Nehru’s grandson Varun Gandhi , other day spoke in a language against Muslims which shamed the legacy of his grandfather and Mahatma Gandhi. Varun Gandhi has a blood relation with Nehru but his politics has nothing to do with the legacy of Mahatama Gandhi or Jawahurlal Nehru. Mr Varun Gandhi took the line which was the line of Indian communalists before partition against which Nehru and Gandhi stood. Varun Gandhi is not in Congress but the BJP. The heir of Hindu communalism ,which existed before partition who were the real authors of “Two Nation theory”.The Hindu and Muslim communalists which are now called “Hindu and Muslim Nationalists” fashionably , are the cause of religious hatred in India and Pakistan. Varun Gandhi was yet another voice of Religious Nationalism which is “segregationist” and “separatist”. It resulted in breaking of India and the never ending conflict which plagues Indian subcontinent. War, Taliban and Nuclear proliferation are a few expressions of the evil which religious nationalism produced. Varun Gandhi mocked philosophy of Mahatama Gandhi in his speech and departed from Nehru’s secular vision. The Indian Liberal’s continuous attack on Gandhi and Nehru has resulted in slow erosion of secular-socialist values which has resulted in rise of BJP and communalism in India. Just as their muslim counterpart Pakistani liberals are bringing PML-N and Jamate Islami on their shoulders to throne of Islamabad. Time has come that people revisit the history and rediscover the evil of religious nationalism which now threat 3 states. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Following is an article sent to me by a friend JZ written a veteran Pakistani Leftist and Prof Kurt Jacobsen both of them also co-authored number of books and frequently write for prestigious publications like The Harvard International Review and Le Monde Diplomatique it speaks about legacy of Gandhi and gives a very balanced view of Gandhi , Jinnah and others. We must stop the evil of communalism and religious nationalism weather it exist in fascist form , ie Taliban and RSS or its liberal-secular form the BJP and Pakistan Muslim League and their representatives like Varun Gandhi
Sayeed Hasan Khan and Kurt Jacobsen
Mahatma Gandhi died the 30th of January 1948 at the hand of a mad Hindu fanatic. The legendary leader, also known as Bapu, was deeply tormented in those final days as he watched political power passing into the hands of those political ‘pragmatists’ who humored or succumbed to Hindu communalism, as opposed to those people championing his own multi-cultural, nonsectarian vision. Given the imminence of partition, which he had resisted with all his might, Gandhi declined to participate in independence celebrations, staying conspicuously far away from the capital.
As violence intensified, Gandhi hurried to Delhi where he implored members of the Communist Party to help him to douse the fires of sectarian hatred, to which even some Congress leaders were not immune. Among those answering his summons was Mohan Kumaramanglam, a communist who was the son of a Congress leader from Madras . When Gandhi fretted about mass killings, Mohan retorted that whatever happened merely was the logical result of Bapu’s own political strategy. Gandhi, sitting cross-legged on the floor, stood up and vowed that he was going to stop communal violence even if it cost him his life. It did, but the killing ceased immediately too. His assassin belonged to the RSS, which was banned and did not raise its ugly head again for several more decades.
When Gandhi originally arrived on the political stage there were already plenty of formidable leaders like Jinnah, Gokhle and Tilak jostling there. Jinnah carefully established himself over years in the mould of 19th century English parliamentarians, as a strict who was fighting foremost for the independence of India . When Gokhle and Tilak died, Jinnah regarded himself as the obvious successor and appears to have felt aggrieved that the position was assumed instead by that deceptively simple, loin-clothed figure.
Gandhi most certainly was a religious man, but in a radical way that transcended Hinduism. He disliked the caste system for the way upper caste Hindus exploited it. The Hindu community nonetheless was over two thirds of India ’s populace and it had to be acknowledged as such if there was to be a meaningful independence movement at all. The privileged Congress leaders, including Jinnah, were always leery of mass politics. If anything, they were suspicious of ordinary people. But Gandhi, in order to reach the masses and to unite Hindus, invoked Hindu symbols from atop Congress platforms. Gandhi as a practicing Hindu, thereby could out-maneouvre and thwart the Hindu ultra-nationalists. He was less adroit dealing with Muslims for whom the symbols he invoked were pure anathema. His call for Ram Raj antagonized them too. Jinnah, unfortunately, was accurate in his view that mass politics would bring the worst aspects of communalism to the top.
Congress itself operated on secular principles but Muslims increasingly perceived that it was Hindu-dominated. This was not true, but the mainly Hindu leadership were unable to dispel these lurking fears. Yet Gandhi forged an agreement with the Ali brothers and a majority of Muslim religious leaders to support the khilafat movement. Jinnah was sidelined, as he was the only major Muslim leader who did not side with the khilafatist. Here was a high water mark of Hindu-Muslim amity, and Gandhi with the indispensible help of Moulana Mohammad Ali achieved it. Whatever the popular misperceptions, Gandhi reached out to his Muslim neighbors in every imaginable way. When during the khilafat agitation a mob burned the police station at Chouri Choura along with the policemen inside he withdrew from the movement, which resulted in severe differences with the Muslim leadership. Jinnah felt vindicated.
Gandhi was pro-capitalist, and his principled nonviolent stance too meant that that he rejected militant revolutionary groups. He declined to support Bhagat Singh when he was arrested and hanged for shooting an Englishman. After the great massacre in Calcutta , though, Gandhi hastened to Bengal , taking former chief minister of united Bengal H.S. Suharwardy along, and managed to restore peace there. The two Punjabs, however, were busy expelling their own respective minorities. Hindus and Sikhs fled from west to east and Muslims were being pushed into Pakistani Punjab. Gandhi maintained that all minorities should be allowed to live in their own homeland. He dispatched a delegation to Gurgaon, a city near Delhi , to stop the forced migration of the minority Muslims.
The Meos community, who were Muslim, was targeted for expulsion. A Gandhian delegation was mounted, led by Mirdula Sarabhai, hailing from a Gujurat industrial family. Other members were Mohan Lal Gautam, a niece of Pandit Nehru Tara Pandit, and Mohammad Masood secretary to Moulana Azad, who told one of us this story. They discovered Muslims were being packed off to Pakistan on special trains. So they rushed to the station where they found a train full of victims about to leave for Lahore . When their request to halt the train was rejected, Mohan Lal Gautam, a UP Congress leader, stood in front of the train and refused to move until it was emptied of its involuntary passengers.. Gopi Chand Bhargava, chief minister of Punjab , arrived and tried to persuade Mohan to leave. Ultimately, the passengers were allowed to go back to their homes.
Thousands of them already reached Pakistan and were languishing in refugee camps in Sahiwal. Later, Chaudhry Yasin a leader of Meos, escorted some of them back to India . Today Gurgaon is no longer a sleepy town. The Meos are fully represented in the Harayana legislature and reap the benefits of their contribution to the development of their city. This all became possible because of one man’s moral stance..
Later, Gandhi asked Chaudhry Khaliquzaman, the leader of the Muslim League in the Indian parliament, to go to Pakistan to try to halt the migration of Hindus from Sindh. Khaliq sahib told one of us that he met the leaders of the government, including the chief minister of Sindh Khuruo who informed him that he himself trying to stop the flight of Hindus from Sindh but that Acharya Kirplani was urging them to migrate. Jinnah meanwhile reverted to his nationalist days and addressed the constituent assembly, pleading with them to shun religious doctrine where the work of state is concerned. The State he envisioned deemed everyone equal and guaranteed that the minorities have rights to practice their religion.
Jinnah was close to a Sindh Hindu journalist, Sharma, whom he asked not to go to India , as he needed his aid. Jinnah’s friend R.K. Dalmia had bought two English daily papers, so Sharma was likely to enjoy a secure job. Jinnah solemnly promised Sharma that he would do the same thing in Pakistan as he did in pre-partition India , which is to fight for the minorities, who now were non-Muslims. But terrible riots erupted 6 January 1948 and a fearful Sharma insisted on leaving. Jinnah arranged special passage for him. The small section of the Sindhi Hindus who were able to stay have done well, but the cream of the Sindhi Hindu community fled and Pakistan was the loser as these clever and skilled people dispersed around the world.
Gandhi often is accused of converting the Indian National Congress into a blatant Hindu organization. Yet once the Hindu majority were mobilized in the movement their religious culture was bound to seep into the organizational ‘culture.’ Despite Gandhi’s best egalitarian intentions, how could it be otherwise? Some sort of communal facade had to be allowed in order to fend off Hindu extremists. The religious political sentiment of the main community cannot help but exert its impact on any national movement.
Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, who was called the Frontier Gandhi, was the founder of Khudai Khidmatgar movement, which was nationalist and closely worked with the Congress. It had Hindu members but its overall culture was Muslim, even the name means servants of god. Ghaffar Khan, succeeded far more than his friend Gandhi, when he turned the hardy Pathans toward the nonviolent creed, instead of the customary rough methods they were used to settle their disputes with the government and among themselves.
Sixty years after the martyrdom of Gandhi sectarian-inspired killings occur in parts of India and Pakistan and there is no one with the moral authority to appeal to humanity to stop destroying itself in this stupid way. When Gandhi was killed Muslims throughout the subcontinent grieved for the man whom they loved to hate not so long before. Playwright Bernard Shaw said upon Gandhi’s death that one day people will be unable to believe that a remarkable man like him ever walked on the face of this earth. Jinnah said that a great Hindu leader died. He was correct, but Gandhi hadn’t left the Muslims, the Muslims left him. He died while doing his best on their behalf not as minority members but as brothers and sisters