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We have failed Gandhi: Fascist communal forces gaining ground

by Kashmir Times, 30 January 2009

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Editorial, Kashmir Times, 30 January 2009

It is customary for us to remember Gandhiji on January 30, the day when he was assassinated, as also on October 2, his birthday, in a ritualistic way year after year. But do we actually deserve to remember the Father of the Nation, the man who led us to freedom, or to pay homage to him? Gandhi was assassinated by communal Hindu fascism personified by Nathu Ram Godse, who fired three shots at him while he was on his way to his daily prayer meeting on January 30,1948. The name of Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) has been associated with Gandhi’s murder ever since this ghastly act was committed, the denial of the RSS notwithstanding. It was the poisonous propaganda of hate and communal fanaticism let loose by the RSS and Hindu Maha Sabha headed by V.D. Savarkar, the propounder of two- nation theory, which led to the assassination of the Mahatma. The RSS was banned and a large number of RSS and Hindu Maha Sabha activists along with RSS chief, M.S.Golwalkar, and Savarkar were arrested in the wake of Gandhi’s murder for being involved in the conspiracy to kill him. But as a matter of political expediency the ban on RSS was later lifted on some assurances of its chief and most of the arrested leaders were set free. Involved in the Gandhi murder case, Savarkar was acquitted by the court. Ironically his portrait today hangs in the Central Hall of Indian Parliament along with that of Gandhiji. One may recall Jawahar Lal Nehru’s words after Gandhi’s assassination while paying homage to his mentor: Bapu has done a giant’s work for India and the world and even for our poor selves, and he has done it astonishingly well. And now it is our turn not to fail him or his memory but to carry on the work to the best of our ability and to fulfill the pledges we have so often taken”. On the occasion of the sixty first anniversary of Gandhi’s martyrdom for the cause of non violence and communal peace, we must admit that we have failed the father of the nation and forgotten his message.
It’s no use remembering Gandhi as a matter of ritual or pay lip service to the cause for which he lived and died. The people of India in general and his proclaimed followers in particular have betrayed Gandhi in every way. He worked and struggled against violence of every kind, communal and racial hatred, fanaticism, ignorance, inequality and intolerance. All these evils are flourishing in India today. Hindu fascism which was responsible for his murder is growing with every passing day. The forces of intolerance, violence, communal hatred, fanaticism are gaining ground with those claiming to be the inheritors of Gandhi’s legacy surrendering before them at every step instead of meeting their challenge. Gandhi wanted to wipe out tears from every eye, eliminate poverty, violence and ignorance of every kind. But what is the situation in the country today? He preached austerity and simplicity and practiced it as well. But his followers have opted a life of luxury and extravaganza at the cost of the state exchequer. Gandhiji stood for world peace and was opposed to every kind of war and militarization of the country. We feel proud today to emerge as a strong militarized nuclear power. Gandhi fought against imperialism and today the Indian state is behaving in most imperial manner not only in dealing with its weak and small neighbours but also with its own people. The manner in which the brutal armed force is being used to suppress the genuine political aspirations of the people and atrocities committed on them in Kashmir and North East is a case in point. The atrocities committed on dalits, minorities and other weaker sections of the people would have never been approved by Gandhi. With growing disparities in the country with rich becoming richer and poor poorer, rampant corruption, nepotism with money and muscle power determining the country’s political set up can we still claim to be the followers of Gandhi? Do we deserve to pay homage to him when we have failed to uphold the values for which Gandhi stood all his life.