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Sonia's address on 75th anniversary of Quit India movement: Does her party own exclusive copyright over India's freedom movement?
On August 9, 2017, during her address in the Lok Sabha during the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Quit India movement, Sonia Gandhi took a jab at Narendra Modi and the RSS by saying, "We must not forget that some organisations opposed the Quit India movement, such organisations had no role in the freedom struggle."

One can easily understand towards whom Sonia Gandhi was pointing. According to some documents, VD Savarkar, who was a renowned Hindu Mahasabha leader at the time when Mahatma Gandhi called the Quit India movement in August 1942, didn't participate in it.

However, there are also records that although the RSS, Hindu Mahasabha, Communists etc didn't participate in the Quit India movement, but they too undertook the struggle for freedom against the British in their own respective ways. In this context, an article titled – 'This day, seventy-five years ago: Contrary to dogma RSS did take part in the freedom movement, including Quit India movement' – by Rakesh Sinha published in The TOI blog could be referred.

Similarly, another article titled – 'Communist's contribution to India's Independence: A few Words' – by Subash Chandra Pattanayak, published in 'Orissa Matters' may also be referred.

No one can also deny the role of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and his Azad Hind Fauj in India's struggle for freedom. The point is simple, there were a lot of people who were part of India's freedom struggle, but weren't associated with the Congress due to ideological differences, etc. But you can't snatch the tag of freedom fighter from someone just because that individual or organisation remained aloof from Congress.

Undoubtedly, the Indian National Congress (INC) played an anchor role in achieving India's independence, but that does not entitle India's Grand Old Party to exclusive copyright over India's freedom movement!

What is all the brouhaha about? Did Sonia Gandhi-led Congress fight for India's independence? Certainly not!

If Sonia Gandhi wants to know the history of her party, let me elaborate below in light of a few facts:

The Indian National Congress ruled India until November 12, 1969, the day Indira Gandhi was expelled from the party. After being expelled from the INC, Indira Gandhi first formed a new party naming it as Congress (R). The remaining party headed by syndicate came to be known as Congress (O). The question soon arose as to which splinter group out of the two was heir to the original legacy of the INC. Ultimately, the Election Commission (EC) identified Congress (O) as the heir of INC and thus, it got the original name 'Indian National Congress' back without any suffix or prefix and also retained the original INC symbol of 'two bulls wearing a yoke'.

Later, the PM candidate of Congress (R) Indira Gandhi won the 1971 general election with electoral symbol of 'cow and a calf'. The Congress (R) later split further and the party headed by Indira Gandhi was renamed as Congress (I) where 'I' stood for Indira. The election symbol changed to 'hand' from 'cow and calf'.

Interestingly, the 'hand' was the symbol of 'Forward Block' in the 60s and also of the Akali Dal at one time. However, between the 'hand' and 'elephant', Indira Gandhi chose the 'hand'. Thus, a dynastic family party Congress (I) was born where none could oppose the family.

Sonia Gandhi must realise that the present Congress is the party formed in the 70s by Indira Gandhi who had been expelled from the INC. This present Congress party had no role in India's freedom struggle and neither did it have names like Nehru or Gandhi associated with it. The present INC is just a name given to a family party called Congress (I).

It's interesting to note that the Janata Party was formed under the leadership of Jai Prakash Narayan. Later, many splits took place in the party. However, the original Janata Party with election symbol of a 'farmer and wheel' finally merged with the BJP under the leadership of Subramanian Swami. But just because the original Janata Party merged with the BJP, does it mean that the BJP is the sole heir of the legacy of JP? Similarly, how can the present Congress party stake a claim over the legacy of the INC that played a major role in India's freedom struggle? Sonia Gandhi should perhaps realise that present Indian generation is not fool.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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