Today, 30th January 2017, we celebrate the 69th Death Anniversary of the killing of Mahatma Gandhi. For the past few years, every January, there are a slew of messages glorifying the murderer, Nathuram Godse; messages that glorify Godse and justify his murder through an essay of his “Why I killed Gandhi”, his statement in court justifying the murder.
Godse in his speech being circulated in social media, talks of Gandhi’s role in accepting partition, as if Gandhi had a choice; and he conveniently forgets that it was the Mahasabha that wanted separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims. Moreover, his arguments in the monologue of his are so flawed that they don’t even deserve a debate if not for the sheer number of gullible people falling prey to it; to me they read like rantings of a diseased mind. Godse in his lecture, conveniently forgets that Muslim League and Hindu Mahasabha both engineered communal polarisation of the society that fed on each other’s devils and ended in the partition of India; all this while Gandhi was the only voice that was trying to unite people. He forgets that Gandhi, on the day of his dream of freedom coming true, did not even celebrate India’s freedom, he didn’t attend the ceremony in central assembly and was mourning the partition of India. He forgets that the Hindu Mahasabha never even asked for freedom, leave aside fight for it; now that they got it in a platter they celebrate the killing of a man who contributed a lot to the struggle.
The Mountabatten Plan of June 1947 was announced after the Congress Working Committee endorsed it. Gandhiji refused to agree to it and his objections were set aside. He thus went into a Maun Vrat, in which he passed this note to the Viceroy. Gandhi’s attempts at reconciliation between Muslim League and Congress had failed and he was sitting on the fringes of retirement, something akin to Advani’s marginalisation today; he was just a ‘maargdarshak’ only in name.
At the prayer meeting in New Delhi on 9-6-1947 Gandhiji himself said the following : “A friend points out how ineffective were my words when I said that vivisection of the country would be the vivisection of my own body and calls upon me strongly to oppose the partition of the country. But I do not think I am in anyway to be blamed in this matter. When I said that the country should not be divided I was confident that I had the support of the masses. But when the popular view is contrary to mine, should I force my own view on the people? . . . And today I can say with confidence that if all the non-Muslims were with me, I would not let India be divided. But I must admit that today the general opinion is not with me, and so, I must step aside and stay back . . . “ Gandhiji lost the strength to prevent the partition; he never agreed to it.
Moreover, Gandhiji had invited Godse for discussions but the latter did not avail of the opportunity given to him. This is indicative of Godse’s lack of faith in the democratic way of resolving differences on the part of Godse and his ilk. Such fascist mindset seeks to do away with dissent by liquidating opponents.
Hindu Mahasabha attempts to rehabilitate Godse and portray him as a patriot are under-way. They are installing his busts, have made a documentary film on him called Desh Bhakt Nathuram Godse (Patriot Nathuram Godse). Attempts are underway to celebrate 30 January as a Shaurya Diwas (“Bravery Day”).. Bravery? Pardon me? If Godse was so brave, he should have killed the enemy rather than pick upon an old unprotected man. If Godse was so brave, he should have killed Jinnah instead.
अगर इतना ही शूरवीर था गोडसे, तो दुश्मन को घर में घुस के मारता; एक निहत्थे वृद्ध पुरुष को मारने में क्या शौर्य है भाई? शौर्य तो तब था, अगर जिन्नाह को मार डालता.
Picture this: Suppose that I have a grouse against my estranged neighbour, who is also a cousin having lived jointly for many years: I presume my neighbour is a rogue who is out to do me harm. My Dad asks me to be peaceful and accommodating in the seperation; I argue, I disagree with my Dad, Dad doesnt listen to me. What do I do? I kill my Dad in cold blood, point blank with a revolver, and then write a long letter called “Why I killed my Dad”; in which I write a long treatise justifying my actions; and that should be alright…and then I can have temples built celebrating the murder of my Dad. My simple question is this: Shouldn’t I have killed the rogue neighbour instead; the punishment would have been the same.
By most historical accounts, Jinnah was the real reason for partition. I wonder why Nathuram Godse who is being given a God like status in the right-wing arena did not have the guts to kill Jinnah instead. No passport was needed to travel to Pakistan then, it was a porous border, people just used to walk into that country with a bullock cart for company. He could easily have gone to Karachi, he could have got into Jinnah’s proximity and very well have shot him down to avenge the partition of India.
It is time we buried the Ghost of this coward called Nathuram Godse, nothing brave about him, I say. With this, I bow to the memory of Gandhi, and I hang my head in shame that the ideology that killed him thrives today.