On Wednesday, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Rajasthan President Madan Lal Saini made a statement that was not only problematic but also wildly inaccurate. “When Humayun was dying, he called Babur and said, ‘If you want to rule Hindustan, you must keep three things in mind – respect cows, Brahmins and women.’ There should be no attempt to insult them,” Saini told journalists.
There were several things worrying about that comment. One, it seemed to rationalise mob violence days after dairy farmer Rakbar Khan was allegedly lynched in Rajasthan’s Alwar on June 20 by a crowd that claimed that he was smuggling cattle. This was the latest in a series of incidents of mob violence in the guise of cow protection, mainly against Muslims. Two, it isolated Hindu upper castes as being worthy of respect. And three, it was factually incorrect. For, as many on social media pointed out, Humayun was Babur’s son and by the time he died in 1556, his father, the founder of the Mughal empire, was long gone – Babur died in 1531.
Saini seemed to have mixed up chronology while reiterating a sentiment voiced by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. The veteran BJP leader had reportedly claimed in 2015 that Babur, in his will, had advised his son to protect cows to win over the hearts of the people they were ruling.
Social media jumped on the opportunity to point out Saini’s mistakes, offering explanations about how Humayun may have been able to communicate with his long-dead father, and what else he may have told him in that conversation.
Many also weaved in digs at other gaffes by BJP leaders in the past. As some pointed out, BJP Rajasthan chief was only following in the footsteps of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has gotten historical facts wrong on several occasions.
The BJP’s track record on education has been called into question in other ways too. For instance, Modi’s purported degree in “Entire Political Science” have given ammunition to Opposition leaders and social media satirists for two years now. More recently, the BJP government’s controversial decision to give an Institution of Eminence tag to the Reliance-backed Jio Institute, which is yet to be set up, alongside other distinguished institutions, also raised many eyebrows. Many on Twitter pointed out that Saini was an ideal candidate to teach at that institute.
For others, the only logical explanation was that the BJP leader was intoxicated when he made the comment.
Others pointed out that after rewriting Vedic history, the BJP had moved on to the Mughal era.