Saffron Respect For Bapu


As the nation observes the 150th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, even the great man’s critics also bow their head to respect him. India, for the first time, saw the entire nation joining hands on Gandhi Jayanti and paying tribute to the Father of the Nation. This included Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

The RSS Sarasanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat wrote articles in praise of the Mahatma in newspapers in different languages. He even outpaced Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi in offering tribute to Bapu. The RSS and BJP leaders’ enthusiasm in celebration of the Mahatma’s birth anniversary was quite visible. 

A general impression persists among people that RSS was opposed to Gandhi because of his love for Muslims, who form a minority. There is also an impression that India was bifurcated because of Gandhi’s soft attitude towards Muslims.

People also have an impression that RSS was soft towards Nathuram Godse who killed Bapu at a prayer meeting. This impression gained ground when a section of saffron party leaders having least knowledge about it openly supported Godse.

Though Mohan Bhagwat’s article did not mention Nathuram Godse, the RSS chief highly praised the Mahatma’s ideologies. Bhagwat quoted former Sarasanghchalak, Keshav Baliram Hedgewar describing Gandhi as a “Punnya Purus” (Pious Man).

This is not all, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was a former RSS Pracharak, also went ahead in celebrating Gandhi Jayanti in a big way. While RSS and BJP leaders and Ministers moved across the country highlighting Bapu’s ideologies, Mr.Modi wrote an article in
The New York Times praising the Mahatma and giving a clear message to the world that the RSS and BJP are all for the Mahatma. The Indian National Congress now headed by Sonia Gandhi is not the lone successor to the Gandhi legacy.

Politically, it could be the sole intention of the RSS and BJP to highlight that Gandhi did not accept any position and kept himself above politics. The saffron group considers that the Congress, which continues to hijack the Gandhi legacy, ruled India for a long period after Independence. During this 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, the Sangh Parivar is all set to create an impression that they are also for Gandhi and his teachings.

This apart, the RSS and BJP leaders have also attempted to give a political message by supporting Gandhi. The party aimed to inform people that they should not get misled by the Congress that Gandhi was only theirs. It is also a fact that people in every nook and corner of India still believe that Congress was Gandhi’s party and, therefore, they support it. However, the fact is totally opposite. Gandhi had used the Congress platform for Independence Movement and even wanted to dismantle it after Independence.

The RSS and BJP leaders singing glory to the Mahatma is not being digested by Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi. This was evident from Sonia Gandhi’s speech at Rajghat immediately after paying tribute to the Mahatma on 2 October. She said those who indulge in politics of falsehood will not understand Mahatma Gandhi. “Mahatma Gandhi’s soul would have been pained to see what is happening in this country in the last few days,” Sonia said.

“How will those who consider themselves supreme understand the sacrifice of Mahatma Gandhi? …Those doing politics of falsehood will not understand Gandhiji’s philosophy of non-violence,” Sonia Gandhi said, adding, “India and Gandhi are synonymous. Yet some people want RSS to be synonymous with India.”

Sonia Gandhi’s message was carried out by all the Congress leaders across the country. They wonder how the RSS and BJP changed their stand. The people who supported the killer of the Mahatma have been reciting Gandhi bhajans. The Congress people simply fail to digest this.

Some freedom fighters, while celebrating Gandhi’s birth anniversary, wanted the RSS and BJP to condemn Nathhuram Godse. People across the country, however, praised the RSS and Prime Minister’s act of praising the Mahatma. This is the true philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Bapu used to preach
ahimsaamong people. He used to teach that if one slapped you on one side of your face, show him the other side. If the prevailing impression that the RSS and BJP leaders supported the Gandhi-killer is true, then also Gandhian principle now wins.

The people who acted against him are now all praise for him. Gandhi’s ideology was based on forgiveness. If a bad man comes with folded hands and realizes his mistake, he should be pardoned. This is Gandhian philosophy and also India’s principle. Therefore, if now the RSS and BJP praise Gandhi, why should the Congress oppose or criticize it, political commentators are questioning the Congress stand.

That the RSS and BJP join the rest of the world in celebrating the Mahatma’s birth anniversary is certainly a victory for Gandhian values.
Gandhi was such a personality that none on the earth could oppose him. The British, who ruled many countries, had also bowed to Bapu’s philosophy.  Gandhi’s ideologies have not only earned independence for India, but also showed path to many other countries where mighty rulers used to oppress people.

ahimsa mantra alone has the solution to many problems which India and the world face today, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said while addressing the National Integration Conclave in Bhubaneswar.

This Gandhi Jayanti witnessed claims and counter claims over the Gandhi legacy. When Congress is nervous over RSS observing Gandhi Jayanti, the saffron leaders have achieved their purpose. Both the RSS and BJP strongly believe that Congress could become a strong political force in India because of Mahatma Gandhi and not for Pandit Nehru or his daughter Indira Gandhi. The saffron think tank now has one agenda to inform people that the BJP and RSS were not against the Mahatma and at the same time spread message that Congress should not be synonymous with Gandhi. The Sangh Parivar has already made it clear that they love Bapu and his message no less than others.

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