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Monday, September 20, 2021

Explained: The colloquial expression that has hurt the Nath community

Haryana has initiated steps to ban the use of the derogatory expression 'Gorakh Dhandha' in communication by all state officials and politicians.

Written by Varinder Bhatia , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh |
Updated: August 26, 2021 7:26:00 am
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. (File photo)

The government of Haryana has moved to prohibit the use of the expression “Gorakh Dhandha”, often used by politicians in speeches to refer to “unethical practices”.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar issued instructions to officials to immediately take steps to ban the word in the state after a delegation of the Nath community met him to say that the expression was derogatory and insulting to the followers of Gorakhnath, the revered founder of the Nath monastic order who is believed to have lived in the 11 th century AD.

Expression and offence

The phrase “Gorakh Dhandha” is generally understood to mean a range of unethical practices committed in a blatant manner.

In their Independence Day addresses on August 15, Chief Minister Khattar and Haryana Vidhan Sabha Speaker Gian Chand Gupta used the expression to refer to alleged corrupt practices in ration and other public welfare schemes under previous governments.

Rambir Bhatti, general secretary of the BJP Chandigarh unit, said that at a meeting at the Chief Minister’s residence on August 17, he had brought to Khattar’s notice that the use of “Gorakh Dhandha” by him and various other politicians had hurt the sentiments of the Nath community.

“I have a very old association with Manohar Lal Khattar… The Chief Minister told us that it was not his intention (to upset anyone); he only read from the notes that were handed to him by his staff. He assured us that he would never use this word again,” Bhatti said.

Government action

On August 17, a Haryana government spokesperson said: “A delegation of Gorakhnath community met the Chief Minister and urged him to ban the use of this word as they said it hurt the sentiments of the followers of Saint Gorakhnath.

“Accepting their request, the Chief Minister said that as Guru Gorakhnath was a saint, using this word in any official language, speech, or in any context hurts the sentiments of his followers. Therefore, the Chief Minister said, use of this word in whatsoever context has been completely banned in the State.”

An old demand

According to Bhatti, delegations of the Nath community have been meeting senior politicians across the country to convey their grievance. “About a month ago, we had met the Member of Parliament from Kurukshetra Nayab Singh Saini and requested him to raise this issue in Lok Sabha and seek a ban on it. He had assured us that he would do so,” he said.

“Also”, Bhatti said, “Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is a disciple of Guru Gorakhnath. The city of Gorakhpur, which is our main dhaam, is named after our Guru Gorakhnath. Several youths from our community had conducted a motorcycle rally in several parliamentary constituencies in the country a couple of months ago, seeking a ban on the use of this expression.”

How ban might help

“The expression hurts our sentiments,” Bhatti said. “Why should anybody use the word ‘Gorakh’ in a derogatory way? We worship him. People do not realise that the use of this expression has been hurting us for years. We have been requesting politicians to stop using it.”

But how would a ban serve the purpose if people continue to use the expression anyway?

If politicians and officials stop using it, it will be a beginning, and will help to sensitise the public as well, Bhatti said.

“The Chief Minister has already issued instructions to his staff that the word should be completely banned. Generally it is the politicians who use this word in their speeches. I am sure from now on, they would not do so in Haryana at least.”

Bhatti said that after the CM called his OSD and other officers and issued directions to ban this word completely, “an official file was immediately moved to complete legal formalities for banning this word”.

“Subsequently, we also met Speaker Gupta and expressed our hurt on the use of the word by him on August 15. He apologised to us, and also released a video message with his apology,” Bhatti said.

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