Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi on Saturday said the Father of the Nation would have laughed at the ‘chatur baniya’ (a clever baniya– the trading caste) remark made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah. On Friday, Shah had used this term for the Mahatma while addressing a gathering in Raipur. Reacting to this, Gopalkrishna said, “Gandhi laughed at cartoons of himself. He would have chuckled at the ‘chatur baniya’ description also, but for its ‘utter tastelessness’ and the hidden mischief in it.”
Even Historian Ranachandra Guha criticised the remark made by Shah, calling it ‘crude’ and ‘unworthy’ of the president of BJP. Guha, who is the author of ‘India After Gandhi’ told PTI, “The comment was crude and ill-informed, unworthy of the president of India’s ruling party.”
Soon after Shah’s statement came into light, Congress party attacked the BJP chief for using such phrase for Mahatma Gandhi. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala even demanded an apology from Shah for ‘belittling’ the Father of the Nation.
“Amit Shah has belittled Mahatma Gandhi and the Independence struggle… He should apologise for slinging mud on the Father of the Nation and shaming the freedom struggle,” Surjewala told ANI. He further stated, “After Independence, the BJP’s Kala Angrez (black Englishmen) are doing the same what the British used to do. This statement shows what is going inside Amit Shah’s head. It is scary that this party is leading the nation.”
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However, Shah on Saturday rebuffed Surjewala’s demand for apology. While speaking at Raipur, he said, “Everyone present in the public meeting knows with what objective, I called Mahatma Gandhi a baniya. Randeep Surjewala has a lot to answer on Mahatma Gandhi’s principles.”
Shah on June 9 referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a ‘chatur baniya’ (a clever Baniya – the trading caste) while addressing a gathering in Raipur. Shah also took a jibe at the Congress, saying the party had never been based on principles and it was merely a ‘special purpose vehicle’ to secure freedom.