Dr. Veda Pratap Vaidik
The significance of Durga Puja goes beyond religion and is revered as the celebration of compassion, brotherhood, humanity, art and culture. As per Hindu scriptures, the festival marks the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against the dreaded Mahishasura. Thus, the festival epitomizes the victory of good over evil.
Surprisingly in Kolkata’s Durga Pooja pandal, instead of the ‘Asura’, a picture that looks like Mahatma Gandhi ji was installed. The Pooja s pandal was erected by the Bengal branch of the Hindu Mahasabha. Why should they be blamed if the demon’s picture has some resemblance to Gandhi, argues some Hindu Mahasabha leaders. But my question is, was this accidental, to make such a picture? No one will buy the arguments and justifications of these leaders? It is a fact, those responsible for such insane actions are cowards. Those indulging in such objectionable activities in the name of Hindu religion are embarrassing Hindus at large. Do they want to send a message across the society that Hindus are cowards? Those behind this ignominious act address themselves as adherents of Nathuram Godse who assassinated Gandhi. If Godse was alive he would have spit on such miscreants. Godse would have told such reprobates that if he were a coward like them he would have preferred to abscond after shooting down Gandhi and argued in the court of innocence, instead of preferring the gallows.
The attempt made by a few belonging to the Bengal chapter of Hindu Mahasabha to demonise Gandhi is not the first such instance. Gandhi ji’s statue was found vandalized in certain parts of India and even abroad. At the same time Godse’s statue was erected in Gwalior. Godse’s statement in the court on Gnadhi’s murder has also been published as a book and distributed.
I see two prominent reasons for such distasteful actions. One is the anti-Muslim sentiment and the other is hatred towards Congress. As far as today’s Congress is concerned, it has nothing to do with Mahatma Gandhi. We all know that the Gandhi title attached to Indira (Gandhi) had nothing to do with respected Gandhi ji. You have every right to oppose the Congress party and its present day leaders bearing Gandhi title, but why to abuse the Mahatma for no reason? As far as hatred against the Muslims is concerned, India has undergone a sea of change in the last 75 years. There is neither any divisive Muslim League nor any disruptive leaders like Jinnah among the present day Muslim community. Now there is no need for any Hindu Mahasabha to compete with the Muslim League. Kindly note the historical statement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, that the DNA of Hindu and Muslim is the same. If the Hindu Mahasabha, an organization in the name of Hindus, behaves like the Arab invaders of the past in the name of Islam and the Pope of Rome in the name of Jesus, it can only help to sully the image of India and the Hindu.
Gandhi ji was a true human in every sense. As any human he would have also made mistakes in his lifetime. However, I can vouch, no other person like Gandhi has been born on this earth yet and what message are you trying to give to the world by calling such an elevated soul a ‘rakshasa’ or ‘asura’? Your discourteous and abusive disruptions will never discolour the ever glittering image of Mahatma Gandhi. In fact, the contempt and insolence you show to the Mahatma, for sure, will boomerang and the rational society will label you psychotic.
*Dr. Vaidik is a widely travelled scholar-journalist. He has visited more than 80 countries on diplomatic and educational missions. Dr. Vaidik has won more than a dozen National and International awards for academic and journalistic excellence. He has been a member of several Advisory Committees of Government of India.