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Monday, Dec 09, 2019

‘Did Gandhiji trip on road and die?’ Odisha orders probe after booklet row

State school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash said he has ordered a probe into how the two-page booklet — ‘Aama Bapuji: Eka Jhalaka’(Our Bapuji: A Glimpse) —published the controversial bit.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2019 13:21 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
A booklet published in Bhubaneswar purportedly said Mahatma Gandhi died due to accidental reasons on January 30, 1948
A booklet published in Bhubaneswar purportedly said Mahatma Gandhi died due to accidental reasons on January 30, 1948
         

Following backlash from social and intellectual circles, Odisha government has ordered a probe into the circumstances leading to the publication and distribution of a two-page booklet prepared by state school and mass education department that purportedly said Mahatma Gandhi died due to accidental reasons on January 30, 1948.

State school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash said he has ordered a probe into how the two-page booklet — ‘Aama Bapuji: Eka Jhalaka’(Our Bapuji: A Glimpse) —published the controversial bit. “Whoever has done it would be taken to task. Instead of saying that it was an accident, it should have been clearly mentioned the way he was killed. It should been elaborated clearly how he was killed. We will withdraw the booklets quickly,” said Dash.

The state government’s probe order came after several intellectuals slammed the misrepresentation of the way the Mahatma was assassinated. Demanding immediate withdrawal of the book, noted activist Prafulla Samantra said it seemed as if a sympathiser of Godse published the book.

“The inaccuracies are too glaring and would mislead the younger generations who would assume that Gandhiji died of some accident and was not murdered by a bigot like Nathuram Godse. It is a tremendous disrespect to the father of the nation when we are celebrating his 150th anniversary,” said Samantra.

Secretary of Gandhi Memorial Library in Bargarh, Manoranjan Sahu said the booklet has unsuccessfully tried to hide the truth. “What does one mean by accident? Did Gandhiji die after tripping on road? Everyone knows that he died from the bullets fired by Nathuram Godse,” said Sahu.

Editor of Samadrushti, a socialist magazine, Sudhir Patnaik said the leaflet showed how saffronization and corporatization of education is happening in Odisha. “While the chief minister talks big about Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, his own department seems to be ready to white wash the history. It’s a malicious attempt,” he said.

Last month a similar controversy had erupted in Gujarat when a school in its internal assessment examination for Clas 9 had asked ‘how did Mahatma Gandhi commit suicide?’