“Nothing is lost in proclaiming wishes for world peace, prosperity and brotherhood. But so long as India does not have any effective practical remedy or measures to check the transgressions, such visits have no more than a formal status. While crying from the rooftops about these principles it was worth noting that China, by swallowing Tibet, had ruthlessly trampled those very principles of world peace, brotherhood and peaceful co-existence. That was the funniest part of the whole deal, and it at once raised doubts in Indian minds about the bona fides of China and Chou En-Lai.” – Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, in an interview with the Kesari (Marathi daily) on Bharat-China diplomacy, July 4, 1954
There is a psychological ailment that encompasses both obsessions and compulsions. Usually, this disorder increases distress and anxiety. The person grapples with unwarranted thoughts and fears that lead to specific repetitive behaviour patterns. This ailment is known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). On both the issues of Veer Savarkar and the border tension with China, the Congress party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi is showing similar symptoms.
The dynastic party is in disarray, both ideologically and organisationally. So whenever given a chance, its leaders try to attack and accuse one of the greatest revolutionaries of our freedom struggle, Veer Savarkar. The selective and fake narrative about Savarkar’s clemency petitions, guided by the communist advisors, has been peddled for a long time. Fortunately, a scholarship and documents are available now to expose and counter the dishonest assessment of any of our freedom fighters, including Savarkar. Still, toeing the line given by the Gandhi scion, Karnataka Congress leader Siddaramaiah led the protest opposing Savarkar’s poster in Suvarna Vidhana Soudha Assembly hall at Belgavi, where the winter session of the assembly is taking place. Congress leaders and spokespersons demanded installing the portraits of other leaders without even knowing that along with Savarkar, portraits of Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, BR Ambedkar, Swami Vivekananda and Basavanna were also installed in the assembly. How typical of obsession and compulsion is that? And there is a reason behind targeting Savarkar.
Since Independence, Nehru-Gandhi family-led Congress tried to monopolise the legacy of the freedom struggle. The Seventy-Five years celebrations brought out many facets of our glorious resistance and victories against the colonial rule that took place even before the formation of Congress. Since 1498, right from the Portuguese invasion, many individuals and organisations, spreading across the length and breadth of Bharatvarsha, coming from different castes and communities, participated in this process. Congress led the last leg of our Independence Movement as a forum, not a political party. Even then, many strands of the freedom struggle existed w defected or disagreed with Congress’s ways of dealing with the British rulers and Islamic fundamentalists. Leaders like Sri Aurobindo, Bhagat Singh, Dr B R Ambedkar and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose represented those various paths. Congress disowned them and even tried to tarnish them through Communist historians. Veer Savarkar symbolises one of those legacies where he inspired many armed revolutionaries, articulated a thesis on Hindutva countering the Congress’ version of nationhood, initiated many social reforms and opposed partition of Bharat on the religious lines tooth and nail. Even after the Independence, Savarkar criticised and exposed the timid and confused foreign and defence policy of the then Nehru Government. In other words, Savarkar represents a comprehensive ideological challenge to the Nehruvian ideology espoused by the Congress party; hence, the obsession with attacking Savarkar whenever and wherever possible.
The OCD on the China issue is even problematic with the Nehru-Gandhi Congress. Bharat’s contentious border with China is exclusively Nehru’s legacy. The Himalayan Blunders of recognising Chinese claims over Tibet, gifting the permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council to the adversarial and expansionist neighbour and the unilateral pacifism towards China all together have manufactured the non-existent dispute on the borders. Subsequently, the border infrastructure was kept underdeveloped and justified as a strategy. Congress leadership did not dare raise the border incursion issue with the Communist-ruled expansionist power. “Bharat does not want to accentuate the situation” was then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s response to the reported Chinese incursions. Even the Defence Minister in UPA Government, Shri A K Antony, had accepted in 2013 that China’s infrastructure in the border areas was superior to that of India and that this ‘mistake’ not to develop border areas was a ‘legacy’ carried from older days. Indirectly, he accepted the error started by Nehru and continued by his family members. Even with this background, during the UPA-I regime in 2008, the Congress party and the Communist Party of China (CPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Beijing to exchange high-level information and cooperation. In 2007, the Congress party’s think tank Rajiv Gandhi Foundation received funding of Rs Ninety Lacs in the name of ‘other expenses’. With such a dubious past, Congress’ trying to corner Modi Government with the words like ‘Chinese beat up our soldiers on the borders’ does not sound just ridiculous but also suspicious. During the Dokhlam crisis, Rahul Gandhi also visited the Chinese Embassy. What was the agenda behind the same? Is Rahul Gandhi under some compulsion trying to peddle the Chinese narrative in Bharat? Or is it a disorder to cover the past mistakes of the family-run party?
Immediately after Independence, many leaders, starting from Sardar Patel, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Golwalkar Guruji, warned PM Nehru about his China policy. Savarkar also criticised Nehru’s Government for sacrificing the buffer state of Tibet in the name of Pnchsheel. Unfortunately, in the hope of getting a statesman badge, Pt Nehru never paid attention to those repeated warnings from different quarters. Only after receiving the typical communist-style backstabbing and forcing humiliation for our armed forces he perhaps realised the mistake, but it was too late by then.
Now, we are revising and reasserting our position on the borders, as Savarkar had suggested. Our border infrastructure is improved, and defence preparedness is catching up with China. Our armed forces are confident enough and assured that political leadership is standing behind them for any action on the ground. Congress is trying to ridicule their bravery – obviously a sign of some obsession or compulsion. Some medical and psychological treatment is necessary for such symptoms. Instead of indulging in Yatras to connect the Bharat Todo forces with the party, Congress should introspect and meditate on this syndrome. Otherwise, the arrogance of ‘we solely fought for national Independence’ will further erode the relevance of the dynastic party and compel it to rely on some external help to keep floating politically.