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The Big Picture – Gandhi and the attempted Godse revival


It is 67 years since the Mahatma Gandhi fell to an assassin’s bullets in the heart of the Capital. In all these years the Legacy of Gandhi has survived. With every passing year though it is quite evident that his ideas and talks are being followed more in breach, the idea of Gandhi remains in the heart and soul of the country, and even the world. During the recent visit to India the US president Barack Obama too paid homage to Gandhi. However, there are forces who have always tried to undermine Gandhi and lionize his assassin Nathuram Godse.

Recently, Godse’s admirers have announced that they would build temples in his honour across the country. They defend their move by saying that Godse did the right thing by killing Gandhi who was the main person behind the division of the country in 1947. And according to them, Gandhi committed a great mistake by supporting the division of the country. The admirers’ are largely the propagators of Hindutva. Hindu Mahasabha virtually dissolved itself after the assassination because there was so much public anger at what they had done. Politically there are dead since then.

Experts say that there is a conducive atmosphere because of the political climate in the country and therefore groups like these feel that they now have the chance and there is an atmosphere in which they can again try to recover ground by coming up with such kind of extreme statements. India being a liberal democratic society, freedom of expression should be respected. But it is should not be used to justify a murder which these radical groups have been doing.

Godse’s moral influence was irrefutable and it drew its influence from the following facts;

  • Unlike many of the National Leaders Gandhiji was a self declared Sanathani Hindu but with a different perspective of Hinduism.
  • Hindu Mahasabha was one of the signatories of the request which was made to Gandhi to break his last fast.
  • The country was not divided because of Mahatma Gandhi but because of two Nations theory. One edition of theory was propounded by Muslim league and other edition was propounded by Hindu Mahasabha. For both these groups the composite nationalism represented by national movement led by Gandhi and other leaders was the anathema.

This represents the pathology of the times. The idea of Hate and Murder is occupying the centre stage in the recent years. Hatred was there against Gandhi in the past in a sizeable section of India and is still alive. V D Savarkar propagated a theory as early as 1937 in which he said that Hindu and Muslim population would live in one nation but Hindu will be a dominated religion and Muslim will live as a subordinate one and as second class citizens. Savarkar had also appealed to the British authorities to ease the restrictions against him as he did not oppose the anti colonial rule. Some reports also show that Savarkar was also involved in the conspiracy.