From Ahimsa to terror

If Gandhi’s India represented Ahimsa; Modi’s India represents terror

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is known in history, by and large, as being a noble person. In fact, the founding fathers of India that included luminaries like Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Dr Zakir Hussain and Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman were all noble individuals, even if Sardar Vallabhai Patel was not.

Today, India has Narendra Modi who is evil in his thoughts, attitude and behaviour. His entire cabinet, with bellicose Amit Shah at its centre, represents an evil mindset.

Gandhi, believed in and practiced Ahimsa (non-violence, or more appropriately lacking the desire to kill).

Gandhi’s own explanation of Ahimsa, which Shashi Tharoor in his book refers to as, “sounds frighteningly unrealistic,” is: The willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny…

To be civil, disobedience “must be sincere, respectful, restrained, never defiant, and it must have no ill-will or hatred behind it”.

In spite of Gandhi’s apparently favourable bent towards the Muslims of India, the year 1946 was rocked by communal riots, from Kashmir to Patna and from Calcutta to Lahore. Being in the minority, the Muslim community was the worse sufferer. The Sikhs were the next worst hit; they were wooed by the Congress and ruthlessly abandoned by the British. Unfortunately, they went against their natural allies, Muslims, and paid a heavy price in the 1947 partition and then in 1984 with Operation Blue Star.

India’s transition from nobility (real or sham) to evil has been the work of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

Communal riots have been precipitated by the RSS and its goons across the subcontinent. MS Golwalkar, the head of RSS had said, “The non-Hindu people, foreigners (Muslims) must cease to be so, or may stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claim nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment - not even citizen’s rights”.

Modi has recently legislated this opinion through an act of parliament. According to Ramchandra Guha, Modi is a hardline Hindutva ideologue, who has grown up in the unforgiving school of RSS.

Gandhi had once addressed an RSS meeting. He is reported to have been impressed by their discipline and organisation. Nehru never gave the benefit of doubt to the RSS; he is on record as having said to Sardar Patel that the RSS had a great deal to do with the communal disturbances across India. In just a week after the month of partition, 137 mosques in Delhi were destroyed.

Gandhi, Patel and Modi are all Gujaratis. It is an irony that the same place should produce Gandhi, who apparently believed and practiced the concept of universal brotherhood of man; and Sardar Patel and Narendra Modi who have the opposite ideas. Patel had referred to Hyderabad state, ruled by a benevolent Muslim, as a “cancer in the belly of India.” Modi today represents an allegiance to Hitlerite thought of ethnic cleansing.

Who would then stop India from the inhuman atrocities it commits in Kashmir against Muslims and against Christians and other minorities, in other parts of India? I believe the people of India would sooner than later rise up.

Gandhi was seen standing close to the Ali Brothers during the Khilafat Movement. Was he sincere? In a cabinet meeting, Churchill told his colleagues, “Gandhi should not be released on the account of a mere threat of fasting. We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the empire if he died”.

Personally, after reading several biographies of Gandhi, I would not say he was a saint among sinners. But he did show glimpses of genuine concern for human life and values. Modi is not his follower. He is a protege of Patel.

He is continuing to promote genocide of Muslims and other minorities across India and in Kashmir.

The Maharajas of Kashmir had always dreamed of an independent state. They resisted a British attempt in 1891 to make it a province. Post partition, the people of Kashmir have been demanding their right to self- determination. However, India has ignored the UN resolutions on the subject.

Who will stop India from the inhuman atrocities it continues to commit in Kashmir and in parts of India? I believe the people of India would sooner than later rise up and remove the band of Modi and his evil cabinet.

Ramchandra Guha, in his epic book, India after Gandhi writes, “He (Modi, then chief minister of Gujrat) justified the violence against Muslims by pointing to the burning of the railway coach in Godhra, which he said, had set in motion a ‘chain of action and reaction’”.

Guha says that in post partition India there have been two pogroms; the first one directed at Sikhs in Delhi in 1984 and the second directed at Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. Both, he notes, took a generalised revenge on the minorities. The butchered Sikhs had nothing to do with Sikhs who had killed Prime Minister Indira Gandhi; the Muslims killed by Hindu mobs in Gujarat were completely innocent of the Godhra incident.

Guha writes, “The final similarity is the most telling, as well as perhaps the most depressing. Both parties and leaders reaped electoral rewards from the violence they had legitimatised”. Rajiv and Modi gave supporting statements to violence. That was the year Gandhi’s idea of Ahimsa and India died forever. Today, it is replaced by “Terror”.

Gandhi died at the hands of Modi’s undeclared hero, a Hindu fanatic, Nathuram Godse. Before Godse was hanged, he wrote a letter, saying he had nothing personal against Gandhi, but his (Gandhi’s) preaching was always in favour of Muslims. I suspect that Modi too, will some day write a similar letter. He deserves to be tried in an international criminal court for his crimes against humanity.

Kuldip Nayar, in an essay on Gandhi, remarked that “Gandhi’s assassination by a Hindu fanatic has consecrated pluralism in India. Whenever there is tension between Hindus and Muslims, Gandhi‘s martyrdom is recalled. He still guides us with the help of his thoughts enshrined in the constitution”.

Modi has virtually cremated Ahimsa next to Gandhi’s Samadi. He has replaced it with himsa. If Gandhi’s India represented Ahimsa; Modi’s India represents terror.

The writer is a freelance contributor

From Ahimsa to terror