'Bharat Jodo Yatra' a ray of hope in the dark times we live in

'Bharat Jodo Yatra' provides an opportunity for India's distressed citizens to speak out against the divisive politics and destructive policies of the current regime in power at the Centre

'Bharat Jodo Yatra' a ray of hope in the dark times we live in

Humra Quraishi

With the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ on its way, it is time for the citizens of the country to rejoice and participate in it. At this crucial juncture, there ought to be togetherness and a collective cry to safeguard our country and halt any further damage to the country's democratic ethos.

Every possible effort should be made to stop the fascist forces, else not just we, but our future generations too will regret it. And then it might be too late to salvage the ruined economy and our national institutions.

In recent times, many amongst us have turned hopeless at the way prices are spiralling, with even the food intake of the middle classes drastically affected. Coupled with this, the sheer violence and anarchy in the society has perhaps never been this frightening.

We must speak out to save our land and our people. We must highlight the role of stalwarts and statesmen like Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was indeed a leader of the masses. Today it is the duty of the masses to uphold his vision, dream and passion to take our country forward.

The ruling right-wing regime seems hell-bent on omitting from collective memory the crucial role played by Nehru. He, the builder of modern-day India, was not only loved and respected by the citizens of his country but also by people across the world.

Shockingly, in these recent times, there have been blatant distortions, if not deletion, of significant historical facts and factors related to such leaders.

Around the autumn of 2016, newsreports had come in of the plans of the then BJP government in Rajasthan to remove from the textbooks a particular chapter on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

Why should this generation or future generations be deprived of being educated about the stellar role played by a statesman like Nehru? After all, ‘Panditji’, as Jawaharlal Nehru was popularly called, stood for democratic values, for the rights and dignity of the minorities and the disadvantaged.

Yes, communal attacks did take place even in those years, but they were controlled and there was that guarantee that justice would prevail. That feeling of security was intact because he was himself secular.

The fact is that Jawaharlal Nehru was respected and loved by all segments of society, by people from different faiths, religions, regions.

I vividly recall how my maternal grandmother, Amna Rahman, cried out in deep anguish when she heard the news of his passing away. I was too young to comprehend the connect between her tears and Nehru's death, but to this day I recall her words along the strain that Nehru was a saviour of the masses of our country.

Later, she had explained that in a democracy, it was not important to have a leader from a particular minority or majority community but a person one could respect and look up to; someone who could take care of the masses, without discriminating along religious or regional lines.

Years later, during my interactions with the Muslim citizens of the country, whenever the topic of the Partition came up, they would invariably say that their fathers and grandfathers had opted to stay back in India in the hope that leaders of the stature of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru would be their rulers; with that, sound and just administration would prevail.

They couldn’t have imagined, even in their wildest dreams, that a day would come when right-wing men will seize the levers of powers of the country.

Nehru was respected worldwide as a statesman. His role in building our country’s democratic structure and infrastructure can never be doubted or diluted. He stands tall. He will always be remembered.

Today, as the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' heads across the country, it is relevant to recall Nehru's vision for India and work for the 'unity in diversity' which was our country's favourite slogan, now rendered hollow by the present regime.

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