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Gandhi Peace Prize 2021 to Gita Press, Congress calls it ‘travesty’

Gandhi Peace Prize 2021 to Gita Press, Congress calls it ‘travesty’

New Delhi: In a move that has sparked controversy, Gita Press, Gorakhpur has been honoured with the prestigious Gandhi Peace Prize for 2021, recognizing its contribution to social, economic, and political transformation through non-violent and Gandhian methods. However, the decision to award the prize to Gita Press has faced criticism from the Congress party, deeming it a "travesty" and raising objections to the selection.

The Gandhi Peace Prize, instituted by the government in 1995 on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's 125th birth anniversary, serves as a tribute to the ideals advocated by the Father of the Nation. The award is open to individuals and institutions regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed, or gender. It carries a prize amount of Rs 1 crore, a citation, a plaque, and an exquisite traditional handicraft or handloom item.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who headed the jury, expressed his congratulations to Gita Press for its remarkable work and its role in promoting social and cultural transformations over the past century. The Prime Minister lauded the institution's efforts in upholding Gandhian principles, emphasizing peace, and fostering social harmony. The unanimous decision to select Gita Press as the recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize was made by the jury, as announced by the Ministry of Culture.

However, the Congress party has strongly criticized the decision, considering it inappropriate to honour Gita Press with the prestigious award. Jairam Ramesh, the party's general secretary-in-charge of communications, pointed out the organization's stormy history with Mahatma Gandhi, as detailed in a biography by Akshaya Mukul. Ramesh highlighted the organization's disagreements and clashes with Gandhi over political, religious, and social agendas, questioning the propriety of bestowing the award on such grounds.

The objections raised by the Congress party have ignited a debate surrounding the credibility and suitability of the award recipient. As Gita Press celebrates its centenary this year, the party argues that acknowledging an organization with a contentious past in relation to Mahatma Gandhi's principles is equivalent to honouring controversial figures like Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and Nathuram Godse.

Despite the objections, the Ministry of Culture maintains that the Gandhi Peace Prize recognizes Gita Press's significant and unparalleled contribution to humanity's collective upliftment, reflecting the essence of Gandhian living. The award signifies the institution's dedication to community service and its extensive publishing efforts, having produced a staggering 41.7 crore books in 14 languages, including an impressive 16.21 crore copies of the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.

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TAGS:Narendra ModiBJPJairam RameshCongress PartyGandhi Peace Prize 2021Gita Press
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