coffee.