FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
The Big Lies
Posted:Aug 31, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
Given the audacity with which our history is being rewritten and re-imagined, we should not be surprised to learn in the not-too-distant future that the “chatur baniya”, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, was actually a devout pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh who was killed by a fanatic Muslim.
 
 
Soon after Narendra Modi became prime minister, Gandhi was given charge of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Virtually reduced to the status of a Super Sanitary Inspector, the Mahatma’s job was to ensure clean streets; never mind the muck in the minds. We must thank the BJP general secretary, Ram Madhav, for putting Gandhi back on a pedestal. From Madhav’s learned treatise (‘Coming full circle at 70’, IE, August 15) we learn that unlike Jawaharlal Nehru whose mind was infected with the “coloniser’s view”, Gandhi was infused with “the genius of our country which is rooted in its religio-social structures like state, family, caste, guru, festival”.
 
 
According to this version of modern Indian history, Nehru and his Congress took India down the wrong road for decades but fortunately, happy days are here again. India has a president, vice president and PM all of whom are from “the same ideological fraternity”, all in tune with India’s “native wisdom”, all from the “Conservative Right”. Gandhi, we are told, belongs to the same fraternity. How? Because: “Gandhi always spoke in his discourses and dissertations about Ram Rajya”.
 
 
Hitler’s master propagandist Joseph Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”. Perhaps we will all one day buy the Big Lie that Gandhi was an RSS man. But for now, could Madhav and the Sangh Parivar kindly take a few questions: Gandhi repeatedly said: “Let no one commit the mistake of thinking that Ram Rajya means a rule of Hindus. My Ram is another name for Khuda or God. I want Khuda Raj which is the same thing as the Kingdom of God on Earth.” Is Gandhi’s “Ram Rajya” the same as the “Hindu Rashtra” ideal of the Sangh Parivar?
 
 
If yes, why did Nathuram Godse, an RSS-Hindu Mahasabha creation, assassinate Gandhi? And why did the RSS, according to the then Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel, distribute sweets to celebrate the murder? Had he been around today, how would Gandhi have responded to Hindutva’s lynch mobs repeatedly targeting Muslims and Dalits in the name of the holy cow? And what might the Mahatma have said about the lip service, at best, of the PM in response to this continuing majoritarian onslaught?
 
 
Even as the Sangh Parivar is doing all it can to claim Gandhi, its hostility to Nehru remains undiminished. This is so, Madhav tells us, because Nehru was a “liberal” while the “genius of India”, like America, tilts towards the “Conservative Right”. The RSS ideologue approvingly quotes a book which describes America as “essentially a nation with a conservative ethos”, a nation where even the Democrats are “liberals in name only”.
 
 
India and America: Same, same?
 
 
The US is not my idea of heaven on earth and Donald Trump is certainly not my hero. But there’s a strong message that conservative America recently sent out to the world, a message India’s “Conservative Right” can learn from.
 
 
When neo-Nazis and white supremacists turned violent against peaceful counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, Trump initially blamed “many sides”. But “conservative” Americans were so outraged by the misdeeds of the extremists that speaking in one voice, politicians — including top Republicans — corporate big guns, the media and ordinary citizens slammed their president, shamed him into changing his tune within 48 hours.
 
 
This is what US conservatives pushed the right-wing, Republican Trump into saying: “Racism is evil and those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and other hate groups… We will spare no resource in fighting so that every American child can grow up free from violence and fear”.
 
 
Sounds good: Freedom from violence and fear. In an India plagued by lynch mobs and acute Islamophobia, when did we hear the Sangh Parivar, its incumbent president, vice-president, prime minister, speak such language? Should India’s “Conservative Right” not be ashamed at its own silence, if not complicity, over the recurring ugly spectacles and yet claim fraternity with Gandhi and affinity with America’s “conservative ethos”?
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Relations between India and Peru  are united by El Niño and the monsoon yet separated by vast distances across oceans.  Jorge Castaneda, Ambassador of Peru to India, talks to INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS exclusively about what is bringing the two geographically-apart countries closer.
 
read-more
Indian judge Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the International Court of Justice on Monday as the UN General Assembly rallied behind him in a show of force that made Britain  bow to the majority and withdraw its candidate.
 
read-more
Those with a resolve make a big difference to the society. They inspire others to make the best out of a bad situation, steer out of morass with fortitude. Insha Mushtaq, the teenage girl who was pelleted to complete blindness during 2016 emerged as a classic example of courage.
 
read-more
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Sunday said India and China have "great potential" and they could work together at a "practical level".
 
read-more
This week a major United Nations gathering on climate change gets underway in Bonn, Germany.
 
read-more

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to build India's global appeal for investors seem to have finally yielded returns in terms of the country's performance in the World Bank&rsquo...

 
read-more
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...

 
Column-image

Title: A Bonsai Tree; Author: Narendra Luther; Publisher: Niyogi Books; Pages: 227 Many books have been written on India's partition but here is a firsthand account of the horror by a migrant from what is now Pakistan, who ...

 
Column-image

As talk of war and violence -- all that Mahatma Gandhi stood against -- gains prominence across the world, a Gandhian scholar has urged that the teachings of the apostle of non-violence be taken to the classroom.

 
Column-image

Interview with Hudson Institute’s Aparna Pande, whose book From Chanakya to Modi: Evolution of India’s Foreign Policy, was released on June 17.