Danger of Rahul Gandhi equating Mahatma with Rohith Vemula

Balbir Punj
Balbir PunjFeb 10, 2016 | 13:37

Danger of Rahul Gandhi equating Mahatma with Rohith Vemula

With Rahul Gandhi putting Rohith Vemula (the Dalit research scholar who committed suicide at Hyderabad Central University campus recently) at par with Mahatma Gandhi, the theatre of absurd is complete.

What is common between the two individuals? Neither did they share a philosophy, nor did they have similar working styles. They were poles apart in all respects, but still Rahul put them on the same pedestal!



Rahul is the kingpin of the Congress which claims the Mahatma as its lodestar. Non-violence was Gandhi’s signature tune. He believed in and fought for social justice and empowerment of Dalits, along with unity of Hindu society.

Above all, he was a God-fearing Hindu, who worshipped the cow and was rightly wary of various church denominations for whom evangelisation was the sole mission of their existence.

Rohith was an activist of Ambedkar Student’s Association (ASA). The organisation has nothing in common with either the philosophy or the values for which BR Ambedkar worked and lived. ASA is known for hosting beef parties and show support for Yakub Memon in Hyderabad University campus.

Here was Rahul Gandhi, trying to pep up the waning fortunes of his sinking party. He was in Hyderabad to reclaim Dalit votes. So, a gathering of friends of the deceased became a "function" for Rahul and he "thanked" the organisers for "inviting" him there. Mourning for the dead is not a "function" and normally no invitations are issued.

He did not stop at that and found a common denominator between the Mahatma and unfortunate Rohith. He linked the two by pointing out that Rohith was born on the same date (January 30) on which Gandhi got assassinated decades earlier.


The Congress must clarify what values and road the party henceforth will follow — that of Gandhi or ASA? Between the Mahatma and Rohith, who is its icon? However, the moot question is why did Rohith hang himself? And was he persecuted because of his Dalit origins, or are there some other reasons?

The straight question is: Does student politics have any legitimacy when it endorses terrorism? Amid so much talk after Rohith's suicide and politicians’ usual posturing to hang their coat on it, nobody asked that question. We need to find out why.


His recent political activities include dissemination of posters hailing the politics of Yakub Memon, condemning the terrorist’s hanging and declaring "that for every terrorist so hanged, more terrorism backers would arise". His other adventures include organising a beef party within the university premises, thrashing ABVP activists for opposing his beef politics, and so on.

None of these could be classified as even distantly related to the problems that his caste people suffer from. Now, student politics that questions the existing order is normal in many higher educational institutions. The JNU is famous for Left-wing students dominating university bodies and many in the faculty are severe critics of the state.


But no government sworn to protect the integrity of the state can allow seeding of anti-national and pro-terrorist politics among the students in these institutions.


More particularly, when the international community is unitedly trying to curb the false and religious appeal of Islamist violent movements, agencies like the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) , meant for taking counter-terrorism actions, are monitoring pro-terrorist activities like recruitment of youth for joining terror groups.

In such a situation, if anybody inside this country hails the cult of people like Yakub Memon who had escaped to Pakistan soon after his gang bombed Mumbai in 1993 and was finally caught by Indian security forces, do they deserve mercy?

Interestingly, the media has failed to ask this question to the agitating Left students who have conveniently labelled themselves as Ambedkarites to confuse those who would not support their anti-national support to Pakistan-based terror groups.

Partly, the university authorities are to be blamed for the escalation of the event in their premises. They failed to proclaim why action had to be taken against these so-called scholars. What should have been a clear punishment for pro-terrorist politics, was turned into a prejudice by the upper-caste against the under-privileged scholar.

It is also a fact of life we face on a daily basis that caste prejudices run deep among our people and the entire state power should be used to help out the victims of this age-old injustice. However, no one would claim that anti-national activities like praising terrorists and seeding young minds with pro-terror ideology should be treated as a privilege so far as activists are concerned.

For the country’s survival — and survival of the human civilisation across the globe — let there be no compromise, no let up, no romantic ideology on this issue.

(Coutesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: February 11, 2016 | 20:31
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