The Government has a lot to answer in an India, where no institution or even Gandhi is safe
The Parliament, Election Commission, the Reserve Bank of India, the judiciary and even the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi are all under attack in Incredible India
Mahatma Gandhi was killed. Abraham Lincoln too was killed. Gandhiji was killed because he tried to bring the Hindus and Muslims together.
Lincoln was killed because he fought against the evil practice of slavery. Nobody in America celebrates the killing of Lincoln. Nobody honours the killers of Lincoln.
But in Incredible India, there are people who celebrate the murder of the Mahatma. Some even honour and pay tribute to Nathuram Godse.
Gandhi, himself a Hindu, was killed by a Hindutva fanatic. Not by a Muslim fundamentalist.
Lincoln fought for liberation of Blacks from slavery. Gandhiji fought for liberation of India from the curse of untouchability. A section of the upper caste wanted and advocated the unjust and cruel caste system. Just like some Southern American slave owners who wanted slavery to continue.
A leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Kerala was even more audacious. He said the murder of Gandhi was only “job, half done”. Jawaharlal Nehru was not killed and so the other half of the job remained, he wrote.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, an accused in the Malegaon terror attack case, said Godse was a patriot. She was even elected to the Lok Sabha with this philosophy of violence.
The RSS used to hold Gandhiji responsible for Partition. And, of course Nehru. Not Jinnah and Savarkar. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah publicly hold the Congress party responsible for Partition, what they mean is Gandhi and Nehru.
They are essentially furthering the 95-year-old RSS agenda. The RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha used to always
regard that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations. Not just Jinnah and the Muslim League.
So, in a way, paradoxically, both Jinnah and Savarkar echoed each other. The cunning British rulers encouraged both. They wanted the country divided so that they have a political and military base in the Indian subcontinent. Their perfidious game in South Asia continues.
One Hindutva activist shot at a Gandhi effigy to condemn his philosophy of non-violence. She proudly made this virtual “murder” into a video film and circulated it on social media.
Another fanatic built a Nathuram Mandir. The ideology of Ram Mandir is Nathuram Mandir. We are not far away from that moment of unfolding horrifying tragedy.
Yet another Gandhi hater is making a bio-pic film of Godse.
He thinks that the Richard Attenborough film on Gandhi was unfair to ‘patriot’ Godse.
The theatre organised in the name of Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary is a calculated plot to obfuscate the real RSS agenda: divide, polarise and rule on the simulated hate.
Just as the whole diabolical exercise of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is or the abrogation of Article 370 was. The National Population Register (NPR) is an organised effort to marginalise and then disenfranchise the 17 crore Muslims. Both are aimed at effecting a new Partition of India: first psychological, by generating and spreading false news and rumours; and then the political.
Now we are living in times of socio-cultural Partition. And we are actually passing through a dark tunnel. The question is whether there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Well, yes. There is light at the end of the tunnel. The nationwide protest against the CAA, mainly participation of the
youth and the presence of women of all age groups in the marches provide that glimmer of hope. The myth that the entire youth of the country was in awe of Narendra Modi has been proven to be a propaganda of the embedded media.
The media continues to be hostile to the people and friendly to the regime. This is known as a phenomenon of “Friendly Fascism”!
However, the belief that there is no alternative to the present regime has cracked. It is not as if Opposition parties are leading this widespread protest. It is the people themselves. It is a spontaneous movement of the people against a fascist power.
The Opposition parties are either forced or being dragged by the upsurge on streets. Many of these parties were or are complacent, reticent or compromised. History tells us that without such complacence or compromise, fascism does not succeed.
The sustained “sit-in” protest at Shaheen Bagh, of women of all religions, in the face of severe winter and smog, shows that people are getting ready for a long fight. So, surely this upsurge has shown a ray of hope.
But we also should be prepared for a long, even frustrating walk through the tunnel.
Because during the last six years, the important columns of the Republic have been dented by the fascists. The lazy intellectual faith in the institutions has been shattered. These institutions were set up or built or given their autonomy by an India that ran on Nehruvian ethos.
But now, the current regime has declared that the main enemy of the nation is Jawaharlal Nehru himself! So who cares for the institutions? And indeed, who respects the Idea of India! So, let the institutions suffer and lose their sovereign strength. Who cares?
The Reserve Bank of India, once a proud autonomous organisation, now gets its cue from the executive. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was known as “caged parrot”. Now even that parrot is dead.
The Intelligence Bureau and the so-called National Intelligence Agency (NIA), takes its orders from Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Prime Minister does not even invite the Union Finance Minister for Budget consultations with business and industry. The Election Commission of India appears like a castrated bull.
Even the judiciary has shed its shame, grace and dignity! All these institutions have surrendered their souls and their appointed masters have preferred to be slaves. This is a new slavery which Abraham Lincoln never thought would emerge.
We are a Union of states, a sovereign, secular, democratic, parliamentary
republic. Each term in this statement has lost its content.
The central government bulldozes federalism aside by overriding the states. The very Union of States is questioned in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North East. Who cares for Sovereignty when even Israel is brought on the board with their Mossad outfit to direct policies and directions.
The idea of Secularism was always condemned by the Hindutva fronts. Now India is emerging as Hindu Rashtra, de facto, not yet de Jure!
The form may appear Democratic, but with just 31 per cent of the vote (2014) and 37 per cent (2019), the government appears to be sidelining the parliamentary institutions and both the Houses. The Election Commission has lost its standing.
And hence the Republic is threatened.
We celebrate August 15 as Independence Day and January 26 as Republic Day. The Independence Day has been reduced to a ritual at the Red Fort with Modi’s Man Ki Baat! And Republic Day has been reduced to a display of military might, mainly against Pakistan.
Our task is to retain independence, secularism, liberalism, democracy and republican values. It is a tall civilisational order.
When Panditji declared our Tryst with Destiny, on August 15, 1947, it appeared that it is within our reach. Today, it seems it is a long struggle!
(The writer is a senior journalist and a Rajya Sabha MP. Views expressed are his own)