Former Union minister and BJP MP Anantkumar Hegde is in the news again for the wrong reasons, this time for attacking Mahatma Gandhi and calling the freedom struggle led by him a "drama". He also questioned as to how "such people" come to be called 'Mahatma' in India.
"None of these so-called leaders were beaten up by the cops even once. Their independence movement was one big drama. It was staged by these leaders with the approval of the British. It was not a genuine fight. It was an adjustment freedom struggle," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
"People supporting Congress keep saying that India got independence because of the fast unto death and satyagraha. This is not true. The British did not leave the country because of satyagraha. Britishers gave independence out of frustration. My blood boils when I read history. Such people become Mahatma in our country," Hegde said in his statement.
Startling as his comments may be, the six-time Lok Sabha member from Uttara Kannada is not new to controversies. From wondering how Rahul Gandhi became a Brahmin to opining that the Taj Mahal was a Shiv Mandir built by King Paramatheertha -- Hegde's comments have raised the hackles of many.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. 'How did the son of a Muslim become a Brahmin named Gandhi?'
Hegde on March 12, 2019 triggered a row after he dubbed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as a "hybrid person" and asked whether he would give a DNA proof to establish that he is a Brahmin. He asked the Congress leader what proof he had of his Brahmin-ism.
"Look what situation they have brought our country down to. The entire world is acknowledging our bravery. But some people within our own country have raised doubts. They want proof for our IAF's air strikes against Pakistan but how did the son of a Muslim become a Brahmin named Gandhi? What proof do they have? He was born to a Muslim father and Christian mother. How does he become a Brahmin?" Anantkumar Hegde said.
2. 'Chop off hands that touch Hindu girls'
In January 2019, Hegde attempted to explain how to keep “Hindu girls safe”, sparking a row in the process. Addressing a public event in Karnakata’s Kodagu, Hegde said that the hands which “touch” Hindu girls, should be “chopped off” and “cease to exist.”
“There should be a fundamental shift in our thinking. We should keenly observe what's happening around us. Regardless of caste and religion, a hand that touches a Hindu girl should not exist. History is written like that,” he explained.
3. 'Not bothered about barking stray dogs'
Hegde, it would appear, does not bother overmuch about his critics. On January 30, 2018, while speaking at a job fair and skill exhibition, he said, “I am very straightforward person and talk without hesitation.”
He added that he was committed to his responsibility as a Minister of developing skills among youth and enabling them to stand on their own and “realising the dreams of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” of transforming the country into “skilled Bharat”. “We will go ahead with our commitment and not bother about barking stray dogs,” he added.
4. 'He should go to Pakistan'
Hegde dubbed as an "act of arrogance" the resignation by Karnataka IAS officer Sasikanth Senthil after criticising the union government, and asked him to go to Pakistan.
In a video message on Twitter, the former union minister said there cannot be any "act of treason" bigger than an IAS officer questioning the decision taken by the Centre and the Parliament on a majority basis.
Hitting out at Senthil, Hegde said, "The first thing he should do is go to Pakistan along with those who support his move. This is quite an easy task and a permanent solution too."
5. 'Taj Mahal not built by Muslims, it's a Shiv Mandir'
Who built the Taj Mahal? Well, according to Anantkumar Hegde, it was a Shiv Mandir built by King Paramatheertha. History, he said, was proof of this claim.
"It's a Shiv Mandir that was built by King Paramatheertha, which was known as Tejo Mahalaya. Tejo Mahalaya became Taj Mahal. If we keep sleeping like this, most of our houses will also be renamed as masjids. In future, Lord Ram will be called Jahapana and Sita will become Bibi," he was quoted as saying by ANI.