Rahul Gandhi invokes Kashmiriyat, Shoonyata, Fanaa to convey his message of love & peace
“I have received two phone calls announcing violent deaths of my grandmother and father, so have Kashmiris and the families of our military and para-military jawans. The aim of the Yatra is to end such phone calls and to save liberal, secular ethos of India”
Srinagar: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the aim of his Bharat Jodo Yatra was to save the liberal and secular ethos of the country which, he claimed, was under assault from the BJP and the RSS.
“I have not done this (Yatra) for myself or for the Congress but for the people of the country. Our aim is to stand against the ideology that wants to destroy the foundation of this country,” he said at a rally here to mark the culmination of the 136-day march.
The rally went ahead despite heavy snowfall in the city. Gandhi said the RSS and the BJP were targeting the liberal and secular ethos of the country by inciting violence.
Recalling the moments when he was informed about the assassination of his grandmother and father — former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi — over phone calls, the former Congress president said the inciters of violence will never understand that pain.
“Those who incite violence – like Modiji, Amit Shahji, Ajid Doval, the BJP and the RSS – will never understand this pain. The family of an Army man will understand, the family of the CRPF personnel who were killed in Pulwama will understand, Kashmiris will understand that pain when one gets that call.
“The Kashmiris will understand that pain when one gets that phone call. I understand that, my sister understands that,” he said, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra by his side.
“The aim of the Yatra is to end the phone calls announcing the deaths of loved ones — be it a soldier, a CRPF jawan or any Kashmiri,” he added.
Gandhi challenged the BJP top brass to undertake a Yatra like his in Jammu and Kashmir, saying they will never do it as they are scared.
“I can guarantee you that no BJP leader can walk like this in Jammu and Kashmir. They will not do it, not because they won’t be allowed to but because they are scared,” he said.
Speaking amidst heavy snowfall, Gandhi, who wore a ‘pheran’ — a Kashmiri cloak — said he was advised against walking the four-day Kashmir lap of the Yatra on the grounds that he might be attacked.
“When I was walking, the security people told me I can walk anywhere in India, even in Jammu, but the last four days in Kashmir, ‘you should drive in a car’… A few days before I reached Kashmir, the administration told me, perhaps to scare me, that if I walk, then a grenade can be lobbed upon me,” he said.
“I thought it over and then decided that I am walking to my home and with my people (in J&K). I thought, why not give those who hate me a chance to change the colour of my white shirt, let them make it red,” Gandhi, who spoke at the venue without an umbrella over his head amidst heavy snowfall, said.
He said he was not afraid as he has learnt from his family and Mahatma Gandhi to live life sans fear.
“What happened was what I had thought about. The people of Jammu and Kashmir did not give me hand grenades, they opened their hearts and gave me love, embraced me. I felt immense happiness that they all owned me up. Children and elderly alike welcomed me with their love and tears,” he said.
The Gandhi family scion also said ‘Kashmiriyat’ was his home.
“When I was walking to Kashmir, I thought, this is the same route through which, years ago, my relatives came from Kashmir to Allahabad. I felt that I was returning to my home. Since I was a child, I have lived in government accommodations, I do not have a house.
“I have never accepted these structures as my home. Wherever I live, it is a building, not a home. For me, a home is a thinking, it is a way of life,” he said.
“What you call Kashmiriyat, I call that thinking my home. What is Kashmiriyat? It is Shiv-ji’s thinking. Its deep meaning is ‘Shoonyata’ (selflessness). It means attacking yourself, your ego, your thinking. In Islam, it means ‘Fanaa’ (destruction of the self)… This is Kashmiriyat. This thinking prevails in other states as well. Gandhiji talked about Vaishno Janto. ‘Shoonyata’ is known as ‘Vaishno Janto’ in Gujrat,” he added.
Gandhi said the same message was spread in Assam, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra as well.
“In J&K, we call it Kashmiriyat. It means uniting each other, not attacking others, but self. My family home in Allahabad is near the bank of River Ganga. When my family went there from Kashmir, they spread the idea of Kashmiriyat in Uttar Pradesh. It is known as the Ganga-Jamuna Tehzeeb,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi had sent a message to his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and mother Sonia Gandhi before the Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Jammu and Kashmir, saying that he was “going to his home”. This was narrated by his sibling Priyanka Gandhi at a rally to mark the culmination of the nearly five month-long Bharat Jodo Yatra.
Later, Rahul Gandhi said he had tears in his eyes when Priyanka Gandhi talked about his message.
The Gandhis have their familial roots in Jammu and Kashmir.
In her remarks at the rally at the Sher-e-Kashmir stadium which was attended by several Opposition leaders as well, Priyanka Gandhi said the politics that is happening cannot benefit the country.
“The politics that divides, harms the country,” she said.
“My brother has been walking for the last five months from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. At the start, I thought it was a long journey, whether people would come out or not. But they came out everywhere from Kanyakumari to here,” the Congress general secretary said.
“They came out because people of the country have a spirit for the country’s constitution, its unity,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi thanked the people of Jammu and Kashmir for welcoming the Yatra with open hearts.
“When my brother was about to reach Jammu and Kashmir, he sent a message to me and my mother saying that he was getting a feeling that he was going to his home,” she said.
“He (Rahul) had said that ‘my family members (people of Jammu and Kashmir), when they meet me and hug me, they have tears in their eyes, their pain and sentiments touch my heart’,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi said she felt proud standing here that the Congress carried out a Yatra which was supported by the whole country.
In a way the Yatra has been spiritual for the Congress leaders who participated, the leaders of other parties who took part, ‘Bharat Yatris’ and Rahul Gandhi, she said.
“It is our duty to protect the foundation of this country built on the basis of truth, ‘ahimsa (non-violence)’ and love,” she said.
Priyanka Gandhi said the ‘Bharat Yatris’ have shown the way of love and brotherhood.
“They have shown us a ray of hope. I hope that the hate will end and love will take the country forward and unite everyone,” she said. (Combining multiple PTI stories)