The spectre of the citizenship matrix is haunting people across the country, Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee said in the city on Thursday.
“I will visit Shaheen Bagh to convey a message… to allow us to live the way we have lived so far,” the 86-year-old daughter of Gandhi’s son Devdas M. Gandhi and Lakshmi Gandhi said.
She spoke to this newspaper during her maiden visit to the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Barrackpore. “Jemon achhi temon thaktey dao (let us live the way we are),” she said.
“There is a lot of bad news every day. People are panicked… they are living in fear. This has to be overcome, but it is a big challenge. Ekta bhoy mukta Bharat chai (want a Bharat where there is no fear),” she said, while acknowledging that she had little idea whether the citizenship tripod was good, bad or necessary at all, but loved to see her countrymen living without fear.
“Citizens in a state of panic cannot be a healthy sign in a democracy. I have heard people are panicked over the CAA. I have little idea about it. So, I would urge the government and the Opposition to come out with clear explanations so that people can overcome their fear.”
Her maternal grandfather, C. Rajagopalachari, was the last governor-general of India and one of India’s foremost freedom fighters. Her husband Jyoti Prasad Bhattacharjee, a resident of Bhatpara, was an economist and the director of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The social worker, who is also chairman of the New Delhi-based National Gandhi Museum, said citizens were the main source of power in a democracy.
Gandhi Bhattacharjee, a renowned scholar on Gandhi’s thoughts and philosophy and former chairperson of Kasturba National Memorial Trust, said: “I will speak neither in favour of nor against the CAA. I will say we are all the same and let us live like brothers and sisters of the same family. I just want a Bharat free of fear and want to get rid of this cancer.
“I have asked several persons about the CAA. But, no one has made it clear to me. But it has become a symbol of fear. Everybody is afraid of the CAA.”
She said the situation across the country had made Gandhi more relevant. “The importance of his philosophy of non-violence has become universal now.”