Today on the 89th anniversary of Dandi March, PM Modi wrote a blog saying “The anti-thesis of Gandhian thought is Congress culture.” Gandhi, said the Prime Minister, had understood the Congress culture very well, “which is why he wanted the Congress disbanded, especially after 1947”. Recently, Amit Shah, president of the BJP, lauded Mahatma Gandhi’s foresight in calling for the disbanding of the Congress after Independence.
Just three days before he was assassinated, on Jan 27, 1948, Gandhi wrote that the Congress has “outlived its use” in its present form, should be disbanded and “flower into a Lok Sevak Sangh”. This appeared as an article in Harijan on February 2, 1948, titled ‘His Last Will and Testament’, a phrase added by his associates.
The ‘last will and testament’ should be read along with another statement also carried in the Harijan the same day:
“Indian National Congress which is the oldest national political organization and which has after many battles fought her non-violent way to freedom cannot be allowed to die. It can only die with the nation.”
This suggests he still believed the Congress had a future role and was pondering over what it would be.
What Mr. Modi and his army of trolls fail to understand is that Gandhiji’s comments were made in the context of India’s oldest political party’s new role in a newly independent nation. This question was raised in 1946 plenary session with senior leaders asking for views of the party members. With Independence, the historic role of the party in achieving independence had been achieved and leaders were looking forward to restructuring the party was in order to make it better designed for nation-building.
This ‘claim’ made time and again is a desperate attempt by BJP to ride on the nationalist wave by selective appropriation of Gandhi and Patel and destroying the legacy of Nehru and others. This process of selection and exclusion provides a powerful tool in the circulation of narratives and conveniently fits into the same narrative that RSS wants you to believe.
WHAT MAHATMA GANDHI THOUGHT OF RSS?
The RSS with their ‘soft corner’ for Godse has been critical of Mahatma Gandhi for long. On August 9, 1942 – when Quit India Movement was launched, Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Harijan, “I had heard of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and its activities; and also know that it was a communal organization.”
Responding to some communal sloganeering against which complaints were made, Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “I hear many things about RSS. I have heard it said the Sangh is at the root of all this mischief.”
Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary Pyarelal writes in Mahatma’s biography that Gandhi had compared RSS swayamsevaks to Hitler’s Nazis and Mussolini’s fascists.
Gandhi as a man stood for Satya and Satyagraha, had he been alive today he would have completely disregarded the violent rhetoric that Mr. Modi perpetuates, he would have called out BJP for spreading hatred.
In his failed attempt to convince us that Gandhi wanted Congress to be disbanded, he lacks one tool that made Gandhi the Mahatma, the ability to reflect.
The biggest power of Dandi March is the walk towards peace and freedom on the path of non-violence, the biggest teaching that Mr. Modi can take back from Dandi March is that however worse your oppressor is, don’t let hatred guide you.
Had Mr. Modi really followed Gandhian philosophy he would not use Gandhi as a medium to spew vitriol against the opposition.
Had Gandhi been alive today, he would have asked “Modi brand of politics” to be disbanded instead.