Film on Godse’s Killing of Gandhi: Falsehoods Galore

Why I killed Gandhi film

The film has “Why I killed Gandhi” was recently released. It is an attempt to glorify Nathuram Godse the killer of Mahatma Gandhi. One of its clip, the one related to Godse’s Testimony in Punjab High court is doing rounds in the social media.

In the long clip Godse unabashedly falsifies the events and gives them a communal slant. It has already been popularized that Gandhi did nothing to save the life of revolutionary Bhagat Singh. This has been planted in the minds of large sections despite the farewell speech of Viceroy Lord Irwin. He corroborates Gandhi’s statements that he earnestly pleaded for commutation of the sentences. Irwin (26th March 1931) states, “…As I listened the other day to Mr. Gandhi putting the case for commutation forcibly before me, I reflected first of what significance it surely was that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading the cause of the devotees of a creed so fundamentally opposite to his own, but I should regard it as wholly wrong to allow my judgment on these matters to be influenced or deflected by purely political considerations. I could imagine no case in which under the law penalty had been more directly deserved.”

Now Godse in his deposition states that Gandhi was writing against revolutionaries and despite his opposition Congress convention passed the resolution praising the sacrifice and patriotism of Bhagat Singh. The truth is that the resolution praising Bhagat Singh was drafted by Gandhi himself, “This Congress, while dissociating itself from and disapproving of political violence in any shape or form, places on record its admiration of the bravery and sacrifice of the late Sardar Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru, and mourns with the bereaved families the loss of these lives. The Congress is of opinion that this triple execution is an act of wanton vengeance and is a deliberate flouting of the unanimous demand of the nation for commutation.”

In an attempt to create a binary between revolutionaries and Gandhi, Godse also forgets the attempts by Gandhi to get Savarkar Brothers released. In Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume 20, pages 369-371 we can read an article in which he argues that Savarkar brothers should be released and be allowed to participate in the political life of the country in non violent way.  

Now Godse in this clip pitches Gandhi against Bose. It is true that Gandhi and Bose had differed on many issues but both were committed to get Independence for India. Gandhi did oppose his President ship in 1939. Bose was arguing that we should ally with Germany and Japan to fight against British. Gandhi was arguing for struggle against British to get Independence. Most of the Central Committee of Congress was with Gandhi. Still Gandhi and Bose had highest respect for each other. Bose was happy to know about launch of Quit India movement. Bose also sought Bapu’s blessings for success of Azad Hind Fauz (AHF). As a mark of respect he coined “Father of the nation’ for Gandhi and also named a battalion in AHF as Gandhi battalion.

Gandhi’s respect for Bose was not diminished a bit, as he called him “Prince among Patriots”, and went to meet the AHF prisoners in jail.

As a part of the RSS-Hindu Mahasabha propaganda Godse accuses Gandhi as being pro Muslim- Anti Hindu and holds him responsible for partition of the country. We know the complex process of partition,  British policy of ‘divide and rule’ and this being assisted by Muslim and Hindu Communalists. Godse’s praise for Subhash Bose is like shedding Crocodile tears. When Bose was fighting against British, his party Hindu Mahasabha was actively aiding British by recruiting the people for British army. Godse’s paper Agrani carried a cartoon depicting Mahatma Gandhi as Ravan, one of the ten heads being Bose, being slayed by Savarkar. And if he was really convinced by revolutionaries’ path what stopped him to join AHF?

He accuses Gandhi of forcing the Government for giving 55 Crores to Pakistan. This 55 Crores belonged to the share of Pakistan from the joint treasury. And Gandhi did not go to fast for that, he opined that if we back out from such commitments, how the World will look at us?

Godse is scathing on Gandhi for putting one of the conditions in his fast being vacating the mosques and other properties of Muslims occupied by Hindus. As the tragedy of partition unfolded communal violence started gripping the nation and with the help of communal forces Hindus occupied the properties of Muslims, including mosques. Godse dares Gandhi to take similar steps against Pakistan and Muslims. He deliberately undermines the fact that one of the major steps taken by Gandhi at that time was to quell the riots in Noakhali, where Hindus were major victims. He had similar appeal for Pakistan. Gandhi believed that if the safety of the Muslims was assured in India, he would be able to go to Pakistan and do a great deal for Hindus-Sikhs there.

His emphasis for peace was a clear act of morality, “If we are able to accomplish this in Delhi I assure you that our way will become absolutely clear in Pakistan. And with that will commence a new life. When I go to Pakistan I will not let them off easily. I will die for the Hindus and Sikhs there.”

The lie of lies in this Court statement is that it was Godse alone who planned the murer. Initially Sardar Patel stated that Gandhi murder was a part of Hindu Mahsabha plot and later Jeevan Lal Kapoor Commission observed, “All these facts taken together were destructive of any theory other than the conspiracy to murder by Savarkar and his group.”

The real motive of murdering Gandhi was that Gandhi was for inclusive Nationalism, the dream of revolutionaries; Bhagat Singh-Bose included; and for Gandhi’s attempts to work against untouchability and caste inequality. Godse’s Hindu nationalism was opposed to both. The falsehoods being dished out are a cover for his deeper agenda.

Originally published in South Asia Journal

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Dr Ram Puniyani

Dr Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. Email: [email protected]

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