Skip to main content

What's behind Modi supporters 'defending' Trump's Father of India epithet

By Shamsul Islam*
The 150th birth anniversary of MK Gandhi falls on October 2, 2019. He was described as Father of the Nation by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in his address on the Singapore Radio on July 6, 1944 and since then this title became an integral part of his identity. There is no doubt that democratic-secular India which came into being on August 15, 1947 was the outcome of mainly Gandhi's vision.
But it may change sooner rather than later. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's September 2019 visit to the US, the latter's President Trump while heaping unprecedented praise on his close friend Modi declared him 'Father of India'. Modi and his followers did relish this epithet as there was no attempt by the Prime Minister or his government to correct Trump that India already had one 'Father' and a Nation with two 'Fathers' would be an abnormality. 
On the contrary, a senior minister in the Modi's cabinet, Jitendra Singh, known for his proximity to Modi publicly defended Trump for describing his patron as 'Father of India'.
According to a recent post of renowned historian and political analyst, Ramchandra Guha, on October 2, "RSS pracharaks from the Prime Minister downwards line up to pay tribute to a man the RSS vilified in his lifetime, and for whom – in spite of all their posturings in public – they still have deep reservations, since he lived (and died) in the belief that India was not a Hindu country but belonged equally to people of all faiths."

Gandhi as eternal enemy of RSS

The RSS and its swayamsevaks (pracharaks) who rule India today do not have deep reservations about Gandhi but deep hatred towards him. This hatred is the continuation of the legacy founded by KB Hedgewar and MS Golwalkar. The RSS leadership has been putting forward the justification of Gandhi's killing by forwarding the argument that it was an emotional reaction from the Hindu youth to Gandhi's support to the Partition of India and insistence on paying Rs 55 crore due to Pakistan. It is a blatant lie for two reasons.
Firstly, of the Congress top leadership, it was Sardar Patel who was the first leader to succumb to the proposal of Partition. Gandhi was the last to fall in line. Moreover, the Muslim League, especially MA Jinnah, continuously denigrated Gandhi as a father of Hindu nation.
Secondly, there is ample documentary proof to show that the assassination of Gandhiji was a culmination of decades of spreading poison against Gandhi amongst Hindutva cadres. Beginning with the year 1934, over a period of 14 years, as many as six attempts were made to kill Gandhiji. The last one by Godse on January 30, 1948 was successful. 
The remaining five were made in 1934, in the months of July and September 1944, September 1946 and January 20, 1948. Godse was involved in two previous attempts. When the unsuccessful attempts of 1934, 1944 and 1946 were made, the proposal regarding Partition and the release of Rs 55 crore to Pakistan were not in existence at all.
The reality is that the murder of Gandhi was the outcome of a ferocious challenge from Hindutva organizations like RSS and Hindu Mahasabha to Gandhi's idea of an all-inclusive India. Gandhi, despite being a devout Hindu, fought for independent India, which would accommodate people of different religions, cultures with equal rights.
On the other hand, RSS wanted India to be an exclusive Hindu nation where minorities, especially Muslims and Christians, were declared as followers of foreign religions, meant to be cleansed, as Hitler and Mussolini did with Jews. Interestingly, they were not willing to accord indigenous religions like Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism the status of independent religions. For Hindutva ideologues, these religions were part of Hinduism.
Gandhi became an enemy also for the reason that he vehemently opposed the demand of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha that Manusmriti, which decreed sub-human status to Sudras and Hindu women, should be adopted as the constitution of India. 
Gandhi stood in support of a democratic-secular polity.
How stubborn the opponents of Gandhi's idea of an all-inclusive India were could be seen in an editorial in the English RSS organ “Organizer” just on the eve Independence (August 14, 1947). The editorial titled ‘Whither’ wrote:
"Let us no longer allow ourselves to be influenced by false notions of nationhood. Much of the mental confusion and the present and future troubles can be removed by the ready recognition of the simple fact that in Hindusthan only the Hindus form the nation and the national structure must be built on that safe and sound foundation… the nation itself must be built up of Hindus, on Hindu traditions, culture, ideas and aspirations."
It was this hatred for a democratic-secular India that Gandhi who unambiguously guarded this idea became the natural victim of the Hindutva cadres.

Sardar Patel on RSS hatred for Gandhi

Those who are looking for the 'real' murderers of Gandhi, while expressing love for Sardar Patel, the first home minister of India, forget what he said about the Hindutva killers belonging both to RSS and Hindu Mahasabha. Writing almost six months after the murder when killers were identified, Sardar in a letter (July 18, 1948) to prominent leader of the Hindu Mahasabha Shyama Prasad Mookerjee said:
"As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organizations, but our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible."
By September 1948 the Sardar was clear about the role of RSS in this killing which he without mincing words communicated to Golwalkar, the then chief of RSS. In a letter dated September 19, 1948 Sardar wrote:
"The RSS men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death. Under these conditions it became inevitable for the Government to take action against the RSS".
With the ascendency of Hindutva politics under the RSS-BJP leadership different Hindutva organizations have been celebrating the 'vadh' (it is killing of demon part of a Brahmanical ritual) of Gandhi with great pomp and show. Temples glorifying Godse have been built up where Godse is worshiped. 
If one believes the denigration of Gandhi is taking place without the concurrence of RSS-BJP top leadership, one is grossly mistaken
This is not being done by only some fringe organizations. Within few months of Modi becoming the Prime Minister, a senior RSS-BJP leader, who is also a member of the current Indian Parliament, Sakshi Maharaj, demanded recognition of Godse as a 'patriot' like Gandhi, which he was forced to withdraw after world-wide condemnation.
In 2019 elections the so-called sadhvi, Pragya Thakur, who, apart from being an accused in bomb blasts against Muslims in different parts of the country, declared her love for Godse publicly, and got elected on BJP ticket from Bhopal.

Modi's message to Sanatan Sanstha meet

If someone believes that the denigration of Gandhi and celebrations of his 'vadh' takes place without the concurrence of RSS-BJP top leadership, one is grossly mistaken. A prominent Hindutva organization, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), allied to RSS, has been regularly holding national conventions for "Establishment of Hindu Nation” in India.
In 2013 one such convention was held in Goa. Members of one avtar of HJS, Sanatan Sanstha, has been found indulging in bomb blasts at Muslim institutions and are under investigation for the murder of renowned secular intellectuals like MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Narendra Achyut Dabholkar and Gauri Lankesh. 
This convention started its proceedings with a felicitation message from the then chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, wishing HJS all success in its project of turning India into a Hindu nation.
From the same dais in this convention from, where Modi's felicitation message was read out, one of the prominent speakers, KV Sitaramiah, declared that Gandhi was 'terrible, wicked and most sinful'. Rejoicing the killing of MK Gandhi, he went on to declare:
“As Bhagwan Shri Krishna said in the Gita, Paritranaya sadhunam vinashaya cha dushkritam/ Dharamasansthapnaya sambhavami yuge-yuge (For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age). On January 30, 1948 evening, Shriram came in the form of Nathuram Godse and ended the life of Gandhi.”
Sitaramiah has also authored a book titled 'Gandhi was Dharma Drohi and Desa Drohi' in which, quoting from the epic Mahabharata, demands 'Dharma Drohis must be killed' and "Not killing the deserved to be killed is great sin".

BJP IT-cell in-charge call for auction of Godse's revolver 

The latest is Vicky Mittal, BJP IT-Cell, Indore, in-charge demanding that, in order to decide who is more popular in India, whether Gandhi or Godse, the pistol of Godse, with which he killed Gandhi, should be put on auction. He seemed to be sure that Godse, the killer of Gandhi, would win hands down!
This IT-Cell in-charge truly represents Hindutva gang's love for killers of Gandhi and hatred for the latter.
---
*Former professor of political science, Delhi University, writings in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and video interviews/debates can be accessed here. Twitter: @shamsforjustice, blog http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/, contact: notoinjustice@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

80 RTI activists killed since 2014, yet Modi govt 'refuses' to implement whistleblowers Act

By Our Representative
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over power in 2014 at the Centre, more than 80 have been killed “in their quest for information and accountability” through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a public hearing in Delhi has been told. Senior politicians from opposition parties, including Congress and Left, heard people express their anguish over the manner in which the government was treating the RTI Act, even as refusing to operationalise the Whistleblower Protection Act, passed in 2014.