Initiating the special debate on the 75th anniversary of the launch of Quit India in Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said different religions and castes are an integral part of India and it is imperative to maintain harmony in the country. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad recalled that the Quit India movement period was free of communal violence and argued that today the enemy is not outside and the danger is from within”
“India is not going to be clean by cleaning our alleys and drains. We will have cleanse our conscience, heart and mind… Today the enemy is not outside. The danger is from within… within our conscience, hearts and minds… we will have to eradicate the mindset which is against humanity,” he said. “If we change our mindset, we will be able to live up to the free India envisioned by Mahatma Gandhi.”
Jaitley said India faced several challenges, including challenges from neighbours and the challenges of terrorism. Without naming Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, he said a prime minister and a former prime minister had to lost their lives to terrorism. “Today also, we face two kinds of challenges. One from left wing extremism… and the other… is that some [people] from across the border and some people from within the country who have been misled from within the country have taken to arms are trying to spread terrorism…” He said different religions and castes are an integral part of the country and it is imperative to maintain harmony. He underlined the need for freeing the country from all kinds of violence, be it in the name of terrorism, politics or religion. He said there should be no place for such incidents in a country which wants to make fast strides of progress development.
Talking about separation of powers between legislature and judiciary, he said “with a far-sighted approach, both the wings should conduct in a way that the Lakshman rekha between them is not breached which many times we see are getting blurred.” In his speech, Azad took jibes at the BJP. Referring to developments in connection with Gujarat’s Rajya Sabha polls on the night of August 8, 1942, he said, “I don’t want to mention the incidents of last night. It looked like the same night (August 8/9, 1942) because the developments kept us awake till morning… I don’t want to bring politics because today it’s a different occasion. But yesterday’s night and day were the same.”
Talking about National Herald, Azad said Jawaharlal Nehru used to write for the paper, which he said was the mouthpiece of freedom movement along with Young India and Harijan. “It is other matter that today we have to wage a battle for space for these papers,” he said. Arguing that he does not want to go into the aspect of “which parties then were out of it [the Quit India movement] and which parties had opposed it, he said a quick search in the internet would reveal “who was part of that history”.