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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 24 New Delhi June 1, 2019

Love for Godse, Hatred for Gandhi!

Saturday 1 June 2019

by Binoy Viswam

The imaginary wall that the Sangh Parivar built in between the BJP and Godse has crumbled. All along these years, whenever the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi was discussed, the BJP leadership was extra-vigilant to distance themselves from Nathuram Vinayak Godse, the assassin. It was part of a well-designed strategy. In the heart of their hearts they all kept immense adoration for Nathuram Vinayak Godse. But due to various compulsions, mainly political and electoral, they opted to hide their bhakti for Godse. Observers have noticed their adaptability in such matters. Fully aware of the influence of Mahatma Gandhi in the Indian psyche and polity, the RSS skilfully sidetracked their inborn hatred towards the Father of the Nation. The ideological and political course of the Sangh Parivar was dedicated to the fight against all those values Mahatma Gandhi stood for. But they were second to none in paying lip- service to Mahatma Gandhi. Now their castle of hypocrisy and treachery has shattered into pieces. The people of India now see the BJP leaders saying that Mahatma Gandhi is not the Father of India but the Father of Pakistan!

Irrespective of the outcome of the elections our nation has to be doubly vigilant against this stream of thought which has exploded in recent days. If the nation fails to prevent the ideological moorings that ignite praise for Godse and curse for the Mahatma, it would undermine all our cherished dreams of a “sovereign, democratic, secular, socialist, republic”. Leaders of the BJP owe an explanation to the citizens of India about the venom that they spit on Mahatma Gandhi in support of Nathuram Vinayak Godse. They should also explain the reason for the high volume attack on Kamal Haasan, renowned film actor and leader of Makkal Needhi Maiam. What was his crime? In a public meeting he explained a simple truth, that Godse was the first terrorist in free India. He added that the assassin was a religious extremist who did the heinous crime in the name of Hindu religion. Every right thinking man and woman could understand that Kamal Haasan was not depicting all Hindus as terrorists. In fact he was sharply exposing the terrorist in Godse who used the mask of Hinduism for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi, the ardent follower of Hindu religion. Recent developments urge upon us to raise a simple but pertinent question: which Hindu faith is the BJP advocating? The Hinduism preached by Mahatma Gandhi or the Hinduism that Godse put into practice? Gandhi’s Hinduism uncompromisingly stood for national unity where Hindus and Muslims walk hand in hand. Godse’s Hinduism believes that exactly for the above standpoint Gandhi did not deserve to live in India. In fact this question had serious ideological and political implications in the life and growth of India since independence. In the ongoing Indian battle between the concept of a secular state and a theocratic state, elements of this question are also intertwined.

It was during the Vajpayee Government that the disciples of Godse got an opportunity to express themselves openly. The drama which projected Godse as a hero was staged in many places throughout Maharashtra. The book titled, Me Nathruram Godse Boltoy, was published in various languages. The content of the book was Godse’s statement on the Gandhi assassination case. Godse was calm and cool during the court proceedings, it was reported. Godse informed the court that he had no personal grudge towards Gandhi. He even acknowledged that Gandhi was a great man. Then why did he fire the bullets on Gandhiji? Godse believed that with each second of Gandhi’s existence the honour and esteem of Hindus in India would be wounded. During those days the country could witness so many of the ideological followers of Hindutva singing Godse’s praise. He was lauded for his bravery and sacrifice. Some of them demanded that the day on which he was hanged to death should be observed as shourya divas. Monuments for Godse were also built. Some enthusiasts among them even pleaded for constructing temples to worship Godse. Under the patronage of the Hindutva ideology Godse was attaining a new image in the land of Mahatma Gandhi.

But the leadership of BJP remained naive as if they had nothing to do with Godse. Time and again they proclaimed that Godse was never an RSS worker. Technically they may be right. Gopal Godse, younger brother of Nathuram Godse, has written that the childhood of Godse brothers was spent on the courtyard of the RSS where they spent more time than in their home. From that courtyard Nathuram Godse was moulded. Everyone trained in the ideological premises of the RSS are taught to become warriors of racial pride. Hatred to the ‘other’ is intrinsic in it. Even though they swear in the name of Indian nationalism, their basic lessons were learned from Hitler’s Germany.

M.S. Golwalkar has exhorted that Germany is the land where racial pride has grown to its zenith. According to him, Germany has taught the world that different cultures can never live under a single roof. Hindustan has to learn many a lesson from Germany. In MeinKampf Hitlernarrated that Jews, Christians and Communists are the internal enemies of Germany. In Bunch of Thoughts Golwalkar wrote that Muslims, Christians and Communists are India’s internal enemies. On the art of political propaganda also the RSS is indebted to Hitler and his propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels. A close evaluation of these Indian and German narratives would speak to us a lot. Hidden and unhidden agenda are all part of these narratives. Love and praise for Godse were always there in the agenda of the Sangh Parivar. But due to obvious reasons it was hidden.

While responding to Kamal Haasan, Sadhvi Pragya Singh was only expressing the basic affinity of the Parivar towards Godse. Pragya Singh is not an ordinary cadre of the RSS-BJP. The Modi-Amit Shah duo has made her the symbol of their battle. That is why this person of Malegaon bomb explosion fame was chosen as their race horse in the prestigious electoral contest in Bhopal. Once she opened her mouth to glorify Godse as the patriotic hero of India, the floodgates of glorification for Godse was also opened. Leader after leader followed suit with Pragya Singh. Nalin Kumar Kateel, the BJP MP from Karnataka, had tweeted that Rajiv Gandhi, who killed 17,000, was a more cruel killer than Godse who had killed only one man. Ananth Kumar Hegde, the Central Minister, was jubilant that India had begun to see Godse in a new light. Anil Saumitra, the propaganda-in-charge of Madya Pradesh BJP, was the man who said that Mahatma Gandhi could be made the Father of Pakistan but not of India.

This is the real and unhidden face of the BJP. The facade that the Parivar wore on their face was blown off like a dry leaf by the wide range of pro-Godse statements uttered by well-known and unknown leaders and cadres of the RSS-BJP. On May 23, they may or may not win the elections. But Narendra Modi and Amit Shah will have a tough time to explain to the nation their reasons for love of Godse and hatred of Mahatma Gandhi. Whether they are in power or out of power, we the people are naturally keen to hear from them.

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