The man who dared to transcend the Lakshman Rekha for salvaging his own honour in particular, and the honour of Politicians in general, notwithstanding what the critics and well-wishers might purportedly like to believe, can never be a political spent force in such times when political heroism has become the saga of folklore.
Indeed the speculations galore has come to surround Saryu Roy’s entry into BJP, ever since his participation in the Vijay Dashmi celebration of Mohan Bhagwat, the Sarsanghchalak of RSS. Whereas the occasion witnessed the presence of many stalwarts of BJP, even from Jharkhand, it was the presence of Saryu Roy which raised many eyebrows: Is Saryu Roy’s return to BJP is a foregone conclusion, both the sympathisers as well as the critics, together wondered?
Saryu Roy himself sought to soft- pedaled the issue, ‘ I have been attending this occasion for quite many years, where is then any political meaning should be assigned to it?’ Saryu Roy concluded.
Irrespective of Roy’s scotching the rumour, the rumour mill continued to churn out the gossips: it is only a matter of time, Saryu Roy will be back in BJP’s bandwagon, which the former did not dispel, either, for the underlying truth remains: Saryu Roy is inseparable from BJP as a son would from his mother, for, Saryu Roy at no point, did speak against BJP Central leadership for his suspension, nor did he ever express his bitterness towards the central leadership for mistreating him, despite having served the party for decades. However, he remained critical towards the state leadership, especially the then chief minister Raghubar Das, for his myriad omissions and commissions.
But then, whether Saryu Roy joins BJP or remains an independent leader, is beside the point; what in fact, is the issue to be pondered is, his heroism which was exhibited in such times when political kowtowing and the sense of obsequiousness has become an institutionalised norm. Significantly, when the name of Saryu Roy was not included even in the fourth list of the candidates nominated from Jamshedpur by the central leadership of the BJP, Saryu Roy was left with only two options: to bow down to the wish of central leadership and opt out of the race of electoral contest; or resign from BJP for the humiliation meted out to him, even rushing into the lap of rival party.
Scores of leaders of BJP who failed to reconcile with the decision of top leadership like Shatrughan Sinha and Kirti Azad –both had joined Congress before making a beeline for joining Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee.
Whereas Kirti Azad was alloted a seat from Dhanbad in 2019 general election, Shatrughan contested from Patna city. Both had lost the elections. However, Shatrughan Sinha later entered into Lok Sabha from Asansole from Trinamool Congress. Unequivocally, what the lives of the above worthies vindicates is this: They had the sole objective of entering Lok Sabha without an infinitesimal adherence to loyalty towards the ideology of the party, especially when they had almost devoted their lifetime in BJP.
Saryu Roy, in contrast to the aforementioned examples, chose the distinct path: He took the battle of his humiliation to the people’s court as an independent candidate in 2018 Assembly election of Jharkhand. His victory was the victory of the people who stood in solidarity with him; seeking an affinity with his cause for serving politics with honesty and dedication.
In retrospect, the sympathisers of BJP, and even the independent observers, opine in private conversations that, by exhibiting the unwarranted valour and breaching the party discipline, Saryu Roy had compromised with his political career, for his sequestration from his moorings, albeit brought him a momentous applause, he invariably reached political cul-de-sac; the longer political career he was entitled to, for being a part of the BJP, stands perpetually alienated from him; the door to BJP, which his detractors claim, has invariably been shut upon him.
His detractors as well some of his sympathisers, argue poignantly that, why, he stands paranoid towards Raghubar Das, for his often lashing out at the former chief minister robs the lusture from the gravity of his persona? Unconscionably though, those churning out the above logic, are the traditional conformists for whom the decisions of the highest decision making body–however arbitrary it might be– should be taken obsequiously as sacrosanct, putting to shreds the self-respect of individual politician in particular and the political class in general. It is this institutionalised mindset which needed a course correction in the polity on a fire fighting mode.
Unequivocally, whereas Jharkhand and Bihar in particular, and the nation in general, might have produced the plethora of chief ministers and leaders, yet the likes of Saryu Roy, an amalgam of politician, whistleblower, public intellectual, and environmentalist- is non-existent in contemporary times. No wonder, often he had taken the stand contrary to his Party’s stand, if he sincerely felt that the public interest was in jeopardy. This makes Saryu Roy distinct from the lots that we have as our political representatives today.
Regrettably, in such times as this, when the doctrine of underlying foundation of our republic, ‘ Satyamev Jayate’ appears to have only a quixotic sense; when the political shenanigans are ruling the roost; where the high and mighty are running smok the system, as the rule of Raghubar Das proved in Jamshedpur where his henchmen had reportedly unleashed tyranny upon the hoi- polloi, the leaders like Saryu Roy alone rises in defence of such a degeneration in public life.
Unequivocally then, the man whose own self-respect was hurt; when the people’s choice was being trampled upon by the hubristic leadership, the collective conscience of the people rose in defence of the honour of their leader. This was adequately demonstrated by the people of East Jamshedpur in 2018 when Saryu Roy decided to contest against the then-chief minister for preserving his, as well as their own, honour.
Thus the leader whose life is dedicated to his people; whose very summum bonum and raison d’etre is for living for the people of his constituency in particular and the fellow citizens of the nation, can seldom hit the cul-de-sac; such leaders can never become obsolete.
On the other hand, the spectacular valour institutionalised in the polity by Saryu Roy shall ever remain as the sunlit footsteps for the politicians to follow in his glorious footsteps. His legacies, which he will leave behind, once he leaves the public space, as everyone has to, the glorious sage of The People’s Leader will be the prominent part of the saga of folklore to be told to the posterity with all sorts of exuberance and enthusiasm.