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Everything Mahatma Gandhi stood for coming under assault: CPI(M)

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(Eds: Adding details) New Delhi, Oct 2 (PTI) The CPI(M) on Wednesday said that everything Mahatma Gandhi stood for as the leader of India's freedom struggle was now coming under assault. In two articles in party mouthpiece People's Democracy, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and politburo member Prakash Karat highlighted Gandhi's vision in the backdrop of the situation prevailing in the country. Karat said in his piece that had Gandhi been alive today, he would have sat on an indefinite hunger strike against the mob lynching of innocent people accused of cow slaughter.  "Because for him, even a single act of violence against an innocent man was an anathema," Karat wrote. Yechury said that Gandhi was embraced by all classes of society. "This unrivalled leader of the Indian people would often be living in the house of one of the biggest capitalists in India, Ghanshyam Das Birla. It was at his house in New Delhi that Gandhiji was assassinated by the bullets of a Hindu fanatic on January 30, 1948. Is there no contradiction in the fact that Gandhiji was embraced, both, by the vast mass of the poor Indian people and by their exploiters – the capitalists and the landlords?  "In today's context, this 150th birth anniversary observation acquires crucial importance. All that Gandhiji stood for as the leader of India's freedom struggle is now coming under assault. Gandhiji's consistent stand on anti-imperialism; his upholding of secularism; his struggles against untouchability and for social justice – the principles that eventually formed the basis of the Indian Constitution – are all being undermined today," Yechury said. He further alleged that corporate-communal alliance has come into dominance, vigorously propagating the ideology of aggrandising nationalism, putting the 'nation' and its interests above the people, demanding sacrifices from them, including the forfeiture of their democratic rights in the name of the 'nation'.  "Recently, when the amendments to the National Investigation Agency Act were being considered by the Lok Sabha, the home minister thundered that those who opposed the amendments are supporting terrorism and protecting terrorists! "These draconian amendments severely impinge on the democratic rights and civil liberties of all individuals. Any expression of dissent against the BJP government and its policies can lead to the arrest and detention, on the grounds of being 'anti-national'- the legalisation of a 'Police State'," he alleged.    Yechury said that what was at stake was the very survival of the country's secular, democratic, constitutional order and everything Gandhi stood for, "the 'Idea of India'".  He said that agnostic to the ideals of Gandhi and the Left ideology, a third vision argued that the character of independent India should be determined by the religious affiliations of its people. "This vision had a twin expression – the Muslim League championing an 'Islamic State' and the RSS championing its 'Hindu Rashtra'," he said.  Karat in his piece said that as the 150th birth anniversary was being observed, it was necessary to recall why Gandhi became a great soul for the crores of Indians and for many people around the world. He said Gandhi had a secular vision of independent India and he thought that Hindu-Muslim unity should be the bedrock of the freedom struggle. "He maintained that 'Hindus and Muslims are the two eyes of the beautiful bride that is Hindustan'. That is why he took up the Khilafat movement in 1920 as part of the non-cooperation movement. Though the limitation of bringing unity on an archaic religious issue became manifest, it nevertheless made clear Gandhi's stand on Hindu-Muslim unity. "Gandhiji was consistent in his stand that all religions be equally respected and all religious communities be treated in the same way. He also spoke about the need for a secular state in India and was of the view that religion and State should be separate. Significantly, he was against the proposed state funding for the renovation of the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. "Not only Gandhiji, but the legacy of the glorious national movement for independence and the values it stood for needs to be protected and carried forward. This can only be done by resolutely combating the RSS-BJP ideology and politics," he wrote. PTI ASG AAR

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