Gandhi and Congress Party

What Gandhi wanted Congress to do after independence? When Modi in an address talked about the wish of Mahatma Gandhi to wind up Congress, I took it as political statement. But while I am finishing the latest voluminous book of Ramachandra Guha, ‘Gandhi-the years that changed the world 1914-1948, I found the mention of the Gandhi’s view on page 879.

“ On 29 January (1948), he (Gandhi) drafted a short note arguing that the Congress itself should be disbanded, since it had ‘outlived its use’ as ‘a propaganda vehicle and parliamentary machine’. It must keep itself ‘out of unhealthy competition with political parties and communal bodies’.

Other parties could contest elections and run governments, but the Congress, argued Gandhi, should now become a Lok Sevak Sangh (Society for the Service of the People).The workers of this new organization( habitual khadi wearers of course) should focus on rural reconstruction, on making India’s villages ‘self-contained and self-supporting through their agriculture and handicrafts’. They should ‘educate the village folk in sanitation and hygiene’ and enrol them for voting in local, state and national election…..However, he had not yet shown it to Nehru and Patel…”

And on 30 January 1948, Gandhi got killed by Godse..We missed the chance of knowing the views of Nehru or Patel. I wish the new president of Congress thinks over the views of Gandhi and revives Congress Sevak Dal and emphasises on providing the basic services to the rural India.

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