Rahul Gandhi, is fighting a tough battle. It is the battle of truth, a battle that is reminiscent of the Mahabharata war. When in 2014, Rahul alleged that “The RSS people had killed (Mahatma) Gandhi”, he was but stating the obvious. And although this case has long been a serious bone of contention, it is not even remotely eligible to be that of defamation.
Now that Rahul Gandhi is facing a trial in the 2014 case filed against him by an RSS worker Rajesh Kunte, it is nothing but a futile attempt to revisit history at the behest of the RSS.
Seeds of hatred and violence
The seeds of hatred and violence were first sown in Independent India with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. And the present and the future generations must know this.
The independence that was earned due to innumerable sacrifices of the past generations and due to the immense contribution and display of courage by freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Lala Lajpat Rai and many others shouldn’t be smothered.
Yes, this freedom wasn’t just earned because of Mahatma Gandhi, but at the same time, one can’t take away the fact that as long as Mahatma was missing from the freedom struggle, everyone was fighting in factions, at state levels. It was Bapu who turned the freedom struggle into a mass movement. It was Bapu who forced the British to Quit India with weapons of Satyagraha and non-violence. A fight like that was certainly not an ordinary one.
However, when a man like Mahatma gets killed just because he attempted to bring peace in the country, endorsing Hindu-Muslim unity and advocating non-violence, it can be termed as a deed of weakness and out-and-out abhorrence, and the very first act of Hindutva.
And there is no point in question here.
Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse may not have been functioning within the RSS structure in the years before Bapu’s murder, but he was very much a part of the RSS since his childhood and had later joined the Hindu Mahasabha – one of the prominent right-wing organisations in the country. And with RSS being the mother of the right-wing ideology, it can’t dissent from its involvement in Bapu’s assassination – for it was the RSS ideology that motivated Godse to kill Mahatma Gandhi. It is a historical fact that the RSS had distributed sweets after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.
In fact, we all have grown up hearing these facts. But few years ago, no proof was required to lend support to the naked truth that RSS played a role in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Unfortunately, today, the infamous BJP WhatsApp University is trying to distort history in a desperate bid to change RSS’ image. And it is a sickening proof of their inability to wipe out the stigma that Godse brought to the RSS.
Years of long political exile has made the RSS frantic enough to give its image a makeover, and the result is for all of us to see.
Worse still, even the country’s Prime Minister couldn’t remain unaffected from this strategy to whitewash RSS’ ignominious record. It is a known fact that our beloved PM is an RSS product and ever since he has been in the office, he has tried relentlessly to relieve RSS from its self-inflicted wound. Modi government’s flagship cleanliness campaign, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, has been one of the many ways to heal this wound – not to ignore the PM’s incessant shots to appropriate the legacy of the Mahatma.
It’s an irony that the BJP’s parent organisation RSS viciously opposed Mahatma Gandhi while he lived, and decades after he has gone, the BJP is hailing him and appropriating him. If only the BJP and the RSS could have understood that washing a sin as forbidding as killing a frail, old man will never be that easy.
They must realise that this gruesome act might be forgiven, but never shall it be forgotten.
The ‘RSS connection’ with Mahatma Gandhi’s Assassination
Here are some facts that corroborate the ‘RSS connection’ with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination:
- As per a secret source report of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Delhi Police, on 8 Dec 1947, Golwalkar said RSS had the means to silence Gandhi.
- According to a CID report from Mathura: On 1 Dec, 50 RSS men met at Mathura, allegedly discussed assassinating Congress leaders.
- “…But I do maintain that even this servant of the country had no right to vivisect the country – the image of our worship -by deceiving the people. But he did it all the same. There was no legal machinery by which such an offender could be brought to book and it was therefore that I resorted to the firing of shots at Gandhiji as that was the only thing for me to do.” – Nathuram Godse, in his final statement at his trial for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948.
- As per an Indian Express news report dated 6 February 1948, the revolver that Nathuram Godse used to kill Mahatma Gandhi was presented to him by an RSS leader in Nagpur.
- On February 27, 1948, the then Union Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel wrote to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru: “I have kept myself almost in daily touch with the progress of the investigation regarding Bapu’s assassination case.” It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha directly under Savarkar that “[hatched] the conspiracy and saw it through” (Sardar Patel’s Correspondence, Volume 6, page 56).
- In his memoirs, Gandhi’s Boswell, Pyarelal records “members of the RSS at some places had been instructed beforehand to tune in their radio sets on the fateful Friday for the ‘good news’, and sweets were distributed by the members at many places” (Mahatma Gandhi: The Last Phase; page 750).
- Nathuram Godse’s brother Gopal Godse, who was also an accused at the trial for conspiracy to murder, published his book Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in December 1993. Speaking in New Delhi on the occasion of the release of his book, Gopal Godse revealed what many had suspected—they had both been active members of the RSS (The Statesman; December 24, 1993).
- In an interview to Frontline (January 28, 1994), Gopal Godse stated: “All the brothers were in the RSS. Nathuram, Dattatreya, myself and Govind. You can say we grew up in the RSS rather than in our home. It was like a family to us. 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.”
- The Justice J.L. Kapur Commission’s report on Gandhi’s murder notes: “The statement of Appa Ramchandra Kasar, bodyguard of V.D. Savarkar, which was recorded by the Bombay Police on 4th March, 1948, shows that even in 1946 Apte and Godse were frequent visitors of Savarkar and Karkare also sometimes visited him…. In August 1947, when Savarkar went to Poona in connection with a meeting, Godse and Apte were always with Savarkar, and were discussing with him the future policy of the Hindu Mahasabha, and he told them that he himself was getting old and they would have to carry on the work. In the beginning of August 1947, on the 5th or 6th, there was an All India Hindu convention at Delhi and Savarkar, Godse and Apte travelled together by plane. At the convention the Congress policies were strongly criticised. On 11th August, Savarkar, Godse and Apte all returned to Bombay together by plane…. On or about 13th or 14th January , Karkare came to Savarkar with a Punjabi youth and they had an interview with Savarkar for about 15 or 20 minutes. On or about 15th or 16th Apte and Godse had an interview with Savarkar at 9-30 p.m. After about a week or so, may be 23rd or 24th January, Apte and Godse again came to Savarkar and had a talk with him at about 10 or 10-30 a.m. for about half an hour….”
- On July 20, 2016, Pandit Ashok Sharma, national vice-president, Hindu Mahasabha stated, “BJP and RSS were with Nathuram Godse on the issue when the decision to kill Mahatma Gandhi was taken. In fact, it was only two hours after Mahatma Gandhi was shot that members of RSS went to Jawaharlal Nehru and said that they will eliminate Hindu Mahasabha. Godse was very much a part of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha and it is sad that after he gave his life for a noble cause, politics is being played over him”.
- Chandra Prakash Kaushik, national president, Hindu Mahasabha, said, “Godse was a nationalist writer linked with RSS and Hindu Mahasabha. It is wrong for the RSS to say that Godse had no link with them. We have no qualms in accepting the fact that he was linked to Hindu Mahasabha, and we celebrate his birthday too, but it is high time that RSS accepts this too.”
Fighting the Lies with the ‘Truth’
We all must help Rahul Gandhi in revealing the truth that has been veiled by the RSS and the BJP using smoke and mirrors, over all these years. Because this fight which Rahul Gandhi has taken is definitely worth fighting for.
It was once left in between, when Sardar Patel banned the RSS after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and unbanned it after a year and a half, albeit with a rider that it would never take part in politics. Today, this 70-year-old fight still needs justice, and it must be fought with perseverance and valour. We owe this to ourselves, and most importantly to our future generations. For this is a fight of ideology – where on one side we have Congress which follows Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology, and on the other side, we have the RSS which follows a supremacist ideology – something that is in stark difference to what Mahatma Gandhi’s beliefs were.
It is a golden opportunity for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress to bring the truth to light, lifting the veil from RSS’ and Godse’s relation. Rahul has found a narrative that he must devote himself to, and so should the Congress party.
For no matter how quickly we may have forgotten the sacrifice of the father of the nation, we must not forget how he helped us earn this freedom, and at what a horrendous cost.