By Arun Srivastava
The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha mocking father of nation Mahatma Gandhi.” he does not have law degree” has certainly not come as a shocking surprise. Gandhi does not have moral or ethical or cultural importance for the saffron brigade. While Sinha’s comment reflects his contempt towards Gandhi, it also exposes his utter lack of literary quotient and knowledge.
Sinha even went upto claiming that Mahatma Gandhi did not have a ‘single university degree. Educational bankruptcy is not an uncommon thing, but none had expected that a person holding the office of governor and entrusted with the task to promote the education and culture of Jammu and Kashmir should speak like in such illiterate manner.. True speaking a closer look at what he said would make it explicit he was parroting the words what he has been taught at his RSS pathsala (school). In RSS pathsala where the participants are made to memorise lessons in hatred and communal divide, studying Gandhi is a forbidden subject, in reality a taboo.
From RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to the RSS Pracharak, the prime minister Narendra Modi have been paying highest order of eulogy and also using high decibel phrases and words for Gandhi, but they know very little of Gandhi and his ideology of truth. Sinha’s remark makes it abundantly clear that he has even not read his autobiography “my experiment with the truth”. He had narrated everything in details and even confessed his drawbacks publically. He is not pretentious and hypocrite like some saffron leaders. Classical example of course has been Narendra Modi.
There are many such faces in the BJP. TMC MP Mahua Moitra has of late been engaged in a fierce battle of exposure against one such BJP member of Lok Sabha. Earlier Smriti Irani, one of the favourite BJP leaders of Modi, has been in the news for her educational achievements. The BJP leaders must be appreciated for being bold in their assertions, even if these are hundred per cent false. Their assertiveness has been their prime marketing quotient.
Sinha also resorted to the same tactics. He spoke as if he is the caretaker or guardian of student Gandhi. One must applaud his skill of telling lies. Delivering a keynote address for Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial Lecture at ITM Gwalior a week back he said “…Misconception that Gandhi ji had a Law Degree. Did you know he didn’t have a single University Degree? His only qualification was a High School Diploma. He qualified to practice Law but didn’t have a Law Degree. He had no Degree but how educated he was”.
Nevertheless he should be appreciated for confessing that Gandhi did a lot for the nation. “Everything that was achieved, the focal point of it was Truth. If you look at all the aspects of his life, there was nothing besides Truth in his life. Whatever the challenges, Mahatma Gandhi never abandoned truth & identified his inner voice. As a result, he became Father of the Nation,” he said. Probably, under pressures of political compulsions he had to say this. He knew that a time when from Bhagwat to Modi, everyone is busy appropriating Gandhi, presenting him as anti-national might backfire on him.
The task to educate Sinha about the academic achievements of Gandhi finally descended on the shoulders of Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi. He publically rebuffed Sinha’s loud mouth proclamation. He said; “M. K. Gandhi passed 2 Matrics one from Alfred High School Rajkot and second it’s equivalent in London, British Matriculation. He acquired, by studying & passing exams a Law Degree from Inner Temple, a law College affiliated to London University and simultaneously got two diplomas one in Latin the other in French.” Tushar did it with cryptic comment “Issued to educate the Deputy Governor of J&K” but he must rest assured that it would not have any impact on him. The RSS school does not teach its students to reconcile or accept the other view. They believe in soliloquy.
Tushar has also sent a copy of Bapu’s autobiography to Sinha. But he must not nurse the optimism that Sinha would read it to educate himself. One thing is absolutely clear that like Modi who has degree in “Entire Political Science”, Bapu did not hold a degree in “Entire Law”. Providing a small amount of his intellectual achievement, Sinha told the audience; “His (Gandhi’s) only qualification was a high school diploma, he qualified to practice law but didn’t have a law degree. He had no degree. Let me clear to you that don’t indulge formal connection with a degree and what you think is education. A pure degree is no education”. He said, “just look how educated he (Gandhi) was, he became the father of the nation.” It would have been better if he would have thrown some insight into how Gandhi became “Mahatma” or “Father of nation”.
Sinha quotes Mark Twain, “I didn’t allow my schooling to interfere with my education”. But there is huge difference between what Sinha said about law degree and Twain’s axiom. Of course schooling and education are entirely different. Quoting Twain certainly does not justify that Gandhi practiced law on the strength of his high school diploma. How could Sinha negate the fact that Gandhi studied and passed exams, a Law Degree from Inner Temple, a law College affiliated to London University & simultaneously got two diplomas one in Latin and the other in French. “
Since the occasion was celebration of birth of Ram Manohar Lohia, obviously most of the participants were supposed to be keen students of socialism. But unfortunately none tried to intervene and present the discussion in right perspective. The J& K LG’s narrative on Mahatma Gandhi is just the continuation of RSS falsehoods being propagated by the senior BJP leaders including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (IPA Service)