|Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, sensing the growing influence of communalism, expressed his feelings in the following words:
‘The fact is that Uttar Pradesh has become an unfamiliar place for me. Now I find myself a misfit here. UP Congress Committee, with which I am associated for the past 35 years, is now working in such a way that it surprises me because its voice now is not the voice of Congress, but a voice which I have opposed all my life. Purushottam Das Tandon, for whom I have very great respect, is now making speeches which are against the fundamental principles of Congress. It is a great pity that communalism has gripped the minds of those great leaders who were called the pillars of Congress’.
The truth is that Purushottam Das Tandon was not the lone Congressman who was imbued with communalism but there was quite a good number of such people. One of such names was that of the founder of Banaras Hindu University, Madan Mohan Malviya who belonged to Hindu Mahasabha, which, in fact, was a replica of Jan Sangh. When communal riots broke out in Allahabad in 1924, some Congress Mahasabhaites openly sided with Hindu communalists. The then district magistrate of Allahabad has briefly described the situation prevailing at that time. The way in which Sardar Patel, donning the cloak of Congress, got Muslims killed in Delhi and other places does not need any inquiry. Probably because of this only, Modi is being described now as ‘Chhote
The truth is that Purushottam Das Tandon was not the lone Congressman who was imbued with communalism but there was quite a good number of such people. One of such names was that of the founder of Banaras Hindu University, Madan Mohan Malviya who belonged to Hindu Mahasabha, which, in fact, was a replica of Jan Sangh. When communal riots broke out in Allahabad in 1924, some Congress Mahasabhaites openly sided with Hindu communalists. The then district magistrate of Allahabad has briefly described the situation prevailing at that time. The way in which Sardar Patel, donning the cloak of Congress, got Muslims killed in Delhi and other places does not need any inquiry. Probably because of this only, Modi is being described now as ‘Chhote Sardar’.
In this connection an important pillar of Congress, Lala Lajpat Rai, should specially be mentioned. He also belonged to Hindu Mahasabha and was its president in 1924. Being a Congressman, he has been promoting the ideology of Hindu Mahasabha from Congress platform. David Page writes in his Prelude to Freedom:
"Lajpat Rai was a great proponent of ‘Swarajya’ but after his return from Europe in 1924 his communal activities went on increasing. He started a campaign against Congress from Mahasabha platform. If Moti Lal Nehru was sincere about secular image of Congress, he should have raised his voice against Lajpat Rai; but he did not do so because he thought that unless Congress enters into electoral alliance with Hindu Mahasabha, the chances of its success are nominal".
Obviously, alliance was made with communalists after bypassing secularism whose effects continued to spread in Congress and have been showing their presence for the past fifty years. It has been the tradition of Congress to compromise on principles.
Communal elements in Congress have time and again targeted secular thinking which continues even today. Congress leaders always try to make way for them by making alignments with communal parties. The hate campaign and communal venom being spread by Vishwa Hindu Parishad these days has its genesis in Meenakshipuram conversion of some Dalits to Islam two decades ago. This was the time when Congress, and even Indira Gandhi, were defeated in 1977 and Indira Gandhi had lost faith in Muslims. She gave her support to a reconsolidation of the Hindu vote by VHP and allowed it a free hand. Around 1983, VHP started spreading the fire of communalism by starting the ‘Ekatmata Yagya Yatra’ on a countrywide scale. At that time when a Muslim leader wanted to know something about it from Lok Dal leader HN Bahuguna, he replied in his letter: "You should know that all this is being done with the blessings of Indira Gandhi".
After this yatra VHP emerged as a strong force. Following Indira Gandhi’s death in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi came to power with two-thirds majority but he followed his mother’s policy of appeasement of the Hindutva lobby. During his rule not only Babri Masjid, which had been locked for the past fifty years, was unlocked but this event was also telecast on Door Darshan with pomp and pageantry. Congress union home minister, Boota Singh got the foundation stone for Ram Mandir laid under his personal supervision and Congress prime minister, Narasimha Rao not only encouraged demolition of Babri Masjid by karsevaks but also got idols placed there after allowing the building of an impromptu temple.
The above events clearly indicate that Congress has been doing things saffron forces wanted. The difference is that whereas Congress did these things secretly and in a sly manner, outwardly professing to be secular, RSS sister organisations were doing openly. The way approximately 77 places of worship and dargahs have been razed to the ground and metalled roads built over them with road rollers and other heavy machines, which were obviously supplied by the municipal corporation where Congress has two-thirds majority fully proves the complicity of Congress. Even otherwise, the record of Congress has not been satisfactory vis-a-vis Muslims because too many anti-Muslim riots have taken place in Gujarat in the past during its rule. It has been shedding only crocodile tears.
BJP is in power since 1998 only. Before that, nearly thirty thousand anti-Muslim riots had already taken place during Congress rule wherein justice was never done to Muslims.
In view of the above, nothing can be achieved simply by condemning saffron forces. On the contrary Congress which is outwardly showing false and opportunistic sympathy with Muslims will have to explain as to what it has done for the welfare, development and safety of Muslims during its rule for 54 years. As regards BJP, it is in power for four years only.
Because of the hypocritical policy of Congress, fascist and obscurantist forces have occupied many important sectors of the country and the process of distortion of democracy is going on. Saffronite have succeeded in bringing in a new speaker in Parliament. It is feared that they may succeed in having their own man as the President of the Republic. The way in which Mamta and Telugu Desam have been keeping silent over important issues shows that they do not want to be at a disadvantage by remaining aloof from NDA at any cost. Hence all of them are silent with the result that BJP has not only a clear majority in the Lok Sabha but it requires only 20 more supporters to attain a two-thirds majority. (After taming Naidu, BJP has virtually become NDA).
If, God forbid, this situation continues, it is not difficult to imagine what will be the fate of Muslims and democracy. I am afraid, history of Germany is repeating itself in India. In this connection it would be relevant to refer to the poem of the famous German Pastor Martin Niemoeller which he wrote for the Nazis:
‘First the Nazis came for the Communists; and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews; and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. When they came for the trade unionists I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a trade unionist. And when they came for the Catholics I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me... and by that time there was no one left to speak for anyone.’