Sunday, October 2, 2022

Gandhi, Aurobindo, and the Congress

Devi Kalratri

Mahatma Gandhi was responsible for building the Congress into a mass movement and a powerful national party. Jawaharlal Nehru could not have created a party like the Congress but he came to dominate it. He and his descendants have dominated the country’s politics after independence because they had total control over the Congress which Gandhiji had created. 

Today is Gandhiji’s birthday, so I am posting an excerpt from Sri Aurobindo’s essay in which he has criticized the Congress.  Sri Aurobindo wrote:

“I say, of the Congress, then, this — that its aims are mistaken, that the spirit in which it proceeds towards their accomplishment is not a spirit of sincerity and whole-heartedness, and that the methods it has chosen are not the right methods, and the leaders in whom it trusts, not the right sort of men to be leaders; — in brief, that we are at present the blind led, if not by the blind, at any rate by the one-eyed.”

Sri Aurobindo was a great philosopher, revolutionary, and spiritual leader. His critique of the Congress is perfect. In the final days of his life Gandhiji too realized that Congress was being led by “blind and one-eyed” leaders who were incapable of observing the Indian realities and could not be trusted to provide good governance to the country. 

In a note dated January 27, 1948, three days before his assassination, Gandhiji wrote that the Indian National Congress "has outlived its use" and advised that "the existing Congress organization should be dissolved and replaced by a Lok Sevak Sangh, a people’s service organization.” This note was published in Harijan, on February 2, 1948, under the title “His Last Will and Testament.”  

(Today is the seventh day of Navratri festival—this day is dedicated to Devi Kalratri. So I am using with this article a picture of Devi Kalratri’s statue from Kalighat, Kolkata.)

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