A Lucknow-based 10-year-old student Aishwarya Parashar, through a right to information application, has sought from the government the response of the President on her plea to formally confer the title to the Mahatma Gandhi.
The home ministry replied to her query and said that no action was taken on her plea to the President to declare Mahatma Gandhi as 'Father of the Nation' because Article 18 (1) of the Constitution does not permit any titles except education and military ones.
Notably, this school-going RTI activist had filed a number of RTI petitions earlier in which she had sought details about Gandhi and the reason behind calling him Father of the Nation. Responding to her RTI applications earlier during the year, the government made it clear that no such title has been accorded to Mahatma Gandhi officially.
People reacted to this finding in different ways. While some expressed an opinion in favor of amending the constitution to officially accord the title to Mahatma Gandhi, there were people who said that there should be status quo, and it should not be made into a debate topic.
“I think constitution should be amended and he should be officially declared. He is the one who initiated the freedom process and it is by his leadership it has become possible that we are free today. This should never become the topic of debate for it will be an insult to the great man who fought for freedom,” Binu Joseph, told this citizen journalist .
“Let it be like it is. Mahatma Gandhi does not need any official endorsement of a title, that is given to him lovingly. The title is people's love towards him. Let's not make any issue out of it,” said Chandra Mohan, an engineer by profession.
“We Indian tend to glorify and make god like image for every celebrity including Gandhi.
One must remember Gandhi also had flaws....Nothing will change whether or not we make Gandhi our father of the nation (officially).. so long we managed without that in future we will also manage,” said Abhishek Das, a Kolkata based media student.