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First cut is deepest

First cut is deepest

Author: Priyadarsi Dutta
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: December 21, 2002

During the infamous Noakhali riots of 1946, where the Hindu minority was ravaged, the visit of Gandhiji, along with Sucheta Kripalini, Renuka Roy and Sneharani Kanjilal, greatly helped restore peace. Gandhiji went to a village called Kadihati and planted a jackfruit sapling as a symbol of peace in the compound of the Kadihati High School. Over the years, the sapling grew into a tree, first in East Pakistan, then in Bangladesh, alongside a diminutive and steadily declining minority community.

A couple of years ago, Muslim fundamentalists felled the tree to make way for a mosque (p 114, Hindu Samproday Keno Bangladesh Tyag Korche, Salam Azad). It was obviously less necessary to erect a mosque inside a school than for Islam to disavow the pre-Islamic past or political legacy. During the Noakhali riots, a Muslim had asked Gandhiji to dismantle the Indian National Congress flag flying atop his camp, and Gandhiji had obliged him without thinking twice.

Subhas Chandra Bose, in his famous essay on Gandhi, had observed that while Gandhiji could understand his friends he did not understand his enemy (the British). I would say Gandhiji could not even read the mind of the Muslims he treated as his friends, though less than five per cent of them subscribed to the 'secular' Congress. He had some queer political fantasies on Hindu- Muslim unity. One was that partition of the country would in no way affect the activities of the Congress in the seceding territories: The party would function there as before.

Another was his wanting to spend the rest of his life in West or East Pakistan, and planning to resettle Hindus and Sikhs uprooted from there. When he died, MA Jinnah referred to him as a great "Hindu", not Indian, leader in a condolence message. So if after his lifelong effort to bridge the unbridgeable Hindu-Muslim chasm, he qualified as no more than a 'Hindu leader', so in the country of 'Mian Musharraf', he fares no better than Sardar Patel or Savarkar.

Secularists have condemned the recent Gujarat riots, by saying the State is "Gandhi's Gujarat". Ironically, Gujarat is also the State of Jinnah who said that he would either have India divided or destroyed. I wonder if these proxy-Islamists ever deplored that the province of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, the NWFP (which had voted all out for the Congress in 1946 Interim elections), is now the epicentre of fundamentalism in Pakistan. Gandhiji could not comprehend this de-nationalising and de-Indianising effect of Islam.

Gujarat was awarded to India in 1947 not in honour of Gandhiji but for the plain fact it was overwhelmingly Hindu. Contrarily, terrorists are ruling the roast in the land of the Sapta Sindhu where Vedic sages sang the song of cosmic harmony. Those who torched the Sabarmati Express at Godhra proved they didn't subscribe to the Sabarmati Ashram's cherished values. The hymn Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, in which Gandhiji inserted "Ishwar-Allah tero naam", failed once again because Islamic believers do not recognise Ishwar. It is time Gandhi's political progeny-let us call it the Gandhi tree-and the communists, who reign in the State of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, realise all their political epistemology is valid only till the ground beneath their feet is Hindu. Else they would be cut down like Gandhi's jackfruit tree by the iconoclasts of Islam. To this end at least we need the RSS, the VHP and Narendra Modi, as much as we do a Hindu- Sikh army to protect the border, particularly for the ivory tower secularists.

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