THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In an effort to refute author Arundhati Roy’s recent observation on Mahatma Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor MP said on Wednesday that she misunderstood and hence misinterpreted Gandhi.
“Arundhati seems to be misunderstanding the essence of the historical character Gandhi,” Tharoor said while delivering the inaugural address of a seminar ‘Global Challenges of Gandhism’ organised by the state Youth Congress.
Referring to Arundhati’s remarks on Gandhi, quoting the usage ‘Ideal Bhangi’ by Gandhi, Tharoor clarified that the term ‘Bhangi’ - manual scavenger, was not derogatory but a contemporary word in Gandhiji’s time.
Arundhati Roy, during a seminar held in Kerala University, had questioned the casteist intentions of Gandhi owing to his usage ‘Ideal Bhangi’. Tharoor said that Mahatma Gandhi’s strong belief in pluralistic religious outlook and efforts to obliterate caste differences add to his legacies.
Disagreeing to Gandhi’s view of ‘decentralised village development’, Tharoor said that it would not work well in 21st century though it was an option in the 20th century. Nevertheless, he opined that Gandhi would have wholeheartedly welcomed the social media revolution.
“Information Technology could have been a perfect tool of development when joined with his remarkable ideas,” Tharoor said.
However, state Planning Board member C P John, who spoke at the seminar, maintained that social media has become a weapon in the hands of right wing fascist powers.
During times like this, it is sad that Arundhati who stands for oppressed classes, makes contextually wrong statements while interpreting Gandhi,” C P John said.
Meanwhile, on behalf of Gandhian forums, Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi expressed condolences over the demise of Richard Attenborough who had won eight Oscar awards for his silver screen achievement Gandhi.