Today Sanjay Raut irked right-wingers stating that the real ‘Hindutvavadi’ would have shot Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and not Mahatma Gandhi. Raut was responding to a tweet by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in which he said a Hindutvavadi shot Mahatma Gandhi dead but “Bapu is still alive where the truth prevails today.” Nathuram Godse, a member of Hindu Mahasabha, assassinated Mahatma Gandhi at Birla House in New Delhi during a prayer meeting in Birla House in New Delhi on January 30, 1948. Godse was a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as well but his affiliation to the saffron organisation at the time of assassination remains contested.
Rahul Gandhi earlier sued for defamation over his comment blaming the RSS for Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, while campaigning for the 2014 national election. Rahul had refused the court’s suggestion last year that he apologize and settle the case. Answering queries on the defamation case filed by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker Rajesh Madhav Kunte, Rahul Gandhi said, “Stand by what he said about RSS will never stop fighting its hateful agenda.” He has told the Supreme Court that he had never blamed the RSS as an institution that killed Mahatma Gandhi but had stated that a person associated with it was responsible for his assassination. However, the Congress leader took to Twitter to say that he stands by every word he said. Though BJP then made a 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 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 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 Gandhi, 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 a prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha. Godse was a frequent visitor to Savarkar’s residence, and he did not, in the time that intervened 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.
Whether Godse formally remained a member of the RSS is much less important than the fact that though the Hindu Mahasabha and the RSS had some ideological differences, both organizations were united in their extreme hostility to Gandhi as well as to Muslims. Golwalkar and Savarkar shared a platform in Pune in 1952. Following Gandhi’s murder, RSS and other Hindu organizations lost the sympathy and goodwill of people and government. Opposition turned more severe when the RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhi’s death.
Godse left the RSS in the early 1940s and formed a militant organization 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. But if you refer to 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, Godse’s brother Gopal Godse claims that all 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. But he did not leave 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. Anyways many documentations and evidence 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 decision, but SC should know that in politics collective denunciation is common. And if one is punished then rest all should also be punished.
Rahul has so far 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.
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