Unnecessary controversy was wrecked up by media when Congress announced its conclave to commemorate 125th birth anniversary of India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Of course, it is Congress party’s event; to their conventional perception even a family event and, they have every right not to invite the present PM while inviting all other party leaders, including the left and Mamta. It would have been real tribute to the legacy of Nehru who always spoke of respecting the opposition voices, if Congress would have also invited even BJP leaders. As the first PM of the independent nation, Nehru is just not a name but a legacy. The real issue is not whether Modi was invited or not but why Congress decided to organise this conclave at the last moment, that also while inviting all political leaders, even from the foreign lands, except the NDA and gave a crying call in the name of ‘secularism’.
Anyways, the International Conference on Nehru was an afterthought. The Modi government announced linking of former PMs Nehru and Indira Gandhi birth anniversaries to Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. After successfully linking Gandhi and Patel with the government programmes and ensuring participatory approach, losing on Nehru and Indira must have created panic in the Congress camp, which resulted in organising the Conclave. To Congress’ misfortune, inauguration of the event clashed with PM Modi’s public function in Sydney, and the whole conference turned into an internal affair of the party, without any real public participation or viewership.
While discussing Nehru, criticising the present government and bringing everybody on the agenda of anti-BJPism, became the main railing point. And only point that can minimise contradiction of Congress and its splintered groups, Janata Parivar and the Left is the bogey of ‘secularism’. While crediting everything modern and democratic to Nehru, the Congress President harped on ‘secular values’. She went on to saying that secularism was established as a necessity by Nehru. While doing so she forgot that many years even before the Britishers or Muslims came here, many faiths flourished, welcomed, and were assimilated and respected in this land. Jews and Parsis are the glaring examples of this tradition. Indians respect all ways of worship because of its Hindu ethos. The problem is Congress’ version of vote bank secularism that denied very foundation of Indianness. This actually has been a real threat to India and Congress party itself.
The real reason for this crying call on secularism is to reclaim the legacy of Nehru who believed in delinking State from Dharma, which even Gandhi denied. This secularism of the Western variant is neither practical nor desirable in India. Congress party is going through a bad phase and the only hope for them is their ‘family legacy’. Congress may try up reclaiming the legacy of independence movement as well as freedom fighters, but that the reality is India has changed and so has India’s perception towards history. If Congress and its potential ‘secular’ allies do not accept this reality, they will keep struggling with the crisis of legacy.