Only student of entire pol science needs to watch film to know Gandhi: Rahul

In a TV interview, PM Narendra Modi said the world heard of Mahatma Gandhi only after Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biopic 'Gandhi'

Representative image
Representative image

NH Digital

Congress leader and sitting Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comment that the world learned about Mahatma Gandhi only after the release of the 1982 film Gandhi. “Only a student of Entire Political Science (referring to the subject in which PM Modi apparently earned his degree) would have felt the need to see a film to know about Mahatma Gandhi,” Gandhi quipped in an X post.

In an interview to ABP News aired on Wednesday, PM Modi had claimed that nobody had heard of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi outside India before a film about his life was made, referring to director Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biopic.

He also asked whether it was not the nation's responsibility to have got Gandhi a level of global recognition in the last 75 years. "Mahatma Gandhi was a great soul in the world. In these 75 years, was it not our duty to inform the world about Mahatma Gandhi? No one knew about him. Forgive me, but the first time there was curiosity about him in the world was when the film Gandhi was made. We did not do it," the prime minister claimed during the interview.

“If the world knew Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi was no less than them and you have to accept that. I am saying this after travelling the world…” Modi claimed.

Condemning Modi, Congress MP and general-secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh accused the prime minister of “destroying the legacy" of Mahatma Gandhi. “It seems the outgoing prime minister lives in a world where Mahatma Gandhi was not recognized worldwide before 1982,” Ramesh wrote on X. “If anyone has destroyed the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, it is the outgoing prime minister himself. It is his government that has destroyed Gandhian institutions in Varanasi, Delhi, and Ahmedabad.

“This is the hallmark of RSS workers, that they do not understand Mahatma Gandhi's nationalism. It was the environment created by their ideology that led Nathuram Godse to assassinate Gandhi,” he added.

Roasting Modi, the Congress Kerala X handle put out a video showcasing several world leaders such as Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Albert Einstein speaking of Gandhi, and showcased Gandhi visiting London, Switzerland and Paris in the 1930s. Ho Chi Minh and Leo Tolstoy were also admirers of Gandhi.

Another senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram wrote on X, "I was appalled by Hon'ble Prime Minister's comment that 'the world did not know about Mahatma Gandhi until Richard Attenborough made the film Gandhi'. Has Mr Modi heard of the name Albert Einstein? Does Mr Modi know what Albert Einstein said of Mahatma Gandhi? Did Albert Einstein (died 1955) know about Mahatma Gandhi only after the film 'Gandhi' was released (1982)?"

Martin Luther King had written that he had learned of Gandhi through his writings and a trip to India in 1959, and mentioned that he had drawn heavily on the Gandhian idea of nonviolence for his own activism. Mandela also wrote about Gandhi’s influence on his activism.

In October 2019, to mark the 150th anniversary of Gandhi’s birth, 87 countries including Turkey, the United States, Russia, Iran, Uzbekistan and Palestine, released postal stamps to commemorate one of India's most eminent citizens. As of 2008, a total of 150 countries had issued postal stamps to honour Gandhi.

In 1930, TIME magazine put him on the cover as ‘Man of the Year’, and called him “Saint Gandhi”.

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