‘Mahatma Gandhi was a Chatur Bania’: Did Amit Shah insult Father of the Nation with this casteist remark?

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New Delhi | Updated: Jun 10, 2017 4:30 PM

BJP chief Amit Shah has raked a controversy by using the term 'chatur bania' for Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

amit shah, mahatma gandhi, amit shah on mahatma gandhi, mahatma gandhi chatur bania, amit shah chatur baniaAmit Shah, BJP chief, addresses a gathering in Raipur on Friday. (Twitter/AmitShah)

BJP chief Amit Shah has created a controversy by using the term ‘chatur bania’ for Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi. On Friday, while addressing a gathering in Raipur, Shah had referred to Mahatma Gandhi as a “bahut chatur baniya” (a very clever Baniya – the trading caste). The Congress on Saturday took exception to Shah’s remarks on the Mahatma and sought apology from the BJP chief as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Here’s what BJP chief Amit Shah said at the gathering:

“Congress kisi ek vichaar dhaara ke adhaar par, kisi ek siddhant ke adhaar par bani hui party hi nahi hai, woh azadi prapt karne ka ek special purpose vehicle hai, azadi prapt karne ka ek saadhan tha. Aur isi liye Mahatma Gandhi ne durandesi ke saath, bahut chatur baniya tha woh, usko maloom tha aage kya hone waala hai, usne azadi ke baad turant kaha tha, Congress ko bikher dena chahiye. Mahatma Gandhi ne nahi kiya, lekin ab kuch log usko bikherne ka kaam samapt kar rahe hain. Isliye hi kaha tha Mahatma Gandhi ne, kyunki Congress ki koi ideology hi nahi thi, siddhanto ke aadhar par bani hui party hi nahi thi. Desh chalaane ke, sarkar chalaane ke koi siddhant hi nahi the. (The Congress is not a party based on one ideology or one principle, it is a special purpose vehicle to gain independence, that is why Mahatma Gandhi with foresight, he was a very clever baniya, knew what was going to happen. After independence he had said that the Congress should be dissolved. He didn’t do it, but some people are now doing the job. He had said this since the Congress had no ideology. It was not formed based on a principle, and did not have any principle to run the country or government”), he added as per the paper.)

Responding to Shah’s remarks on Saturday, Congress spokesperson Rajdep Surjewala said, “Rather than fighting casteism, they (BJP) identified even the father of the nation with his caste. This shows the character and ideology of the ruling party and its president. Where will these people take the country?”

“We demand that Amit Shah, BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologise to the country, the families of freedom fighters and every citizen for insulting the freedom movement… and the father of the nation,” he added.

Surjewala said that BJP chief’s Shah’s remarks were “an insult to freedom fighters, their sacrifices and also to Gandhi”. “Amit Shah, who himself is a trader of power, is today saying that the freedom movement was a business model. But in reality, before independence, Britishers used RSS and Hindu Mahasabha as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for partition of the country…Similarly, today BJP is acting as a SPV for few corporates for taking care of their business interests,” ” Surjewala alleged.

From Shah’s statement, it seems the BJP chief was trying to praise the Mahatma for his ‘foresight’ to predict what the BJP believes to be an irreversible decline of the Congress but ended up using wrong words, especially at a time when caste politics is one of the major issues facing the country. (With PTI inputs)

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