Skip to main content

Indira Gandhi's martyrdom: Congress became 'precursor' to Hindutva dominance

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
This last day of October reminds us the brutal assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her own security guards who were supposed to protect her. Since June 1984, when Indira Gandhi ordered Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Sikh feelings were tremendously hurt, but there was no attempt to assuage the feelings.
Somehow every Sikh became a 'terrorist' and victim of a sinister campaign of humiliation. I still feel, those times were much better than today, because we did not have these goons who threaten people from their newsrooms and instigate violence against them.
Can you imagine, what would have been the role of this media in a powerful government of Rajiv Gandhi? Doordarshan was showing the dead body of Indira Gandhi for many days, as people were shouting slogan : "Khoon ka badla khoon se lenge."
As Indira Gandhi brought colour TV revolution to India, people watched the entire thing on their TV screens and were being fed with all the 'sarkaari' reports every moment. It was perhaps the first 24x7 'spectacle' for the TV media to extend its outreach, as for a few days newspaper sales increased, and in smaller places where we used to live, newspapers would be sold off before reaching homes.
There was only Doordarshan and All India Radio. They were doing their duty, but there were no shouting party spokespersons inside the studio, like what we are witnessing in these times, who would perhaps have launched a direct campaign against Sikhs. The media that time was silent and was just doing its duty as per the government order.
Doordarshan-Akashwani would stop all the programmes, and we would just listen to some classical music, but on Indira Gandhi's assassination day, till the evening 6 pm, everything was shut. We were depending on external sources like BBC, which declared that she was shot dead, but there was no official word about it.
Though she was shot at her home in the morning time around 9 am, the official announcement of her death came at 6 pm on radio and television simultaneously. When I imagine what would have happened if Indira Gandhi was in today's time, or if there were all these 24x7 TV channels.
Violence erupted or was made to erupt by goons of the Congress,  but it was not merely an issue of the Congress. In her death, Indira Gandhi had become, or was projected as a great Hindu leader killed by Sikhs. So, subsequently we saw, a 'Hindu' outrage; though we conveniently called it Congress goons; it was not so. Congress had become a Hindu party, a party of Hindu sentiments. Rajiv Gandhi called Indira Gandhi Bharat Mata in his first broadcast to the nation.
It was violence or pogrom, whatever we may call it, but the fact is the Indian state completely abdicated its duty. The goons whether of the Congress or any other persuasion, whether Hindus or not, had complete protection from the administration and its police.
It was like a national 'resolving' to 'teach' Sikhs a lesson. Innocent children lost their parents. We never saw such brutality since partition the of India, such butchering of families. Home Minister P V Narsimha Rao sat silently, allowing goons to do all the things and the police remained quiet.
All over the country, there was a pattern, a whisper campaign against Sikhs, as if they has killed Indira Gandhi. This is a serious question to ponder over. Why do we blame the entire community if some crime is done by individuals belonging to that community?
Muslims have been punished for that, and Dalits, too. Sikh got the punishment because the murderers of Indira Gandhi happened to be two Sikhs. But the murderers of Rajiv Gandhi were Hindus, while that of Gandhiji was a Brahmin.
Subsequently we saw, a 'Hindu' outrage; though we conveniently called it Congress goons; it was not so
But we never saw that kind of isolation and condemnation of these communities. It means that the dominant sections define the discourse on whom to vilify and whom to glorify. That is why Gandhiji's murderers are still being glorified, and nothing happens to them.
Today when we moan the brutal murder of Indira Gandhi, remember her legacy, we cannot keep our eyes shut that Sikhs were butchered and murdered in the aftermath of her assassination that it was a complete abdication of the state rajdharma. It was a project Hindu Rashtra, this time under Rajiv's Congress, where Sikhs were vilified and Rajiv became the symbol of Hindu asmita.
If we are living in these terrible times when Indian state apparatus has turned Brahmanical then the project started since the return of Indira Gandhi in 1980. It got strengthened in her unfortunate assassination in 1984.
India is paying a heavy price today for the games that the Congress played during this period in the absence of fighting the issue ideologically. It tried to sail through the same boat of communal polarisation which resulted in a massive mandate for Rajiv Gandhi -- it was a victory of the Hindu Rashtra.
Subsequently, Rajiv Gandhi's flirtation and the Congress' complete ideological bankruptcy paved the way for the Hindutva forces, whose cherished dream to rule India was realised in May 2014. Its second mandate of 2019, has further strengthened their position.
Today is the day not merely to remember Indira Gandhi and her contribution to our polity, but also the Congress' failure to fight communal forces ideologically by virtually becoming the B team of Hindutva, resulting in legitimacy and ascendancy of hate mongers in the power structure.
---
*Human rights defender. Source: Author's Facebook timeline

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include 350.org , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).