In India, Protesters and Modi Tussle Over Who Can Claim Gandhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the national icon would have supported his contentious citizenship law. Demonstrators say it goes against everything Gandhi stood for.

Comments: 22

  1. This wave of nationalism, populism, xenophobia across countries from us to Asia and Europe seems unbelievable. Is it really the will of the people or do bad actors influence democratic elections? Zuckerberg helps facilitate the spread of misinformation in the name of freedom of expression. Then autocrats are elected who remove people’s many freedoms. We have to rein in Facebook et al, bad for democracies. Am I being simplistic?

  2. @123 Yes. Asian nationalism needs to exist. Otherwise, Asian nation-states will stay weak. The West takes its Nationalism for granted, but its History was far bloodier than anything seen in relatively peaceful Asia. China and Vietnam are perfect examples or rising nationalism. India needs more nationalism, not less, if it wishes to survive in its neighborhood. And remember to the West is a sea of Islamic and Christian bigotry. The reason the CAA exists in the first place.

  3. The present BJP government is based on philosophy of Hindutva which means superiority of Hindus in present India. All the members of BJP party and government originate from a rightist and militant organization known as RSS. The main agenda of RSS is that all the inhabitants of India having multiple religions including Muslims are under the umbrella of Hinduism. These new laws such as CAA and NPR for determining citizenship of India are brought to achieve their goal. Under these laws, any Muslim who will fail to prove his or her citizenship by birth certificate or other proofs shall be considered outsider and may be sent into concentrations camps till thrown out of country to Pakistan or Bangladesh.

  4. Doesn't make any sense. Nathuram Godse was literally part of RSS, the paramilitary wing of Modi's party

  5. @Bob Nathuram Godse and the founder of RSS, K B Hedgewar, had serious ideological disagreements and had parted ways very early. Indian National Congress (No association to original INC before independence) used Godse's thin connection to denigrate and oppress RSS throughout by indulging systematic campaign against it with his piece of misinformation for their own political expediency. RSS has continues its disciplined social work undeterred by negative propaganda and the current INC leaders cannot stand the positive force that they have become. As result, they deliberately stage lynchings, murders, abuse against minorities to frame RSS into it and publish negative propaganda articles like this in NYT which is being used by them to lend credibility to their own self-agenda designed for power grab.

  6. If INC had the capacity to orchestrate all this, it wouldn't fare so badly in elections.

  7. Satyameva Jayate -- part of an ancient mantra and inscribed on the national emblem of India means: Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood. The BJP cannot hide behind falsehoods and lies. Its fascist ideology and bent are becoming visible. All Indians who believe in a secular, modern and liberal democracy need to speak up -- before it is too late.

  8. Sadly, fascism's rise around the world is finding a willing partner in religion.

  9. As Ghandi said, "Whenever I despair, I remember this: The Way of Truth and Love always wins." He practiced what he learned from studying the Bhagavad Gita: With clarity and compassion, stay focused on the task, practice non-violence, and release all attachment to any particular outcome.

  10. Revised history obscuring generalizable facts (personally unaccountable harmful words deeds)= ?

  11. Gandhi made many mistakes and one of them resulted in the partition of India. There are lakhs of Bangladeshi illegal migrants (may be from Pakistan too), in India and they are not there because of religious discrimination. They are there as economic migrants. Some of them may even be IS supporters. India will become a failed state like Pakistan and Bangladesh if drastic measures are not taken. Gandhi is history and the world has changed since. There is no general principles of Gandhi being followed in India. So invoking him when convenient is dishonest.

  12. This script is not zero tolerance to exactly ground ethics using common man political parties for their own territory/state

  13. Really a biased article. No wonder, even NYT does not understand the realities of India and the new citizenship law. Poor level of journalism.

  14. The current Modi regime is the antithesis of everything Gandhi stood for. In the first place, Gandhi never wanted a partition of the country but gave up under the visceral hatred of both the RSS, which eventually killed him, and the Muslims residing in the areas that became Pakistan. Annexed by India were other Muslim majority regions such as Kashmir, Hyderabad state, Junagadh and regions within what is today Uttar Pradesh. The RSS and the right-wing Hindutva philosophy is that Muslims may leave India and go to Pakistan - unfortunately, many of the regions within India today should have belonged to Pakistan. Fast-forward to the present where the Modi regime has taken over a Muslim majority Kashmir keeping all Muslims behind barricades and its leaders in detention, cut off communications and proclaims to the world that all is normal in Kashmir. This state with a 95% Muslim majority at partition had a token absentee Hindu leader. His assent to the India takeover had as much legitimacy as say the British monarch in 1946 mortgaging India to another country to pay for its war debts. And now we have the CAA formulated primarily out of the BJP's extreme hatred for Muslims. Sri Lankan Tamils, who were discriminated against and slaughtered by the thousands find no place in CAA. This past week, murderers who slaughtered Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 were released while Muslims speaking out against CAA are being arrested and booked on sedition charges.

  15. It is for the courts and the people of India to stand up to this unjust law. People unwilling to fight for their rights (non violently) don’t deserve them in the first place.

  16. Modi and Gandhi are antithesis. In fact, killer of Gandhi belongs to the ideological organization, RSS, from where Modi learnt art of seeding hatred in society.

  17. Modi’s Hindu-centric vision for India ------------------ This charge, I think is not valid, BJP is Bharat centric, not Hindu-centric. Their core political idea is Bharatiyata, not Hindutva. When Vajpayee visited White House for the first time, he gifted a statue of Mahatma Gandhi to Bill Clinton. India has gone through grave instability period and sham stability of dynasty that has left India far behind, vis-a-vis China, and exposed to widespread Islamic terror threat. If a two-pole polity has to emerge, the Right pole must include and reflect the voices of all in the right half of the political spectrum. This is "pragya-niti", akin to American pragmatism, is what BJP follows. Cherry picking individuals for political framing is merely polemics, it does not bring us closer to truth. Truth has to be reach in a Gandhian way, the way of heart, or via rigorous intellectual pursuit of soft sciences. BJP is the best bet India has to liberalize its economy, and transform from the socialist model of government controlled economy to a genuine free market legal economy. Free world has a lot at stake in making of Indian democracy a economic and societal success. We need a better information order to reflect the ground realities within India accurately.

  18. BJP -Modi-RSS from one big complex a condominium of like minded of resident . This edifice has showcased the killer of Mahatma as patriot . The candidates BJP has allowed to compete for government offices legislature or parliament on BJP tickets have praised the killer of Gandhi. This sells well in India now. Modi-BJP -RSS complex has changed the perception of Mahatma from positive to negative over the years through relentless emphasis on Mahatma's alleged betrayal of India when he was honestly trying to be impartial in Hindu -Muslim conflicts . But outside the country it tries to present a different image by referring to Asoka and Mahatma . Citizenship law is another area that is being presented in most farcical linguistic distortion . It is being claimed as if millions of refugees are at the Indian border from persecution by neighboring countries and are trying to enter the country from outside while Modi- RSS -BJP complex is trying to deny the entry only to Muslim . This law is being used against the poor illiterate Muslims who have lived in India for generations .

  19. I am a Hindu but first and foremost a proud Indian..this wasn’t the India I was born and raised in..wonder if I ever get to see her again. Was she perfect? No, but I miss her.

  20. @SHY India is eternal. Modi can never change that.

  21. “Modi invokes everything about Gandhi except Hindu-Muslim harmony, and this was the most crucial element of his work,” said Ramachandra Guha ---------------------- Mr. Guha is am authentic intellectual, and this statement about being the "most crucial element" is absolutely right. At the same time Ram is also, by his own admission, a left leaning ideologue, who in Indian political spectrum stands diametrically against BJP. PM Modi believes in Bharatiyata and not Hindutva, as is implied by Ram. He is secular in his outlook and so is his conservative Right polity. To hold the Right constituency together and nudge them towards Hindu-Muslim is a humongous task that is still work-in-progress. BJP wisely does it in quiet Tortoise mode. Supreme Court initiated NRC led to CAA as a corrective action. The Non-Muslim migrants, including Christians are covered by this act, for they clearly are unwelcome where they came from. India also faces, like US and EU a backlash on immigrants. This approach to emphasize commonality of socio-religious commonality has atleast found political support to give citizenship to families who have nowhere to go. Likes of Ram want CAA to be scrapped, but that would leave these families in lurch. Demanding inclusion of Muslims risks communal backlash. Opposition has wisely emphasized secular unity, and protests against CAA hopefully shall create Court intervention to include Muslims as well. Such a Court ruling would be a win for all.

  22. How can a law which lays down certain preconditions for someone to become a citizen be contentious? World over, countries do have laws to decide who can become citizen there. If this law (CAA) is discriminatory against Muslims, are we to understand that Muslims are applying in large number to be Indian citizens and that they are being discriminated on religious grounds? Can any one point out any clause where this law mentions about Indian citizens (which includes Muslims)? India is a land of diverse faiths, languages, cultures and ethnicity. Just as there are diverse opinions.