Glimpses of Gandhi's Ghost !! Episode I

By Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar
27 April 2013 22:30 IST

As a rule I do not believe in ghosts. Seriously. There is, however, one exception -- Gandhi's ghost !

Gandhi was himself a devout Hindu - to the core. But he always wanted a secular nation. Contrast this with Jinnah. Jinnah never followed a single Islamic principle in his personal life. Yet he wanted an Islamic nation. Had entire India been with Gandhi in his demand for a secular nation the British could never have successfully promoted Jinnah. India- Pakistan partition would never have happened.

But then we are Indians. Never united. Always preoccupied with religion, caste and gender. We failed Gandhi. Then we killed Gandhi.

We thought Gandhi was dead. So we forgot Gandhi. We became self centered, money and fame seeking. We started believing in religious supremacy. We started believing in violence. We forgot all that Gandhi stood for.

But did Gandhi forget us? No, I think.

It was 27th April 2013. A strange incident occurred.Around 8 am a lawyer friend of mine from Mumbai called up.

"Did you read that?" He yelled into his phone.

"Read what?" I asked.

"The SIT counsel Mr Jamuar asked in Supreme Court whether Modi should have gone with an AK-47 in his hand to control the rioting mob in 2002!"

My friend was an ardent supporter of Modi. He was a true Maharashtrian Hindutvawaadi.He firmly believed in the SIT clean chit to Mr Narendra Modi in the post Godhra riots in Gujarat in 2002 where over 1200 Muslims were killed in retaliation to the killing of 52 Hindus at the Godhra train incident.

"You mean Advocate Jamuar actually spoke as if he was Modi's agent in the Supreme Court?" I asked him. "Unbelievable!" I thought to myself. How can a senior Supreme Court lawyer make such a mistake in court?

"Yes!" He said. "In fact the lawyer for the Citizens' Forum for Justice and Peace Mr. Mihir Desai objected to this and asked why SIT was defending Modi!"

Amazed at this turn of events I inadvertently glanced at a small portrait of Gandhi in my room. At first glance I thought I saw a reassuring smile on Gandhi's face, in his portrait! Shocked, I looked again. No - it wasn't there.

"What's going on?" I pondered to myself as I kept the phone down.

The slow but visible tilt of some segments of Muslims in Gujarat towards Modi was coinciding with the marginalization of the VHP in the state. In the run-up to the assembly elections in Gujarat, one could sense the complete banishment of the rowdy elements in the VHP- Bajarang Dal to the fringes. This had come as a great relief to the beleaguered Muslim community of Gujarat.

With Modi's third consecutive win in Gujarat, Togadia's conflict with Modi had become both political and personal.

Now it looks as if Mohan Bhagwat and Togadia are on one side and Modi on the other. The RSS has sacked two of its senior editors for pro- Modi articles.

And how is it that a veteran RSS ideologue and a strong proponent of Hindutva like Govindacharya says, and I quote, "BJP and RSS have no consensus. The relationship between RSS and BJP is not the same as it used to be. In Madhya Pradesh, RSS is running the Government. But if you see in other states, say Gujarat, Narendra Modi is the subedar who doesn't care about BJP, Sangh or any other structure. He gives no importance to RSS or BJP. In the remaining states, where there is a BJP Government, the cadres feel that their government is even more corrupt than the Congress's. So they never come out in the open."

Govindacharya said this in Hardnews.

A few days back, the Firstpost reported Modi as recalling the 2002 riots and saying, "Innocent people were killed, atmosphere was tense and emotions were running high. Any way you look at it, it was a shameful blot on the image of vibrant Gujarat." He went on to say, "For that failing of the state Government, I offer my unequivocal apology."

Why would Nitish Kumar say in his speech at the national council and executive meeting of the Janata Dal (United) "Yeh desh gale milane se chalega .... kabhi topi bhi pahanani padegi, kabhi teeka bhi lagwaanaa padega..."

Is Modi turning India Hindu or is India turning Modi secular ?

As 2014 nears Congress, UPA, NDA, Modi and all others come face to face with the reality that only a person or a coalition or a party with genuinely secular credentials can rule India.

Isn't this strange? Isn't this as if there is some force somewhere that is constantly watching India ? Continuously ensuring that the head that wears the crown is forever secular ?

You may ask me why I call this post episode 1. I am, in fact, convinced that in the run-up to 2014 elections I will get more glimpses of Gandhi's ghost.

As and when I get them, I will let you know.

Blogger's Profile

Dr Mukul Pai Raiturkar

Dr Mukul R Pai Raiturkar is a consultant pediatrician & neonatologist practicing in Margao. He is the co-convener of Ami Goenkar, an organisation of secular young Goans working towards a novel approach to religious-political issues of Goa. Son of veteran Goan freedom fighter Mr Ravindranath Pai Raiturkar, he exudes unshakable faith in a liberal, secular and free spirited democracy of India.

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@Rajan Kamat and Mukul,

You are absolutely right. Just like Daud Ibrahim cannot justify his murders by pointing fingers to Chota Rajan BJP cannot justify its crimes by pointing fingers at congress. you have already said it all. just a few things i want to add. these bjp big mouths justify their gujrat riots by anti sikh delhi riots. in delhi riots only 2 leaders of delhi congress are blamed. sajjan kumar and titler. out of the 2 titler always maintained that he was on that day in front of indira gandhis dead body all the day and whole incedent was live on doordarshan. i too remember seeing him on TV. Sajjan kumar is released for lack of proof. what BJP keeps silance that actual gang of goondas who committed the riots was a then newly formed gang by name "Bajarang Dal". the name itself was coined in contras to "Akali Dal". Further this gang started carring a 3 blade chakku which they called "Trishul" because sikhs carry "cripan". The kingpin of the whole riots was delhi RSS leader by name "Prem Shrama". Now these people sing a different song but we old timers have a good memory of the whole thing.

- shiv, aldona | 02 nd May 2013 12:49


सुण्याक खयीय मार तो दाव्या पायांर कूटटा आनीन आर एस एसाक खयीय मार तो गांधीचेर नडटा. सुयोग बाब Typical Sangh Parivar arguement. Whenever one points out at their sin they begin to point at the sins of congress.

Both are today two sides of the same coin and in both parties there are ample number of chamchaas who constantly react to rational thinking. Keep it up dotor Mukul.

- Rajan Kamat, Feira Alto, Mapusa | 01 st May 2013 18:02


Many years back i distinctly remember when the then popular speaker PA Sangma was asked in an interview whether he considered himself to be a potential PM candidate. he said something like this, " In this great country there are certain posts which you cannot aspire for like being the PM. Only the hand of God can place you there'.

I believe he called it right and my personal opinion is that in the recent past barring AB Vajpayee and Indira Gandhi all PM's have been an accident of democracy. Rajiv Gandhi, VP singh, Chandrashekhar, IK Gujral, Deve Gowda , Narasimha Rao and more lately Manmohan singh.

My take is that which ever way India votes it will not be Rahul or Modi rather P chidambaran, kamal nath or sushma swaraj could be in running for PM..Accident of democracy.

- Rabin Gonsalves, Kuwait | 30 th April 2013 16:11


Dear Suyog Bhobe,

Are you trying to say that because Rajiv did not face scrutiny Modi should not face it too ?

It is conveniently forgotten that Rajiv was the Prime Minister during the riots. That was one of the reasons why he escaped scrutiny. This is exactly the reason why scrutiny of Modi's actions must complete before the 2014 elections which may put Modi in Rajiv's seat.

Moreover even as I write this the fate of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar would be decided when a Delhi court is scheduled to pronounce its judgement in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case in which he and five others are accused. If convicted under section 302 of the IPC, the accused would have to face minimum sentence of life imprisonment and the maximum punishment would be death penalty.

I am distressed that educated Indians do not make effort to learn from history. Historically speaking too it is wrong to draw a comparison between 1984 riots and 2002 riots. While all riots must be condemned resolutely and criminals brought to book, conditions preceeding 1984 riots were excetional and not as lame as killing of 52 odd Hindus at Godhra. In June 1984, during Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian Army to secure the Golden Temple and eliminate insurgents, as it had been occupied by Sikh Separatists who were stockpiling weapons. Later operations by Indian paramilitary forces were initiated to clear the separatists from the countryside of Punjab. During this peripheral operation thousands of innocent Sikh civilians were killed. Repercussion of this was the assassination of Indira by her Sikh bodyguards. Sikh separatism coupled with assassination of a Prime Minister resulted in hatred against Sikh community.

The unique trend in this country to make politics at the cost of lives of ordinary citizens must be eradicated ruthlessly. It does not matter whether Rajiv follows it or Sajjan Kumar or Tytler or Modi.

- Mukul, Margao, Goa | 30 th April 2013 11:25


Was Gandhi's ghost asleep when Congress party goons slaughtered thousands of innocent Sikhs in 1984 and their leader Rajiv Gandhi (who justified the massacre by saying: "when a big tree falls the ground is bound to shake") became the PM? He never faced the kind of scrutiny Modi has faced.

- Suyog bhobe, US | 30 th April 2013 04:02



of course mr.modi will do everything to " secularise " his image prior to 2014

he needs to win the top crown desperately

and there's a good chance that he will keep the sulking peace between all communities at least for media and international diplomacy considerations.

where i think mr. modi will not compromise on, will be the carte blanche to all corporates - both national and international.

if this brings him into conflict with the left, with rural india, with environmentalists and other activists and indeed the RSS which has always propounded a swadeshi economic model so be it.

HE will have many a trick how to crush this dissent

Gandhi may be smiling on the secular spin but he and many from BHARAT may have many tears to shed if and when mr modi comes to power

India's new tryst with destiny begins now READY STEADY GO!!!!

- oscar rebelo, goa | 28 th April 2013 20:07


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