In a Facebook post on Gandhi Jayanti published with a photo titled ‘Gandhiji, the father of our nation’, Vijayan wrote that this was why the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi assumed significance.
“The values Gandhi upheld continue to shine bright a century later. He had the broad mindset to see that people of all backgrounds are equal,” the Kerala CM wrote.
“However, some people are now trying to take the country way from this. Gandhi’s assassins are now trying to own him. They are trying to interpret his words to suit their needs.”
“Today, every Indian citizen must pledge to safeguard the Father of the nation, Gandhi ji, and his ideas,” Vijayan said.
Pinarayi Vijayan also paid tribute to Gandhi on Twitter, saying, “The India he fought for was an inclusive one, where no one was considered a pariah.”
There has been some furore recently over the moniker ‘Father of the nation’, most commonly associated with Gandhi, after Trump used it to refer to Modi at the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event in Houston last month.
Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar told PTI, “Those who feel the need to replace the father of the nation with a new one are welcome. Trump may also like to replace George Washington (one of the founding fathers of the United States) with himself.”
On the right-wing’s glorification of Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, Tushar said, “The time will judge what is better,” while adding he did not have a grudge against them.
He also said, “Bapu’s thoughts and ideology can be applied everywhere, as in life and in administration, but sadly that does not happen”.
“Bapu has been reduced to a symbol, like on currency notes and on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan posters,” Tushar said.
Swachh Bharat is a flagship programme of the Modi government.
As the country observed Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu paid tributes to Gandhi at Rajghat.
In a short video on Gandhi, Modi said his message of peace was still relevant to the world community.
Modi wrote an op-ed for The New York Times on the relevance of Gandhi’s teaching today. However, both the PM and the American newspaper were called out for publishing the column in the backdrop of the Indian government’s actions in Kashmir.