Sonia hits out at BJP for distorting facts on Nehruc
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said secularism was an article of faith for Jawaharlal Nehru and a compelling need for the country and there could be no India without it.
- There could be no India minus secularism
- It was an article of faith for Nehru: Sonia
New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday said secularism was an article of faith for Jawaharlal Nehru and a compelling need for the country and there could be no India without it.
Speaking at an international conference organised by the Congress to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of India's first prime minister, Gandhi made veiled attacks on the BJP, saying Nehru's life and work had been "drowned out by misinterpretation and distortion in recent years".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not been invited to the two-day meet. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Communist Party of India-Marxist leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury and Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav were among those present.
Also those present were former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, former Ghana president John Kufuor, Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, former Nepal prime minister Madhav Nepal and former foreign minister of Egypt Amr Moussa.
Gandhi said that although Nehru was socialist by conviction, he valued individual liberty above all else. Gandhi said secularism was an article of faith with Nehru.
"If any person raises his hand to strike down another on ground of religion, I shall fight him to the last breath of my life as head of the government and from outside," she quoted him as saying.
The Congress president said there could be no Indianness and no India without secularism. "Secularism was and remains more than an ideal. It is a compelling necessity in a country as diverse as India." She took potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party at the start of her speech.
"Jawaharlal Nehru once remarked that wealth shouts but knowledge whispers. That whisper of knowledge about Nehru's life and work has weakened in recent years in our country, drowned out by misinterpretation and distortion. Yet the ideas he promoted and the values for which he stood remain all the more relevant," Gandhi said.
She said Nehru was once compared to a sculptor, called upon to work on a massive block of granite encompassing one sixth of the human race.