The former West Bengal Governor deplored the recent incidents of violence in the State

The former West Bengal Governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, said here on Thursday that the “politics of violence is self-destructive… something that politics should learn from history.”

Mr. Gandhi’s remarks came a day after his successor M.K. Narayanan described the recent incidents of violence in the State as “distressing and disturbing,” and nothing but “goondaism.”

Responding to questions from the media about the violence in the State over the past few days, Mr. Gandhi said: “The politics of violence, revenge and retribution is mindless. It destroys both the person whom it is aimed at and he who is aiming it.”

Earlier, while delivering the Kamala Lecture organised by the University of Calcutta, Mr. Gandhi commented on the multiple vulnerabilities of the nationand said, “violence is in the air.”

“Men and women are reaching out… for guns. Most of these are illegal. None of them less lethal for being so,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi said that while India was acknowledged as “one of the world’s tallest democracies,” no one could deny that it was “undergoing a deep decline in self-esteem.”

“Elected representatives of the people have status. But status is one thing, stature is another. Politics is not the nation’s most admired vocation, nor are politicians the public’s darling,” he said.

The gift of love

On the central theme of the lecture, titled “My Bengal,” Mr. Gandhi said the State’s gift of love had the undesirable upshot of a cult being made out of it.

“To have and love a hero is one thing, to blindly worship that hero, to idolise and lionise and make an idol or deity of the object of that love is another,” he said.

“Bengal’s legacy of pain, her experience of tragedy, her gift of love and her dower of art distinguish it… [My Bengal] is distinctive but not lonely and unique not exclusive.”