Bengaluru: The last time the controversial MP Pragya Thakur put her foot in her mouth with regard to Nathuram Godse back in May this year, the BJP was quick to distance itself from her remarks, calling them her "personal views." "Nathuram Godse ek deshbakt they, hain aur rahenge," she told journalists. PM Narendra Modi went so far as to say Pragya would "never be forgiven" for her praising the assassin of the beloved Mahatma.
Pragya Thakur would not be silenced, however. On November 27, she repeated her statement, this time in Parliament. And to those who admire Gandhi, an apology from the party, it seems, will not suffice. In India, where historical figures are subject to either deification or vilification, (based on the current political mood), more than evidence-based study, those who support Gandhi call for nothing less than her disqualification.
As Deccan Chronicle strolls through the tea shops in HSR Layout, it's not long before we find people engaged in a discussion on the hot button issue. "Despite the Prime Minister's rebuke the last time, Pragya Thakur went on to glorify an assassin. People have different opinions on Mahatma Gandhi but the glorification of the person who assassinated an apostle of peace should not be pardoned," says Mohan, who works with a private company.
His colleague, Yeshwanth, believes that the BJP and RSS might adore the Mahatma in public, but in private, "he has always been seen as the man who believed in the appeasement of Muslims. She has called Godse a patriot. The actions of the party confound me because they come down heavily on Thakur as if the top leadership was unaware of her view on Gandhi. Why was she given a ticket in the first place? She is an accused in the Malegon terror attack and now, her glorification of Godse speaks volumes," Yeshwant says.
The third colleague, Kawshal, joins in by pointing out the sudden glorification of Godse that has taken place post 2014. "See, there is a pattern. A flyover in Alwar was to be named after the assassin and this was followed by a spate of celebrations in parts of the country. In 2014, the Kerala unit of RSS published, in its mouthpiece, Kesari, that Godse should have assassinated Nehru and not Gandhi. What kind of world are we living in?"
Kawshal emphasises that Gandhi is a figure who should be examined critically but the glorification of a person whose contribution to the freedom struggle was zero is "unpardonable." Mohan's parting shot shows this controversy has far from ended withg her removal from the committee on defence: "The disqualification of the MP will send a stern message to everyone, but is the party ready for it?"