Right from the President to the man on the street, everyone calls him the Father of the Nation. Not the government, though.
The home ministry has indicated that it can’t formally confer the title on Mahatma Gandhi because it would violate the Constitution.
This came in response to a right to information (RTI) application filed by Aishwarya Parashar, a 10-year-old girl from Lucknow.
Parashar — and the rest of the country — had discovered earlier this year that there was no government order bestowing the title of Father of the Nation on Mahatma Gandhi.
She followed up her RTI application with a request to then President Pratibha Patil, asking her to consider according the title to him. Patil had sent the reference to the home ministry.
The home ministry, however, told the Class VI student that no action was taken on her plea to the President because Article 18 (1) of the Constitution does not permit the awarding of titles, except to those in the education and military fields.
Nevertheless, it does not prevent prominent members of the government from referring to him as the Father of the Nation.
PM Manmohan Singh had referred to him by the title on several occasions, right from his address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort in 2005 to the 2009 convention on Panchayati Raj.