mahatma gandhi

MK Gandhi was remembered across the board, on his death anniversary, January 30, but amid a flood of lies and half-truths in the Big Media, and clouding up truth about what happened in broad daylight on January 26, in capital Delhi. Gandhi is linked with Truth and non-violence, cited as basic tenets of his life and work. But the day began with falsehood and half truths about Jan 26 incidents around Red Fort etc in Delhi.

In fact falsehood is the hall mark in the official attitude towards the farm laws, as we saw in Part-2 of this article, published on Feb 2. Part-1 was published on Jan 31.

An attempt is made to show the agitation has turned violent, is influenced by extremists, and goes against Gandhian tenets of non-violence, which is a falsehood by itself. The very question of ‘violence by farmers’ is mischievous to say the least.

Violence today is brazenly promoted by the state and its agencies, as in the case of lynchings and Love jihad, as we shall see in this part-3. The govt. and its supporters are making an issue about ‘violence by farmers’ where there is none. Those who differ with the govt., including supporters of farmers’ struggle, are also messing up things in the name of violence, part of it orchestrated.

We have seen in Part-2 that, among other things, it is not Chauri Chaura, as being painted by some, but it is Bardoli that comes to mind.

Invoking Gandhi is only one of the means used by the neo-Kautilyan state, equipped with Machiavelli too, to suppress the farmers struggle. After all Gandhi always came in handy for imperialists including US now.    

Leaders of sangh parivar also expressed their concern about violence by farmers.

RSS General secretary Suresh Joshi (Bhayyaji) called for a middle ground. It is “ not good for the health of the society for any agitation to run for too long….We just want the agitation to end quickly now.. it should be resolved on the basis of sensitivity.” (Jan 20, Indian Express).

What kind of sensitivity? RSS historically never really upheld Gandhi, nor believed in non-violence as an ideology. It upholds a Bharat Mata wielding weapons, and among its icons are Chatrapati Shivaji and Rana Pratap, always with a sword in hand. Sri ram with his bows and arrows is too familiar, and Jai shri ram is the new battle cry. Why should its followers, particularly those in power,  harp on non-violence?

We have seen the spectacle of celebrating Subhash Chandra Bose and Gandhi too within a week, Jan 23 (Bose 125) and Gandhi’s death anniversary (Jan30). One was for non-violence, we are told, he insisted on unity between means and ends. The other was eulogized for his revolutionary goals irrespective of means…It did not matter even if he joined hands with fascists… and every year Jan 23 would be celebrated as parakram diwas, Day of Valor.

Bose photographed with Hitler and other fascists was highlighted that week, documentaries were shown by the Govt., by DD etc on that, even as farmers were damned for orchestrated events of Jan 26. “Enemy’s enemy is a friend,” was harped on. This was not merely for Bengal elections as it is projected. There is more to it than meets the eye.     

For that matter Gandhi also was not strictly for non-violence, though he preached it for the people. As to authorities, and the state, he did not stand for non-violence.

Is sangh parivar appropriating Bose as alleged by some? Were Gandhi and Bose irreconcilables as projected by some? Or basically compatible?  

Once in power, everyone loves Gandhi and his non-violence prescribed for the people as against the ruling classes. Modi-led BJP regime is no different.

Is Indian polity really worried about violence? Or is it just a ruse to suppress farmers’ struggle?  

Let us examine two recent issues…Lynchings and Love jihad, and their bearing on question of violence.

***                     ***

Lynchings “absolutely despicable”: Supreme Court

Those who make of wild allegations of violence by farmers should better remember violence in the form of lynchings. Public memory is short they say; rather it is shortened by media that focuses on things of its choice to suit powers that be. Instances of Mob violence forgotten?

Cow vigilantes etc have been indulging in lynching, a crude form of mob violence, with impunity. The Supreme Court had taken note of this on 17th July 2018, called it a “sweeping phenomenon”, “absolutely despicable and nauseatingly perverse”, worked out some guidelines too, while suggesting some remedial as well as punitive measures to curb mob violence.

In the absence of any compliance report, the CJI-led Bench of the Court, in the context of a Contempt petition, had issued a notice in July 2019 to the Centre and the states.

The notice was issued two days after a letter by scores of writers etc addressed to the PM, on lynchings, which complained that Jai shri ram slogan had become a war cry for such acts. Even policemen were not spared by such gangs.

Pranjal Kishore and Sanjay Hegde were the lawyers who fought the Supreme Court case on lynchings, and exposed it.

There was international pressure too. Trump-led USA in June 2019 had published a report on lynchings, committed by “violent extremist Hindu groups,” more so targeting minorities, particularly Muslims. It also took note of “inflammatory speeches by senior BJP leaders.” (scroll.in, July 26, 2019)

It is another matter that Trump regime witnessed a series of lynchings by US policemen against Blacks, and that led to a movement, Black lives matter, which ultimately saw Trump’s defeat in US elections. It is notable that Trump and Modi saw each other as allies in democracy (!), openly supported each other in campaigns, but that did not save Trump.

The UP Law Commission, led by Justice AN Mittal, had published in 2019 a suo motu report (128 pages) that mentioned over 50 lynchings in 7 years (as per PTI, during 2012-2019) in UP alone. They involved 11 deaths and 25 severely assaulted. The Commission drafted in July 2019 a Bill too : UP Combating of Mob Lynching Bill, 2019, based on the Supreme Court guidelines. It prescribed punishments, including to police officers and magistrates (upto 3 years imprisonment) who fail to prevent lynchings. It was a result of such acts of omissions and commissions on the part of UP administration.

Was it just a mirage? As public memory faded, apparently the Draft Bill was given a burial, reported Economic Times (2020 August 24) : “ a new law may be unnecessary since what is required is an increase in field level awareness,” said a UP Home ministry official, anonymously. It is still under consideration he said for the record.

The commission secretary Sapna Tripathi said it is upto the Adithyanath ministry to take up the Bill. She added that “ the Commission realized lynchings were a global problem faced by the US too.” So there was no urgency perhaps.

***                   ***

Inte-faith couples were subjected to violence, even as UP ordinance criminalizes them

UP meanwhile felt the urgency and passed an Ordinance, Nov 28,2020, against religious conversions, ostensibly to curb “Love jihad” by Muslim men luring Hindu women. Within 11 days, five cases were launched, and  UP police arrested inter-faith married couples even when they asserted theirs were marriages by mutual consent and voluntary.

This is so despite UP High Court ( Allahabad) rulings in over 200 cases, after the Ordinance, giving relief to inter-faith couples. UP govt defended the Ordinance in the Court and wanted all such cases transferred to the Supreme court, which however declined to intervene for the time being. After all the Supreme Court itself was earlier worried about Love jihad, and intervened unwarrantedly about it in the case of Ms.Hadiya, an educated Kerala woman who asserted her right. After a prolonged litigation and separation of the couple, however, the Court relented in that case.

Rajasthan and Manipur passed such a Bill, but they are yet to get the Presidential assent, added the same report. Obviously the centre is not interested. Apparently, it needs another petition to remind the supreme court about non-compliance of its notices issued to the Centre and states.

The Supreme Court itself refused to stay the draconian love Jihad laws by states like UP and  Uttarakhand, thus sanctifying them, even if tacitly. UP is pressing the High Court to adjourn the matter sine die, claiming the topmost Court is seized of the matter!

This is so even as the Supreme Court formally said on Jan 25 : ‘we do not mean that High Court cannot decide on this.’ It declined however to transfer the cases to itself, as requested by UP, which thus is allowed to play between the Courts!

Apparently, the Indian State itself is undergoing a subtle trans-mutation, despite claims about a secular and democratic Constitution.

There have been instances of violence, even by police, against inter-faith couples, particularly those involving Muslims, and SCs also in Tamilnadu.

If this state interference in marriages, now backed by laws, is not violence, what is the meaning of violence? Is this not autocracy sanctioned by Constitution and law?

The whole debate about violence attributed to farmers is meaningless, all the more so claiming it goes against Gandhian tenets!

There is no use making pleas or lamentations in the name of Gandhi. For Gandhi non-violence was not an article of faith as believed or advocated by some people including the Gandhians, the Indian state and its leaders. Gandhi himself was flexible and opportunistic on violence. It was more a question of tactics for him than of principle.

So is the case with the top leaders of sangh parivar, who now feign emulating Gandhi, and who are now helming the State. It is like devil quoting the scriptures, which themselves are doctored in India. These issues and debates were well known to those of older generation, but are not so for youngsters. Both the official and private media are clouding facts of history, and spreading falsehood and half-truths. But this is too big an issue to be compressed here.

(The writer was a media person).


IF YOU LIKED THE ARTICLE SUPPORT PEOPLE’S JOURNALISM


 


Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B. Subscribe to our Telegram channel


GET COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER STRAIGHT TO YOUR INBOX


2 Comments

  1. S. N. Murthy Ch says:

    Killing the ” truth”, first with all possible “nonviolent” means, and, if not possible so, then by the most crudest violent means is the philosophy and practice of the ruling classes of India. They are able to practice this with the political power they have snatched with the help of M.K.Gandhi’s experiments with “truth” and his policy of “nonviolence” in the freedom movement. Thanks for the author for presenting useful material and relating the matter with the ongoing farmers’ agitation. Gandhi is aptly remembered.

  2. Satya Vara Prasad Arundhati says:

    Freedom struggle was led by Congress and Gandhiji was uncrowned leader of Indian national congress which was the political platform of freedom struggle.Gandhijis nonviolence was a political ploy to unite different classes with in indian society against a comman enemy i.e British colonialism.Hence his nonviolence carried some conviction.Present day rulers are inviting foreign direct investment in to the country (against which the then INC struggled).Hence their professed nonviolence rings hollow