The BJP has very aptly called the re-enactment of the historic Dandi yatra on its 75th anniversary as a political gimmick of the Congress. The height of hypocrisy is that the Congress president inaugurated the event by administering a pledge to follow the path shown by Mahatma Gandhi, while in practice, the party had deserted the principles of the Mahatma long ago.
The Mahatma had very proudly said, ?I am a Hindu because it is Hinduism which makes the world worth living.? Will the Congress dare to reiterate this statement now? Will such a statement not hurt the secular credentials of the Congress? Gandhi'slove for Hinduism was no secret but in its effort to appear secular, the Congress has become allergic to everything that is Hindu.
The Mahatma was very concerned about the cow and its protection. He had said, ?My ambition is no less than to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. But that requires that I should set my own house thoroughly in order first.? Has the Congress tried to do anything in this direction? In sharp contrast to Gandhi'sviews, the Congress feels that the issue concerns only the majority community of India and anything associated with the majority community is communal. Gandhi had said, ?My religion teaches me that I should by personal conduct instill into the minds of those who might hold different views, the conviction that cow-killing is a sin and that, therefore, it ought to be abandoned.? Is it not feasible for Sonia and her brigade to follow this path shown by the Mahatma?
The Mahatma had championed the cause of swadeshi, small-scale and cottage industries. He believed that if the village perished, India would perish too. He felt that ?the revival of the village is possible only when it is no more exploited. Industrialisation on a mass scale will necessarily lead to passive or active exploitation of the villagers as the problems of competition and marketing come in. Therefore, we have to concentrate on the village being self-contained, manufacturing mainly for self use.? Contrary to Gandhi'sideals, Nehru and his successors adopted the communist model and went for large-scale industrialisation. Can the Congress afford to go back to the village industry as suggested by the Mahatma?
The Mahatma was gravely concerned about the education system established by the British. He had said, ?I find daily proof of the increasing and continuing wrong being done to the millions by our false de-Indianising of education.? He had said that ?real freedom will come only when we free ourselves of the domination of Western education, Western culture and Western way of living which have been ingrained in us… Emancipation from this culture would mean real freedom for us.? What has the Congress done to rectify the education system given by the British? On the contrary, efforts to Indianise the education have been vehemently opposed and termed as ?saffronisation?. Would the Mahatma have approved of books which call ancient Hindus beef-eaters and Guru Tegh Bahadur as plunderer?
The Mahatma held that proselytising under the cloak of humanitarian work was unhealthy. He considered the aping of Europeans by the Indian converts to Christianity as a violence done to the country. He had said, ?If instead of confining themselves purely to humanitarian work, such as education, medical services to the poor and the like, they would use these activities of theirs for the purpose of proselytising, I would certainly like them to withdraw. Every nation considers its own faith to be as good as that of any other. Certainly the great faiths held by the people of India are adequate for her people. India stands in no need of conversion from one faith to another.? But the Congress, under a Roman Catholic leader, is supporting the cause of the missionaries and even awarding Padma Shri to those involved in religious conversions. Any opposition to the malpractices of Christian missionaries is very quickly condemned as Hindu fanaticism. Will the Congress ask the proselytising missionaries in India to leave?
The Mahatma fought against the caste system. But the Congress through its reservation policies has deepened the crevices in the Hindu society. The RSS has been fighting for the cause since its inception. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi had said at an RSS rally in Delhi in 1947, ?When I visited the RSS camp, I was very much impressed by your discipline and the complete absence of untouchability.?
Imagine how hurt the Mahatma would have been if he were to witness the acts of the present-day Congressmen like Mani Shankar Aiyer who inserted his quotation by removing Savarkar'sand then went around proclaiming that they eat beef and are so secular. Imagine how much pain the Mahatma would have endured had he witnessed the statement of T.R. Balu, a Congress ally, that he is ashamed of being born a Hindu. Just think of the insult shown to the Mahatma when people like Shivraj Patil equate Sonia Gandhi with Lord Rama, Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. How can a servile party submitting to its videshi leader be expected to comprehend and stand for the Mahatma'slove for swadeshi?
Probably the only principle that the Congress picked up from the Mahatma is Muslim appeasement. It is no secret that Gandhi had on many occasions gone to great extents, at times unjustified, to please the Muslims, his sole intention being Hindu-Muslim unity to keep India undivided. In fact, the Mahatma believed that ?the way to save the cow is not to kill or quarrel with the Mussalmans; the way to save the cow is to die in the act of saving the Khilafat without mentioning the cow.? The efforts of Gandhi to ensure protection of cow through Khilafat boomeranged as the Khilafat movement sowed the seeds of Muslim separatism, leaving the cow even more unprotected. Though his intentions were noble, he failed miserably in this mission as is evident from the Partition of the country and the resulting bloodshed. The Congress has very religiously followed this failed principle of the Mahatma but with a malafide intention. It has been doing so just to keep its minorities vote bank intact, oblivious of the harm being done to the minorities and the country by such communal politics.
Merely appeasing minorities does not mean adhering to Mahatma'sprinciples. The Congress and secularists, who claim to have a monopoly over Mahatma Gandhi, have in practice very shamelessly deserted his principles. The bitter fact which the Congress may find hard to accept is that it'schief rival, the RSS, has stolen the Mahatma from them. Ironically the RSS, which is blamed time and again by the leaders of Congress as the murderer of Gandhi, is in fact still fighting for the principles for which the Mahatma lived. While the Congress has kept him alive only in photographs, statues, names of roads and schools, the RSS has kept up the fight for the cause initiated by the Mahatma. The cause of Hinduism, cow protection, swadeshi, Indianisation of education, fighting against the conversion agenda of the Christian missionaries?the issues close to Mahatma'sheart?are today issues close to the RSS. These issues have all come to be identified as ?communal? in the India polity, the concern of the so-called ?Hindu fanatics?. The Mahatma and his principles minus his soft corner for Muslims would make him look ?communal? in the eyes of the Congress. While Nathuram Godse only brought an end to the physical existence of Gandhi, the bigger sinner Congress put to end the ideology and philosophy of the Mahatma. In this respect, the real murderer of Gandhi is the Congress.
The Congress has never cared for the Mahatma or his principles. The pseudo-secular ideology of the Congress compels it to maintain distance from the Mahatma in principle. They have followed the Mahatma only selectively to suit their own selfish motives. They have only used his name to lure the voters. Similar is the case with the minorities, tribals and low-caste Hindus. Congress has always used them as vote banks, not caring for their upliftment or their integration into the mainstream Indian society. Merely talking about sarva dharma sambhava, singing ?Vaishnav jana to? and appeasing minorities through commissions and reservations does not prove proximity to the Mahatma. Treading the same path followed by the Mahatma 75 years ago is emulating him only symbolically. But what is needed today is not sheer melodrama but adopting Mahatma'sprinciples in practice. It is easy to take an oath to follow the path shown by him, but will the political compulsions of the Congress allow it to actually do so in practice? For this hoax to turn into a reality, the Congress will have to shed off its fake secular garb and adorn a saffron outfit. Until then, the Dandi yatra remains a nautanki, a political gimmick.