Hypocrisy at its best

  • It was a member of Modi’s party, the RSS, who assassinated Gandhi


In an article published in The New York Times on October, on the eve of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi quoted eminent international personalities like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Albert Einstein to eulogise his creed of non-violence, maintaining that his message had global significance and stressed that India at the moment needed a leader like him. In a message directed at the people of India and the world at large he said “Let us work shoulder to shoulder to make our world prosperous and free from hate, violence and suffering. That is when we will fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream, summed up in his favourite hymn, Vaishnava Jana To, which says that a true human is one who feels other’s pain, removes misery and is never arrogant.”

Looking at track record of Narendra Modi, his preaching of non-violence, making the world free from hate and feeling the pain of others, is nothing but hypocrisy at its best. How can the world forget that Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by one of the members of RSS, Nathuram Godse? He resented the accommodating attitude of Gandhi towards Muslims. Gandhi went on hunger strike till death to protest against the decision of the Indian government to hold back financial share of Pakistan, which was ultimately withdrawn. That probably was the immediate cause of Godse killing him which amply demonstrated the hate and animosity towards Muslims of the RSS.

Modi himself is a life member of that racist entity and he is also held responsible for the massacre of Muslims in Gujrat in 2002. During the episode, young girls were sexually assaulted, burned or hacked to death. These rapes were condoned by the ruling BJP, whose refusal to intervene led to the displacement of 200,000 Muslims. Death toll figures range from the official estimate of 790 to 2,000 Muslims killed. The then Chief Minister, Narendra Modi was held responsible for initiating and condoning the violence, as were the police and government officials who took part, as they directed the rioters and gave lists of Muslim-owned properties to the extremists.

In 2007, Tehelka magazine released a report titled “The Truth: Gujarat 2002,” which implicated the state government in the violence, and claimed that what had been called a spontaneous act of revenge was, in reality, a state-sanctioned pogrom. According to Human Rights Watch, the violence in Gujarat in 2002 was pre-planned and the police and state government participated in its perpetration.

Since Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India in 2014 there has been an exponential increase in violence against minority communities, particularly Muslims, due to the communal policies pursued by the BJP government. Right Wing Hindutva groups with support from government and elected members of Parliament and state legislatures have raised the level of violence against Muslim community. Hundreds of Muslim traders and dairy farm owners, reportedly, have been attacked and assaulted by mobs and goons of RSS in the name of cow protection. Till now 42 people have been lynched and killed and more than 142 have been disabled during the attacks.

Modi’s article is a crude attempt to mislead the world about what India stands for under him. How could an admirer of Gandhi be so callous, and a dehumanised individual? The fact is that he is a man with a black face wearing a white mask

Indian atrocities in IOK also represent a strong repudiation of the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence. According to figures compiled by different Human Rights Organisations including Amnesty International, since January 1989 till 31st August 2019, the Indian security forces have killed 95,438 people including 7128 custodial killings, gang-raped 11,140 women and destroyed 109,409 homes. Since Modi’s becoming Prime Minister, the killing spree in IOK has assumed new dimensions. Since the killing of a Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Wani in 2016 freedom movement has gained a new momentum and the Indian security forces have also raised the level of oppression in the Valley. Reportedly, since July 2016, 1031 people have been killed, more than 27,000 subjected to torture, 11,858 have been arrested, 10,298 injured with pallet guns, 3306 homes have been demolished and 933 women have been gang-raped.

The story did not end there. Modi government has unilaterally scrapped Article 370 of the Indian Constitution ending the special status of IOK. The people of Kashmir have been under siege for more than 66 days due to curfew and communication blockade, creating a humanitarian crisis. Yet another ranting example of Modi’s anti-Muslim mind-set is depriving 1.9 million Bengali Muslims in Assam of Indian citizenship and the envisaged plan to shift them to detention camps. Stripping them of Indian citizenship and the pogrom of Kashmiris are the outcomes of the implementation of the fascist and supremacist ideology of ‘Hindutva’.

The abuse of human rights in IOK has been documented by the Amnesty International and other global human rights entities. Reports compiled by UNHCR also corroborate the precarious human rights situation in Kashmir. No wonder the Human Rights Council expressed grave concern on the state of affairs in IOK and the international media has also been regularly reporting the oppression being perpetrated on the people of the Valley.

In the light of the foregoing realities, Modi’s article is a crude attempt to mislead the world about what India stands for under him. How could an admirer of Gandhi be so callous, and a dehumanised individual? The fact is that he is a man with a black face wearing a white mask. I am sure the soul of Gandhi must be writhing in pain to see his preaching being torn to shreds.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was right on money to warn the world about the dangers posed to peace and security of the region by the fascist ideology of the RSS and to seek intervention of the UN and the world community to stop India in its tracks before it could trigger a tragedy of cataclysmic proportions with implications beyond the region. The racist policies unfurled by the Indian government and the persecution of Muslims will surely lead to radicalisation of the oppressors.