Study Ho Chi Minh and Mahatma Gandhi to understand the legacy of colonialism: M.J. Akbar

Legendary 20th century Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh represented a new era in the world, said Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the 128th birth anniversary of the leader, Mr. Akbar said that Vietnam’s liberation movement was a fight against fear and falsehood of the colonial powers and remains relevant for the twenty-first century where terrorism is a similarly dangerous threat.

“The war of the sixties in Vietnam was essentially the last chapter of the age of Empire. When Gandhiji and Ho Chi Minh set out and imagined liberation and a route map for liberation, they knew that they were challenging the Empire,” said Mr Akbar recollecting how the colonial powers of the 19th and the early 20th centuries tried to repress the people of South and Southeast Asian people.

The ambassador of Vietnam Ton Sinh Thanh also participated in the programme and recollected friendship between Ho Chi Minh and leaders of the anti-colonial struggle of India.

“In an interview in 1955, Ho Chi Minh said that he honoured the great spiritual leader of Indian people, Mahatma Gandhi as his master in his struggle against imperialism in Asia,” said the envoy at the event organised by the Centre of Vietnam Studies in the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

He recounted that in many of his writings, Ho Chi Minh shows lot of admiration for Motilal Nehru and had personal contact with former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. “He even wrote a poem about Jawaharlal Nehru when both of them were in jail in the early 1940s,” said the Vietnamese ambassador highlighting that contemporary ties between India and Vietnam reflected Ho Chi Minh’s idea of long term relation between the two sides.

Mr Akbar said that an important similarity between India and Vietnam is that both were divided by colonial powers and argued that terrorism is the common enemy that demands countries in the region to join hands.

“Vietnam and India were partitioned by colonisers through subtle and unsubtle manners. It first partitioned the human mind by poisonous elements of fear and falsehood – a dangerous combination. Then people lost harmony and trust that they had ever since civilisation began. Vietnam has reversed its partition in its own lifetime. We have taken another way historically. Hopefully as common objective of peace we will be able to fight that common enemy called terrorism,” said the minister.

Mr. Akbar said that the consequences of colonisation are much greater enemy and urged the people to study Mahatma Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh to understand the legacy of colonialism.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2022 8:03:57 pm |