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Home > 2022 > To Rahul with Love from Kanyakumari | S. P. Udayakumaran

Mainstream, VOL 60 No 38 September 10, 2022

To Rahul with Love from Kanyakumari | S. P. Udayakumaran

Friday 9 September 2022

An Open Letter to Mr. Rahul Gandhi and His Team of Yatris

Dear Mr. Rahul Gandhi,

Vanakkam! First of all, please accept India’s sincere thanks for shouldering this great responsibility of defending our Republic, and saving our citizens from the Fascist onslaught along with hundreds and thousands of our people from across the country.

When we all met on August 22, 2022, at the Constitution Club in Delhi, I pointed out the Sangh Parivar’s nightmarish vision of establishing a divisive Hindu Rashtra in India, writing a new oppressive constitution, shifting the national capital to Varanasi, and denying voting rights to the Muslim and the Christian and other minorities of India, and asked for your own preferred vision of India. You told us that a new vision would emerge out of the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

I, for one, heaved a sigh of relief. That was precisely the answer the country has been looking for. Your simple and straightforward answer reflects the democratic spirit and the Constitutional norms of our country. A keen political observer would also notice the subtle negation of the vision(s) of your own Congress Party and the previous UPA I and II governments headed by the Congress Party.

We all know, that Mahatma Gandhi undertook a Yatra like the Bharat Jodo Yatra some 93 years ago immediately after the 44th session of the Indian National Congress held on the banks of the Ravi river at Lahore. A resolution demanding complete independence was passed on December 31, 1929. In that meeting, Vallabhbhai Patel suggested a massive march to Delhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru advised setting up a parallel government. But Mahatma Gandhi in his memorable speech proposed a march of 78 dedicated and disciplined Satyagrahis to offer Salt Satyagraha.

The Dandi March Gandhiji began on March 12, 1930 proved to be a wonderful nonviolent weapon of struggle, and more importantly, a medium of dialogue and communication with the peoples of India along the route of the March. When halting at villages, the Mahatma spoke to Satyagrahis and villagers about issues of national importance. He continued the dialogue all 25 days. Journalists reported widely and what Gandhiji said became a dialogue with the entire country.

Similarly, you embark on the Bharat Jodo Yatra now with 100 core Yatris that would go from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. Unlike the divisive, hateful, and violent monologue of the ruling dispensation, your K2 March is going to spread the seeds of unity, love, nonviolence, and dialogic engagement with all sections of our country.

Our students today get substandard education, and our youth find no jobs. They are all mostly unemployable and unemployed. The unprecedented high rate of unemployment kills even the inherent originality and creativity of our resourceful youth and in some cases their very will to live and excel. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to them.

Our families all across the country are all struggling harder and harder to make ends meet with ever-increasing daily expenses, unchecked price rises of essential commodities, the sky-high cost of fuel, and other basic needs of life such as education, health care, transportation, energy, and recreation. They scrape along with little cheer and happiness and live with great anxiety and uncertainty about their families’ futures. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to them.

Our womenfolk are so scared to death about their safety and security, and dignity and honour, and are morbidly afraid of venturing out of their homes. Many are gang-raped, killed, robbed, assaulted, and harassed all over the country. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to them.

Our minorities are being kept on the edge with threatening insinuations about their citizenship rights, voting rights, peaceful life, and meaningful contribution to our national life. They are being discriminated against, excluded, and constantly ‘Other’ed by hate speeches of bigoted elements and the overall national climate of hate politics. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to them.

Our farmers, workers, traders, weavers, fisherfolk, and all other sections of our national society are all being relegated to meaningless subhuman existence and are made victims of developmentalism that favours rich businessmen, foreign corporates, and ruthless middlemen. The former are all sick and tired of this hopelessness and futurelessness. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to them.

Our country is a global dream project. This Great Indian Dream is not about moneymaking or power-seeking or fear-mongering. Indianness is all about Belonging, Peacefully Co-existing, promoting Social Justice, and building prosperous futures through nonviolence. The Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to retrieve and re-entrench this Great Indian Dream.

When the imperialistic forces, cut-throat corporate world, and their media handmaidens are all out there hand in glove with each other to gobble up our country and peoples, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is bringing new hope to the salt of the Earth.

Swami Vivekananda proclaimed once so powerfully: “A hundred thousand men and women, fired with the zeal of holiness, fortified with eternal faith in the Lord, and nerved to Lion’s courage by their sympathy for the poor and the fallen and the downtrodden, will go over the length and breadth of the land, preaching the gospel of salvation, the gospel of help, the gospel of social rising up–the gospel of equality.” Jesus Christ undertook Yatras all his life preaching the gospel of salvation. Prophet Mohammed’s life was so full of Yatras and he gladly accepted even non-believers’ helps during his steadfast sojourns.

So we are ready and willing to walk with you, Mr. Rahul Gandhi! And to talk with you! We know you would say what Albert Camus famously said once: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”

And let us all walk together side by side towards Freedom, Prosperity, and Peace! Welcome to Kanyakumari!

Cordially,

S. P. Udayakumaran

Email: spudayakumar[at]gmail.com

(This Open Letter to Mr. Rahul Gandhi is released at Kanyakumari on September 4, 2022 in the presence of Kathiravan Rayan and Judit Titus Raj)

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