V.K. Tripathi


Gandhi, the person who stood firmly against oppression and fanaticism, is still alive in the hearts of millions of poor masses. However, large sections of Indian affluent classes have developed so much hate for him that they are lavishing praise on his assassin. They view the leader of the organization which spread this venom as the fortune maker of India.


The British considered Gandhi as the most dangerous man of their empire. The passion and technique with which Gandhi fought imperialism, racism, and communalism, brought unprecedented courage and strength to the masses. Gandhi saw the agony of the people, undeterred by their caste, religion, region or nationality. His soul revolted against slavery and exploitation. He was the author of indigenous struggle. His doctrine of satyagraha required people to fight on their own strength without any external help.


Indians in South Africa were a tiny minority, mostly working classes. Gandhi mobilized them to defy the racist laws, challenging the empire. The struggle continued for 20 years, ten thousand people suffered imprisonment, but it emerged victorious.


In 1915 Gandhi returned to India. At that time the terror of landlords, money lenders, police and officers reigned high. Exploitation was acute. Famines occurred regularly, killings millions of people. There were a few revolutionaries engaged in sporadic activities. Congress had stalwarts but lacked cadre and programs of action that could involve masses. Gandhi, within two years of his arrival, launched farmers and workers’ satyagrahas that removed fear from their minds. And brought them into the mainstream of politics. By making a Dalit family a member of his ashram, he heralded a struggle against caste inequality. The removal of untouchability and opening up of temples and wells to the depressed classes in every village became a major program of Congress campaign. This was opposed by the zamindars, the prominent link of the colonial power in the countryside. Thus the program became an active opposition to the alien rule. By bringing charkha into the centre of political struggle, he made economic exploitation as the main issue of freedom movement. Khadi became a symbol of revolution. Hindu-Muslim unity was Gandhi’s heart beat. In South Africa both the Hindus and the Muslims had stood up for satyagraha. In India too both participated together in all the movements. In 1857 they had fought together and almost forced the British out.


As the satyagraha and non-cooperation movements shook the colonial power, affluent sections, subservient to the British, built sectarian networks –  Hindu Mahasabha, Muslim League (these two organizations were initially in favour of freedom) and RSS. For them biggest enemies of Hindus were not the British in power but hard working Muslim masses and Muslims’ enemy were poor Hindus. This venom of sectarianism was so effective in the service of imperialism that even now it is the prime tool of neo-imperialism and capitalism. Gandhi made serious efforts to stop it and met with significant success for 2 decades. However, during the Quit India movement when the Congress leaders and workers were imprisoned, the communalists succeeded in creating a deep sectarian divide, leading to eruption of massive violence. The 1943 famine, that killed 2 million people in Bengal, also provided Communalists a façade to blame Hindus for their higher percentage among the traders who became instantly rich through hoarding. The demands of partition of Punjab and Bengal in early months of 1947 by Non-Muslim League parties also advanced the cause of partition.


In no corner of Gandhi’s mind, there was any difference between Hindus and Muslims. He would feel the oppression of any one like his own. When the volcano of violence erupted, he jumped into it while the government gave encouragement to rioters.


Now again passions are being built through the farce of religious conversion, glorification of killers, branding of natives as foreigners, communalising educational institutions, and manipulating media. We must rise to rewrite the text of freedom again. Please join us at Gandhi Samadhi, Rajghat on January 30, 2015 at 11 AM.


(Sadbhav Mission)

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