Mahatma Gandhi in his seven deadly sins describes “Religion Without Sacrifice” and “Politics Without Principle”[1].

This piece is a must read (originally written for MBA Projects for effective management on Gandhi’s principles) for people who really love to read and want every day a new improvement lesson.

Gandhi in his early days in South Africa was reconciling belief, politics and colonial injustice and conceived the idea of non-violence as a strategy to combat Britishers.

I think this idea was influenced by his biblical studies in South Africa, and is beautifully captured in famous movie “Gandhi” directed by Richard Attenborough where in a scene Gandhi explains to a reporter friend about how Bible’s teaching of love and non-violence is in deep contrast with what Christian Britishers practice while they rule India.

This was the point where terms like “Satyagrah” and “Ahimsa” were used in Indian context as political tools, but if you trace its origins you will see the notion of sacrifice and principles based faith deeply embedded in Abrahamic traditions.

It is quite an irony how Rahul Gandhi, the leader of opposition is facing a similar situation not too different than what M K Gandhi faced back then.

Indian majoritarian mandate, made possible with the narrative of Hindu renascence is in an ideological fight with the idea of new age India rooted deeply in pluralism and cultural diversity.

On one hand RSS’s ideology of India is a culturally dominated Hindu race picks up the heart and mind of people who fall to the narrative of a greater Hindu state “Akhand Bharat”, in contrast with the modern day nation state  definition of sovereign nation propelling the values of human principles like equality, justice, equity, fairness compiled in a national constitution.

A group of people, deeply rooted in their own traditional heritage, saw this definition of India in deep contrast with what they envision an Indian State to be. Their argument, as I read infamous “Bunch of thoughts” by M S Golwalkar was a “Bharat” identified with its “Hindu Traditions”.

How can you give an identity to a nation by cutting off its cultural symbolism and its legacy religious principles? They are still hooked with the idea of India; belonged to Sages, Rishis and Kings who inherited Indian geographic region and wanted a “state endorsement” of cultural superiority of “Hindu Tradition” over foreign influence.

The new age nation-state theory of United Nations was something not getting congruent with the deep affiliation of historical nostalgia with past empires and interpreted injustices conceived in heart and mind.

India is not “Bharat”, and “Bharat” as it exists today is a geographical reduction of “Akhand Bharat” which must be restored in its full legacy to be totally independent. This was the crux of RSS, which took shape in Gandhi’s assassination and further advancements over the times.

Of course, Dr B R Ambedkar, deeply detesting religious practices and fundamentalism had an innate dislike to RSS’s ideology, so was Nehru and few more Congressmen at that time. They thought India will, with her plurality and wisdom will overcome with mediaeval fever RSS is trapped in.

They fail to realise that the soul of a nation is its “conscious” “state of mind” of its people and this “state of mind” can be hacked and altered with fear, greed and misinformation.

They also envision an India in contrast to Pakistan, which was formed based on Muslim Identity, to show as an example where a nation can be led with Secular Principles (Multicultural Identity) and still be highly cohesive, successful and great.

Though mainstream make a point of high importance in projecting Jinnah as founding father of two-nation theory, if we look at history closely we will see this discussion started very early with “Hindu Purists” in making India free of any foreign influence and undermining its “cultural superiority”, thereby having this unspoken tone of “Hindu Nation” to which later political advancements falls to.

RSS remained stealth and waiting to get its fertile ground where it can take an opportunity to be mainstream. This happened with “Babri Masjid” demolition and RSS gained momentum afterwards in contemporary politics.

Rest was all multidimensional appeal to Hindu majority in getting them in a state of fear, worthlessness, and to an extent greed in making “their own Personalised Bharat Great” under the cloak of talking “National Interest”.

Politics, in its utopian state is for people’s welfare. But what if people do not want the welfare you offer? Will you persuade with an offer of a great Nehruvian ideology, to people who are hungry, naked and chin dipped in poverty?

Will you persuade with an offer of a great Nehruvian ideology, to people who are brainwashed, fearful and chin dipped in false propagandas? 

BJP recently accused Rahul Gandhi on making remarks abroad as an insult to India’s Parliament, democracy and people [2]. The remarks however were about the authoritarianism undermining national institutions and democratic principles.

In his speech, Rahul said, “Indian democracy is under pressure and under attack. The institutional framework which is required for a democracy… Parliament, free press, the judiciary, just the idea of mobilisation — these are all getting constrained. We are facing an attack on the basic structure of democracy.” Referring to the Pegasus snooping controversy, he said that a number of politicians, including him, had been spied upon using the Israeli software. A large number of political leaders have Pegasus on their phones. I myself had Pegasus on my phone. I have been called by intelligence officers who say please be careful of what you say on the phone as we are recording the stuff,” he claimed [3].

There is a constant proliferation of misinformation subtly guided to maneuverer people’s bias towards minority, instigating hatred, anger and a sense of numbness over injustices against anyone who is putting a question mark on ruling regime.

Mainstream opposition is also playing very safe in not hurting the majoritarian sentiments and also holding the ground for gaining electoral margins.

This is a true test of “principle based politics” and will be interesting to see how India, a land of wonders and miracles react to preponderance of false political narratives.

[1] Here is the link: https://www.mkgandhi.org/mgmnt.htm. 

[2] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rahul-gandhi-insulted-indias-parliament-democracy-and-people-bjp/articleshow/98487838.cms

[3] https://www.firstpost.com/explainers/rahul-gandhis-cambridge-university-tarnish-india-image-abroad-12248582.html