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The cowardice of Congress

The cowardice of Congress

Author: M.V. Kamath
Publication: Organiser
Date: April 21, 2002

Introduction: Why do people enlist in the RSS? Why do young people submit to its discipline? Can't the Congress have a parallel organisation to serve as an alternate model to the young? From a contemporary Rashtra Seva Dal?

One question that keeps haunting concerning the riots in Ahmedabad in particular and in Gujarat in general is the role of the Congress and all Opposition parties and the cowardice that they showed during all those grim hours of wanton killing. Presuming that the rioters were all people belonging to the RSS and the VHP cadres and, by definition fascist Hindus, what, for god's sake, were the Hindus in die Congress and Opposition parties doing when they knew that blood was being shed in the streets, that Muslim women were being raped, Muslim children were being burnt and Muslim homes were being torched? Did they get out of their comfortable homes, stand in the street and say for all to hear: "Kill us before you kill anyone else?" And if they didn't have that much courage, couldn't they at least take a stick in their hands and challenge the rioters to come forward? What sort of arm-chair idealists do we have? Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi is bring pilloried for not calling for the Army within minutes of the rioting. But couldn't the local Congress party summon all decent and god-fearing Congressmen who are Hindus to come forth and defend Muslims? After all Congress Hindus were all right there. One appeal over the radio or through the secular Star News should have done the trick. And what was Congress President Sonia Gandhi doing? Couldn't she have told every Congress MP and NMA immediately to fly over to Ahmedabad and bear their breasts before the rioters? Mahatma Gandhi would have done just that. And let it be remembered: MPs don't have to stand in line to purchase tickets. Besides, if an appeal had been made by the Congress President, the NDA Government would have easily put a couple of Air Force Planes at her service. Why do we always have to depend on the Army to do a job which high-minded, secular Congress and Opposition parties can do just as well if they have the guts? Fancy what a terrific story it would have made if Congress MPs and MLAs went to the streets with appeals for peace and daring the rioters to take them on. Are we to presume that Congress Hindus are eunuchs and cowards? Does it take 48 hours for Sonia Gandhi and other Opposition leaders to do what seems so obvious? After all, Congressmen do not need the permission of a magistrate or of Narendra Modi to sacrifice their lives for the cause of peace and amity. At the first hint of rioting Sonia Gandhi should have sent her entire battalion of Congress MPs to Ahmedabad to march in unison in the riot-affected areas. Indeed, every Opposition MP, to whichever party one belonged, should have made a beeline to Ahmedabad and dared the rioters to kill them first before they killed any member of the minority. What is the point of mocking at Gujaratis for taking to violence in Gandhi's Gujarat? Time was when there was a Congress volunteer organisation: the Congress Seva Dal (CSD). This organisation kept crowds under control at meetings addressed by Congress leaders. They also did other odd jobs in line with national service. What stops Sonia Gandhi from resurrecting the Congress Seva Dal? In the twenties, thirties and forties, young people happily enrolled themselves in the CSD as a matter of patriotic duty. The CSD was there when its services were needed. A question that Sonia Gandhi and Opposition leaders might want to ask themselves in the privacy of their homes is: Why do people enlist in the RSS? Why do young people submit to its discipline? The RSS is a classless, casteless organisation. Young people of all castes sit together, live together and work together. Can't the Congress have a parallel organisation to serve as an alternate model to the young? Or is it that Congress leaders know before-hand that it will have no takers? The Congress has two choices open to it: either start the CSD and give the young a sense of direction and purpose or stop attacking the RSS day in and day out. National service does not attract the young any longer. Service is for the birds. The Congress has no leadership. For that matter hardly any party has any leaders worth the name. It is politics, politics all the time. The young have no one to look up to. Over the years there has been a steady deterioration in the moral fibre of the socially upwardly mobile class in urban cities. Power, money and over-the-edge lifestyles are the mantra of the old, followed by the young. How can the Congress which itself has no vision, attract the young to form a contemporary Rashtra Seva Dal? Seva is not a word to be found in the dictionary of the young. Money, yes; position, yes; style, yes; fashions, yes; food, yes; sex, yes, yes, yes. But seva? What is that? Either one believes that all Ahmedabadis are subscribers to the VHP and the Hindutva point of view or one must reluctantly come to the conclusion that Hindu Congressmen did not have the courage of their convictions, or even just plain courage. They are drawing-room secularists who want the Army to do their job. Passing the buck is a national pastime. The Ahmedabad riots could have been halted in no time if the Congress had given a call to all true-blue Congressmen, women and children to come out and fight the rioters. Let there be a Hindu civil war, Congress Hindus fighting VHP Hindus to save Muslims and other minorities. Has that idea occurred to Sonia Gandhi? Or does she feel that in their heart- of he for all the humbug and hypocrisy of their leaders-Hindu Congressmen bear a secret grudge in their hearts against Muslims and would let the VHP do their dirty job for them? Let there be some honesty in our thinking. And what about our English media? What job are they doing? What leadership are they providing to the young? Do our national English dailies have a sense of decency when day after da37 they publish semi-nude pictures of nubile girls? Have they made an in-depth study of what people really feel about Muslims? What happened in Ahmedabad was bestial, unbelievable. What ancient and contemporary wrongs did those who went into the streets-including, according to reports, lawyers, doctors, teachers et al-harbour in their hearts to indulge in total inhumanity? What was the provocation that the minority community offered to lead to the kind of killing never before-except perhaps in 1946-47seen in the country? What has been Godhra's contribution over the years that ultimately led to savagery? What has been going on in the over 40 masjids in Godhra and in their madarsas to poison the atmosphere? Isn't a study of the subject called for at least now? Hatred does not build up overnight. It accumulates and gathers strength and when some provocation-howsoever small takes place the reaction leaves everyone stunned. Meanwhile, our secularists have to ask whether they too have not contributed unconsciously to the build-up of hatred. If, that is, they have the capability to be self-critical. Self-introspection does not come easily to secularists who find it easier to attack others than to look into their own shortcomings.

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