Understand the mindset of the people opposing the award of Geeta Press

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Keep in mind another fact that when Bhai Poddar met Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai with the request of ‘Ram-Naam Jaap’ to give strength to the resolution of India’s independence, Gandhiji made an effort to spread ‘Ram-Naam’. was praised.

On behalf of the Government of India, the committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done a great job by unanimously deciding to award the prestigious ‘Gandhi Peace Prize’ to Geeta Press, Gorakhpur. This year Geeta Press has completed 100 years of its establishment. In its journey of 100 years, this publication has served Indian culture a lot. No one can compete with Gita Press in taking the idea of ​​Indianness to the masses. Geeta Press, established in the year 1923, is today considered one of the largest publishers in the world. This press has so far created a new record by publishing 41.7 crore books in 14 languages. Of these, 16.21 crore copies of Shrimad Bhagwad Gita are included. Due to the policy of Gita Press, many Indian texts including Shrimad Bhagwat Gita, Shri Ramayana, Shri Mahabharata could reach every household.

Congratulating Gita Press after the announcement of the award, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly said – “Gita Press has done commendable work in the last 100 years towards furthering social and cultural change among people”. It is surprising that some people/organisations are also stinging with the decision of awarding Geeta Press. Common people are also understanding that what is the mentality behind the protest – Gita Press has taken Hindu religion-culture to the masses, is that why they are suffering? There are some thought groups in the country, each of whom is irritated with the institutions devoted to Hindu identity and Indian culture.

“Conferring ‘Gandhi Peace Prize-2021’ to Geeta Press is like awarding Savarkar and Godse”. This view reveals a very narrow mindedness. The author of the book which has been mentioned in support of this absurd statement does not have basic knowledge about Geeta Press and its publications. In the book ‘Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India’, author Akshay Mukul has misrepresented many basic facts. An interesting fact is that the book has been praised by controversial author Arundhati Roy. Remember, Arundhati calls the dreaded Naxalites, enemies of humanity, gun-wielding Gandhians. On the basis of this book, attempts have been made in the past to tarnish the reputation of Gita Press. To understand this factually, Dr. Santosh Kumar Tiwari’s well-researched article ‘Attempt to defame Gita Press’ should be read, which was published on Panchjanya’s website on March 20, 2017. It is worth mentioning that Dr. Tiwari has obtained PhD from Cardiff University, UK and has retired as Professor from the Department of Mass Communication, Central University of Jharkhand.

Look at the mentality of the opponents that they want to create confusion and controversy regarding a successful publication by linking the honor of Gita Press with Swatantryaveer Savarkar and Nathuram Godse. Due to petty political selfishness, irritation towards Swatantryaveer Savarkar has blinded the leaders so much that they neither remember the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi nor the thoughts and actions of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in relation to this great revolutionary. Those who take pleasure in raising an argument must understand that mixing facts will not change the truth. The truth is that every Indian has deep respect for Geeta Press. Geeta Press has done great service to Indian culture in its journey so far.

To say by the opponents that there were grave differences between Mahatma Gandhi and the managers of Gita Press is a baseless and foolish statement. Understand the relationship between Mahatma Gandhi and Gita Press on the basis of two evidences. Mahatma Gandhi wrote an article in the first issue of the well-known magazine ‘Kalyan’ of Geeta Press. Not only this, even later Gandhiji kept writing for welfare. Look at the second fact – Bhaiji Hanuman Prasad Poddar, the editor of the magazine and the management never published advertisements in ‘Kalyan’, obeying Mahatma Gandhi’s request.

Dr. Santosh Tiwari, a scholar studying Gita Press, writes in the article ‘Gitapress: Gandhiji and Kalyan Ke Rishtey’ published on June 19, 2023 in ‘Panchjanya’ – “The British government once banned the October 1946 issue of Kalyan Was. When the publication of ‘Kalyan’ resumed, Mr. Poddar went to seek blessings from Bapu. Gandhiji had then advised him never to publish any outside advertisement or book review in Kalyan. ‘Kalyan’ magazine has been following that advice of Gandhiji till date. Geeta Press does not even accept any donation from anyone”.

Also note another fact that when Bhai Poddar met Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai with the request of ‘Ram-Naam Jaap’ to give strength to India’s resolve for independence, Gandhiji made an effort to spread ‘Ram-Naam’. was praised. The fact is that Mr. Poddar’s relationship with Mahatma Gandhi was like a family. In 1932, Gandhiji’s son Devdas Gandhi was arrested by the British Government and kept in Gorakhpur Jail. At the behest of Gandhiji, Mr. Poddar took full care of Devdas Gandhi and visited him regularly in jail. When Devdas Gandhi fell ill soon after his release, Mr. Poddar took care of him. Expressing happiness and assurance in a letter written to brother Hanuman Prasad Poddar on July 21, 1932, Mahatma Gandhi wrote – “Brother Hanuman Prasad, received your letter and telegram today. As long as you are there, I will not worry about Devdas. And then, Devdas has written to me that you have behaved very kindly. The doctor is really a nice person. I always hope that I will continue to receive your letters from time to time” (See- Sampoorna Gandhi Vangmaya (Hindi), Volume-50, page-274). Many people also spread the lie that after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in ‘Kalyan’ no material was published on him. The reality is that when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, two obituaries were published in ‘Kalyan’, one of which was written by the editor himself, Bhai Hanuman Prasad Poddar. In his message, he wrote- “Gandhiji rose above the distinction of religion and caste and was a true worshiper of truth and non-violence”.

Even after this, if some people are beating their chest in protest by saying that Mahatma Gandhi had deep differences with the managers and editor of Gita Press, Bhai Hanuman Prasad Poddar, then whom will they oppose because on many issues Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, From Sardar Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, Gandhiji had disagreements with many great men.

Look at the resolution of Geeta Press that till date it has not received grant from anyone. Maintaining this resolution, the managers of Geeta Press accepted the ‘Gandhi Peace Prize-2021’ but refused to accept the amount of one crore rupees received in the award. The amount of one crore rupees is a huge amount. The gang opposing Geeta Press also includes people who have been part of the award return group. In that fake campaign, these people had returned the awards but have not returned the amount received with it till date.

-Lokendra Singh

(The author is an independent commentator and writer)

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