I remember that the gentleman who moved the motion here last time, in August 1947, when asking for separate electorates, I believe, said that the Muslims today were a very strong, well-knit and well-organised minority. Very good. A minority that could force the partition of the country is not a minority at all. Why do you think that you are a minority? If you are a strong, well-knit and well-organised minority, why do you want to claim safeguards, why do you want to claim privileges? It was all right when there was a third party: but that is all over. That dream is a mad dream and it should be forgotten altogether”
– Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during the discussion on Report of the Advisory Committee on Minorities etc, Constituent Assembly Debates, Volume 8, May 26, 1949
The desecration of a Durga Temple in Chandni Chawk area of Delhi and resignation letter of Rahul Gandhi may look like some disconnected events having no correlation. To some extent this is true as Rahul Gandhi did not resign in a response to temple desecration. Still if we go into the nuances of the mindset behind the incidents and the reasons for the downfall of the Congress, there is a direct correlation which Rahul Gandhi failed to understand.
Whatever may be the root cause, taking law in the hands and vandalising a place of worship is not acceptable. It has happened because it had been happening in the history and the mindset of iconoclasm was systematically neglected and nurtured. Firstly, it is the British who nurtured it and then the Congress led by Nehru-Gandhi family overlooked it in the name of ‘Secularism’. This vandalising mindset, classically rooted in the Wahabi Islamic Iconoclasm, exists since the series of Islamic invasions that attacked the original ‘Idea of Bharat’. From Gazhnavis and Ghauris, this is the same pattern that is used to undermine and attack the indigenous traditions and practices. The theological foundations justifying the action of attacking or assertively rejecting cherished beliefs and institutions or established values and practices and even destruction of religious images, just because you do not believe in them, is against the real ‘Idea of Bharat’.
Even though the Gandhis suddenly flaunt their Hindu identity during elections, the dynasty that virtually turned the Congress party into a fiefdom never bothered to stand against the mindset that desecrate not just temples but also Bharatiyata alongwith it. Throughout his letter, Rahul Gandhi talked about ‘accountability’, ‘ideology’ and his fight against ‘BJP-RSS’ with ‘Idea of Bharat’ as central theme of contention. Firstly, there is nothing new that he is arguing for and during elections people did not resonate with this position. Secondly and most importantly, the presumption that this ‘idea’ was originated by the dynastic rulers, to save common masses of Bharat is dangerous. Such self-eulogising presumption negates the very existence Bharat since time immemorial and gives space for the mindset that attacks the essence of Bharat that celebrates diversity.
Though Congress has always talked about the ‘ideology’, it always remained silent on explaining the content of that ideology, especially since it turned into the dynastic party. Piggybacking communists, who again defend all ways and means that desecrate the idea of Bharat and actually provide cover to the Iconoclasm practiced by the fundamentalists, is the easy route that the dynasty followed.
This was a clear departure from the vision of our Constitution makers and from the advice given by stalwarts like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who was also the chairman of Advisory Committee on Minority Rights in the Constituent Assembly. The iconoclasm expressed by a Muslim group has given an opportunity not just for Congress but for all the political parties to resurrect this philosophical position that there is no majority or minority in Bharat. Perhaps, the instruction given by the Supreme Court to the Minority Commission can further pave the way to come out of the perils of minoritarianism that resulted in the Partition of Bharat Mata.