| The bust of Mahatma Gandhi kept inside PMC storeroom. Picture by Sachin |
Parties use his name, leaders swear by his principles, many fail to follow his ideologies and some even forget to pay due respect to the Father of the Nation.
In the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti, The Telegraph found out that the Patna City circle of the municipal corporation has been celebrating the Mahatma’s birth anniversary by garlanding his 2-ft bust in the storeroom of the civic body for the past two years.
To add insult to injury, the bust that has already developed cracks has been kept at a place where water seeps through the leaked roof and damages it further. Its colour has faded and the bust needs immediate patch-up.
“On every Gandhi Jayanti (October 2), the bust is cleaned and garlanded by the PMC officials. Celebrating Gandhi Jayanti in a storeroom may sound unusual, but this is how the civic body has been celebrating Bapu’s birth anniversary for the past few years,” said an employee of the agency. He, however, could not tell when the bust was brought to the storeroom.
Narendra Nath, the executive officer of Patna City circle of PMC, said he had no clue about the whereabouts of the bust.
“I am learning it from you that some bust of Gandhiji has been kept inside the storeroom of PMC’s Patna City building. I am shocked. There should be a probe. It could be possible that the bust was in a poor condition. Finding this, PMC officials might have moved it inside the storeroom. Action would be taken against the officials concerned,” Nath said.
PMC commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pal could not be reached for comment. However, Razi Ahmed, the secretary of Gandhi Sanghralaya in the capital, said a treatment like this towards Gandhi is unacceptable.
“It’s shocking. How can the corporation officials treat Gandhiji like this? Such treatment is undesirable. Gandhiji is a hero. His contribution towards Independence earned him the name Rashtrapita. If this is the approach towards the Rashtrapita, one can easily understand that the PMC officials have lost their values,” Ahmed said.
The 80-year-old Gandhian said: “Politicians often use Gandhiji’s name for their own benefits, but hardly anybody goes by his preachings. Today, people don’t have emotional attachment with freedom fighters. If a politician shows respect towards a freedom fighter, most of the times it is superficial. Strict action should be taken against those who ill-treat busts and statues of freedom fighters.”
Residents of the capital fear that lack of concern towards heritage may be catastrophic because future generations would miss out the importance of the freedom fighters if their statues and busts were not preserved.
Abhay Kumar, a teacher at Infant Jesus High School, Patna City, said: “It is unfortunate that a bust of Mahatma Gandhi is being treated like this. Bapu started his freedom movement from Bihar and this is what we give him back. It’s a shame. What are we preserving for our children? Such indifference should not be tolerated.”