Gandhi’s ashes urn stolen
Gandhi’s ashes urn stolen. Mahatma Gandhi, considered by many Indians to be ‘the father of the Nation’, has had his 150th Birthday celebrations slightly marred.
An urn containing a portion of his ashes was stolen from the Bapu Bhawan memorial in the state of Madhya Pradesh, and a poster of the man was also vandalised with the word “anti-national” scrawled across the picture.
Gandhi is easily one of the most recognisable figures from 20th century history. His role in the transition from a British colony to self-rule in India and his nonviolent approach to achieving this, earned him a huge number of admirers (myself among them).
However, as with all such things, not everyone loved him. Although Gandhi was not himself an advocate of splitting the state into India and Pakistan, he was still blamed for the partition. There were many who could (and still can’t) accept the compromise as valid position, so much so that in 1948 he was assassinated by a fellow Hindu. The assassin and those like him felt that Gandhi had betrayed the nation and had compromised too easily with those wanting a Muslim state.
Clearly these tensions still exist and what with Kashmir never being far from the news, these legacies continue to rumble on.
The caretaker of the memorial site said that the theft was “shameful”. He went onto say:
“I opened the gate of the Bhawan early in the morning because it was Gandhi’s birthday,” he told Indian website The Wire. “When I returned at around 23:00 [17:30 GMT], I found the mortal remains of Gandhi missing and his poster was defaced.”
The police have taken the case up and have been urged to check all CCTV and ‘nab’ the culprit.
One can only hope that his ashes are returned.
Unusually, despite Gandhi being a devout Hindu, his ashes were not scattered in the Ganges or even in water. Because of his fame and his place in the Indian people’s conscious, his ashes were divided up and placed at various locations around the country. A trust is responsible for looking after them.
This story originated from The Wire website.