The English have taught us that we were not one nation before and that it will require centuries before we become one nation. This is without foundation. We were one nation before they came to India. One thought inspired us. Our mode of life was the same. It was because we were one nation that they were able to establish one kingdom. Subsequently they divided us.” — Mahatma Gandhiji, Hind Swaraj, Navajivan Publishing House, Ahmedabad, P. 42
In the media conclave organised by Organiser and Panchjanya Weeklies, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma remarked that “Rahul Gandhi is perhaps taking tuition from someone in Jawaharlal Nehru University”. His reference point was Rahul Gandhi’s comment that ‘Bharat is not a Nation’. Rahul Gandhi, until now, has been making ample irresponsible statements causing embarrassment for his party. But what he did in London is much more dangerous, indicating a complete degeneration of the party that evolved out of a national movement.
Speaking at the ‘Ideas for India’ conclave in the United Kingdom, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi claimed that “India is not in a good place. BJP has spread kerosene all over the country. You need one spark and we’ll be in big trouble”. He later called for ‘mass action’ to redesign the Congress. In the conclave and later at Cambridge University, the Gandhi scion reiterated that Bharat is not a nation like Britain; it is a union of states – like the European Union. He called Bharat a negotiated construct between the states. Many would discard Rahul Gandhi as an immature and non-serious leader but now, what he has been trying is no less than playing with the fire.
Firstly, he was saying all this on the foreign land, that is also of the colonisers, who propagated this idea that Bharat was never a nation. His political rivalry with the Bharatiya Janata Party is understandable. Still, this mindset of demeaning Bharat as an age-old entity is intriguing. Gandhiji, whose name the Nehru-Gandhi family invokes to further their political agenda, was the first one to defy this narrative through his seminal work Hind Swaraj. He clearly stated that we had a national life even before the British arrived. Why did the leader, whom many Congress workers still see as a hope, try to undo what Gandhi achieved more than a century ago?
Secondly, he did not make it just a remark. He elaborated by comparing it with the European Union. Do we have European Union-like arrangements where members can secede? In the Constituent Assembly, Dr Ambedkar said, “Though Bharat was to be a federation, the Federation was not the result of an agreement by the States” and “no State has the right to secede from it”. He was making the rationale behind the usage of Union and not the Federation. For him, the Union was indestructible. Even if we go by the words, the State structure is termed ‘Union’. How does it affect the civilisational identity of Bharat as a Rashtra?
Thirdly, we get a scary picture if we correlate his remarks about Bharat as a negotiated entity with political comments like ‘Kerosene’ and ‘mass action’. We have already experienced the spat of violence during the anti-CAA and anti-Farm laws protests. Both were politically motivated and revolved around falsehood. Congress party recently had a Chintan Shivir at Udaipur. Besides the renewed call for Rahul Gandhi to take over the party’s reigns, if this is the kind of political programme that Congress envisaged, it is suicidal for the party and harmful for our democracy.
Though the Communist ideology influenced both Nehru and Indira Gandhi, they believed “Bharat is a nation with an immemorial past”. Smt. Sonia Gandhi first allowed the adherents of ‘Bharat was never a nation and can never be nation’ to define the national policies. Rahul Gandhi is just completing Congress’s degeneration and denationalisation process by completely defying Gandhiji and Babasaheb Ambedkar. Again, proving the point made by the Assam CM that in Congress, Parivar (the Nehru-Gandhi family) is always above the Rashtra. Hence, it is impossible to share the ideas with a national perspective.