To Replace Gandhi

Dr. Mike Ghouse   October 30, 2021   Comments Off on To Replace Gandhi
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If BJP continues in power, they will replace Gandhi in gradual steps. First, Sardar Patel will replace Gandhi on currency bills, then his pictures will be hung in every office, and finally, Gandhi will be phased out by making him the father of nation for the next generation through school books. 

This has to be stopped. 

Mike Ghouse

From INDIA THIS WEEK of October 22,2021


By Anadi Naik

India’s ruling Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP, has an unusual problem. It wants to replace Gandhiji as the father of the nation but can’t. Over the years BJP has floated many ideas.  It has lionized Shyama prasad Mukherjee who formed the Hindu Mahasabha and has hung his picture in the Parliament building. Some of the BJP members called Nathuram Godse, Gandhi’s killer, a “hero”. They give Netaji’s handshake with Hitler more importance in winning freedom than Gandhiji’s meticulous efforts in the way of noncooperation and mass movement. BJP built a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel touching the heaven. In between, the members of the ruling Party kept advertising the valor and patriotism of all those who went to fight for freedom with swords and daggers. BJP does not accept Gandhiji’s idea of nonviolence. Yet, as a political Party, it cannot afford to speak against him. The country reveres him. The world feels indebted to him. Going against Gandhiji for BJP as a political Party would be suicidal. Even Communists in India offer him a qualified honor!

 Because of the contribution he made to the liberation movements around the world not only in his life time but for generations to come, Gandhiji’s philosophy and the works he did are studied and analyzed everywhere. However, his popularity poses an existential problem for BJP in India. That is why it is doing whatever it can to erase Gandhi without saying so. BJP wants acceptance by the people. If it said anything openly against Gandhi then it would be rejected outright. So all of its works toward that end are done very carefully and misleadingly..

India is preparing for the celebration of its 75th year of Independence. Independence of India and Mahatma Gandhi are synonymous. With Gandhi comes a host of names such as Nehru and other members of the Nehru family as well as the Congress Party. That is a big problem for BJP. Its fore-bearers collaborated with the British. They wanted a Hindu India like a Muslim Pakistan. Organizations like Hindu Mahasabha and RSS led the way.  Under Gandhiji’s influence the Indian National Congress rejected such an idea. So, in the books of Godse and his band of ideological brethren like Savarkar, Gandhi became the enemy. They killed him. Both were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, known as RSS.

Gandhiji’s death at that critical moment for India shattered the soul of the subcontinent even if his death at any time would have been heartbreaking. While in power now, it would be awkward for BJP to be identified with Gandhi’s murder in any possible way even if it is rooted in the ideology of RSS. Deconstruction of the Mahatma is the only way that would absolve it from its RSS connection. Therefore, in the name of honoring Gandhi and his ideas BJP leaders do just the opposite. Exploitation of the poor, casteism, acquiring wealth without a sense of trusteeship continue.

For example, the Government is planning to modernize the Sabarmati Ashram. The natural look of the hut would be replaced with fancy things. The effort is as good as the destruction of Buddha statues at Bamiyan by the Taliban. In order to establish Islam the Taliban destroyed the people’s heritage. The ashram was India’s heritage. In protest of the government’s plan, a group of People from all walks of life are marching from Sevagram (Gandhi’s ashram later) to Sabarmati to save the Ashram as Gandhiji left it.

In a democracy Governments come and go depending on the whims of the voters. What BJP does or thinks about Gandhi is a minor issue. Because it is in the government, so any utterance from its leaders becomes newsworthy. Those who repeatedly used Gandhi’s name, in the past, fell short to carry on his task. Just uttering his name was not good enough to save them from becoming no good stumbling blocks. In the same way, BJP’s aggressive deconstruction of the Mahatma would carry limited traction for a while. And then it would fall also. It is in the millions of Indian hearts where Gandhi remains ensconced. If each of them walks a small distance on the path he has shown both the people and the country would benefit. BJP’s presence in the long history of India is only a bubble in the stream.

Anadi Naik’s books SONG OF SATAN, NINETEENTH OF NOVEMBER, BLOWN AWAY and  A MAN OF HUMILITY are available at Barnes and Noble and Please ask your local library if it carries any of these books.

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