Rahul Gandhi’s bold new initiative has the potential to electrify the aggrieved and oppressed masses of India.Provided it is not a rehash of the ‘Karwain Mohabbat’ type march for spreading the gospel of love.In this divided and frustrated country where beneath the surface of patient suffering there is smouldering anger and resentment.From time to time there are explosions of fratricidal violence that cunning manipulation canalised against the wrong targets.Granted that it should not be allowed to erupt into chaotic violence,it must still be a clear and disciplined movement to struggle against injustice and exploitation.Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolence was an unrelenting war against what he called ‘leonine violence’ of a ‘Satanic regime’.So must this match strive to unite those who are willing to fight to win back freedom and hope.
Those marching must be swelled by people who join the March on the way.Waving placards against lynchings, price manipulation by profiteers and a crony government,against plaint courts,servile bureucracy letting the government slide down into wilful irrationality,against cruel denial of a future to billions of youths and against the general culture of fear and intimidation. They may burst into slogans to rend the skies and songs to rouse the hearts.
At every stop on the way it must spread its message of a country awakening from stupor,of uncompromising struggle to rid the country of the stinking garbage of false promises and betrayed causes of a decade.There must be a clear and ringing declaration that the vicious neoliberal economy will be held to account and made to share responsibility to the people.
On the other hand the leaders must allow local people to speak out their grievances and hurt.The cuts in MGNREGA allocation,the collapse of domestic budgets,the widening net of taxes for every good and service,even those obligatory for the state,the raucous communal din,the casteist hooliganism. They must listen patiently and learn.
Not a top-down business at all,but an alliance where the street and the walk on foot levels all inequalities.
Let it be an event that will be a lesson to the nation.Enemies will use every trick to disrupt,including perhaps dissension and violence.But if Rahul and his friends and allies are clear in their heads and firm in their purpose nothing can wreck it.
Godspeed,let all citizens say with one heart and mind.
Hiren Gohain is a political commentator