While preparations are on for celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019, both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress are seeking to upstage each other to claim his legacy.
Veteran Gandhian Ramchander Rahi, secretary of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, has a word of caution for them.
In an interview with IANS, Rahi said, “These political parties don’t have any moral and ideological base and are always in search of something to hold on. And, what can be anything better than Gandhi. The whole world has accepted Gandhi.
“Even those who rejected or gradually discarded his thoughts and preachings are out to grab his legacy. Political parties are just making a fool of the people. They have nothing to do with Gandhi.”
After the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 31, 1948, his ideals and beliefs were binned gradually, he added.
Why are they vying to claim Gandhi’s legacy? “They are trying to cheat people in the name of Gandhi. As these parties are finding themselves in a bind, they are seeking Gandhi. It’s the same for the BJP and the Congress. The BJP has ideologically been opposed to Gandhi and his ideals.
“The Congress too rejected the Gandhian path. Now that it’s finding itself in a difficult situation, Gandhi is being sought. But just by chanting the name of Gandhi one can’t become a Gandhian,” said the 80-year-old Gandhian.
The Centre is making preparations for celebrating Gandhi’s 150th anniversary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for shunning the single-use plastic as a tribute to Gandhi. The Congress too is planning to celebrate Gandhi through padyatras (marches).
Is Gandhi the necessity for these parties? “Yes, it can be said. Gandhi gives strength to the weak. When all the ways are shut, Gandhi shows the path. There are losers who fake his ideals,” Rahi said.
On the Swachh Mission, Rahi said, “Doing something for the sake of publicity is not being a Gandhian. Gandhi’s cleanliness begins from the heart and mind. If it’s not there, what’s the point? Had the Gandhi’s ideals neen followed sincerely, it would have been different atmosphere in the country. There is prevalence of a kind of fear. Gandhi had not envisioned this kind of India. He wanted a fear-free peaceful nation.”
Rahi said, “Gandhi’s last wish was a violence-free Bharat. He was against military power and the politics of punishment. He wanted all the needs of people fulfilled locally.”
“To achieve India of his dreams, he created an understanding between Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Ballabhbhai Patel. After the Independence, his concerns were on the social, economical and cultural freedom and was working in them. Those who didn’t like him, removed him physically. But they couldn’t remove him from the hearts of people,” said Rahi.