Pragya Thakur: A Beneficiary Of Our Political Short-Term Memory
Malegaon blast accused and elected MP from Bhopal Sadhvi Pragya Thakur has been nominated to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defence. According to a report by The News Minute, the 21-member Parliamentary Consultative Committee is headed by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and has members such as Farooq Abdullah, Saugata Roy, A Raja and Sharad Pawar. The Congress Party condemned her nomination to the committee and took to social media to call it “an insult to our nation’s defence forces.” It is to be noted that this is the same Pragya Thakur who in the heat of Lok Sabha elections had called the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse a patriot. So, scandalous and off-putting were her comments that she earned ire even from within the BJP. Today though, all seems to be forgiven, not just by her party, but by the electorate as well it seems.
Pragya Thakur, a terror accused & Godse fanatic has been nominated by the BJP govt. to be a member of the Parliamentary Panel on Defence. This move is an insult to our nation's defence forces, to our nation's esteemed parliamentarians & to every Indian. https://t.co/OqX4wGA4Dk
— Congress (@INCIndia) November 21, 2019
- Sadhvi Pragya Thakur has been nominated Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Defence.
- Sadhvi Pragya, main accused of the Malegaon blast case, had called Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin a patriot.
- Thakur’s comments had been condemned even by her own party.
- All seems to be forgiven and forgotten now though.
It is to be noted that this is the same Pragya Thakur who in the heat of Lok Sabha elections had called the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse a patriot.
Pragya Thakur makes up for a fascinating case study, when it comes to how contrasting the interpretation of a single incident can be, among people with varying political beliefs. To those opposing the right-wing ideology that Thakur wears on her sleeves, she is a terror accused in the case of 2008 Malegaon bomb blast which led to the death of ten people. How could a person accused of such a heinous crime even be allowed to participate in a process that celebrates democracy in our country? Her nomination from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was called “chilling” by many political pundits.
On the other hand, there is a large group of people who see Thakur as a victim. I met many people building up to the elections, who were convinced that the sadhvi had been “framed” and that she is indeed a victim of police brutality as she alleges. Legal proceedings aside, what is the general consensus on Thakur? Well isn’t that clear from the poll results? However, one can debate the Malegaon blast case till it ends in fistfights, but Thakur did praise Godse and was caught on camera doing so. And yet, the electorate chose to vote for her. Does it matter then, that she has been nominated to have a seat on the Parliamentary Consultative Committee?
A coalition government among what could seem like parties with contrasting political and communal views is underway in Maharashtra. Which hints at how short-term memory isn’t a single party problem.
While it may feel like a slap in the face the hand was already in motion to meet our cheek when Pragya was voted in. That was the nation’s verdict on her. A bitter pill to swallow, but can one do much, other than criticise Thakur for her words and her party for their short term memory? “I will never be able to forgive Pragya Thakur for insulting Mahatma Gandhi,” the Indian Prime Minister had said then, in an interview.
Alas, the entire political infrastructure seems to have fallen on its head, leading to loss of sensibilities and the values they have adhered to for decades. A coalition government among what could seem like parties with contrasting political and communal views is underway in Maharashtra. Which hints at how short-term memory isn’t a single party problem. Infact, this isn’t about memory, but convenience and power blinding political vision. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Pragya is dropped like a hot potato from the nominations following outrage. Nor would it be a surprise if she manages to slide into the committee right under our noses. The electorate will continue to turn a blind eye towards its elected representatives, just like it did towards Pragya’s comments, and carry on.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.