CPM MLA Linto Joseph has asked how the Gandhi family got its surname and not that of Ghandy. He said that Jehangir Ghandy’s son Feroze Ghandy renamed himself Gandhi after marrying Indira Gandhi. Joseph was speaking in the Kerala Assembly and advised the opposition Congress that fundamental policy changes should happen in their outfit.
A visibly shaken Congress MLA PC Vishnunath said that such ‘rants’ are part of a Sangh Parivar agenda to insult the Gandhi family. He accused Joseph of taking over the ‘propaganda assignment’ on behalf of the Sangh Parivar. A former Congress minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan said he knew the translation of ‘Ghandy’. He added that he knew the translation, but it was not right to use the exact words in the esteemed assembly.
Another Congress MLA, T Siddique, jumped into the fray on Facebook and urged Joseph to gather information from not just Deshabhimani (CPM Newspaper) or the ‘Sangh Parivar Whatsapp University.’ Siddique recommended Feroze, The Forgotten Gandhi, a book written by the Swedish journalist Bertil Falk.
Siddique is the same 2019 Lok Sabha candidate from the Wayanad constituency whose candidature was dropped by Congress so that Rahul Gandhi could contest there. Congress knew that Gandhi stood no chance against Smriti Irani in Amethi.
Joseph, too, took to Facebook and asked Siddique why he recommended a book written by a foreigner. He advised Siddique to read Feroze Gandhi, [Socialist, Democrat, Secular]: A Political Biography, written by Shashi Bhushan, or Feroze Gandhi: a Crusader in Parliament, written by Tarun Kumar Mukhopadhyay. He said that he had read Falk’s biography of Feroze and included a few excerpts.
Joseph said that after Mohandas Gandhi, Feroze was the second Gandhi to be thrown into the dustbin of oblivion by today’s Congressmen. He noted that Feroze was a freedom fighter, a parliamentarian who constantly voiced against corruption and injustice, and a democrat who argued for media freedom. Feroze recognized the fascist love sleeping inside Indira’s mind years before the infamous emergency declaration in 1975, he claimed.
Feroze raised the voice of protest from the Prime Minister’s residence against the anti-democracy move that dissolved the Communist cabinet of Kerala in July 1959. He opened up to Indira (then Congress President, appointed by doting father Nehru) in front of the dining table during breakfast at Teen Murthy Bhavan that month. “What you are doing is not right, Indira; you threaten your people. You are a fascist. Fascist.”
“Are you calling me a fascist?” No, I will not tolerate this.” Indira burst into anger and stormed out of the room.
Feroze did not end his protest and asked at a Congress party meeting held in the Central Hall of Parliament, “We are forming an election alliance in Kerala. But I don’t understand the criteria for this. Are we trying to create a coalition with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the organizers of other caste organizations?”
Joseph ended his Facebook post by reminding Siddique that communist cadres do not just read the cover of a book, unlike Congress. He advised Siddique to read the book in full.
Joseph’s insinuation that Congress tried to capture power by cooperating with ‘communal forces’ shows his selective amnesia. Though the communists came to power in 1957, their radical agenda led to dissatisfaction among Hindus and Christians and led to the Vimochana Samaram (Liberation Struggle). Congress joined hands with the IUML, formed a joint committee, and brought down the leftist government.
During the 1960 elections, Congress and its allies, including the IUML, swept the assembly elections. The IUML did not get any ministerial berths and they parted ways with the Congress in 1961. Anarchy followed, and it led to a period of instability. During the 1962 war against China, the communists supported China and refused to donate blood even as our soldiers died.
In 1964, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was formed, and they allied with the same communal forces led by IUML and came to power in 1967. In those days, Muslim appeasement was high on the chief minister EMS Namboodiripad and his leftist crony’s minds. His CPM-led ministry took the infamous decision and carved out parts of the Palakkad and Kozhikode districts to create an Islamist-majority district of Malappuram.
Incidentally, Namboodiripad was born in Malappuram. During the 1921 Malabar Moplah genocide of Hindus, he and his family had to abandon their home and run for their lives. In his urge to prove his Hindu antecedents, Rahul Gandhi remains silent whenever questioned about his Parsi grandfather.