12th April, 2013
Hon’ble Mamata Banerjee,
Government of West Bengal,
Sub: Violence in Kolkata-Presidency University-the future of Indian polity-the future of the Indian National Congress-regarding
Dear Chief Minister Mamataji,
I am a former student of Santiniketan, Visvabharati for four long years and so I can address you this way with some pride. I am of course writing to you when you are still in the hospital and in the wake of the violence in New Delhi and afterwards in Kolkata.
In fact, I wanted to meet you in person in Bangalore when you came there in connection with the felicitation event for Manna Dey. In my time in West Bengal, Manna Dey and others were very much part of our Bengali cultural life. Now, in fact, the original purpose of writing to you a longish letter and also to other senior Congress men and women were to convey the anxieties and concerns about the very India’s future.
Where is India moving forward? Towards more greater glory or towards greater chaos?
This question no one asks, certainly no Congress leader of any stature even bothered about.
So, what we see is a steady disintegration of the Congress party, the Congress movement and along with it the very future and the existence of the Indian unity and the very destiny of the country, as a nation, as a civilisation etc.
I had worked closely with the late great Atulya Babu (Atulya Ghosh) when he was the Congress party treasurer at the AICC in New Delhi, 7, Jantar Mantar office then.
Of course, I have also seen and heard great Bengali giant of leaders like the late Bidan Chandra Roy when he used to accompany Pandit Nehru when he used to come every year to Santiniketan during 1955-1959 when I was there. The VCs then were among others, Prof.B.C.Baggchi, Prof.Satyen Bose. I also know and have met other great nation builders like P.C.Mahalanobis.
I mention all these names to give an idea of how I grew up as a young man and an aspiring political activist. I joined the Congress party in 1962 as soon as I came back from Oxford and in 1968, after the 1967 washout of the Congress, more so in TN where the DMK swept to power and Kamaraj himself was defeated I won the MLC elections to the Madras Legislative Council!
I remained loyal to Kamaraj till his last breath!
Now, I find the Congress party as a party is in total disarray and I anticipate a disintegration of the party, if certain corrective measures are not taken. This is the purpose of this letter. I intend to meet you in Kolkata in the near future to talk more on this topic. However, certain relevant points here.
I know your ardent nationalism and patriotism and we all must seek to bring together the nationalistic and patriotic forces and also seek some broad ways in which the old Indian National Congress ethois can be brought to play their roles in effecting such a broad unity of purpose and some working consensus. Now, the Congress party doesn’t exist in major states, in UP, Bihar, TN and of course in most North Indian major states where the BJP is in power for quite some time.
In these states it is very unlikely to expect the Congress party to get re-established. Now for the various Congress parties operating under different labels, your own Trinamul, Sharad Pawar’s NCP and also P.A.Sangma’s new outfit and some other parties, in AP, may be in one or two other states, a future possibility of a new unity of nationalist, patriotic and secular forces could come together, once Sonia Gandhi leadership comes to an end.
It is Sonia Gandhi’s leadership for the last 15 long years that had brought about this disintegration of the party and also the persons around her had completely taken her away from the traditional Congress path.
India is a big country, a diverse country and with certain long traditions under Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru. These traditions of behaviour and conduct, sacrifice and commitment to fundamental values are now missing in the Congress.
Also, very worryingly, the next few steps we see elevation of Rahul Gandhi, also the latest, the pushing of Priyanka Gandhi into the shoes of Sonia in the next elections all show that Sonia Gandhi and her advisers haven’t looked beyond their narrow selfish existence.
The world wants to compare India with China. The outside world wants to see India as one of the big regional powers. We have to play a more visible role on the international stage. Why, even we have to have a distinctive foreign policy. We have to have a natural politics in the country. Prime Minister of India must carry lot of weight and prestige. It is not one more career nor is it a subject of low debate and a bunch of jokes etc.
Certainly, we need great minds to think together with the mass of the people and particular a more coherent and more a serious fundamental thesis, a new ideology even, to take India into the next stage of her evolution into a world power and a great democracy.
I mark copies of this letter to like-minded Congressmen and women and also to a set of intellectuals and thinkers, inside and outside India.
Let us all hope we apply our mind in this direction for the sake of our future and our future generations.
1.Sri.Sharad Pawar, Mumbai
3.Sri Chandrababu Naidu, Hyderabad
4.Sri Hon’ble A.K.Antony, Defence Minister, New Delhi
5.Sri.Hon’ble Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Government of Bihar, Patna
6.Sri.Sharad Yadav, President, J.D.(U),7,Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
7.Sri Swapan Dasgupta, Columnist, New Delhi
8.Sri Kaustav Bhattacharya, Bangalore
9.Sri Kuldeep Nayar, Columnist, New Delhi
10.Sri B.G.Verghese, Columnist, New Delhi