Let’s face it. India isn’t as enamored of Mahatma Gandhi as it once was. Many, a sizeable section of youth especially, have come to believe that the Gandhian worldview is woolly-headed, too pacifist and Luddite to be relevant in the modern wired, dog-eat-dog world.
Champions of both kamandal and Mandal, two major strands of contemporary politics in India, have their own disapprovals. The muscle-flexing Hindutva Brigade finds Gandhi and his message too accommodative, too timid for its tastes. Proponents of radical social engineering consider his stance on caste patronizing.
It would appear then that an insulting reference to Gandhi would not ruffle many feathers these days. Only it does, as Pragya Singh Thakur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament from Bhopal has discovered twice this year. On both occasions, Thakur kicked a political storm with her reference to Nathuram Godse, Gandhi’s assassin, as a deshbhakt (patriot) and was rebuked with uncharacteristic swiftness if not deterrent force by her party leadership.