When will Salman Khurshid go beyond half-truths and tell the full truth?

He has had to ‘clarify’ even that half-truth in order to help the party wriggle out of the acute embarrassment his remark has caused

Salman Khurshid 's half truth
Salman Khurshid 's half truth

Khurshid said that he was not just a representative of the Congress but the Congress itself

When senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid says that his party has blood on its hands for the various instances of communal violence during its rule since independence, he is only speaking half the truth. And he has had to ‘clarify’ even that half-truth in order to help the party wriggle out of the acute embarrassment his remark has caused. Khurshid was responding to a question by a student at Aligarh Muslim University, and it is obvious from the context that he meant the ‘blood of Muslims’. The other half of the truth is that the party has the blood of Hindus on its hands as well because even members of the majority community lost their lives in the innumerable communal clashes during the Congress’s reign. Let us also not forget that it has the blood of Sikhs as well.

The Congress never officially endorsed the pragmatic remark

Why then did Khurshid only remembers the death of Muslims? It can be argued that he was addressing a specific query about the loss of Muslim lives in communal riots. That may be so, and yet the Congress leader could have risen above the question and pointed out that the lives of thousands of innocent Indians, regardless of their religious affiliation, had been snuffed out in such violence. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its partners may be toasting him today for the bold ‘confession’, but it was the same Khurshid who had said that Sonia Gandhi had tears when she heard of the death of (Muslim) militants in the Batla House encounter. Also, Khurshid had not said a word of protest when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at an official event that Muslims had the first right to the country’s resources.

Nonetheless, his ‘bold admission’ comes at an inopportune time for the Congress. The party is facing a difficult Assembly election in Karnataka and his acceptance of guilt on behalf of the party — when questioned by the media, he actually said that he was not just a representative of the Congress but the Congress itself, since he ‘lived and breathed Congress’ — has given a handy stick to the BJP to beat the Congress with. Moreover, the admission of culpability is not going to amuse the Muslim community, sections of which could possibly shift to the Janata Dal (Secular) in the State. Incidentally, this is the second self-goal Khurshid has scored against his party; only days ago he had criticised the move led by the Congress to impeach the Chief Justice of India and added that he had not been kept in the loop.

If Khurshid wants to have his moment of glory, let that not be denied. But since he also talked at the AMU event of the need to learn lessons from history, he ought to demonstrate further boldness in admitting that historically the Congress has been less than fair to Hindu sentiments in its quest to appease the minorities. It treated with disdain, for instance, several attempts by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to highlight the issue. When leaders of the Christian and the Muslim communities appealed for brotherhood with the majority religionist, Tilak had said that “it would happen when all other people also behaved well towards the Hindus”. The Congress never officially endorsed the pragmatic remark. Tilak was left to fight his battles alone. Not just that, the party pitted the ‘moderate’ Gopal Krishna Gokhale to counter Tilak.

when he next develops the spine, Salman Khurshid can confess to his party’s these other blunders as well

Another example, even more brazenly communal, was the Congress’s support to the Khilafat movement (1919-24). A bunch of Muslim leaders had initiated a drive to pressure the British regime to protect the Caliphate in faraway Turkey in the backdrop of the First World War. The issue had nothing to do with India and was a sectarian demand. The Congress argued that the alliance between it and the Muslim leaders on the subject would promote Hindu-Muslim unity in the country and assist in the freedom movement. This was a fig leaf, and just how bogus the claim was, came to be evident in a most tragic manner in the Malabar region of south India. Right in the midst of the so-called Hindu-Muslim bonhomie, Moplah Muslims went on a rampage, targeting Hindus living there. Over 100,000 Hindus were reportedly driven out of their homes, and many were massacred or forcibly converted. This is what Annie Besant had to say about the violence: “They murdered and plundered abundantly, and killed or drove away all Hindus who would not apostatise… Malabar has taught us what Islamic rule still means.” Ironically, the killings happened because the Moplahs accused the Hindus of not backing the Khilafat campaign.

While the concern for Muslim sentiments was high in the Congress, the party would suddenly become ‘secular’ when it came to dealing with Hindu sentiments. Nehru vociferously opposed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s initiative to reconstruct the historic Somnath temple which had been destroyed by Muslim invaders and relented only after Mahatma Gandhi backed the proposal on condition that the finances for the reconstruction would not come from the Government treasury but through private donations. Right through the 1920s and until independence, the Congress now effectively led by Nehru, systematically sidelined pro-Hindu (though not anti-Muslim) leaders such as Sardar Patel, Madan Mohan Malaviya and even Rajendra Prasad; Nehru was uneasy with Rajendra Prasad being President and made many efforts to cut him down to size.

So maybe, when he next develops the spine, Salman Khurshid can confess to his party’s these other blunders as well.

Rajesh Singh

Rajesh Singh

Rajesh Singh is a Delhi-based senior political commentator and public affairs analyst
Rajesh Singh

6 COMMENTS

  1. Salman Khurshid is a great liar and a hindu hater behind the sauve demeanour that he tries to put up to cover his true feelings. The BJP & its spoksperson would do well to avoid praising him over such deceitful & malafide statements. What Salman Kurshid and his forefathers try to propagate from 1947 till date is that they did a big favour to Hindus by staying in India rather than going to Pakistan. Kurshid always tries to promote the hypothesis that only muslims suffered during partition & after it in the hands of the Hindus. He delibrately avoids the fact that equal nos of hindus were uprooted from Pakistan& BanglaDesh and were and still are being subjected to ethinc cleansing even inside india. Since Modi became PM Kurshid at the instance of his political masters has taken his false propaganda to the next level by becoming a global hate Modi propagandist. His mere not supporting of the impeachment motion of the CJI should not make the BJP feel good about him and support his blatantly false & misleading statements.

  2. The heinous crime of partition of our Motherland was done by Jawaharlal Nehru and when 90% of Congress Working Committee Members voted for Sardar Vallabhai Patel for the Position of Congress President and Free India’s First Prime Ministership, this notorious womaniser Jawahar Nehru threatened to expose Mohandas Karamchand Gadhi and black mailed him to accept him as Free India’s first Prime Ministership, otherwise he would break the Congress Party and with the active help of British Govt would become the Prime Minister, he thundered. It is true history. Even Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi [ Pls note I have NOT addressed him as Mahatma ] requested him to allow Mohammed Ali Jinnah to become Free India’s First Prime Minister for avoiding partition of our Country, [ as Jinnah was afflicted with serious diseases and his personal physician confided to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi that Jinnah would live for maximum six – eight months after 15-08-1947. Jawahar can continue as Dy Prime Minister under Mohammed Ali Jinnah and after his eventual death he would be elevated as undivided India’s Prime Minister. Jawahar turned down the proposal and threatened partition with British help and he would become Prime Minister with, without and inspite of Congress. Such is his patriotism and democratic credentials. Like No.10 Downing Street in London, Teen Murti Bhavan should be Made permanent place of incumbent Prime Minister’s Residence throwing away all the filthy material of Jawahar Nehru. Similarly, Shantivan should be made a permanent place of crematorium for all serving / retired India’s Prime Ministers and Presidents.

    Narendra Modi has miserably failed to resurrect and record the true story of India’s Independence in the last four years of his tenure.

  3. It is clear that minority appeasement and anti-Hindu sentiments exist in Congress right from Jawaharlal Nehru. It is quite happy that atleast one bold and explicit dissenting voice is heard from Mr. Khurshid Ji against the ill motivated Impeachment Motion. Congress is a democratic institution and not a one man show. When it is established, that day only Congress will regain its respect.

  4. An admission by Mr. Kurshid . I would prefer to appreciate his openness than to fault him for it as the Congress would like to do.

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