Chandra Kumar Bose, the vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal and grandnephew of Subhas Chandra Bose, triggered a controversy by sarcastically urging people to stop eating goat meat because Mahatma Gandhi considered the animal mother.

Many objected to his remark and voiced their opinion on the social media platform. Among them was Tripura Governor Tathagata Roy, who rejected Bose’s claim that Gandhi regarded goat as mother.

In a tweet posted on 26 July, Bose recalled how the Mahatma, when he used to stay at his grandfather’s place, “treated goats as mata (mother)” by consuming goat’s milk.

“Gandhi ji used to stay in my grandfather-Sarat Chandra Bose’s  house at 1 WoodburnPark in Kolkata.He demanded goat’s milk! Two goats brought to the house for this purpose,” he wrote.

“Gandhi protector of Hindus treated goats as Mata by consuming goats milk. Hindus stop eating goat’s meat,” said Bose, who is the grandson of Netaji’s elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose.

 

In his response, Roy said that Hindus consider cow as the mother and not the goat.

“Neither Gandhiji nor your grandfather ever said goats were Mata-that’s your conclusion. Nor did Gandhiji (or anyone else) ever proclaim that he was the protector of Hindus,” said the Tripura Governor.

“We Hindus regard the cow as our mother, not the goat. Please don’t peddle such rot,” said Roy.

 

“Tathagata I have great respect for you! But I can’t agree to many of your views!” Bose shot back adding that Gandhi’s insistence on drinking milk of goats “implied” that he treated the animal as mother.

“Gandhi ji insisted on having goats milk while staying in our ancestral house- it was implied that he treated the goat as #Mata . That was it- there need not be any argument/controversy on this issue,” said Bose, a member of the BJP since 2016.

 

Roy, who has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for decades, retorted by pointing at Jawaharlal Nehru and Kashmiri Pandits.

“What has that got to do with goat being a mother? Gandhiji’s dearest disciple Jawaharlal Nehru (and his community,Kashmiri pandits) are all meat-eaters!” he said.

 

Bose clarified that religion has got nothing to do with what one consumes adding that people with “archaic views” have no place in the country.

“We are staunch Hindus – but we don’t believe that religion has anything to do with what you eat! We despise bigotry & feel people with such archaic views have no place in #Bharat,” he said.

 

Roy then asked Bose to clarify what he meant by “archaic views”.

“I am somewhat at a loss to understand you-I mean ‘you’ singular. Who are ‘we’? What are “such archaic views”-that the cow is our mother? Or that people who believe that the cow is our mother have no place in your perception of Bharat? I shall thank you for a clear answer,” he said.

 

Answering Roy, Bose wrote that the ‘we’ in his previous tweet referred to those who do not consider “any animal as their mother”.

“‘We’ means progressive people of new India who respect views of others-but don’t accept any animal as their ‘Mata’. We are animal lovers & activists- but don’t put any animal above humans! This should be the stand of #Bharatiyas who want to take #Bharat to new heights unitedly,” he said.

 

Following the exchange, Bose clarified what he meant with the series of tweets on 28 July.

“One has to understand the subtlety of my tweet. The entire nation is shocked to see the kind of violence & lynching taking place right across the country,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

“If you attack people for consuming beef then they must also give up consuming goat because Gandhi used to drink goat’s milk, if you drink goat’s milk then you treat goat as Mata. Religion must not be mixed up with politics,” the 57-year-old Bose said.

Bose has been a vocal opponent of religion-based politics and has previously spoken against lynch mobs as well as the idea of a Hindu India.

On 25 July, just a day before the Twitter exchange with Roy, Bose had slammed the voices calling for a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ while pointing at India’s inclusive history.

“Who is talking about a #HinduRashtra ?India is a multi-religious, multi– ethnic ,multi-cultural, multi-lingual & multi-coloured society – how can it ever be centric to any specific religion? India has been ruled over the years by Rajputs, Marathas, Moghuls, British & Bharatiyas,” he said.