Rahul Gandhi sued for defamation over his comment blaming the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, while campaigning for the 2014 general election has been rebuked by the Supreme Court, which said: “You can’t make collective criticisms.” Rahul had refused the court’s suggestion last year that he should apologize and settle the case. The court made it clear to his lawyer that he has to face trial, and announced a hearing on July 27 instead of cancelling the lawsuit as he had earlier requested. The Supreme Court also rejected Rahul’s request for two weeks’ time – his lawyer and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal will be unavailable – and said someone else can argue.
Though, BJP has filed complaint against Rahul Gandhi for his remarks linking the RSS to Mahatma Gandhi’s killing, but still, we all know, RSS’ ideology was behind the assassination of Gandhiji, in 1948. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known around the world as Mahatma Gandhi, the “Father of the Nation”, was shot dead by Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a Chitpavan Brahmin from Pune. You can find bulks of arguments defining whether Godse was, at that time, a member of the RSS, or indeed of the Hindu Mahasabha, or perhaps of neither organization. Though, Godse single-handedly carried out the execution of Gandhiji, others were too implicated in the assassination plot, and among those against whom the Indian government filed charges was Veer Savarkar. Godse was very close to Savarkar, who was prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha. Godse was frequent visitor to Savarkar’s residence, and he did not, in the time that intervene between his arrest on January 30 and his execution upon conviction of the charge of murder nearly two years later, ever disown his association with the Mahasabha.
It is not the issue that Godse formally remained a member of the RSS or the Hindu Mahasabha, however, the RSS had some ideological differences with Hindu Mahasabha, and both organizations were united in their extreme hostility to Gandhi as well as towards Muslims. Golwalkar and Savarkar shared a platform in Pune in 1952. Following Gandhi’s murder, RSS and other Hindu organization lost sympathy and goodwill of people and government. Opposition turned more severe, when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.
Godse left the RSS in the early 1940s and formed a militant organisation called Hindu Rashtra Dal. He believed Gandhi was giving in to Muslim interests, which he deemed anti-national. Godse believed that, Gandhiji, while advocating his views, always showed or evinced a bias for Muslims, prejudicial and detrimental to the Hindu Community and its interests.
However, if you refer Wikipedia, it says, Millions of Indians mourned Gandhi’s assassination; the Hindu Mahasabha was vilified and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was temporarily banned. However, investigators could find no evidence that the RSS bureaucracy had formally sponsored or even knew of Godse’s plot. The ban on the RSS was lifted in 1949. To this day it denies any connection with Godse and disputes the claim that he was a member. However, Nathuram Godse’s brother Gopal Godse claims that the Godse brothers were members of the RSS at the time of the assassination. Nathuram, Dattatreya, Govind, grew up in the RSS rather than in their home. It was like a family to them. Nathuram had become a baudhik karyavah [intellectual worker] in the RSS. He has said in his statement that he left the RSS. He said it because Golwalkar and the RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi. However, he had never left the RSS.
In 2014, following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s rise to power, the Hindu Mahasabha began attempts to rehabilitate Godse and portray him as a patriot. It requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to install the bust of Godse. It created a documentary film Desh Bhakt Nathuram Godse (Patriot Nathuram Godse) for release on the death anniversary of Gandhi on 30 January 2015. There were attempts to build a temple for Godse and to celebrate 30 January as a Shaurya Diwas (“Bravery Day”). A civil suit was filed in Pune Court asking for a ban on the documentary film. Anyway, many documentations and evidences prove that Godse was an RSS member, and learning that if Rahul Gandhi makes any such comment it is just an expression. Still, I don’t want to contempt the court is decision, but SC should know that in politics collective denunciation is common. And if one is punished then rest all should also be punished.
So far, Rahul has maintained that his statement blaming the RSS for Gandhi’s assassination was based on a High Court judgment and on the basis of certain documents. The court observed that the statement was arguably made on the basis of a court verdict but the case must be decided on merits.
(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])
Latest posts by Vaidehi (see all)
- We Mumbaikars don’t need Uber and Ola - March 19, 2018
- Honest Centenary: Dada Khatal - March 18, 2018
- Hindutva to hate mongering and Achhe din to arrogance may lead BJP to trash — Part II - March 16, 2018