“It makes my blood boil when I see these things on TV and the Internet,” referring to the mob lynchilngs said Priyanaka Gandhi
New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi speaking of the current atrocities taking place in India at a gathering of the launch of the commemorative edition of the 70yr old newspaper National Herald which was found by Jawaharlal Nehru and run by the Congress, reminds the nation of the principles the country foundation was laid on by the leaders.
The event was attended by President Pranab Mukerjee, former PM Man Mohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi.
President Mukerjee speaking at the event said ‘When I see an individual lynched because of alleged violation of law, mob frenzy becomes so high and irrational, we have to ask,’are we vigilant enough?’ I am talking about being vigilant, not vigilantism’ and he adds, when Jawaharlal Nehru was asked about his biggest challenge after a decade of independence? he said converting a highly ‘religious country into a modern nation’.
While addressing the issues, Mrs. Gandhi in her speech expressed her deep concerns over the issues, referring the “domestic misrule” as a great challenge of the country, she blames Government who is responsible to enforce law saying these atrocities in the country are encouraged by a violence of these vigilantes who are supported by the ones responsible for enforcing the law.
Talking about the ideals of the nation she said “We are in a war of ideas. We wage this war to preserve our ideals, which have built India up as a model of democracy, diversity and co-existence. When these ideals are threatened, India itself is in danger. And if we do not raise our voices, if we do not speak up, our silence will be taken as consent”.
While referring to other issues the country is still struggling to fight she said, “We have daunting enough battles to fight – against injustice, against poverty, against prejudice, against patriarchy, against malnutrition, against illiteracy, against communalism. But we must also prevail in this greater war for the soul of our nation. The National Herald evokes a time when nationalism fought foreign rule. But domestic misrule is as great a challenge for our country,”
Her speech did target the current Government but she chose to speak out against it saying “At a time when the inclusive concept of our nation is under attack, and the press is pressured – or in some cases willing – to obey and applaud rather than to question, speaking truth to power is the imperative of our age. While adding to it she said, “It is one of the ironies of our present times that the ‘soaring reach of their work is now sought to be either obliterated or in some cases appropriated by individuals and groups who are in direct opposition to their beliefs and principles.”
“Those who stood aside when history was painfully made by sacrifice and struggle, those who, indeed, had little faith in the Constitution adopted by our country are now seeking to create an India completely at odds with the one that saw the light of Independence in August 1947” she said boldly.
Mrs Gandhi in her speech against vigilantism said: “Though their language is modern, they seek to take India backward, to further their narrow sectarian vision. Their modern jargon conceals pre-modern beliefs, concepts that are at odds with progressive and inclusive thought. It is our duty to pull away the hypocrisy and reveal the reality lurking beneath. Today, the tried and tested idea of India has been thrown fundamentally into question by rising intolerance, by malevolent forces that tell Indians what they cannot eat, who they cannot love, what they cannot say – indeed, what thoughts they cannot hold.”
She hits a direct blow at the Government blaming it, she said “All this is being encouraged by a culture of vigilante violence actively supported by those who are supposed to enforce the law. Such examples assault our consciousness almost daily. India has reached a crossroads marked by increasing threats of authoritarianism and bigotry. Where we choose to stand today is where our country will head tomorrow.”
Among the audience was Priyanka Gandhi agreeing to her mother’s speech later said “It makes my blood boil when I see these things on TV and the Internet,” she said, referring to the mob killings.
She refers to media who is silent over all these injustices and only raises questions for debates rather than showing the nation the real face of crime, she says “Even in the darkest of hours, we must preserve the flame of our national ideals. If we accept without scrutiny, without question, without a challenge the fallacies and follies we are witness to today, we will leave for our children a land of injustice, a legacy of trauma and a country divided and broken.”