On Tuesday, newly appointed education minister, Prakash Javdekar, caused a massive gaffe by stating that India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and his home minister, Sardar Patel, were hanged by the British.
According to a report published in Hindustan Times, while addressing a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara, Javdekar said, “The fight for independence that began in 1857 ended 90 years later when we threw the British out. We salute freedom fighters…. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Pandit (Jawahar Lal Nehru), Bhagat Singh and Rajguru who were hanged.”
Social media users moved in with lightening speed to mock Javdekar’s distorted knowledge of Indian history.
Faced with considerable embarrassment, Javdekar issued a statement on Twitter clarifying that both hanging and the mention of Nehru, Bose and Patel were said in two different sentences.
He wrote, “I am amused with the news. I paid my respect to all the freedom fighters since 1857. I mentioned leaders like Gandhi Nehru, Subhash Bose. It was a full stop. In the next sentence I recounted those who were hanged, jailed and suffered at the hands of the British. There was no confusion in the minds of those who listened. I hope this removes all confusion.”
However, the video posted by ANI clearly showed by using the word ‘phansi (hanging)’ for all freedom fighters mentioned by Javdekar and they included Nehru, Patel and Bose.
Here are some facts about Nehru, Patel and Bose since the minister, incidentally responsible for India’s education portfolio, appears to believe they were all hanged.
Nehru, India’s first prime minister, died of natural causes, India’s first home minister Patel too died in Independent India at the age of 75. There’s still abguity over how Bose died, while Bhagat Singh and Rajguru were indeed executed by the British in 1931.
With his embarrassing gaffe, Javdekar joins the group of BJP leaders including the prime minister himself, who’ve been known for glaring historical mistakes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi did that during Lok Sabha campaign when he said Chandragupta Maurya was from Gupta dynasty.
At a rally in Patna he had said, “When we are reminded of the Gupta Dynasty we are reminded of Chandragupta’s rajneeti.”
In the same rally, Modi had said that ‘Alexander’s army conquered the entire world, but was defeated by the Biharis.’ Alexander’s army, as history books would tell us, never crossed Ganga to be defeated by Biharis.
Modi had also described Taxlia, the learning hub of ancient times, being in Bihar. Indeed a learning hub of ancient times, but Taxila, which is now in Pakistan is nowhere in the close proximity of Bihar.
Not so long ago in Assam, the BJP President, Amit Shah had changed the state’s history by 300 years.
Days after jantakareporter carried the video of Shah’s embarrassing gaffe, the video mysteriously disappeared from the YouTube.
In a bid to garner votes from the indigenous Assamese population, Shah had told a rally how Chaolung Sukapha, the founder of the Ahom Kingdom, had defeated Mughals 17 times.
But, Shah’s speech writers, missed the historical facts by just 300 years.
Sukapha founded Ahom dynasty in 1228 AD and died in 1268 AD.
Mughal dynasty in India started after the first Battle of Panipat in 1526 AD.