RSS and BJP Cannot Deny Their Affinity With Hindutva Terrorist Godse


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IN the final week of the 2019 Parliamentary Election campaign, Prime Minister Modi, the BJP and the RSS scrambled to distance themselves from the declaration of BJP candidate Pragya Thakur, that “Nathuram Godse was and will remain a patriot, those who call him a terrorist will get a reply in this election.”

Pragya Thakur herself is charged with participating in a terrorist bomb blast, and she had earlier declared that it was her “curse” that resulted in police officer Hemant Karkare being killed at the hands of terrorists during the Mumbai terror attack. But neither Modi nor the BJP were embarrassed by any of this: rather, Modi himself and other BJP leaders described Thakur as a ‘symbol’ of Hindu civilisation and her candidature as a “lesson” to those who dared accuse a Hindu of an act of terror. But it seems that Thakur’s blatant idolisation of Gandhiji’s assassin was a line the BJP, RSS, and Modi do not want to be seen crossing.

So Modi said he would “never be able to forgive” Thakur. But he has made it clear that his self-proclaimed inability to “forgive” Thakur does not extend to actually dropping her as a candidate or a member of the BJP. Moreover, neither Modi himself nor any other BJP leader is able to say the simple words, “Godse was a terrorist who hated secular India and killed Gandhi for his defence of Hindu-Muslim unity.”

Meanwhile the BJP asked Thakur to apologise. In her first ‘apology’ Thakur simply said that she was a faithful member of BJP and that the BJP’s line and her own line were the same. This statement, of course, gave the message that the BJP’s line was, in fact, that of idolising Godse. Soon after, a tweet from Thakur’s Twitter handle appeared, declaring, “I apologise to the people of India for my statement on Nathuram Godse. My statement was entirely wrong. I respect Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the nation, very much.” After the conclusion of the election campaign, another tweet from her handle announced her intention to “undertake a vow of silence for 63 hours” as penance “if” her words had “hurt the sentiments of patriots”.

Thakur had made her remark on Godse in response to a media-orchestrated storm over Tamil actor and political Kamal Haasan’s simple statement of fact: that Nathuram Godse, the first terrorist of independent India, had been a Hindu. Kamal Haasan’s statement was clearly made in response to the PM Modi’s repeated assertion that “no Hindu” had ever been or could ever be a terrorist. Yet, a case was filed against Kamal Haasan, and the Madras HC judge, while granting him anticipatory bail, chastised him for associating a terrorist or criminal with any community. In fact, it was the PM Modi who communalised the issue of terrorism by claiming that no Hindu could ever be a terrorist, and that the cases filed against Pragya Thakur and others were an insult that Hindus must avenge by voting against the Congress party. It is Modi, not Haasan, who deserves judicial chastisement for an election speech that blatantly violates the Constitutional guarantee of equality to all, irrespective of faith, in the eyes of the law.

In fact, it is undeniable that the RSS and BJP share ideological affinity with Gandhi’s assassin Godse, and with those like Savarkar who plotted the assassination. It is well established that Pragya Thakur herself belongs to Abhinav Bharat, a terrorist outfit set up by descendants of Godse and Savarkar to violently overthrow the secular Indian state and achieve a Hindu Rashtra. By handpicking Thakur as a candidate as a mascot for the 2019 election campaign, Modi and the BJP are seeking to camouflage Hindutva terrorism, from Gandhi’s assassination to killings of Muslims and intellectuals like Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi, and Gauri Lankesh, as ‘patriotism’.

There is ample historic evidence that Godse and the RSS shared the same violent hatred for Gandhi for his refusal to condone hatred and violence towards Muslims. Intelligence records document a speech by RSS founder Golwalkar in December 1947, telling Sangh cadres that Muslims must be evicted from India and Pakistan must be finished off, and “if anyone stood in our way we will have to finish him too.” In the same speech Golwalkar went on to name Gandhi and say that “if compelled”, the Sangh would “immediately silence” him. Nathuram’s brother Gopal Godse stated in 1994 that Nathuram and all his brothers were RSS members, and that Nathuram said he had left the RSS, only to shield the RSS from the repercussions of Gandhi’s assassination. India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is on record stating that it was the “communal poison” in the speeches of RSS leaders that led to the assassination of Gandhi, and that RSS “men expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.”

As a loyal RSS man, Modi himself inherits this selfsame poisonous attitude to Gandhi. He can hardly afford to openly endorse Gandhi’s assassin. Therefore he seeks to appropriate and distort Gandhi’s legacy by associating Gandhi with “cleanliness” alone, and remaining silent on the fact that Gandhi was killed for upholding Hindu-Muslim unity and resisting anti-Muslim hatred and violence.

By fielding a terror-accused follower of Godse as a candidate for India’s Parliament, the BJP has exposed its true face as a supporter of far-right Hindu majoritarian terrorism. No amount of fake ‘penance’ or crocodile tears shed by Modi or Pragya Thakur for Gandhiji can wash out this ugly fact.

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