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‘Gita as national scripture akin to tinkering with loom of republic’

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s proposal to have the Bhagwat Gita declared a national scripture is akin to “tinkering with the loom of India’s republic”, said former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

``...I recall an incident in which Professor Amartya Sen when asked, said his favourite book is the absence of one. A favourite book means a favoured book. Only dictatorships have favoured books. A country which is in the process of making a holy book as the national book, is tinkering with the loom of India’s diverse republic,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi said this at the launch of Ashoka University Vice Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee’s book ‘Nehru and Bose: Parallel lives’ held here late last evening.

Mr. Gandhi also called for declassification of the files on the death of Subhash Chandra Bose, saying that it was the government’s duty to do so.

“Declassification of the Bose files has not yet taken place. This is a duty which must be fulfilled for the sake of the craft of historiography and the art of archiving,” he said.

Likening the country’s diverse pluralism to a seamless woven fabric, Mr. Gandhi said “the threads of that very fabric are unraveling.”

“All that the Congress did to weld India politically, and make the diverse fabric of pluralism into a common weave, today that weave is unraveling.

“What is happening now, is not just pulling threads out of that weave, but it’s tinkering with the loom itself,” he said.

Mr. Gandhi also opined that there has been a pattern of intolerance of dissent within the Congress party right from the time of the two visionaries.

“The Congress has been long intolerant of dissent. It has wanted to extrude dissent within itself. Ultimately that intolerance has been bad for the country,” he said.

Author Rudrangshu Mukherjee dwelt on the bonds that tied Bose and Nehru together.

“Nehru and Bose shared a very close friendship. This relationship lasted right up till the time Bose resigned from the party. But despite this, they still maintained their respect for each other,” he said.

Mr. Mukherjee’s book is themed on the parallel yet ultimately divergent lives of Nehru and Bose.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 2:49:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/gita-as-national-scripture-akin-to-tinkering-with-loom-of-republic-gopalkrishna-gandhi/article6676156.ece

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