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There is no party as shameless as Congress in India

Displaying his ignorance, party spokesperson Anand Sharma said Jana Sangh and BJP did not participate in the freedom movement.

 |  14-minute read |   21-08-2016
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The Congress through Anand Sharma made a puerile statement on Friday August 19, regarding the BJP, Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), RSS and the freedom movement. The statement was puerile because it had either emanated from a shallow trawling of the internet by some callow researcher in Sharma's office or perhaps it was the result of some so-called research done by the Congress vice-president's office which, of late, increasingly resembles a crèche.

The Congress was particularly peeved at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's observation, that post-Independence, the workers of the BJS had to swim against a strong tide, and face difficulties which were often more excruciating than those faced by Congressmen during the freedom movement.

The prime minister's reference was mainly in the context of the BJS and BJP's long struggle against state-sponsored ideology for decades before emerging as a popular choice. In that era of state-sponsored ideology, the Congress, in cahoots with the Left, did everything in its power to exclude all alternate narratives and viewpoints. It was swimming against this rough and high tide of political intolerance that the BJS and then the BJP eventually succeeded in striking deep roots and in ultimately emerging with a resounding electoral mandate.

Also read: Why is Sangh now milking 'anti-nationals' like Bhagat Singh?

We have always argued that the Congress was never cerebrally strong and had outsourced a lot of its intellectualism - if at all it had any - to patronised historians and intellectuals from the Marxist fold.

Sharma's statement on August 19 was actually a reflection of how disastrous that intellectual outsourcing can be. Thus refreshing the depleting memories of uninitiated Congress leaders may be useful here. Some points to dispel the propaganda of falsehood that they have churned out follows:

Sharma must remember that the Congress to which he belongs is the Congress (Indira) and not the original Congress which, as a platform of diverse political opinion and views, spearheaded the freedom struggle.

That Congress wasted away after Independence, especially after Sardar Patel's death, and finally ceased to exist in 1969. The present Congress calling itself the Indian National Congress is thus a travesty of historical facts.

hedgewar-1_082116052126.jpg Hegdewar unequivocally declared that "there is no politics for a dependent nation other than the politics of freedom struggle". 

The Congress was never a party; it was rather a vehicle for various political opinions to come together to fight for India's Independence. Sharma's poor knowledge of the freedom struggle and modern Indian history was reflected in his statement. It must have been surely drafted by communist historians who are on the payroll of the Congress.

It is common and historically supported knowledge that KB Hegdewar, founder of the RSS, was actively involved with the Anushilan group of revolutionary nationalists in his days in Kolkata in the early part of the last century.

Also read: Why Brits disliked Netaji and made a Mahatma out of Gandhi

Hedgewar continued to be actively associated with the Congress, with the freedom struggle and was jailed twice. In a sense, Hedgewar's political career spanned from 1905 and ended with his death in 1940. Between 1905 and 1918, he followed Tilak's political line. The legendary revolutionary Pandurang Khankhoje (1883-1967) once wrote of this period, "Hedgewar and the other young men were in the forefront of swadeshi propaganda and delivered speeches."

On joining the Calcutta Medical College in 1910, Hedgewar became an active member of the Anushilan Samiti. These dimensions of Hedgewar's life were well-documented by other revolutionaries and participants who were not members of the RSS.

Veteran communist leader, late EMS Namboodiripad (in his booklet BJP-RSS: In the Service of the Right Reaction) accepts that "Dr Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS" was a "nationalist who participated in the Gandhi-led movement, (and) continued to be a Congressman for a decade more and participated in the 1930 salt satyagrah".

Hegdewar unequivocally declared that "there is no politics for a dependent nation other than the politics of freedom struggle. It is a sine qua non for it". He responded to Mahatma Gandhi's call for civil disobedience and along with others, plunged into the movement.

Also read: It wasn't Gandhi who failed Bhagat Singh

The second phase of Hedgewar's political career began with his active participation in the Amritsar Congress in 1919 and soon he was elected the secretary of the Central Provinces Congress Committee. He plunged again into the Non-cooperation Movement with great vigour and was sentenced to one year of rigorous imprisonment on August 21, 1921.

His statement on August 5, 1921 in court is worth remembering, and perhaps Sharma and the Congress vice-president may try to learn it by heart. It has very inspiring and useful pointers for inculcating the spirit of nationalism and freedom.

"It has been charged", began Hedgewar, "that my speeches (delivered in course of the Non-cooperation movement) have spread discontent, hatred, feelings of sedition towards the British empire in the minds of Indians and sown seeds of enmity between Indians and Europeans. And I have been asked to explain. I consider it an affront to the dignity of my great country that a foreign government should subject a native Indian to inquiry and sit in judgment. I do not recognise that there exists in India today any lawfully established government. It will be surprising if anybody should claim so. What obtains today is a regime of usurped authority and repressive rule deriving power there from. The present laws and courts are but handmaids of this unauthorised regime. In any part of the world it is only a government of the people constituted for the people that is entitled to administer law. All the other forms of rules are but ruses adopted by deceitful usurpers to loot helpless nations. What I tried to do was to inspire in the hearts of my countrymen an attitude of reverential solicitude for their motherland which at the moment happens to be in a wretched condition. I tried to instil in the people the conviction that India belongs to Indians. If an Indian speaking for his country and spreading the nationalist feeling is regarded as committing sedition, if he cannot speak the truth without promoting hatred between Indians and Europeans, Europeans and those claiming to be the Indian government would do well to bear in mind that the day is not far off when foreigners will be forced to quit this country."

The judge delivering the judgment remarked that his defence was "more seditious than his speech".

syama-prasad_082116052218.jpg Syama Prasad Mookerjee kept up the pressure on the colonial government exposing its misdeeds and its collusion with the Muslim League. 

In fact Hedgewar's vision for declaring complete Independence saw its fruition with the Congress' decision to observe January 26, 1930 as Independence Day. His letter to RSS shakhas on the occasion reads, "This year the Congress has passed a resolution declaring complete Independence as its goal. The Congress Working Committee has called upon the entire nation to celebrate Sunday, January 26, 1930 as Independence Day. We of the Sangh are naturally immensely happy that the All India Congress has endorsed our goal of complete Independence… It is therefore suggested that all swayamsevaks of each shakha meet at 6pm on Sunday, January 26, 1930 at the respective sanghatans. After offering salutation to the national flag, that is the Bhagwa Dhwaj, the concept of Independence and the reason why this ideal alone should be kept before everyone should be explained. The function should conclude with an expression of congratulations to the Congress for having accepted the ideal of complete Independence."

Also read: Did Nehru betray Chandrasekhar Azad to the British?

Swayamsevaks in large numbers and Hedgewar himself participated in the salt satyagraha. For Hedgewar, as he said on the eve of his participation in the salt satyagraha, "Preparedness to lay down one's life for the country is the essence of such lasting patriotism (and) the present fate of the country (could not) be changed unless lakhs of young men dedicate their entire lifetime for that cause. To mould the minds of our youth towards that end (was) the supreme end of the Sangh."

He was also arrested in Yavatmal for breaking the forest law while participating in the jungle satyagraha under Loknayak MS Aney and was interned for nine months.

Displaying his ignorance, Sharma said that the Jana Sangh and BJP did not participate in the freedom movement. The Jana Sangh and BJP could not have participated in the freedom movement because they were founded after Independence. The former, was founded, to provide an alternative to the increasingly dictatorial Congress under Jawaharlal Nehru and the latter to prevent further desecration of India's democracy by the fascist Congress under Indira Gandhi that had suspended all democratic rights between 1975 and 1977.

It is common historical knowledge that during the Quit India movement a large number of Congressmen continued their political struggle and existence under the umbrella of the RSS. A large number of RSS swayamsevaks were, in fact, part of the Congress and were active throughout the Quit India movement. The Hindu Mahasabha too had become the umbrella under which a large number of Congress volunteers and workers continued the struggle.

It is the Congress' eternal political bedfellows the communists, who had in fact collaborated with the British during Quit India movement, with the aim of containing the movement and getting revolutionaries arrested. A large number of files exists which show how the Indian communists were patronised by the British and worked to sabotage the movement. It is only a party as shameless as the Congress that has, till date, repeatedly aligned itself with the communist parties in India.

anand-sharma-embed_082116052408.jpg Anand Sharma's statement on August 19 was actually a reflection of how disastrous intellectual outsourcing by the Congress has been. 

It was Veer Savarkar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee who spearheaded a countrywide movement demanding the release of Gandhiji during his Poona incarceration and fast. It was again Savarkar and Mookerjee who took out a countrywide movement in support of the Indian National Army (INA) soldiers.

It was Mookerjee who exposed the horrors of the manmade Bengal famine of 1943. While Nehru wrote his Discovery of India as a guest of the British government, Mookerjee kept up the pressure on the colonial government exposing its misdeeds and its collusion with the Muslim League.

Mookerjee's English daily, The Nationalist was considered to be, according to British intelligence records, "consistently anti-British". It was this anti-British attitude of his during the war that led to Mookerjee's exclusion in the Shimla Conference held at the end of the Second World War under Wavell's chairmanship.

Sharma's propaganda statement-turned-pamphlet ludicrously accuses Mookerjee of colluding with the Muslim League through his alliance with AK Fazlul Haq, little knowing that Haq was not a member of the Muslim League when the Democratic Progressive Coalition was formed in 1941 with Haq as premier and Mookerjee as finance minister.

In fact, Haq had already left the Muslim League and there was a golden opportunity for the Congress to form a coalition with him and the MLAs of his Krishak Praja Party and sideline the League. But the Congress did not do it, abdicating a great opportunity. Mookerjee stepped in with the support of Sarat Chandra Bose, formed a successful coalition of Hindus and Muslims in Bengal and succeeded in sidelining the Muslim League and in providing a successful administration. It is too much to expect the Congress and Sharma to know this much of history.

One of the disastrous effects of the resignation of the Congress provincial ministries, however, was that it allowed the Muslim League to take a lead. The letter that Sharma quotes selectively and with malicious intent is a letter Mookerjee wrote on July 26, 1942 asking the British governor of Bengal to allow Indian ministers to work and to take steps to diffuse the situation that was gradually building up and to take the leaders and the people of India in confidence and make a joint effort to face the Axis threat.

Mookerjee argued that his Indian colleagues in the ministry be allowed to take decisions without hindrance or interference. The letter's context, content and objective are too vast and too complex and too multi-dimensional for the comprehension of the Congress spokespersons or that of its vice-president.

The paragraph that Sharma asininely and selectively quotes from Mookerjee's letter ends with the following exhortation which his prompters have cleverly omitted, "You as governor will function as the constitutional head of the province and will be guided entirely on the advice of your (Indian) ministers. Permanent officials must be made to feel that ministers will have both power and responsibility, and that they can never approach you over the head of the ministers, or by way of appeal from their decision. The policy to be pursued by the ministers will be related, on the one hand, to the genuine economic and political rights of the people, and on the other hand, to the paramount needs of defence against the enemy's attack. It is only by a transfer of power to Indians that you can hope to win the active and willing support of the people of Bengal."

Mookerjee tried his best to prevent the crackdown on satyagrahis and Quit India volunteers in Bengal and eventually resigned in protest against it and against the effort to block the functioning of provincial autonomy by the permanent civil service controlled by the British.

In a final letter he wrote to the viceroy on August 12, 1942, Mookerjee emphatically argued that "the British government should declare that India's freedom is formally recognised" and that "the demand of the Congress as embodied in its latest resolution virtually constitutes the national demand of India as a whole".

"It is regrettable", he observed, "that a campaign of misrepresentation is now being carried in some sections of the foreign press characterising the Congress demand as a virtual invitation to Japan and a surrender to chaos and confusion." In fact, during this period, Mookerjee emerged as the stoutest champion of India's freedom.

Post-Independence, the BJS faced and survived under highly adverse circumstances. Let it be remembered that its founding president, Mookerjee, himself a former Union minister in free India's first Cabinet, member of the Constituent Assembly and thus one of the founding fathers of our Constitution, member of the first Lok Sabha, unofficial leader of Opposition was tricked into entering Kashmir, detained and incarcerated there simply because he demanded greater integration of that part with the Indian Union and argued that the writ of the Indian Constitution run uniformly across the country.

He paid the price for struggling for unity, greater integration and for protecting India's sovereignty. Mookerjee was imprisoned at the behest of the present Congress vice-president's great grandfather and died in detention, unattended, medically neglected and segregated from his family, friends and supporters. What greater adversity could there have been for the fledgling Jana Sangh?

While Nehru's Congress twiddled its thumbs on the Goa issue and allowed Portuguese rule to continue, it was BJS which took part in the Goa liberation movement and on June 23, 1955, launched the Goa mukti satyagraha under the leadership of Jagannath Rao Joshi.

The satyagrahis under Joshi were fired upon, many killed and injured, and then imprisoned and tortured. The movement continued unabated while Nehru procrastinated and finally ordered a military action only in 1961.

When Prime Minister Modi referred to the extreme adversity through which the BJP grew, he referred to this phase as well, to this era of sacrifice. These were the kinds of adversity and struggle that the BJS and later the BJP went through in independent India. The resistance of the BJS and RSS workers during the Emergency, their struggle for preserving democracy by facing torture, imprisonment and death is a saga that is yet to be told in its entirety.

Apologists of separatism, communist sympathisers and leaders who have lost all national moorings and vision invariably resort to false propaganda - it is a sort of oxygen for them. The present Congress is unfortunately full of such elements.

As for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, whose latest fad is to quote - again out context - passages from the Upanishad, he would be well-advised to remember and internalise the following adage - "buddhir yasya, balam tasya, nirbuddhisya kuto balam (strength and power lies with the intelligent, the unintelligent and uninformed is devoid of strength and power".

Rahul can lead his party into deep introspection on that ageless maxim sprung from the perennial wisdom of our traditions.

Writer

Anirban Ganguly Anirban Ganguly

Director, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, New Delhi & Member, Policy Research Dept of BJP.

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