Mohd Aasif | Clarion India
NEW DELHI – In his reaction to BJP’s celebrations on the completion its first anniversary of its second innings in power last month, Tushar Arun Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, said the ‘new-India’ that the party had promised during its election campaign has, in fact, come into effect. He described the six years of new India as scary, horrifying and intimidating.”
Tushar Arun Gandhi was interacting with students on a Facebook page live on Monday.
Expressing concern over growing intolerance in the society, he candidly admitted, “We are divisive and deeply flawed irrespective of religion and ethnicity”.
Addressing the issue of the ‘spread of hatred and communalism in the times of coronavirus’, the author of the book, ‘Let’s Kill Gandhi’, rued that Indian society is divided into numerous factions, socially and politically at many levels.
Dwelling on the possible steps to deal with the situation, Gandhi emphasised on the need for introspection at the individual as well as societal level. “It is time to hold mirror to ourselves,” he emphasised.
During the interaction, Tushar Arun Gandhi, who is a journalist by profession, categorised the reactions of people to the adverse developments taken place in recent past into silence, intolerance, and indifference. People of India cannot claim to be a nation unless they are united, he averred.
“The silence,” he said, “is selective. People are not speaking against something unless it directly affects them. They are silent because they are not Muslim, Kashmiri or Dalits.”
During the initial days of Coronavirus lockdown, partisan mainstream media picked on Muslim community and labeled them as peddlers of the virus. Consequently, people started boycotting Muslims while non-Muslims identified themselves through Hindu flagship. Gandhi noted, “Pandemic of hate, intolerance and prejudice are becoming the second nature of our society which we chose to ignore.”
The author accused the government of exploiting the pandemic. “The government is silently persecuting the students of JNU, AMU and JMI without being given a chance to speak,” he said. This way, he asserts that ‘dictatorship’ has come through the back door, but the people have kept their lips sealed.
In the recent past, migrant workers from every nook and corner of the country have returned to their native places. Online monologue drew attention towards their ordeal. In his view, the country is witnessing the ‘greatest-panic-stricken-desperate’ exodus from metros of the working population.
Recalling the history of involvement of Mahatma Gandhi in the Khilafat movement, he said it was to reassure that being a minority does not mean to lose their voice. This is despite the fact that the Khilafat Movement had nothing to do with India. He asked, “Are we reassuring the migrant workers that they too are wanted in our lives?”
The government is silent on the issues of migrant workers’ exodus. Special trains meant for migrant workers lost their ways claiming the lives of more one hundred and 50 people. He said, “The government has to be for the people, but it does not care for the common people.”
The country has witnessed one of the greatest movements in the history of Independent India against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. A large section of intellectuals, academicians and right activists has opposed the Act. Gandhi said the Act was ‘subverting’ the ‘Idea of India’. “People who never accepted the Idea of India are today very systematically subverting it”.