Monday, January 30th, 2023 20:03:25

Dandi March of Mahatma Gandhi to Bharat jodo Of modern Gandhi !

By Rakesh Kumar
Updated: January 16, 2023 8:44 am

copying Mahatma Gandhi may provide jobs to event managers, but it may not bring desired mileage for the people having no faith in the spirit of satyagrah.

Indian politicians have wasted a lot of time and energy to prove that India was a laggard and we have been made civilized by Britishers. For them present India is the only united India and before that we were small kingdoms fighting among ourselves.

The world on the other hand has taken keen interest in Indian art,science( yoga Ayurveda) and culture. There is undisputed evidence which proves otherwise. One such proof is organizing yatras for political mileage despite knowing fully well these are offshoots  of our religious culture only. The people who mocked Bharat mata are forced to organize “ Bharat jodo yatra”.

The title ‘Bharat jodo’ immediately evokes a question in mind, whether Bharat is broken in some form or the other? To my mind, the answer is a big yes!

Congress party has placed Rahul Gandhi in an embarrassing situation where he is validating the stand taken by RSS on Akhand Bharat.

It is an irony that a person who always condemned RSS is now pretending to fight for ‘Bharat Jodo’.

This brings us back to how and where Bharat is broken or splitted. The first official partition of India I.e  Bharat took place under the signature of  the first prime minister late Jwahar Lal Nehru, further in 1948 we lost control over POK. In 1962 we lost another 38000 square kilometers to China which includes Kailash Mansarovar.

What hurt more was the statement made  about the loss of Aksai Chin,“not a single blade of grass grows there.”

It is a pity that we have to take a visa to visit the abode of  our own lord shiva. India faced a serious threat of further division in north east, Kashmir and Punjab all due to policies of Mrs Indira Gandhi  who closed her eyes to infiltration in north east and promoted Bhindarvala in Punjab. With so much on the plate it is heartening to note that some body in Congress is thinking about ‘Bharat Jodo’ but this happiness vanishes immediately and a serious concern takes over as the statements issued are neither uniting India nor benefitting the cause of yatri. It is unfortunate that scholars and coaches ( guru ) like Vishnu sharma of Panchatantra,are missing today as princes are still there in plenty to be trained in the craft of statesmanship.

For the readers who are not aware about Panchatantra it is worth mentioning that it is a set of five books written by vishnu sharma for teaching the principles of good governance to three princes.

One may wonder what is the relevance of discussing it here. The simple answer is when someone starts his yatra to unite India from a place which never had any  threat of breaking away from india! Avoiding the actual place of action i.e POK or Kailash Mansarovar, then what else can be said?

It is equally surprising that the chief minister of Tamilnadu has not objected and joined the yatra happily as if he is  accepting that Tamilnadu is the place which needs attention to keep India united. Incidentally, the founding father of his party Annadurai, when elected to the upper house of Indian parliament (Rajya Sabha) repeated DMK’s demand for independence for Dravida Nadu in his speech on 1 May 1962. The wise Tamil brothers and sisters did not support the mission and it was dropped by DMK in 1963.

It is difficult to review the performance of Rahul Gandhi as he is  a celebrity being judged too often for too long and nothing is left to imagination. Rahul Gandhi has many yatras to his credit and he is improving upon these in numbers at least. However on seeing the well furnished air conditioned containers arranged for the Bharat jodo yatris, One is reminded of Bill Bryson who said,

“I sat on a toilet watching the water run thinking what an odd thing tourism (yatra ) is. You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile effort to recapture the comforts you wouldn’t have lost if you hadn’t left home in the first place”

 

Organizers are brushing aside the charges of event management tricks being used. ! For a moment One might be eager to believe them but the question is why the yatra is not touching the areas to be brought back as already discussed.

Even if one is ignorant then he can learn from his rivals, L.K Advani’s rath yatra was aimed at Ayodhya as the target was Ram mandir.

Murali Manohar Joshi went to Srinagar to challenge the  extremists who  made it difficult to unfurl tricolor at Lal Chowk.

Most successful Yatra India had after Buddha and great Adi  Shankaracharya was the Dandi March by the original Gandhi Ji.

He chose Dandi as it was the place where salt was being produced and Britishers taxed it heavily.

Our Modern Gandhi who has little love for khadi ,simple living and has exhibited  great hunger for power without accountability, shown no respect for constitutional authorities whether belonging to own party or otherwise, has chosen non problematic places for yatra availing best of comforts.

In Dandi March Satyagrahis ( the co travelers ) were  chosen with care.women were kept out to mobilize the masses en route the 388 kilometers from Sabarmati to Surat coast. Sardar Patel who had established a strong bond with the farmers during Bardoli satyagraha, carefully selected the route and prepared the  ground, his work was so meticulous and inspiring that he was arrested by the scared  Britishers before the start of Dandi March itself. They believed that Sardar Patel inspiring the masses  is more dangerous than the actual Dandi March.

On the contrary, the present  yatra includes people from the tukde tukde  gang  or from the opposition as if they are the only ones who represent  india. The thriving beard of Rahul Ji reminded me of Bharat yatra by Chandra Shekhar  who became prime minister later. He was able to keep his yatra non political as a result Sunil Dutt, who became MP as well as a minister from congress, joined his yatra.no special stay arrangements were made.  Moreover, social issues like potable water were studied and Chandrashekhar started an ashram to implement his learning.Some newspapers started calling him saint of Bhondsi.

The ongoing National Herald case leaves little for imagination for those who expect some kind of social service by the people on Bharat jodo yatra.

The other  issues selected for yatra  like agriculture and employment are not in the central  list alone, these are in the concurrent list. Therefore  It would have been much wiser had Shri Gandhi ensured a better performance on these counts in the states ruled by his party. To the contrary COVID menace was more ferocious in non BJP states!

Whenever Mahatma Gandhi  engaged himself in such yaatra the results were immediate, from Natal in South Africa in 1913  or champaran in 1917 or dandi March in 1930 people felt  the impact. Even though the salt tax was not repealed despite Dandi March, the nation stood firmly against the Britishers and the world took note.

The Dandi yatra which started with 80 satyagrahi from sabarmati, saw thousands of Indians  arrested  on the way and thousands more joining it at Dandi. People broke the salt law all over india. Bharat jodo yatra has no immediate measurable goals, as a result attention it is getting may not lead to any transformation in near future.Why the organizers missed such an important issue?

A simple analysis brings the following facts. Congress has lost most of the elections post 2013, many stalwarts have left. Many leading leaders are facing criminal charges approved by the courts.Rahul Gandhi along with mother Sonia Gandhi is on bail due to the National Herald case filed by subramanian  swamy. The powerful battery of party lawyers have failed to get any relief from the high court. Under these circumstances, to ordinary Indians it seems like  a family bachao or party jodo yatra. The most positive media reports end up saying;

“Bharat Jodo Yatra is a ‘spectacle not to miss’, but its impact on votes remains unknown”  The Hindu December 18, 2022 08:23 pm.

Behavior on the yatra particularly the language used.

If the true aim is ‘ Bharat jodo’ then actions do not seem to be in harmony, the statements  issued by the leader and the followers are more like election rallies. Language is harsh and it assumes that Bharat can not be united without accusing the prime minister. Despite the fact that all accusations have fallen flat in the scrutiny of the courts or otherwise. Be it Rafel,demonetisation, doubting of surgical strikes. supporting the Chinese position using the word ‘pitai’ ( getting beaten) for the army. It has made the yatra controversial .It has resulted in more hurtful responses leading to more division of Indian society.

Language is one area where a lot of improvement is needed. In politics the presence of mind and the selection of words matters. Despite paying heavy price by coining ‘Chai wala’ and ‘chowkidar chor hai’ the party has not learnt its lessons and  Bharat jodo yatra too has  created more controversies than positive news.

Has the Bharat jodo yatra failed?

Great jurist Nani Palkhivala once said,

“To my mind, it is an unmitigated disgrace that in the Golden Jubilee Year of India’s independence, more than half of our population is literally illiterate”.

Not being sensitive to fundamental duties and national identity, elections are won in India by dividing the voters on language, religion, state or caste and luring them with freebies.  Jagan reddy and Sachin pilot  have  reaped rich dividends with similar yatras in their states.Even though yatra is being managed for comfort,it will definitely attract curious Indians and it will help Rahul Gandhi  to have more visibility in near  future. It is up to him how long he will be able to keep these people engaged.He has to learn the language which is understood by ordinary Indians. Designer tee shirts and hugging and kissing the sister may go well with youth in the metro cities but may backfire in rural india. His reaction is naive when he says,”Media notices my T-shirt, but ignores poor farmers, laborers in torn cloth”. It is the job of the leader to show what matters and hide what does not. One can not blame the messenger always .

The best benefit derived from yatra is winning the Himachal election. His absence from the political campaign seems to be very rewarding for the Himachal congress. BJP must work hard on winning elections even when Rahul Ji is not campaigning.

Media coverage of the yatra.

Media has given good publicity to this yatra. Pictures of crowds walking with Rahul Gandhi are everywhere. Taking it further, the media has started projecting Rahul Gandhi as a challenger to the prime minister but that is assuming too much too soon.

How the Ruling party  should respond.

1977 Janta party won 347 seats and the then prime minister Mrs Indira Gandhi lost her seat. It was assumed that the political career of Mrs Gandhi was over and she may retire from active politics.The then home minister Chaudhary charan Singh was hell bent to prosecute Mrs Gandhi for atrocities imposed on the public during the emergency. Shah commision was formed and hearing started. The fascination of the Government to conduct a postmortem of the emergency and the atrocities, scanning the Maruti project, reviewing the Nagarwala mystery and other corruption scandals  brought the threat of prosecution and imprisonment. It forced Mrs Gandhi to retaliate and in doing so she managed to control the congress ( I).  Her arrest was the final mistake which created public sympathy leading to a great comeback in 1980.

The present Gandhi family is facing a similar situation. It’s true Rahul Gandhi Ji is no match to the political maneuvering skills of Mrs Gandhi but his efforts to play a victim card are no less. one may see a statement any day, “ scared of success of Bharat jodo yatra government is using courts to intimidate”

A person who is neither a leader of the opposition nor the party president, does not deserve so much attention. It will be much better if his remarks are either ignored or answered by party spokespersons only.

What is needed, focus on performance along with direct  communication with the public. All legislators,parliamentarians and office bearers of the party should  ensure that ambiguity  is not allowed to take place.The Gujrat result has shown that in democracy what matters most is, connecting with the public.

Conclusion.

The yatra has evoked good response from curious public, many leaders of other parties have extended support,and the media  has been kind. Same was true for political rallies of Mrs Indira Gandhi in the 1977 election, however the public which came to see did not vote for her. Mr Rahul Gandhi has gone one step further as the state chosen  for the yatra may not have an election in near future and no plan  is available to know how it will be used later. The Congress party  has brilliant lawyers in its fold. My wild guess is that  Bharat jodo yatra might be a preparation for handling the outcome of the national herald case. The case is moving slowly but Mr swamy is pursuing it relentlessly. In 1974 justice Sinha of Allahabad( Prayag raj) surprised the nation by pronouncing Mrs Indira Gandhi guilty, and the country witnessed chaos. Even though Time has changed, equations have changed but  history is the art of learning from the past. A popular politician gets many life lines as seen in the case of Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav,Ms Jayaram Jayalalithaa and  Mr A Raja. Bharat jodo yatra has provided us  an opportunity to compare it with great Indian yatras of the past and there is a great scope for improvement.

 

By Rakesh Kumar

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