This October 2nd (2021) the Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday; the twitter was flooded with tweets, ‘Nathuram Godse Amar Rahen’ (Long live Nathuram Godse), Nathuram Godse Zindabad (Hail Godse). It was the top twitter trend for the day. It did come as a shock to many. Even to those who have been observing resurgence in praise of Godse, the murderer of Gandhi, this trend was beyond the wildest imagination of the most.
To keep the Godse praise under wraps has been tactic for the sectarian nationalists. The RSS, the supra political organization, steering the politics of Hindu nationalism can speak in many languages at the same time. With Modi coming to absolute majority at the center from 2014, now there are no restrains on the Hindu nationalist elements to hide their celebration of Godse’s act, which was a logical outcome of the politics being pursued by Hindu Nationalist outfits, Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. Right in the aftermath of Gandhi murder Sardar Patel, the then Home minster and the most ardent follower of Gandhi in a letter wrote, “As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha… our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former (RSS) an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible.”– Sardar Vallabhai Patel, India’s first home minister, on the assassination of Gandhi, in a letter dated July 18, 1948 to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. (Sardar Patel Correspondence, Volume 6, edited by Durga Das)
RSS immediately claimed that Nathuram was had left the RSS, while Nathuram’s brother Gopal Godse in his book writes all three brothers had practically grown up in RSS and Nathuram never left RSS. Sardar Patel did blame the extreme wing of Hindu Mahasabha and later Jeevanlal Kapoor Commission confirmed the complicity of Vinyak Savarkar apart from Godse in the gruesome act.
Sardar Patel also writes that RSS celebrated this assassination by distributing sweets and they also called this as Gandhi Vadh. Vadh is a Marathi word used for killing of a demon. At the same RSS Chief Golwalkar declared a 13 day’s mourning. These two acts at the same time, distributing sweets and then declaring mourning tell us how this organization can speak in multiple languages at the same time. It regarded Gandhi led anti-British movement as a mere reactionary movement as it will not lead to Hindu nation, so it did not participate in it and did not unfurl the tricolor for decades over its office.
Gandhi was one person who touched the heart and minds of most Indians irrespective of their religion, region, language or region. He was in a way embodiment of the Indian-ness and very much in continuation of the saint tradition of the country. In due course the World leaders could see the import of the principles lived by Mahatma and UN declared his birthday as the global peace day. Many outstanding global personalities like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King (Jr.) drew inspiration from Gandhian teachings and acknowledged his debt for their own struggles for equality, peace and justice.
It is for this reason the at formal level the top leadership of RSS-BJP will not uphold Godse, it is for this reason that they will make the show of paying respect to Gandhi on his birthday. Lower down many leaders of this combine do openly articulate their real self, the ideology for which Godse murdered Gandhi and for which they praise and worship him. One of the RSS Chief Rajendra Singh did state that “Godse’s intention was good”. There is a large section of these leaders who in private had been upholding Godse’s violent act, and their open declarations are on the rise.
One recalls how Kamal Haasan was trolled when in May 2019 he said free India’s first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse. Lately temples and statues of Godse have been coming up in various places in (Including one in Gwalior) North India. Similarly a library was set up in Gwalior, where the assassination was plotted. It had to be closed in couple of days due to severe opposition.
One recalls the BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj on couple of occasions called Godse as patriot and nationalist. It’s another matter that he had to retract it. Pragya Thakur, the accused in Malegaon blast did state that Nathuram Godse was a nationalist; is a nationalist and will be a nationalist. She was asked to withdraw this comment and was dropped from Parliamentary Defense committee. BJP’s Anil Saumitra called Gandhi as ‘Father of Pakistan’.
In Maharashtra a Marathi play has been doing rounds, ‘Mee Nathuram Boltoy’, (I am Nathuram Speaking). This drew packed houses in Maharashtra. On other side; by word of mouth Gandhi is presented as anti National, anti Hindu and pro Muslim. Printed literature against Gandhi may not be much but one such book has also been published, ‘Gandhi was anti National’! Anant Kumar Hedge ex Union Minster of BJP stated that there is no need to feel apologetic about Godse. He did withdraw his comments after reprimand from top leaders.
To add to the ‘Hate Gandhi’ propaganda the makers of biopic on Modi have declared the launch of biopic on Godse. All this scattered statements from the RSS Combine stable, sometimes reprimanded from top, shows the real face of their ideology. Godse was no freak; he was ideologically motivated by Hindu Rashtra, Akhand Bharat. While right from beginning this combine has been opposed to composite Indian nationalism and believed in the ideology of Hindu Rasthra, the same has been propagated not only though the Shakhas and Shishu Mandirs but also through the large sections of Corporate controlled media and the latest addition to the spread of narrow nationalism based on religion, the social media. In a way the twitter storm should make us realize the ideology which murdered Gandhi is now coming out more in the open and glorification of Godse is the visible part of the deep roots of religious nationalism in India.