Durgapur News Desk, 26 January 2016: The CPM-backed youth wing DYFI at its upcoming convention scheduled in Durgapur, has decided to observe Mahatma Gandhi’s 68th death anniversary on January 30, calling his assassination as the “biggest attack on communal harmony”.
The youth wing of the Marxists, who have often had differences with Gandhi and his philosophy, has decided to embrace the “Father of Nation” as the “pioneer of communal harmony”.
The DYFI in collaboration with other outfits, such as the CPM’s labour arm CITU, its student arm SFI and the Ganatantrik Mahila Samiti, has organised the convention.
Several senior CPM leaders said that though this would not be the first time Gandhi’s image or reference would be used in a party programme, observing the death anniversary would be a shift from tradition, deemed to be the “need of the hour”, as the party feels that the very concept of secularism is now under threat in this BJP-VHP-RSS era.
One might remember that last year, DYFI, in a letter to the Prime Minister demanded that the government of India must firmly disallow all such moves aimed at promoting Natharuma Godse, the man who killed Mahatma, as an icon. This was after Hindu Mahasabha leaders announced 30th of January, the martyrdom day of Mahatma Gandhi, as the day on which foundation stone would be laid for Godse temple.
A CPM state secretariat member said many of the differences the party had with Gandhi, like non-violence, were eliminated decades ago. There was no need to keep the biggest icon of the freedom struggle off limits now. He said the move towards being more inclusive towards icons such as Gandhi was in sync with the line adopted in the last central plenum of December 2015 in Calcutta, where it was decided to widen the outreach of the party.
The convention cards have images of newspaper front pages from across the world the day after Gandhi’s assassination. This too is a departure from the practice of giving prominence to the outfit’s symbol and veteran communists.
“Communal harmony and secularism are burning national issues now. Images of Marx, Lenin or Stalin are not relevant to this particular subject. The Indian communist icons were also non-communal, but the appeal and acceptance of Gandhi is much wider,” said a senior CPM leader in Durgapur, backing the event.
However, three years ago at a DYFI event in Durgapur, images of Gandhi, Netaji, Bhagat Singh and Lakshmi Sehgal were used to promote an anti-corruption marathon had to be removed after Alimuddin Street objected to image of Gandhi.