Myths of Gandhism, Ram, and the Partition

Mahatama Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948. It has roughly been 60 years since then. For all these years, a lie – and a blatant one at that – has been perpetuated by the Indian National Congress. That, while dying he uttered the words – “Hey Ram”. This was to make him popular with the majority community and take the sting out of any leanings to the Jan Sangh family.

Nehru had lot of obstacles to pave way for him and his family be the rulers of India forever. Jan Sangh’s influence was one. He first had Nathuram Godse linked to RSS and then demonize them forever. The myth that RSS was to Hindus what Muslim League was to the Muslims was perpetuated in a very methodical fashion. The truth, however, was very different.

The pre-partition’s cycle of deadly and unending violence was set in motion the day Mohd. Ali Jinnah held a press conference in Bombay in July 1946, in presence of Margaret Bourke-White (LIFE Magazine journalist) and said categorically that if Muslims were not granted Pakistan, he would launch “Direct Action”. This little known “Direct Action” was what set the fire in motion that has since burnt and engulfed many in its hatred.

Direct Action Day, also known as the Affirmative Action Plan, the Calcutta Riots, the Great Calcutta killings, and “The Week of the Long Knives”, started on August 16, 1946. It was a day when the Muslim League planned peaceful protests all over India to voice the Muslim demand for a separate homeland during the Indian Freedom Struggle against the British Raj. This protest was followed by massive riots in Calcutta instigated by the Muslim League and led to further riots in the surrounding regions of Bengal and Bihar by Muslims against Hindus and Sikhs, followed by retaliatory attacks on Muslims by Congress followers and supporters. Within 72 hours, more than 5,000 people lost their lives, at least 20,000 were got seriously injured and 100,000 residents of Calcutta City alone were left homeless.

The crowds on Hooghly and Howrah bridge were followed by massacre of thousands of Hindus in Noakhali (between 50-75,000).

If at all, it was Jinnah and the Congress supporters who were involved in these massacres. But what do the intellectuals say? This:

Since the early summer of 1947, the abstract notion of “not-belonging” had become real when private armies belonging to the Muslim League’s national guard), the Sikh Akal Fauj and the Hindu-nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) began orchestrating major attacks on minority groups in their area of influence. The formal creation of borders in August meant that what was considered a temporary movement by many people to avoid violence months before had now became absolute and permanent.

It is as if this urge suddenly started off in the Muslims and Hindus to kill each other. And of course, no mention of the involvement of Indian National Congress in this entire drama!

It was in early 1947 that RSS finally got actively involved in the violence – after thousands had been massacred in Noakhali (October 1946) and elsewhere.

It was in this atmosphere of “power-at-all-costs” and Machiavellian one-up-manship by Nehru that in 1946 election for Congress Presidency, Gandhi asked all 16 Congress states representatives to choose the person who would lead Free India. 13 of the 16 states sent back Sardar Patel’s name.

Gandhi put his foot down. In favor of Nehru. And the Sardar as a faithful “foot soldier” accepted to step down.

Now, as his personal assistant from 1943 to 1948 tells us of the letters Gandhi wrote prior to his death as a “disillusioned man”:

“The celebration of Independence Day with great pomp and show was quite appropriate when we were fighting for independence, which we had neither seen nor handled. Now, we have handled it and seem to be disillusioned. At least I am, even if you are not. “What are we celebrating today? Surely, not our disillusionment,” are the words written by Gandhi.

How could complete faith in a structure and polity by a person change into disillusionment in 1 year is beyond me when he is the one who kept putting his foot down to over-rule people’s desire and voice? However, he did.

Let us go back to how we started? Hey Ram. Now, after 60 odd years, the same personal assistant – Kalyanam Venkitaraman – has chosen to tell all that Gandhi in fact never said anything! This myth started when some one filed an FIR which was incorrect any ways.

“Somebody claimed he had heard Gandhi uttering Ram…Ram, which was filed in the FIR, but the truth is that not one word was uttered. For, how can one do so when he is shot at from such a close range?” Venkitaraman, who worked with Gandhi from 1943 till his death in 1948, asked.

So, it was a myth. What begs a question is WHY would a “Gandhian” not come out with this truth all these years? I am sure he must have talked about this to everyone in Indian Congress. I can understand Nehru’s (and clan’s) motivations, but what about the rest? Shastri? Patel? Azad? Vinobha Bhave? What happened to that principle of Truth?

Was Gandhism and the associated “truth” all a sham? Well apparently so.

But what intrigues me most is why would an entire myth be created with those specific words? Why not “Hey Bharat”? Why not “Hey Rahim”? Why “Ram”?

Why was the object of this mythical utterance a “Hindu symbol”? Was it another cog in the wheel that was used to destroy RSS and the Hindu Nationalist parties through lie and deceit?

I know in this day and age to challenge and stand up for anything related to Hinduism in India is akin to suicide, but then the truth – supposedly, the cornerstone of Gandhian principles – should be spoken and questions asked.. however bitter or counter-intuitive it may all seem?

What was the purchase that Indian National Congress expected to get from Ram. For irrespective of what was filed in the FIR, if it was not going to help Nehru’s ambitions, I am pretty sure it would have remained ink on a long forgotten and lost paper in a police station as opposed to the metallic letters on Gandhi’s memorial.

These days when the intellectuals speak of RSS and Muslim League in the same breath, it seems very justified, because after all the RSS demons must have been equally crazy. But when you look at the decades of violence and ethnic cleansing in India (Kashmir), Pakistan and Bangladesh of the Hindus in a very systematic manner and no one to raise even a voice – you wonder.. .. was Jinnah just freaking plain stupid or Nehru’s long lost brother?? For, if he had played his cards a little better he could have easily have let Congress throw out the Jan Sangh and then “cleansed” Nehru in the name of secularism that he anyways espoused in his first speech of Independent Pakistan!

And Gandhi… would have died with just a sigh on his lips sparing Ram of all the trouble!

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1 Comment
  1. Anonymous says

    India got independence not because of M.K.Gandhi, but
    inspite of Gandhi.
    The sooner the truth comes out the better.
    I’m happy that the modern day youth are slowly begining to realise who M.K.Gandhi really was.

    Truth has to come out one day or the other.

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