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Congress seeks to revive Gandhiji's 'Prabhat Pheri' for mass-connect

By Quaid Najmi
Wardha (Maharashtra), Nov 15 (IANS) In the 75th anniversary of India's Freedom, the Congress wants to revive the famed 'Prabhat Pheri' launched by Mahatma Gandhi, in order to 're-connect with the masses', as done in the pre-Independence era.

Addressing the concluding function of a 4-day national Congress Training Camp at the historic Sevagram Ashram here on Monday (evening), AICC Maharashtra In-Charge H.K. Patil said that the 'Prabhat Pheris' (Morning Processions) initiated by Gandhiji were a unique and informal way to connect with the ordinary people.

"The 'Prabhat Pheris' brought together people from all walks of life without any discrimination in the name of caste or religion. It's time to resume those Morning Processions again, in our fight for human rights and basic needs of the people," urged Patil.

As a symbolic gesture, several Congress leaders like AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal, Patil, State Congress President Nana Patole and others took a leaf from Gandhiji's simple lifestyle by discarding luxuries to sleep in the open, in villages and near the roads on cots, at the Sevagram Ashram where the Father of the Nation spent several years.

The 'Prabhat Pheris' became a rage in Mumbai and other cities in the early 1930s with small groups of people coming together at dawn and going in a procession singing patriotic or religious songs and despite orders from the British rulers, Gandhiji continued them without being cowed down.

Slamming the BJP's "disastrous rule", Venugopal said that the government has failed on all fronts, it's trying to create a communal divide in the country and its imperative to raise awareness about this among the people.

"People are completely disenchanted by the BJP rulers. In fact, under the BJP rule, the very 'idea of India' is under threat and must be countered," Venugopal urged.

On a self-chiding note, he added that "we ourselves have stopped treading the path we paved for India, and our elders did not fight the Independence war for their own benefits".

Patole said that the BJP and its ideological mentor RSS have "no history, no future" going by the manner in which they are trying to blatantly erase the past records of the Indian Freedom Movement, and its imperative that the Congress activists take it to masses and counter the fake narrative being spinned by the present rulers.

Venugopal pointed out that since the BJP-RSS are "scared" of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, they have been consistently running a campaign to discredit him and spoil his image, though the Nehru-Gandhi family treated all with equality and never discriminated on the basis of caste-religion.

Going by the great response to the 3-day training camp, the Congress has now decided to make it a regular and mandatory requirement for all party leaders and workers, which will help in leadership and character-building besides fostering the spirit of unity, a state leader told IANS later.

The next state-level camp will be held in December, district training in January and taluka programme in February to percolate all levels, according to AICC Training Department Head Sachin Rao, who organised the camp for 150 delegates from 34 states.

Top ministers and state Congress leaders like Sunil Kedar, Ranjeet Kamble, Prithviraj Chavan, B. K. Hariprasad, Rajiv Gowda, Supriya Shrinate, Dilip Ray, Vamshi Reddy, B.M. Sandeep, Harshvardhan Sapkal, Ashish Dua, Atul Londhe-Patil, Manoj Chandurkar, were present.

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