Mrs. Sonia Gandhi,
The Indian National Congress,
24, Akbar Road,
New Delhi- 100 110
Dear Mrs. Gandhi,
Subject: Tamil Nadu Congress affairs-regarding
I was a close follower of the late Kamaraj and when he was the AICC President I had had the honour of working under him. Thus, I came to know many of the stalwarts of those years like Morarji Desai, Atulya Ghosh and Sadiq Ali and many others, including of course Mrs.Indira Gandhi and Chandrashekhar and others.
Just now, I have written an editorial for one of my journals and there I have traced the origins of how the Indian National Congress came to be formed and taken shape. It was in the year in 1884, in December, there was an annual Theosophical Convention that met in Madras and seventeen Indian stalwarts of national stature among its delegates had a conclave at the house of the then great social reformer Raghunatha Rao and they mooted the subject of a national forum. The original names of the conclave were G.Subramaniya Iyer, Rangaiah Naidu and Ananthacharlu.
The original seventeen members are mentioned as follows:
G.Subramania Iyer, P.Rangaiah Naidu and P.Anandhacharlu of Madras; Narendranath Sen, Surendranath Banerjee, M.Ghosh and Chandan Mitra of Bangal, V.N.Mandlink, K.T.Telang and Dadabhai Naoroji of Bombay; C.Vijayaranga Mudaliar, Panduranga Gopal of Poona; Sardar Dayal Singh of the Punjab, Harish Chandra of Allahabad; Kaliprasad and Pandit Lakshminarayan of North West Provinces and Sri Ram of Oudh.
A.O.Hume who originally came to found and preside over the first session in 1885 in fact came to Madras with the express purpose of pursuing the likeminded persons for the same effort. There was also the fact that the body was mooted at an informal gathering in Bombay to bid farewell to Viceroy Ripon in December 1884.Anyway, a similar meet was to take place two months later in Madras and finally the Indian National Congress was formally born on 28 December 1885.In fact, I had seen recently an old photograph of the first assembled audience at the Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College in Bombay. I write this with great emotion and sensitivity so that everyone who is engaged in arranging for the 125the celebration should know that the INC was a great institution with a long history and all this took place long before Gandhiji or Motilal Nehruji and others were born or the rise of national consciousness goes to earlier years, very much even before 1857 and the names that are with me, though very sketchy, are too many.
It is to these souls, the early pioneers we have to pay special homage.
This is one point.
Tamil Nadu Congress affairs
The other point is that I have been publishing and publicising the ideals of the Congress in Tamil Nadu, as it was the province that gave birth to the original idea.
I had just now visited the Satyamurthy Bhavan and what a picture of decline!
Also, another very important point I want to convey and share with you is the concern as to the future of the Congress in Tamil Nadu.
The DMK is very determined to undermine all efforts to revive or even dream of any revival by several strategies. One is to cultivate Tamil chauvinism to the extremes. Now, the Sri Lankan Tamils issue is exploited for the separatist feelings, separatism is one of the unstated key strategy of the DMK to kindle the flames of a separate Tamil state.
Now, the Sri Lankan former Army General has stated to have laid claim for contesting the elections in Sri Lanka and his letter is also in a sense contributes to the DMK to rekindle such fears among the Tamils in Tamil Nadu.
So, a Kosovo-type fate, (see The Economist, October 24th, 2009, page 57) a demand for autonomy for the Tamils in the North and East provinces in Sri Lanka, if conceded by the Sri Lankan government might also later help to unilateral declaration of independence by the Sri Lanka Tamils or forced upon the Sri Lanka Tamils by those in Tamil Nadu.
The DMK and its highly irresponsible allies (I needn’t name them for obvious reasons) might force the issue also.
So, I wonder, what chance, if at all, ever for the Congress to think of coming to power in the state?
So, I have on my own mooted the idea of starting a “Kamaraj peoples movement” to draw a crowd outside and inside the Congress and make a rallying point for all forces, parties and splinter parties, like the discontented DMK, ADMK and other forces to join abroad-based movement, both mass and elite forces (as Tamil is a great pull for the elites).
Rahul Gandhi did a good thing and he came and went away without calling on Mr.Karunanidhi. This has created a good impression.
But unfortunately, the state TNCC, is not pulling itself up to explore how and when it can break with the DMK.
These are of course details. You will have your own compulsion.
But I feel that the party if becoming an alien to most traditional Congressmen.
The new rich, businessmen and others have entered the party and captured power, in the many states. Political and administrative corruption can rise any further. The media is thoroughly corrupt.
Unless the party and the polity acquire some inner vitality, some ideology and vision ,the future of the Indian democracy could become even a question mark.
Only India and Sri Lanka have the British type Parliamentary democracy. To save democracy, as much as to work for democracy is perhaps the greatest challenge before any leader and nation in today’s world.
So, it is you great duty, a great burden that is cast on your leadership of the party and the country.
I hope the letter’s spirit is appreciated by one and all.
With warm regards,
Please post your comments.