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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

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