Gandhi and Godse represented two contrasting ideas of politics and religion. For Godse, politics was about harnessing power to drive fear into opponents, to inflict manifold losses on them through means legitimate or illegitimate. He neither interrogated nor redefined the extant notions of power and their functions. Instead, his idea of power mimicked that of the British, employing force to defeat the rulers, to give them a taste of their own medicine, so to speak.
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For Gandhi, though, politics was not so much about defeating the British as it was about transforming the rulers, about making the colonial ruler realise the sheer immorality of the power they exercised. It was not about the end justifying the means. Then again, Gandhi did not perceive Hindus as a religious group, in the way followers of Semitic religions are, but a people spread over a land who believed in an open-ended system that forever incorporated new elements or reinterpreted the existing or old ones.
There was no one book, no one way of praying, no one body of rituals. Erroneously believing that the unity, organising capacity and missionary zeal of Muslims and Christians had enabled them to conquer India, he wanted Hindus to become a rigidly closed religious group as the followers of those religions were. However, the problem of caste had to be overcome to achieve this unity. Godse sought this by participating in programmes such as inter-dining. His second method of uniting Hindus was to identify and define the other, the Christians and Muslims, by subjugating them for the pain and torment their ancestors were supposed to have inflicted on them.
In assassinating Gandhi, Nathuram gave his otherwise ordinary life a new meaning. This was perhaps the reason why he pleaded with the government not to show him mercy and send him to the gallows.
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His masculinity had been asserted. He had sacrificed himself for promoting the idea of militant Hinduism. He had killed the man who was sacrilegiously turning Hindus effeminate. Godse acquired esteem through the assassination of Gandhi.
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His new-age followers can find their esteem by turning militant, by vanquishing Muslims and Christians in the 21st century, or by converting them and bringing them back into the Hindu fold, in the hope of effacing these religions from the country. It will then turn India akin to a modern European nation-state — one country, one religion — which is the model a large segment of the Hindu Right favours. This is as true of his new-age followers. His love, as also that of his followers, is destructively obsessive.
Vested interests on both the sides stirred up the separatist sentiment and sought to justify their hate - campaign by clever and selective distortion of history. It is indeed a matter for serious concern for the nation that this mentality has not disappeared even today. Poet Mohamed Iqbal who wrote the famous song "Sare Jahanse Acchchha Hindostan Hamara" was the first to formulate the concept of a separate State for Muslims as early as Needless to state that this sentiment, in a sense, was strengthened by the Hindu extremists.
In , at the open session of the Hindu Mahasabha held at Ahmedabad, Veer Savarkar in his presidential address asserted: "India cannot be assumed today to be Unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main - the Hindus and the Muslims. In , he had stated "I have no quarrel with Mr. Jinnah's two nation theory. We, the Hindus are a nation by ourselves, and it is a historical fact that the Hindus and the Muslims are two nations. It was this sentiment of separate and irreconcilable identities of the followers of these religions that led to the formation of Pakistan.
In complete contrast to this mentality, Gandhiji throughout his life remained an un-compromising advocate of oneness of God, respect for all religions, equality of all men and non-violence in thought, speech, and action. His daily prayers comprised verses, devotional songs and readings from different scriptures. All people irrespective of their allegiance to different religions attended those meetings. Till his dying day Gandhiji held the view that the nationality of fellow citizens was not in any way affected by the fact of his subscribing to religious belief other than yours.
During his life, on more than one occasion he strove for the unity and equality among Hindus themselves as well as amity among Hindus and Muslims even risking his life. The idea of partition was anathema to him. He was given to saying that he would sooner die than subscribe to such a pernicious doctrine. His life was an open book and no substantiation is necessary on this score. Under Gandhiji's leadership, communal amity occupied the pride of place in the constructive programmes of the Congress.
Jinnah himself were in the Congress fold. It is but natural that the Congress opposed the proposal for the division of the country but as a result of the incitement on the part of the lumpen elements among the Hindus and Muslims a tidal wave of carnage and lawlessness engulfed the nation. Jinnah adopted an inflexible attitude. Lord Mountbatten being motivated by the time-limit given to him by the British Cabinet used all his powers of persuasion and charm to steer all the leaders to a quick solution and yet acceptable to all; but the adamantine attitude of Mr.
Why Exactly Did Godse Kill Gandhi?
Jinnah made everything except partition unacceptable. Partition seemed to be the only solution. In the nationwide elections of the Muslim league secured 90 per cent seats. Faced with such a scenario Congress found it difficult to keep up its morale. Gandhiji conveyed to Lord Mountbatten on 5th April that he would agree even if the British made Mr.
Jinnah the Prime Minister and left the country as it was. But on the other hand Lord Mountbatten succeeded in getting the Congress to agree to partition. Gandhiji was in the dark about it; he was shell-shocked when he learned about it. The only remedy available to him was fasting unto death to dissuade his followers from acquiescence to a ruinous course of action. After sustained soul searching he came to the conclusion that in the prevalent situation such a step on his part would further deteriorate the situation, demoralise the Congress and the whole country. The factors that weighed with him were a Importunate demands of a rapidly changing national scenario, b Non-existence of alternate set or leaders of proved nationalist credentials.
The most perplexing and yet a pertinent question was Mr. Jinnah's most vocal propagation of the idea of Pakistan.
Politics and Nation
With the intentional or otherwise efforts of Mountbatten, he succeeded in carving it out. Then, instead of making the two his targets why did Godse select one for murder who vehemently opposed the idea of partition till the resolution by the Congress accepting the partition of the country was passed on 3rd June and Pakistan became fate accompli? Or is it that, as Savarkar put it, he had no quarrel with Mr.
Jinnah and his two-nation theory but, can one surmise that he and his apologists had real quarrel with Gandhi and Gandhi alone? In view of this, Gandhiji acquiesced into the situation. It is necessary to point out an aspect of Gandhiji's personality that made him a source of unabated distrust and dislike in the eyes of hard core Hindus.
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
Though he was a devout Hindu, he had the most amicable and warm relations with many who did not belong to the Hindu fold. As a result of this exposure he had developed an eclectic religious sense based on oneness of God and equality of all religious sense based on oneness of God and equality of all religions. Caste divisions and untouchability prevalent among the Hindu social organization distressed him immensely.
He advocated and actively encouraged inter-caste marriages.
The Gandhi Murder
Lastly he blessed only those marriages wherein one of the partners belonged to the untouchable castes. Vested interests amongst high caste Hindus viewed this reformist and other religious programmes with bitter resentment. In course of time it developed into a phobia and thus he became anathema to them. The matter regarding the release of Rs. Of the 75 crore to be paid the first instalment of Rs. Invasion of Kashmir by self-styled liberators with the covert support of the Pakistani Army took place before the second instalment was paid.
Government of India decided to withhold it. Lord Mountbatten was of the opinion that it amounted to a violation of the mutually agreed conditions and he brought it to the notice of Gandhiji.
To Gandhiji's ethical sense the policy of tit for tat was repugnant and he readily agreed with the Viceroy's point of view. However, linking his stand in this matter with his fast he undertook, as you will find in the following lines, is an intentional mix-up and distortion of facts of contemporary history. The fast was undertaken with a view to restoring communal amity in Delhi.
Gandhiji arrived from Calcutta in September to go to Punjab to restore peace there.