Murli Manohar Joshi
Murli Manohar Joshi is a leader of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian People’s Party) also known for his strong links with the RSS (Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh, National Volunteers’ Association). Born in Delhi, he earned a PhD in Physics from Allahabad University. Joshi joined the RSS in 1944 and took part in several of its major campaigns, particularly the Cow Protection Movement in 1953. The same year he became general secretary of the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi had, Hindu student union), before taking on managerial positions within the BJS (Bharatiya Jan Sangh, Indian People’s Alliance). He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977. After the dismemberment of the Janata Party in 1980, Joshi cofounded the new BJP and became its president in 1991, launching a radical election campaign. He undertook an Ekta Yatra (unity processions) from Kanyakumari to Srinagar and ostensibly hoisted the Indian national flag on the clock tower at Lal Chowk in Srinagar (Kashmir) generating anger among separatist activists but failing to raise any kind of mobilization. The Ekta Yatra had a very small impact on public opinion. On 6 December 1992, however, he was among the BJP leaders who watched a crowd destroying the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Three days after the mosque’s demolition, he was arrested, along with other BJP leaders, for inciting communal violence. Under the BJP government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee (1998–2004), he was entrusted with a very important portfolio (Human Resource Development and Science and Technology), where he displayed a lot of activism.
JAFFRELOT, Christophe. 1996. The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics: 1925 to the 1990s, Strategies of identity-building, implantation and mobilisation. London: C. Hurst.