Senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Tuesday said if the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ means ‘Janta ki Jai’ , he is ready to be part of the rhetoric which has become a hot-button issue in the country.
“I don’t have to wait for khaki knicker-clad men to tell me. We are chanting ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ for a long time, but along with Jai Hind and Jai Bharat ,” the former Union Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a training session of his party here.
Mr. Aiyar recalled that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had written in his book ‘Discovery of India’ that during electioneering in villages, people welcomed him with ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.
Nehru had asked them what this ‘Jai’ (praise) was? Whether it was a tree, mountain or earth? In the end he had summed up … “ Bharat Mata ki Jai as Janta Ki Jai ,” he said.
Without naming BJP or RSS, Mr. Aiyar said if they meant ‘Janta Ki Jai’ by saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ , then he was ready to be a part of it.
Mentioning Subhash Chandra Bose, he said the freedom fighter had named his group as ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ (Indian National Army). He didn’t name his fighting unit as Swatantra Bharat Sena because he wanted to connect all the people (irrespective of their religion) with freedom struggle.
“If these goons threaten to thrash me thrash me, behead me if I don’t chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ , what type of nationalism is this?” he asked. - PTI