This Article is From May 17, 2019

PM Won't Forgive Pragya Thakur; Will He Punish Her? - By Shobhaa De

Come on, we know it's election time, we can sense the desperation. So much is at stake. But there are also limits to what a candidate will do or say to stay in the news. Limits however that a woman called Pragya Singh Thakur either does not know or more likely does not care about. There is also something known as common decency. Beyond that, there is hefty national sentiment. We are emotional folks, us Indians. For citizens across the political spectrum, there is one and just one individual who arouses nationalistic feelings that are so deeply embedded, it is impossible not to experience revulsion if someone brazenly insults the memory of that person. Mahatma Gandhi is respected and loved across the world. For us, in India, he is regarded as the Father of the Nation. Without his legacy, I doubt we would still be united as one country, one people. For all his shortcomings and a few spectacular errors of judgments, Gandhi-ji was and shall always remain India's beloved Bapu-ji.

Now, let's take a look at the CV of the woman (I refuse to identify this foul-mouthed creature as a 'sadhvi') who has described the universally reviled Nathuram Godse, Bapu-ji's murderer as a 'patriot'. In case Pragya is an absolute dimwit, she would know that a patriot is one who provides exemplary service to the country. Is Pragya calling Gandhi-ji's cold blooded murder at the hands of Nathuram Godse, a 'service to India'? If so, she should be tried for treason. Her past pronouncements and deeds have been nothing short of acts of gross criminality. Her rantings remain in the public domain, so I won't bother to enumerate any of them. I also don't care if she talks recklessly about a cancer cure that is medically an impossibility. To each his or her own craziness. But her 'Godse as patriot' comment must not go unchallenged or unpunished.


Pragya Thakur had said: "Nathuram Godse was a deshbhakt (patriot), is a 'deshbhakt' and will remain a 'deshbhakt'

Let's take a look at her political mentors and bosses, the Prime Minister included. The first serious mistake was to give Pragya a ticket to contest the election. Unless it wasn't a mistake at all, but a shrewd calculation. Like so many of her seniors, Pragya flouts all known norms of civility. By projecting her as a trump card, the party is actually cocking a snook at all those who find Pragya abhorrent. Given the damning charges against Pragya, it is an act of deliberate provocation to try and legitimize her in this blatant manner. Yes, there are other criminals in the fray as well - but none with her specific profile. 

Worse, imagine compounding the original sin (of giving Pragya a ticket) by maintaining a studied silence on her shocking Godse remark. The non-response makes it perfectly clear that if the BJP does form the next government, it will be people of Pragya's ilk who will get the plum jobs. Imagine an India (if you dare!) with a Pragya in a position of power. Her nastily-timed Godse quote is not a slip up. It is a deliberate act of defiance. Perhaps her mentors want to monitor just how much citizens can stomach; if so, they should know that there is always a tipping point in history. And Pragya Singh Thakur has just hit that particular button. Citizens are sickened to the core by Pragya and her pronouncements. And they expect strong condemnation, if not immediate action from the Prime Minister himself. Merely stating he'll "never forgive" her is not enough. It is disingenuous, at best. Show it! How will he 'punish' this awful woman? When? And excuse me, where are our law-makers? Too scared to comment?


Prime Minister Narendra Modi told television channel News24 today: "I will never be able to forgive them for insulting Bapu" (File photo)

Gandhi-ji preached tolerance and inclusivity. Non-violence was his dharma, peace, the message. All these values have been cherished by generations of Indians. Who the hell is Pragya to think she can give offence and waltz away? Pragya's lame apology cannot undo the harm done. And really? It's going to take 10 whole days for the BJP to respond to the Pragya dhamaka? Are they that cocksure of a victory at the polls?

(Shobhaa De is an established writer, columnist, opinion shaper and social commentator, who is considered an authority on popular culture.)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.