Tag Archives: Mahatma Gandhi

Rejoinder to Salman Khurshid

Salman Khurshid, the external affairs ministers says that Hindu nationalist is an oxymoron.

Is Mahatma Gandhi oxymoron?

In Hind Swaraj, which is his fundamental ideological text, he ( Mahatma Gandhi)  pointed out how Hinduism is the core of Indian nationalism. Gandhi said: ‘those farseeing ancestors of ours who established Setubandha (Rameshwaram) in the South, Jagannath in the East and Hardwar in the North as places of pilgrimage were no fools. They knew that the worship of God could have been performed just as well at home and yet they argued that it must be one nation. Arguing thus, they established holy places in various parts of India, and fired the people with an idea of nationality in a manner unknown in other parts of the world. But they saw that India was one undivided land.’

When asked about the advent of Muslims on the unity of India, Gandhi replied: ‘foreigners merge in it. A country is one nation only when such a condition obtains in it. That country must have a faculty for assimilation, India has ever been such a country.’

Compare this with what the “secularist ” , Khurshid has to say in his book  ‘At Home In India’. He wrote that in 1984, when the Sikhs were massacred in Delhi, “there was terrible satisfaction among the Muslims, who have not completely forgotten the Partition’s unpleasant aftermath. Hindus and Sikhs were alike paying for their sins. They were paying for the blood they had drawn in 1947 ”.  When Khurshid was chief of the Congress in UP, he defended the Islamic terrorist outfit Students Islamic Movement of India [SIMI] – reincarnated later as Indian Mujhahideen – as peace-loving lads, arguing as its counsel in courts. This was in 2001.

The above is an excerpt from S.Gurumurthy’s article “Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Gandhi too oxymorons – http://newindianexpress.com/opinion/Aurobindo-Vivekananda-and-Gandhi-too-oxymorons/2013/07/16/article1685661.ece

 

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Vijayadashmi Speech by RSS Sarsanghchalak

Source: News Bharati English

This day,our minds are filled with the hallowed memory of our guiding lights like Swargiya Sudarshanji. In the course of the march of victory, the memory of great heroes provides us with the inspiration to forge ahead.

Vijayadasami is the festival of victory. The whole nation celebrates this festival to commemorate the triumph of humanity over savagery, the forces of good over the forces of evil. This day is marked for overcoming the limitations imposed on our efficiency and prowess by our own imaginary weaknesses and to assert our valour. Since we can redeem our nation from its present predicaments and intricacies only through the multi-faceted efforts of the people’s strength, the peoples psyche requires such a transgression.

We have demonstrated time and again our ability to  do so even during our 65 years of independence. In every field of human life, including science, trade, arts, games, etc. and in the environment of competition prevalent both at the national and the international level, the examples that proclaim the acumen of Bharat, have become quite common now-a-days. In spite of this, in the current situation, the minds of people of our entire nation show the sign of anxiety, concern and, at places, even disappointment about the future. The developments during the last one year have helped only to accentuate these concerns. The security situation, both internal and at the international borders, still continue to be a matter of concern. The promptness should be exhibited and efforts be seen to address the problems like the inadequacy of latest weapons and ammunitions, technology and other equipments and materials our armed forces require to protect our land, lack of proper roads, transport facilities to move men and material to the frontier posts, and  insufficiency in communication network. On the contrary, unnecessary controversies regarding trivial matters concerning the offices of the personnel of our armed forces are made topics of unhealthy discussions in the media that affect the morale of our armed forces. The will to achieve self-sufficiency in everything related to national security through indigenous production should be seen in our policy. No interest is shown The promptness should be exhibited and efforts be seen to address the disinterest, inefficiency and lack of coordination discernible in our defense strategy.

It is necessary to make fool-proof security arrangements to protect our national boundaries, including the islands and archipelagoes that form part of our territory.

 

From the point of view of security, along with the security of the national boundaries, military preparedness and protection, in the present context, our foreign policy and its execution also play a significant role. From this angle, the higher-ups in our administration had a few years ago made a much-awaited declaration of “Look East Policy.” All the South East Asian countries are aware and have accepted that their basic values and that of Bharat’s national life are the same and until recent times and even today, with reference to culture and trade, they were having close relationship with us because of business and other transactions. So, it was proper on our part to have resolved to establish friendly relationship and cooperation with all these countries. The people of those countries have also been favourable to this. And, of course, the declaration was made with great speed and much enthusiasm. However, the tardy progress at the level of implementation has been most disheartening. The fact that China has entered the arena as a competitor with full force and preparation makes the worry at the low pace of progress on our part all the more confounded. Now we know that China has befriended Pakistan to such an extent that they have given their nuclear technology to Pakistan. And the consequences of China surging ahead of us to establish such strategic relationship with our immediate neighbours like Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka could be imagined from the angle of our national security. More over, in all these places people of Indian origin are living in great numbers and to safeguard the interests of these people also, our foreign policy should be oriented in such away to keep these traditionally friendly countries on our side.

 

But certain developments that happened with the backing of our own government and administration in the last few years, have only added to the worries of the people and created a suspicion in their minds, whether our policies are formulated in the best interests of our nation or not. In Jammu and Kashmir, because of the policies pursued by the government during the last decade, terrorist activities are on a come back trial. The areas under Pak-occupation have to be liberated; discrimination shown in administrative and developmental matters in the case of Jammu, Leh –Ladak and the Kashmir valley should be stopped forthwith and these areas must be made on par with the other parts of the country; conditions should be made favourable and secure for those Hindus to come back to the valley with honour, who were forced to flee their home and hearth; persons who took shelter in the state of J & K at the time of partitions should be granted state citizenship, but the policies adopted are further complicating the sitution. The power crazy political parties governing at state and  Centre continue with the process of ignoring the national interests and are succumbing to the pressures of foreign forces. It appears from the prevalent situation in the eastern parts of the nation that we have not learnt any lessons from our grim situation in the Northern parts caused by the progressive depletion of the nationalist Hindu population due to historical processes.

 

We have been repeatedly warning for the last many years against infiltration, smuggling of weapons, narcotics and counterfeit currency notes, etc. through the porous border areas of Assam and Bengal. Our intelligence agencies, High Courts and Supreme Court, and even the governors of the respective states also have tolled the warning bell from time to time against this menace. But ignoring all such warnings, for the sake of power, wrong policies have been followed and wrong decisions have been taken due to lack of a clear-cut national view, and, as a result, Northeast India has been facing problems of grave magnitude. The demographic imbalance caused as a result of infiltration has rendered the native population into in a minority,in many parts of NE Bharat and the phenomenon is stretching its hands all over Bharat. The poisonous brew of separatism and terrorism, growing there under the shade of religious conversion on a large scale, is given a new lease of life time and again because of the weak policies. The interference by expansionist China is looming large on our northern borders. Making use of this favourable condition, terrorist organizations like Al- Qaeda are also trying to get a foothold in the area. In such a situation, only the effective presence of our armed forces and the strong moral of the people who have been living there braving the adversities remain the only substratum to ensure the security of our land and people. Before it is too late, we have to change our policies at the earliest. In our Northeastern region as also in other states of Bharat, infiltrators should be identified at the earliest and their names should be deleted from the voters list, and their ration cards, identity cards, etc. should be cancelled and necessary arrangements should be made to send back those infiltrators who are staying in our country illegally. The National Register of Citizens should be prepared in accordance with the clear-cut directions given by the courts, recording the place of birth, place of either parents or grandparents, supported by  relevant documentary evidence. Not only in the Northeast region, but elsewhere also it has been our experience that, whenever either under pressure of public opinion or as directed by the courts, to identify foreign nationals and doubtful voters becomes inevitable, both the government and the administration have, rather than identifying such people, invariably let off the Bangladeshi infiltrators and, at the same time, harassed the harmless Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who have settled there for very many years.

 

We all have to clearly understand and accept that for the Hindu society world wide  Bharat, which is traditionally known as Bharat only for the reason that this has been the land of Hindus, is the only land they can claim as their fatherland and their sacred land. And wherever Hindus become a minority or ineffective, even the names of such regions get changed. If at all Hindus are forced to flee their land of residance because of persecution, they have no other place to go. So, no Hindu, from wherever he comes here, should be considered a foreigner. Either those who have recently come here from the Sindh, or those who have come from Bangladesh seeking refuge, or such hindus who have been forcibly and unwillingly made to take refuge here because of the torture or persecution they had to undergo, should get refuge in Bhatrat with love and respect. Also, it is the responsibility of the Indian government to play its role effectively to protect the interests of the Hindus all over the world.

 

There is one more dimension to this whole sequence. Only for the reason that the infiltrators belonged to their own religion, some quarters come forward to even justify the illegal activities being carried out by the infiltrators. People from the Northeast, staying in other parts of Bharat, either for education or vocation, were being threatened. The incident that took place at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai, has acquired notoriety. It shows that the anti-nationals who take pride in the desecration of the Amar Jawan Jyothi in Bharat in protest against the action taken by the Myanmar government against Rohingyas, continue to exist here.

 

It is a matter of concern, anger and disgrace that as a result of  the policy adopted by the  very administration detrimental to the national interest, and because of the growing impudence of the anti-national fifth columnists, such forces could bring great ignominy to both the law and order machinery and the government. It is very unfortunate that, in spite of all might and preparedness, those, who allowed a free play of anti-national forces because of their defective polices, are our own people, belonging to our independent nation.

 

Let alone inculcating national sentiment in the society as a whole, what we witness in our own Hindustan, is that, for the sake of votes, probably out of the feeling of fundamentalism or separatism or antagonism, for the last ten years attempts are being made progressively to insult or weaken the Hindu society either through wrong policies or through deception and subterfuge. Attempts are made to tarnish the image and goodwill of our revered Acharyas by levelling concocted charges against them. Swami Lakshmanananda, who was engaged in serving the vanavasis, was murdered through a premeditated action and the real perpetrators of the crime are still at large; misuse and misappropriation of the funds and assets of Hindu temples continue unabated; an atmosphere of suspicion and imputation is being created; with an aim to malign  or denigrate the Hindu beliefs, traditions or cultural values, deliberate attempts are made to raise controversies regarding the funds and assets of Trusts formed by the Hindu saints and the temples like Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple of Thiruvananthapuram. Although the majority Hindu community is very broad-minded and accommodative, attempts are still being made to bring in a legislation that defames the Hindu society and  vitiates the atmosphere of amity that prevails. The very people who swear by democracy, secularism and the Constitution, have introduced reservation based on religion and are advancing the theory that the  minorities have the first claim over the national assets. Political alliances are hatched with the avowed aim of launching indirect attack against the Hindu society through love-jihad and religious conversion. As a result, in the mind of the Hindu society that has been living here, practicing the national values, naturally there has been a lurking doubt whether the leadership here is representative of them and taking care of their interests and aspirations or not? The dictatorial, materialistic and fundamentalist forces and the forces of rank opportunism that have infiltrated the state governments and the Central government, who are out to destroy Hindutva and Hindustan, are engaged in yet another attempt to vitiate the atmosphere of amity. According to reports, attempts are on to acquire a large plot adjacent to the Ramjanmabhumi so as to construct a big structure for Muslims.

 

The construction of Ramjanmabhumi Temple is an issue pending before the court. So, making such irresponsible proposal at this juncture will amount to playing with the sentiments of the people and will result in vitiating the atmosphere of amity. Keeping in mind the judgment delivered by the Allahabad High Court on September 30, 2010, the parliament, in fact, should bring in legislation at the earliest to allow the Ramjanmabhumi Nyas to construct a majestic Ramjanmabhumi Temple, and at the same time ensuring that any construction for the sake of Muslims shall be allowed only  outside the cultural boundaries of Ayodhya . This is the only way to solve the issue amicably, ridding it of all political overtones.

 

However, the prevailing political atmosphere in our country is not such to raise expectations of solving the issue in the best interests of the nation, without vitiating social amity. Nowhere in the world the experience of allowing big companies through direct foreign investment in the retail sector has been encouraging. So to allow  foreign companies to enter in a big way in  retail business  by enhancing the limits of foreign direct investment to insurance sector and pension sector will, rather than bringing us any profit, ultimately result in loss of income to retailers, lesser prices to our cultivators for their produce, and price rise to consumers. Along with this, it may also pose a threat to our food security.  Even otherwise, plunder of our natural resources, destruction of bio-diversity and environment in the name of development and depriving those who are dependent on these of their income and habitation, is going on unhindered. Citing the economic progress made by a small section of our society, we have been claiming that we are on the fast track of development! However, even that progress has come down from 9 per cent to 5 per cent. And the whole nation is reeling under price rise. The gap between the rich and the poor has ever been increasing, so much so that the problem of inequality has assumed frightening proportions. God alone knows why such half-baked laws are brought in with breakneck speed with out any deliberations or discussions. Instead of such so-called reforms what are needed are real reforms. In this field, calls for well-meaning reforms in the electoral system, tax system, internal auditing, penal code are either ignored or suppressed.

 

The plan and direction of development currently followed by the world, is the product of a deficient thought and the result is for us to see all over. More over, this plan is being carried out according to the game plan of rich multinationals to serve their ends. And till such time we redraw our plan with an holistic approach and abreast of the times, taking into account all dimensions of life, according to our ability, necessity and capacity, we will not be able to achieve a balanced development and progress beneficial to all; nor the world will be able to emancipate itself from the incomplete and deceptive life it is presently leading.

 

The consequences of incomplete thought had made the lack of national and individual character in our country more pronounced and painful. The mind-boggling revelations about corruption have not come to an end yet. Many small and big agitations have been conducted demanding punishment to the corrupt, for bringing back black-money stashed away in foreign banks, and for stringent laws to curb corruption. Many Sangh swayamsevaks also have taken part in such agitations. At the same time, knowing well that corruption is on the rise because of lack of character, Sangh continues to concentrate in its work of character- building..people should be made aware of need to change the system, taking care to ensure that they do not fall a prey to disappointment or develop any aversion.for the system. Or else, a situation similar to one developed in the Middle East countries in which fundamentalist and foreign forces had created almost an anarchic situation to serve their interest, would be repeated here. Non-political, lawful and wide social pressure is the only means to eradicate corruption. For its success, we will have to bring about widespread reforms in the educational system, administrative system and the electoral process. Also, through widespread discussion and exchange of views, we will have to think of the basic as well as long-term changes to be effected in our system. The ill-effect of blindly following even now a defective and destructive pattern in our social life, is now very much before us. Increasing caste feelings and hatred, exploitation and harassment of the deprived sections of the society, the growing instances of harrasment of women due to lack of moral values, including among educated sections, rapes, female- feoticide, licentious living, murders and suicides, breaking up of families, growing antisocial activities, stress and depression in life due to loneliness, which were not seen, or only minimal in the society earlier, have become endemic now.. And time has come for us to think about system based on our eternal values, suitable to the present times to reorganise the society.

 

We can’t become free of fault by leaving all responsibility to politics, government and the administration. Right from our homes up to the social sphere, are we in a position to project ourselves as the perfect example of purity, lawfulness, discipline, honesty in dealings, sensitivity, etc. that form the practical and necessary ingredients for a solid national life? Let us know the basic fact that every reform starts from our own view of life and behaviour and nothing can be achieved merely through agitations.

 

Mahatma Gandhi has mentioned about seven social sins in one of the issues of Young India, in 1922.The seven social sins are:

 

  • Politics without Principles
  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Commerce without Humanity
  • Worship without Sacrifice

 

This appears to be description of our present-day social and political scenario.  In such a situation, it is for the forces of virtue to work in society, taking society along with them. We have to accept this challenge and move forward. Swami Vivekananda was one among the pioneers of Indian renaissance from whom great men like Mahatma Gandhi, had drawn inspiration. In the coming days, the celebrations of his 150th birth anniversary will commence. It is for us to realise his message. Becoming fearless, with self-respect and self-confidence and sterling character we will have to do penance. We have to awaken the Dharmic Bharat through our dedicated, selfless work and serving man as God without expecting anything in return.The work of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is to mould individuals filled with these qualities. This work is the need of the hour. All of you have to actively participate in this work. Attracted by our incessant penance and unrelenting hard work, the society will rise and come forward to work together. Then, like the great Ganges rushing towards the sea overcoming all obstacles, the star of good fortune of our nation will start his journey from his horizon to zenith.So, as exhorted by Swami Vivekananda, let us “Arise! Awake! Stop not till the goal is reached!”

 

BHARAT MAATA KI JAI

 

Mahatma Gandhi on Conversion

Gandhi

Gandhiji was not awarded the Nobel peace prize because he refused to be converted. Now that missionaries are spreading their tentacles far and wide in India converting people by allurement, inducement and fraud (In the north east killings and threats are becoming commonplace) Gandhiji’s message is all the more relevant in understanding and reacting to this problem. Missionary Terrorism will become as dangerous as Islamic terrorism if ignored. Please read & distribute.

Compiled by Swami Aksharananda

(Track No. 010119.1, Jan. 19, 2001)

I Call Myself a Sanatani Hindu

I call myself a Sanatani Hindu, because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas, and all that goes by the name of Hindu scripture, and therefore in avataras and rebirth; I believe in the varnashrama dharma in a sense, in my opinion strictly Vedic but not in its presently popular and distorted crude sense; I believe in the protection of cow. I do not disbelieve in murti puja. (Young India: June 10, 1921)

Why I am Not a Convert

Hinduism as I know it entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being. When doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavad Gita, and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. (Young India: June 8, 1925)

I Disbelieve in Conversion

I disbelieve in the conversion of one person by another. My effort should never to be to undermine another’s faith. This implies belief in the truth of all religions and, therefore, respect for them. It implies true humility. (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Conversion: Impediment to Peace

It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world’s progress toward peace. Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man? (Harijan: January 30, 1937)

No Such Thing as Conversion

I believe that there is no such thing as conversion from one faith to another in the accepted sense of the word. It is a highly personal matter for the individual and his God. I may not have any design upon my neighbour as to his faith which I must honour even as I honour my own. Having reverently studied the scriptures of the world I could no more think of asking a Christian or a Musalman, or a Parsi or a Jew to change his faith than I would think of changing my own. (Harijan: September 9, 1935)

No Conversion Designs Upon Me

I am not interested in weaning you from Christianity and making you Hindu, and I do not relish your designs upon me, if you had any, to convert me to Christianity. I would also dispute your claim that Christianity is the only true religion. (Harijan: June 3, 1937)

Conversion
Conversion must not mean denationalization. Conversion should mean a definite giving up of the evil of the old, adoption of all the good of the new and a scrupulous avoidance of everything evil in the new. Conversion, therefore, should mean a life of greater dedication to one’s country, greater surrender to God, greater self-purification. (Young India: August 20, 1925)

Aping of Europeans and Americans

As I wander about through the length and breath of India I see many Christian Indians almost ashamed of their birth, certainly of their ancestral religion, and of their ancestral dress. The aping of Europeans by Anglo-Indians is bad enough, but the aping of them by Indian converts is a violence done to their country and, shall I say, even to their new religion. (Young India: August 8, 1925)

Why Should I Change My Religion

I hold that proselytisation under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy to say the least. It is most resented by people here. Religion after all is a deeply personal thing. It touches the heart.

Why should I change my religion because the doctor who professes Christianity as his religion has cured me of some disease, or why should the doctor expect me to change whilst I am under his influence? (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Missionary Aim: Uprooting Hinduism

My fear is that though Christian friends nowadays do not say or admit it that Hindu religion is untrue, they must harbour in their breast that Hinduism is an error and that Christianity, as they believe it, is the only true religion. So far as one can understand the present (Christian) effort, it is to uproot Hinduism from her very foundation and replace it by another faith. (Harijan: March 13,1937)

Undermining People’s Faith

The first distinction I would like to make between your missionary work and mine is that while I am strengthening the faith of people, you (missionaries) are undermining it. (Young India: November 8, 1927)

Physician Heal Yourself

Conversion nowadays has become a matter of business, like any other. India (Hindus) is in no need of conversion of this kind. Conversion in the sense of self-purification, self-realization is the crying need of the times. That however is never what is meant by proselytization. To those who would convert India (Hindus), might it not be said, “Physician, heal yourself.” (Young India: April 23, 1931)

Missionaries: Vendors of Goods

When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess material goods which he promises to those who will come to his fold. (Harijan: April 3, 1937)

If I had the Power and Could Legislate.

If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytizing. In Hindu households the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family coming in the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink . (November 5, 1935)

The Only Begotten Son of God?

I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material interpretation is quite unacceptable. Metaphorically we are all sons of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of God. God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus. (Harijan: June 3, 1937)

Western Christianity Today

It is my firm opinion that Europe (and the United States) does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan’s successes are the greatest when appears with the name of God on his lips. (Young India: September 8, 1920)

I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ’s Christianity. I cannot conceive Jesus, if he was living in flesh in our midst, approving of modern Christian organizations, public worship, or ministry. (Young India: September 22, 1921)

Christianity and Imperialistic Exploitation

Christianity in India has been inextricably mixed up for the last one hundred and fifty years with British rule. It appears to us as synonymous with materialistic civilization and imperialistic exploitation by the stronger white races of the weaker races of the world. Its contribution to India has been, therefore, largely negative. (Young India: March 21, 1929)

No Room For Them

In the manner in which they are working there would seem to be no room for them. Quite unconsciously they do harm to themselves and also to us. It is perhaps impertinent to say that they do harm to themselves, but quite pertinent to say that they do harm to us. They do harm to those amongst whom they work and those amongst whom they do not work, i.e., the harm is done to the whole of India. The more I study their activities the more sorry I become. It is a tragedy that such a thing should happen to the human family. (Harijan: December 12, 1936)

Outrage!

Only the other day a missionary descended on a famine area with money in his pocket, distributed it among the famine stricken, converted them to his fold, took charge of their temple, and demolished it. This is outrageous. (Harijan: November 5, 1937)

Let the Hindu be a Better Hindu

I came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu. But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian. (Young India: January 19, 1928)

Welcome Them Back

If a person through fear, compulsion, starvation, or for material gain or consideration goes over to another faith, it is a misnomer to call it conversion. Most cases of conversion have been to my mind a false coin. I would therefore unhesitatingly re-admit to the Hindu fold all such repentants without much ado. If a man comes back to the original branch, he deserves to be welcomed in so far as he may deem to have erred, he has sufficiently purged himself of it when he repents his error and retraces his steps. (Collected Works: Vol. 66, pp. 163-164)

NOTE: As a Hindu courtesy, please acknowledge Swami Aksharanandaji who compiled this information and Vidya Bharati, New York who produced it. Please circulate as widely as possible.

Who named Mahatma Gandhi ‘Father of Nation’?

Who named Mahatma Gandhi ‘Father of Nation’? UPA Govt foxed on class VI student’s question

Mohd Arshi Rafique, Hindustan Times

Lucknow: A Lucknow girl’s simple query to know if Mahatma Gandhi was ever conferred the title of ‘The Father of The Nation’ has come a cropper. From the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) no one seems to really know the answer to the 10-year-old’s question.

MK Gandhi

They coolly forwarded the RTI plea of class VI student Aishwarya Parashar to the National Archives of India (NAI), the body that claims to be the repository of the non-current records of the Government of India. Surprisingly, the NAI, after a hectic search in their records, was unable to find the desired information and requested Aishwarya to come and search for it in NAI’s public records and library material herself.

Jayaprabha Ravindran, assistant director of archives and chief public information officer (CPIO) wrote back in a letter dated March 26: “As per search among public records in the National Archives of India, there are no specific documents on the information sought by you.”

As a consolation, it has promised to provide Aishwarya all facilities permissible under the rules, if she chooses to visit the national archives.

Aishwarya, expectedly, is amused. “The first piece of history taught to us in school is about Mahatma Gandhi as Father of the Nation. I never knew, I was asking such a difficult question,” she says.

Popular notion, nothing official

According to reports, when a demand to confer the title of ‘Father of the Indian Constitution’ on Dr Ambedkar was made, deputy prime minister LK Advani, in a letter to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit in 2004, had written: “It is not, however, feasible to formally confer the title of ‘Father of Indian Constitution’ on Dr Ambedkar, since Article 18 (1) of the Constitution specifically provides that “no title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the state.”

Advani further said: “I may clarify that although Mahatma Gandhi is popularly known as “Father of the Nation,” no such title was ever formally conferred on him by the government.”

History has it

Father of the Nation is an honorific title given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of a nation. As per Wikipedia, it was Subhas Chandra Bose who used the term for Mahatma Gandhi, in a radio address from Singapore in 1944. Later, it was recognised by the Indian government. When Gandhi was assassinated, India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, in a radio address to the nation, had announced that the Father of the Nation “is no more.”

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Lucknow/Who-named-Mahatma-Gandhi-father-of-nation-Govt-foxed/Article1-834824.aspx