Congress and the UPA have caused more damage to Indian polity, society and economy as compared to the damage England cause to India between 1600 and 1947.
Why is the Sonia Gandhi-controlled Congress destroying India socially, culturally, economically and politically; undermining the country’s democratic and constitutional institutions; and weakening the Indian State itself? This is the question which most people have started asking following the recent meeting between UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Indian Overseas Congress leaders in London and what Corbyn said about what transpired during the meet through a tweet. Corbyn’s tweet read like this: “A very productive meeting with UK representatives from the Indian Congress Party where we discussed the human rights situation in Kashmir. There must be de-escalation and an end to the cycle of violence and fear which has plagued the region for so long”.
The answer to the questions being asked and raised by the concerned Indians about the Congress’ intentions is simple and straight. The Congress was not founded by the Indians for achieving freedom from imperialist Great Britain, which started interfering in the political affairs of India and exploiting the Indian weaknesses and natural resources through the canny, notorious and barbarous East India Company in 1600 A.D.
Between 1885 and 1947, the Congress served as a “safety-valve” for the Indian discontent. It was no more than “annual forum” whose deliberations were given what certain leading historians call “exaggerated significance”.
What happened in India between 1600 and 1857 in general and 1858 and 1885, in particular, is too well known to students of Indian history and, hence, no need to recapitulate. Suffice to say that the British imperialists devised and implemented policies calculated to
(1) consolidating and expanding their rule in India;
(2) dividing the Indian society on caste and communal lines;
(3) playing one prince/Nawab against the other;
(4) looting and plundering Indian resources and draining the Indian wealth;
(5) enriching the British economy;
(6) killing the indigenous Indian industry;
(7) pushing the outposts of the Empire further and further at the cost of the Indian exchequer;
(8) proving that their culture was superior, scientific and humane;
(9) conveying the feeling that the Indian culture and religion were responsible for the ills faced by the Indian society;
(10) creating a sense of inferiority complex among the Indians and inducing them to support the British in all matters;
(11) creating a class of loyalists among the Indians first in the shape of landlords and then the English educated Indians among the middle classes; and so on.
To be more precise, they followed a policy of divide and rule, coupled with a policy of brutal repression and reward, to accomplish their designs in India. They were successful. They ruled over India and exploited and persecuted the Indians with the help of the loyalists. Their whole policy was directed more by the British than by the Indian interests.
All this ended the patience of Indians, barring the loyalists, and made them seethe with anger. By 1885, it had become clear to British imperialists and exploiters that the situation would go out of control anytime and it had become imperative to set up an organisation in India with the help of English educated Indians so that they could avert the impending disaster before it was too late. The first initiative was taken by retired British civil servant Allan Octavian Hume. According to Sir William Wedderburn, Hume’s colleague and biographer, and Lala Lajpat Rai of Punjab, the reason that prompted Hume to establish an organisation was his “anxiety to save India from disruption”. Wedderburn, who became the first chairman of the British Committee of the Indian National Congress, formed in 1889 in London, and remained in that post till the end of his life, candidly acknowledged that Hume knew that the “existing government administered by foreign officials on autocratic lines was dangerously out of touch with the people” and “there was an imminent danger of a violent revolt which might endanger British rule in India”. It bears recalling that Hume had worked in Assam as district collector for years and he knew what was going on beneath the surface.
Anxious, alarmed and religiously committed to London as he was, Hume first held discussions with the then Conservative Governor-General and Viceroy of India Lord Dufferin and then Conservative Secretary of State for India and Marquess of Salisbury Lord Randolph Churchill. Hume’s views were appreciated and he was given a free hand to take the required steps. His efforts succeeded in roping in 72 English educated Indians hailing from different parts of the country and the result was the foundation of Indian National Congress in December 1885 at Bombay (now Mumbai). The clear objective was to puncture and defeat the ongoing Indian freedom struggle against the British with the help of some “influential” and “moderate” western-educated Indians like W C Bonnerjee, who believed in “British sense of justice”. Bonnerjee presided over the first session of the Congress.
Between 1885 and 1947, the Congress served as a “safety-valve” for the Indian discontent. It was no more than “annual forum” whose deliberations were given what certain leading historians call “exaggerated significance”. Indeed, there were leaders in the Congress who were genuinely committed to the cause of the country, but they were just odd faces in the party whose views were never considered. Take, for example, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Sri Aurobindo Ghose, Bepin Chandra Pal, Lala Lajpat Rai, who represented “new Spirit”, and Subhas Chandra Bose and their fate. Those who controlled the Congress organisation did not allow these great leaders to influence Congress’s policy, which they rightly termed as “policy of political mendicancy”. The Congress split at Surat (Gujarat) in 1907 was the immediate fall-out of a conflict between the British-guided official Congress and truly nationalists like Bal, Pal and Lal. Earlier, on December 1905, when tempers were running high in the country following the partition of Bengal, President of the Benaras Congress Gopal Krishna Gokhale said while delivering his presidential address: “For better, for worse, our destinies are now linked with those of England and the Congress freely recognises that whatever advance we seek must be within the empire itself”.
As for Bose, he left the Congress in 1939 to found Forward Block so that he could fight for the independence of India the way he liked. He left the Congress because he defeated M K Gandhi’s candidate Pattabhi Sitaramayya in the 1939 presidential election. Bose had won the election for the second time in a row hands-down and commenting on the defeat of Sitaramayya, Gandhi had said that “Sitaramayya’s defeat was my personal defeat”. Earlier in December 1928 at Calcutta (now Kolkata), Gandhi and the loyalists had opposed Subhas’s amendment to Motilal Nehru report’s Dominion Status goal and called for “immediate reiteration of the complete independence objective”.
Gandhi dumb-founded the nation by withdrawing the movement at a time when the people had brought the British Government to its knees and it appeared that freedom was round the corner.
The Congress under the leadership and guidance of Gandhi did engineer three movements – Non-cooperation Movement (1920-February 1922), Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-1934) and Quit India Movement (1942), but all ended in a fiasco because the Congress leadership never wanted to take things too far. In February 1922, Gandhi unilaterally withdrew the Non-cooperation Movement on the ground that an army pensioner Bhagwan Ahir and his associates burned alive 22 policemen in a police station at Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur. Ahir and his associates were not Congressmen. Nor were they part of the Non-cooperation Movement. They had taken recourse to violence after the police had beaten up Ahir and then opened fire indiscriminately on the people who had come to lodge a strong protest in front of the police station. Gandhi dumb-founded the nation by withdrawing the movement at a time when the people had brought the British Government to its knees and it appeared that freedom was round the corner.
The Civil Disobedience Movement, which was started with much fanfare with Gandhi as its leader to attain Purna Swaraj also ended in a complete failure, notwithstanding the fact that people made supreme sacrifices for the cause of Purna Swaraj. But the Congress under Gandhi took no time in changing the goal post. In fact, Gandhi just gave an 11-point memorandum to Governor-General Lord Irwin which did not demand any change in the existing politico-constitutional structure, not even Dominion Status.
Remember, between 1928 and 1929, Gandhi had opposed those calling for another round of all-India mass struggle aimed explicitly at complete political emancipation. Gandhi rejected outright the “snap independence resolution”, which had been passed in his absence at the Madras session of the Congress on December 1927, and at Calcutta in December 1928, Gandhi pushed through a “compromise formula” that accepted Dominion Status objective provided London granted it by the end of 1929, failing which the Congress would be within its right to start Civil Disobedience for attaining Purna Swaraj. That fact of the matter is that the Civil Disobedience Movement did not achieve anything for India in the real sense of the term. India only got the Government of India act 1935 which even a liberal like C Y Chintamani described as “anti-India Act”.
As for the Quit India Movement, which was started in August, less said the better. The common people did make a splendid contribution to the movement ignoring the threat to their life and limb for the cause but the movement led India nowhere. The British defeated the half-hearted movement in just five months without much difficulty and London did not face any real political challenge from the Congress till August 15, 1947, when the British quit India, not because the Congress did anything great but because of three other factors – pressure from below in India, international situation and the internal situation in England. It would not be out of place to mention here that Gandhi had declared in 1940 that “we do not seek our independence out of Britain’s ruins”. He made this statement in the wake of the Second World War which started in 1939. Gandhi’s line was inconsistent with line of Bose who wanted to strike as England was involved in the war elsewhere.
All this should prove that Congress never ever challenged England. On the contrary, it acted in a manner that always helped the British. Just compare the British social, economic, religious and political policies evolved in England and implemented in India with the policies devised and implemented by the Sonia Congress-led UPA between 2004 and 2014 and you would find no fundamental difference between them. In fact, the Congress and the UPA have caused more damage to Indian polity, society and economy as compared to the damage England cause to India between 1600 and 1947.
It would not be undesirable if one may say that the Congress is un-Indian.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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