Skip to main content

Warning bell for Gandhians: Social media trends praise Godse, call Mahatma casteist, racist

By Rajiv Shah
As I was scanning through Sabrang India, a website run by well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, I came across a post pointing towards how, on the Gandhi Jayanti day, #नाथूराम_गोडसे_जिंदाबाद (#Nathram_Godse_Zindabad) was trending on Twitter. I don’t know if it was among the top trends of the day, but what is interesting is, while some of the those who were posting anti-Gandhi tweets praising Gandhi’s murderer, others called Gandhi racist and casteist, still others blaming him for India's partition. 
Thus, a Facebook friend, who has been showing extreme sensitivity towards caste violence shared a story of what an Indian American Dalit writer Sujatha Gidla, speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival said on January 29, 2018 -- that Gandhi was a “casteist and racist”, that he wanted to “preserve the caste system and paid lip service to Dalit upliftment for political gain.” Gilda added, “Gandhi only wished to ‘prettify’ the caste system, and abolish it.”
In yet another example, another FB friend, who as an excellent journalist has never cared to compromise with the powers-that-be, appeared to state what many in the saffron brigade have long been suggesting – that Gandhi is responsible for India’s partition. This FB friend, whom I have known intimately, wondered why “everybody” was “going ga ga” on the Gandhi Jayanti day. “Why?”, he asked.
“Is he not the man whose freedom movement resulted in partition and massive displacement of people from Sindh, Punjab and Bengal?” the FB post said, insisting, Gandhi “can never qualify to be an Indian icon”, that he “only appealed to the colonialists, who never saw a nanga faqir like this”, though ended by saying, “By the way I do not owe allegiance to the Sanghis.”
Meanwhile, a little-known Gujarati news portal, Mera News, edited by one of the best Gujarati journalists, Prashant Dayal, commenting on social media attacks Gandhi, wondered why have we come a point when anyone calling Gandhi names is taken as a norm, but if you criticise goondas, you are not spared. It added, those who put out posts calling Gandhi names have never ever cared to read a page of history of Indian freedom struggle.
Very true. But surely it’s a dangerous trend, infecting even Dalit rights activists. A case in point is a well-known grassroots Valmiki social activist, whom I have known for about five or six years. What this Valmiki activist, who has been taking up the cause of manual scavengers in Gujarat, said in his FB post about three years ago should serve as a warning bell for Gandhians of all hues, suggesting towards a dangerous trend taking shape, accelerated amidst a sharp upswing of information explosion, especially through the social media.
This Dalit rights activist, justifying Nathuram Godse murdering Mahatma Gandhi, said on October 3, 2017, said, he had gone to a Dalit rally in Dholka, where he came to know “for the first time how Gandhi pressured Babasaheb Ambedkar into giving up the demand for separate electorate for Dalits, allowing us to elect our own representatives to legislatures."
"Gandhi betrayed us Dalits. This was pretty evident. This angered me. Why did Gandhi, who is called a Mahatma, blackmail Ambedkar like this this? In my angry mood, I began surfing FB, and I found on that day a post justifying Godse killing Gandhi. I copied it and posted it on my timeline", he told me, though adding, I didn't know the implications, when brought to light, he decided to delete the FB post.

Comments

TRENDING

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

Sanction to persecute Arundhati Roy under UAPA politically motivated: PUCL

Counterview Network  Top human rights group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, has demanded that the authorities should immediately withdraw the prosecution against top author Arundhati Roy and Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, a Kashmir academic, under the " unconstitutional"  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA), calling the Delhi  Lieutenant-Governor nod for the Delhi police move "politically motivated".

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Lip-service on World Environment Day vs 'watered-down' eco-safeguards

By Shankar Sharma*  Just a few days ago, the world remembered the routinely forgotten global environment on the occasion of World Environment Day, briefly though, maybe just for the day. There were reports of a few high profile ceremonies in different parts of the country, including a few in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly asked the people of our country to plant one tree per each person as a mark of respect/ gratitude for our mothers.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.