New Delhi, June 2: Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday hit out at the government, saying it was seeking to create an India completely at odds with the one that saw the light of Independence and added that "a culture of vigilante violence is actively being supported by those who are supposed to enforce the law".
She also said that the idea of India had been thrown fundamentally into question by rising intolerance and malevolent forces who tell people "what they cannot eat, who they cannot love, what they cannot say".
Gandhi also said that "domestic misrule was as great a challenge for our country". Launching the commemorative publication of National Herald, she further attacked the government, saying: "Though their language is modern, they seek to take India backward, to further their narrow sectarian vision."
"It is one of the ironies of our present times that the soaring reach of their (freedom fighters) work is now sought to be either obliterated or in some cases appropriated by individuals and groups who are in direct opposition to their beliefs and principles," she said.
"Those who stood aside when history was painfully made by sacrifice and struggle, those who had little faith in the Constitution adopted by our country, are now seeking to create an India completely at odds with the one that saw the light of Independence. Let us not forget that they made no sacrifices to shape India's destiny," she added.
Gandhi also said: "Their modern jargon conceals pre-modern beliefs, concepts that are at odds with progressive and inclusive thought, with contemporary knowledge and with a vision for the future. It is our duty to pull away the hypocrisy and reveal the reality lurking beneath."
"This is being encouraged by a culture of vigilante violence actively supported by those who are supposed to enforce the law. Such examples assault our consciousness almost daily," she added. Gandhi also said: "India has reached a crossroads marked by increasing threats of authoritarianism and bigotry. Where we choose to stand today is where our country will head tomorrow.
"We are in a war of ideas. We wage this war to preserve our ideals, which have built India up as a model of democracy, diversity and co-existence. When these ideals are threatened, India itself is in danger. And if we do not raise our voices, if we do not speak up, our silence will be taken as consent," she said. Gandhi said: "We have daunting enough battles to fight - against injustice, against poverty, against prejudice, against patriarchy, against malnutrition, against illiteracy, against communalism - but we must also prevail in this greater war for the soul of our nation."
"Ours is a mission to preserve the credibility and sanctity of our institutions in their democratic design. The domestic misrule is as great a challenge for our country. "At a time when the inclusive conception of our nation is under attack, and the press is pressured or in some willing cases to obey and applaud rather than to question, speaking truth to power is the imperative of our age," Gandhi said.
"Let us work together to safeguard an India in which each person's voice can be raised and heard, most of all the voices of those who question and disagree," she added.