Amidst the raging controversies of statements regarding Mahatma Gandhi and his assassin Nathuram Godse, a shocking new revelation has emerged from obscurity. In 2012, the Home Ministry under the UPA government had said that Mahatma Gandhi cannot be accorded ‘Father of Nation’ appellation, citing that the constitution of the country doesn’t permit any titles except educational and military ones.
In response to an RTI filed by a Lucknow-based student Aishwarya Parashar seeking details about Mahatma Gandhi and reasons for referring him as ‘Father of Nation’. The Home Ministry, in its response, said that no such title has been accorded to Mahatma Gandhi. The Ministry added that no such action was taken on her plea to President to declare Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Father of Nation’ as Article 18(1) of the constitution didn’t permit any titles except educational or military one.
Aishwarya Parashar had written to then President Pratibha Patil and PM Manmohan Singh to issue a notification declaring Mahatma Gandhi as ‘Father of the Nation’. She had then filed an RTI to seek the action taken by the government on her plea. Her RTI application was transferred to the Home Ministry which then listed down the reason for their refusal to grant Mahatma Gandhi with ‘Father of Nation’ title.
Mahatma Gandhi has been referred to as the ‘Father of the Nation’ in post-independence India in numerous literary and popular references. It is also believed that it was Subhash Chandra Bose who had first used the reference for Mahatma Gandhi. However, the UPA government in 2012 had clarified that it is not an official title and neither the government can make it one.