The politicisation of the sacrosanct traditions of the Indian freedom struggle has again highlighted a dangerous trend. With the Sonia-led Congress Party stealing the limelight in the recent Satyagraha extravaganza, the focus has shifted from Mahatma Gandhi’s all inclusive non-violent struggle to official attempts to add halo to Sonia Gandhi’s leadership.
In what was stated to be a party event, Indian official machinery went overdrive in ensuring maximum possible exposure to the event. The significance then rests on the fact that while the official machinery invited leaders of 85 countries, including several noble laureates to participate, almost all the leadership of India’s opposition party was left out. While Congress leaders were present as ‘special delegates’, India’s leading opposition party, the BJP, was conspicuous by its absence.
As the Indian diplomatic machinery was in the fifth gear to ensure maximum global presence in the two-days meet, the move has been summarised by critics as an attempt to give international exposure and coverage to a preferred set of
Ironically, while Mahatma’s Satyagraha sought to overthrow the British, the legacy has been used to gain political mileage in its worst form.