Nehru’s “secularism” in the face of Rahul’s Hindu identity, the confused policy of Congress exposed

Reaching out to Muslims had been a sine qua non of the post-independence policy of Congress. Jawaharlal Nehru was a staunch defender of “secularism”; however, he faced accusations within his own party that, as prime minister, he leaned too heavily on the side of Muslims. Nehru must turn in his grave with regret and remorse, seeing the Congress he nurtured – in fact, against Gandhi’s will to dissolve it – deviating from the supposedly utopian ideals he established in opposition to the supposedly ideas. dystopian of “Hindus” or “Hindutvavadis”. And now, decades later, the Scion notices that India is a land of Hindus and that Hindu rule must be restored, destroying everything that Nehruvian secularism stood for!

Then: In September 1951, Nehru forced Purushottam Das Tandon, supposedly “right-wing”, to resign as president of Congress and his supporters to resign from the Congressional Working Committee. A month later, Nehru said, “If a man lifts his hand against another in the name of religion, I will fight him to the last breath of my life, whether from inside or outside government.” .

In 1955, Nehru faced unwavering opposition from the “Hindu right” against the Hindu Code Bill. JB Kripalani was a vocal opponent of Nehru’s policies on the issue. During a debate on the Hindu Code Bill in Parliament, Kripalani accused Nehru of communalism: “I accuse you of communitarianism because you are proposing a law on monogamy only for the Hindu community. Believe me, the Muslim community is ready for this, but you are not brave enough to do it.

Indira Gandhi has carved out an image for herself as a “protector of Muslims” during her tenure as Prime Minister. The decision of Shah Bano of Rajiv Gandhi to overturn a court judgment on the question of the maintenance of a divorced woman by her husband under pressure from Muslim clerics has reinforced the pro-Muslim image of Congress. During Ram Mandir’s confinement to Ayodhya in the 1980s, his government tried to strike a balance by looking the other way. However, Congress suffered electoral losses as a result of Ram Mandir’s campaign in Ayodhya during the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1999, a resolution of the Congressional Working Committee (CWC) recognized a pro-Muslim bias in the party’s decision-making process. The late VN Gadgil, one of the architects of the CWC’s resolution, was particularly critical of the congressional leadership for giving in to Muslim extremists. He was laconic about the Congress warm-up with Imam Shahi of the Jama Masjid in Delhi. “Whenever Shahi Imam makes a statement, the party reacts as if God himself has spoken. Do minorities only mean Muslims? What about Buddhists, Sikhs and others? ” He asked. Advocating his case, Gadgil said, “Muslims only make up 18 percent of the vote. Even if everyone votes for Congress, the party will not come to power. We cannot continue to ignore the feelings of the remaining 82%. “

On December 9, 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who at the time headed a congressional government, said at a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC): “We will need to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, especially the Muslim minority, are empowered to share the fruits of development equitably. They must have the first right to resources.

After the 2014 elections in Lok Sabha and the party’s loss of votes, the AK Antony committee, formed to investigate the reasons for the humiliating defeat of Congress, reportedly raised the party’s pro-Muslim image among voters. After Congress’s rout in the polls and the Antony commission report, there has been a noticeable change within the party.

After 2014, Congress began to emphasize the “Hindutva” paradigm. The move of Congress across the secular divide marks a significant shift from the past, when the party and its main leaders made a concerted effort to reach out to minorities, especially Muslims, who now feel they have lost the veto they once enjoyed. During a visit to the Somnath temple in November 2017 before the elections to the Gujarat Assembly, Rahul Gandhi declared himself “Shiv Bhakt” (devotee of Lord Shiva). The Congress Party held a press conference to declare Rahul Gandhi a “Janeu-dhari Hindu” (a Hindu who wore sacred thread).

In the midst of this Hindu shift, it was oxymoronic for Congress to make the newspaper headlines in Urdu. Inquilab in July 2018. According to the newspaper, Rahul said: “Congress is a Muslim party. According to the report, he said in an indoor meeting: “If the BJP says Congress is a Muslim party, that’s fine. Congress is a Muslim party because Muslims are weak, and Congress is always on the side of the weak. Four months later, in November 2018, as the countdown to the 2019 elections began in Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi said: “My gotra is Dattatreya. I am a Kashmiri Brahmin.

Now: “India is a country of Hindus, not of Hindutvavadis,” said Rahul Gandhi during a congressional rally in Jaipur to protest against rising prices. This is not surprising when looking at the history of the dynast – whatever the talk, somehow he would be misled to enter the kingdom of Hindutva, just to stir a nest. hornets (every time) – who spares no effort to denigrate, denigrate and denigrate India, that is, Bharat, its civilization and its people. He, who undoubtedly excels in making derogatory and scandalous remarks with regard to Hindus, surprises us (this time) when he speaks of establishing the “reign of the Hindus” in India, synonymous with what is called “l ‘Hindu Rashtra’, the very idea that he and his ilk are vehemently opposed to satiety.

He adds: “Since 2014, the Hindustvavadis, and not the Hindus, have been in power. We have to oust them and bring about the rule of the Hindus. Apparently, this may be Rahul Gandhi’s first proclamation that India belongs to the Hindus. In response to Narendra Modi’s government decision to repeal the three agricultural laws, Rahul Gandhi said, “When the Hindu farmers stood up, Hindutvavadi said, ‘I’m sorry’. He once again shed light on his Hindu identity: “I am a Hindu, but not Hindutvavadi. ”

It is not the first time that he has tried to make a false equivalence between Hinduism and Hindutva. In fact, he tried to vilify and demonize Hindutva. In November 2021, Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally of congressmen in Maharashtra: “Why do Hindus need Hindutva when they follow Hinduism? Is Hinduism about beating a Sikh or a Muslim? No, but Hindutva is. Does Hinduism consist in killing Akhlaq? I have read the Upanishads and nowhere does it say killing an innocent man. But I can see it in Hindutva… If you are Hindu, then why do you need Hindutva? Why do you need this new name? “

With the BJP apparently having won the Hindu narrative, Rahul Gandhi and Congress are attempting to distinguish between “Hindu”, “Hinduism” and “Hindutva”. Recently, Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi, publicly displayed their Hindu identity. Priyanka Gandhi visited temples in Uttar Pradesh and offered prayers. She spoke at a public rally in Varanasi and launched slogans saluting the goddess Durga. She began her speech by reciting a hymn. Now Rahul Gandhi has said India is Hindu-owned and this has left party officials puzzled but voters unresponsive.

Yuvraj Pokharna is an educator, columnist and social activist based in Surat. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the position of this publication.

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