A lawmaker of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticised Mahatma Gandhi, the country’s freedom struggle icon, describing his leadership of the movement as nothing but a drama planned before by the British colonial rulers.
Gandhi was one of the key leaders of India’s freedom movement in the early part of the 20th century (1915-1947).
Addressing a public event in Bengaluru city over the weekend, BJP politician and former minister Anant Kumar Hegde said: "None of these so-called leaders were thrashed up by the cops even once. Their independence movement was one big drama”.
He further asked: “How could such people (Gandhi) come to be called Mahatma. It (the freedom struggle) was staged by these leaders with the approval of the British. It was not a genuine fight. It was an adjustment freedom struggle”.
Some netizens immediately lampooned Hegde for his remarks. They asked that if he believes Gandhi’s efforts to seek freedom for Indians was drama, then he should explain why his party’s top leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi always projects himself as an ardent fan of Gandhi.
You will continue to bow down in front of him. This is is biggest defeat to your ideology. pic.twitter.com/oUDPKMncMV— Faizzzz🇮🇳🇮🇳🇮🇳 (@Faizz634) February 3, 2020
trust this nut case @AnantkumarH to come up with such statements . he forgets he enjoys this freedom because of Gandhiji and the brave who struggled for our independence— suvarna veerappa (@SuvarnaVeerappa) February 3, 2020
Freedom struggle or divide India struggle ?— Yogesh 🇮🇳 (@yogashar99) February 3, 2020
It was a drama coz his lord Mr. Apology was on the other side supporting the angrezs against the freedom fighters.— Freedom Fighter 🇮🇳 (@meetaijaz) February 3, 2020
Another group of netizens came out in support of Hegde, saying his views had merit.
More leaders need to talk along these lines— HISASHI_SUO (@aghori_shunya) February 3, 2020
Finally, the truth is out.— Justin Barrel (@JustinBarrel2) February 3, 2020
At least someone has guts to critically examine Gandhi— mohit (@mohitnibm) February 3, 2020
The biggest conman of India is Gandhi.— Punith ಪುನೀತ್ 🇮🇳 (@punithdg619) February 3, 2020
The BJP leader also rejected the notion that the British left India because they couldn’t handle Mahatma Gandhi's hunger strikes or deal with his, at the time unique, form of non-violent resistance.
"People supporting the Congress keep saying that India got independence because of Gandhi’s frequent threats of fasting unto death and Satyagraha (non-violent resistance). This is not true. The British did not leave the country because of Satyagraha", Hegde said, but that they left out of frustration.
“My blood boils when I read such history”, Hegde added.
Mahatma Gandhi is unarguably regarded as one of the greatest men in Indian history. He is widely credited with giving shape and character to India's freedom struggle, through his non-violent and peaceful resistance. When Gandhi asked the British to quit India in 1942, the movement to gain freedom became more intense and passionate and culminated in the country being declared independent in August 1947.
The BJP, on the other hand, was founded in 1980. Its parental organisation, the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), and one of its affilitates - the Bharatiya Jan Sangh - kept themselves apart from the Congress-led freedom movement, and chose to be freedom fighters with a difference. They too had stalwart freedom fighters such as Dr K. Hedgwar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, and V.D. Sarvakar, among others.