a real foot print of fact
Mahatma Gandhi was never formally conferred the title of 'Father of the Nation' by the government.
This was stated by the Home Ministry in reply to an RTI query.
How and when was the much revered Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi popularly called as Mahatma Gandhi declared the Father of the Nation in India? This question by a nonchalant school girl from Lucknow in North India has left officials from the Prime Minister’s office flummoxed.
Aishwarya Parashar ( 12), a student of IV student from Lucknow, has, using India’s Right to Information Act, in which any citizen is empowered to seek public information from public servants, sought a photocopy of the order declaring the Gandhi as the Father of the Nation. She sent the letter the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on February 13.
Not knowing what to do, the PMO sent her a reply back saying they had no such record, but that they were forwarding her request to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA in turn, referred the case to the National Archives of India (NAI), which has invited her over to rummage through records in her quest for information.
“As per search among the public records in the National Archives of India, there are no specific documents on the information being sought by you. It may be, however, conveyed that the National Archives have a large number of public records related to Mahatma Gandhi,” the reply sent to Aishwarya states.
Aishwarya has learned the ropes in RTI activism from her mother who is an RTI activist as well.
“I would keep asking my mom ‘why is Gandhi referred to as the Father of the Nation’, to which my mother mostly had no answers till one fine day she thought of the RTI route,” Aishwarya said.
The title of Father of Nation, is believed to have been first used to refer to Gandhi by Subhash Chandra Bose, an Indian freedom fighter in his address on Singapore Radio on July 6, 1944 (prior to India’s independence).
Thereafter it was reaffirmed on April 28, 1947 (post independence) when another freedom fighter Sarojini Naidu used the title
"Although Mahatma Gandhi is popularly known as 'Father of the Nation', no such title was ever formally conferred upon him by the government," Shyamala Mohan, Director and Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), said in a reply dated June 18 this year.
The query was filed by social activist Abhishek Kadyan with the Home Ministry on May 21, 2012 seeking information about declaration of Mahatma Gandhi as 'Father of the Nation'.
Abhishek Kadyan is an advisor to Italy based animal rights NGO OIPA.
Earlier, Aishwarya Parashar, a Class-VI student from Lucknow, had filed a similar query through the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking a photocopy of the order through which Mahatma Gandhi was declared as 'Father of the Nation' and was informed that there were no specific documents on the information sought.
In February, she had sent the RTI application to the central public information officer of Prime Minister's Office.
From the PMO, the application was forwarded to Ministry of Home Affairs. The MHA, however, stating that it does not come under its purview forwarded the application to the National Archives of India.