Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Yeh Jo India Hai Na... here, on 30 January 1948, Nathuram Godse killed MK Gandhi. The man who stood for ahimsa, who used non-violence to win India its freedom, met a violent death. Godse held Gandhi responsible for India’s partition. Of course, I disagree with that, but Godse had a right to hold that view. But, pumping three bullets into Bapu’s chest – he had no right to do.
Yet today, Godse, and his choice to kill Gandhi, is being celebrated more than ever before. And as I said, more than Godse’s motive, it’s the murder itself that is being applauded.
Those Praising Godse for Killing Gandhi Are Calling for Killing India's Muslims
And, it is no surprise that those who today praise Godse for killing Gandhi, at ‘Dharam Sansads,’ are the same people calling for the killing of India’s Muslims.
At a hate conclave in Haridwar, on 17 December 2021, Mahamandaleshwar of Juna Akhara and a repeat offender, Yati Narsinghanand said,
"Swords won’t be enough to kill Muslims. We need better weapons. Hindu groups need to update themselves. Swords look good on stage only. This battle will be won by those with better weapons."Yati Narsinghanand
In fact, these hate mongers hate Gandhi more for drilling the idea of non-violence into us. A tolerant, diverse, non-violent India – Gandhi’s India – is not their idea of India.
Unfortunately, the voices of these people, are louder and more mainstream today. While a couple of them, such as Yati Narsinghanand and Kalicharan, are in police custody for now, many are free, their viral hate videos gathering thousands of views daily.
Days after the hate conclave speech, on 24 December 2021, Narsinghanand propagated hatred against Gandhi, praising Godse.
"Is he (Gandhi) capable of being the father of the nation? He is a traitor. It is unfortunate that politicians still bow before Gandhi. Godse is like a god to us. I worship Godse. We are alive because of Godse. Godse is a symbol of truth, justice and courage."Yati Narsinghanand
India's Top Leaders Silent on Those Celebrating Gandhi's Murder
And, while India’s top leaders do find the time to vilify Jawaharlal Nehru, to vilify Muslims and Christians, to vilify anyone they call ‘anti-national,' there is pin-drop silence about those celebrating Gandhi’s murder.
Every 30th January, in recent years, we see #NathuramGodseAmarRahe, #NathuramGodseZindabad trending. These are not pushed by bots, but by real Godse fans, mainly members of the Hindu Mahasabha.
At their Meerut office, statues of Godse and his co-killer Narayan Apte, are worshipped every year on 15 November, the day they were hanged. They even have a Godse temple in Gwalior. And it’s no surprise that hating Muslims and Christians is their other pastime.
Their Vice President Sadhvi Deva Thakur said Muslims and Christians must undergo forced sterilisation to control their population. Their general secretary Munna Kumar Shukla claimed that it was legal to attack a church.
And it’s a misconception that Godse’s fans are limited to the tiny Hindu Mahasabha. In 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Sakshi Maharaj called Godse a patriot. He withdrew his remark but still got an election ticket in 2019. In 2019, BJP MP Pragya Thakur called Godse a ‘deshbhakt’ inside Parliament.
Since then, the list of BJP leaders praising Godse has only grown – Madhya Pradesh cabinet minister Usha Thakur, BJP MPs from Karnataka, Anant Kumar Hegde and Nalin Kumar Kateel, Andhra Pradesh BJP State Secretary Ramesh Naidu Nagothu – they have all hailed Godse, but has the BJP leadership acted against them? No.
PM Modi Repeatedly Praises Gandhi, Why Silence on Abuse of Gandhi?
On Gandhi Jayanti, in 2019, Narendra Modi wrote an op-ed for The New York Times – 'Why India and the World Need Gandhi.' Modi has praised Gandhi repeatedly in his speeches.
At New York's Madison Square Garden, in September 2014, in his first visit to the United States (US), after being elected the prime minister, he said,
"Every Indian was motivated to believe that they could be a part of India's freedom struggle. This was Mahatma Gandhi's biggest contribution."
But when Kalicharan Maharaj abuses Gandhi and thanks Godse for killing him, in a public speech, there is silence. Instead Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra objects to Kalicharan's arrest.
So, why the op-ed in The New York Times? Just to harvest the soft power of Gandhi's global stature?
A Lesson in Gandhian Compassion
And for a lesson in Gandhian compassion – here’s a fact. Do you know who pleaded against the death sentence passed on Godse and Apte? It was two of Bapu’s own sons – Manilal and Ramdas Gandhi.
Yeh Jo India Hai Na, yahan Godse is not the hero of just a few. Today, there are many more takers for Godse’s hate and violence, while Gandhi and his ahimsa is questioned and abused.