Compromising with principles

Veteran Congress leader C. P. Joshi’s casteist remarks and his claim about the superiority of the Brahmins have justifiably evoked criticism across the political spectrum. Congress President Rahul Gandhi had to dissociate himself and his party from Joshi’s remarks and admonish him publicly. But the tendency to adopt a line of soft Hindutva against BJP’s hard Hindutva is already visible in Congress campaigning. Why Rahul-bhakts have to project their leader as Shiv-bhakt and why does he have to do mandir hopping so demonstratively before every election? This is something alien to Congress culture; something that neither Rahul’s grandmother Indira nor his great grandfather Jawaharlal ever did. Why does the Congress leadership in Madhya Pradesh have to assure the people that many gaushalas will be opened and a special department will be opened to look after the welfare of the cows if the Congress comes to power?
And why do the Congress leaders raucously claim that Narendra Modi could become Prime Minister courtesy Jawaharlal Nehru who was the architect of post-independence India? Why could not they say that Modi could rise from his humble beginnings to become the Prime Minister of the country because the Constitution gave him that opportunity and the values that inform the Constitution evolved in course of our freedom struggle in which the RSS has the dubious distinction of never participating?
And not the Congress alone. In West Bengal the TMC is also promoting soft Hindutva. Why was it necessary for the mayor of the Asansol Corporation to promise that he would build a number of Surya mandirs or sun temples? Was it because the Asansol area is dominated by non-Bengalees who are supposed to be sympathetic to the BJP?  Political parties and leaders professing loyalty to secularism should realize that soft Hindutva is no antidote to hard Hindutva. The appeal of Hindutva which seeks to polarize the plural polity of India on the basis of religion can be combated only by unflinchingly adhering to and championing the ideal of secularism and consciously keeping religion out of politics and statecraft. Soft Hindutrva can never be a match for hard Hindutva. The greatest living symbol of secularism was Mahatma Gandhi. He laid down his life remaining true to his ideal. Even at the cost of his life he did not compromise.

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018