Mahatma Gandhi didn’t approve of forcing someone to say Jai Hind, says grandson

New Delhi: Commenting on the controversy over AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi’s refusal to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi on Friday said the father of the nation was against forcing people to shout patriotic slogans.

Rajmohan Gandhi, who was here to deliver a lecture at the Gujarat Vidyapith, also expressed displeasure about Owaisi being targeted from various quarters. “During the freedom struggle, the people who were fighting against the British rule used to come on roads and ask others to shout Jai Hind. They sometimes threatened to thrash those who didn’t comply,” he said when asked by reporters to comment on the controversy.

“At that time, Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) opined that forcing even one person to shout Jai Hind is like putting a nail into the coffin of ‘Swaraj’. In his view, such act of forcing people to shout Jai Hind is like once again killing millions of Indians who could not speak,” he said.

“Even today, we are being asked to shout. These people say that they will beat us if we don’t shout slogans,” added Gandhi, in apparent reference to the tirade against Owaisi.

While Owaisi had said he would not say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, the controversy escalated when a legislator from his party, Waris Pathan, was suspended from Maharashtra Assembly for reiterating the stand.