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3-min read

In Terming Godse a ‘Patriot’, Pragya Thakur Failed to Grasp Modi, RSS’s Understanding of Gandhi

Nathuram Godse killed the future of India. He silenced the voice that went to Noakhali and a voice that tried its best to avert the partition of India.

Ram Bahadur Rai |

Updated:May 20, 2019, 2:55 PM IST
In Terming Godse a ‘Patriot’, Pragya Thakur Failed to Grasp Modi, RSS’s Understanding of Gandhi
Photo of BJP's Bhopal candidate and Malegaon blasts accused Pragya Singh Thakur. (News18)

There is no doubt that Pragya Thakur’s statement of terming Nathuram Godse ‘a patriot’ is a sign of degraded mentality. Not only does it point at her lack of understanding of the subject, it also exposes her idea of deshbhakti (patriotism). This is ironical, as on one hand the Prime Minister Narendra Modi understands Mahatma Gandhi and interprets him with the changing times, and on the other, his party members eulogize his assassin Godse.

Modi has been trying to put Gandhi’s thoughts to use and one example of it is the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Gandhi was a believer in sanitation, and he changed the premise of Shanti Niketan by visiting it at one point in time. I believe BJP president Amit Shah and Modi understand Gandhi much more than the Congress leaders. The Rashtra Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) morning prayer also has a mention of the father of the nation.

Thakur, thus, is a major embarrassment for the BJP.

Gandhi was a historical figure with several dimensions and his political significance was immense. But despite having strong differences in opinion with Gandhi, freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh never disrespected him. Clearly, Thakur is unaware of this history of having differences without disrespecting. Bose, in fact, quit the Congress Working Committee and went out of the country to meet Adolf Hitler. Despite their varying point of views, Bose considered Gandhi the father of the nation. Bhagat Singh, too, despite throwing a bomb in the Central Assembly – a move that was not approved by Gandhi – but he never denied Gandhi’s significance in the political order. Had Thakur known this history, she would not have called Godse a deshbhakt.

Godse is a killer and history will not forgive him for the murder. Even the Prime Minister has now said that he won’t forgive Thakur for her controversial remark. Whoever tried to look at Gandhi through the religious lens of a Hindu or Muslim, erred in understanding him. In 1908, when he was in South Africa, a Pathan named Mir Air Alam had attacked him. He could have succumbed to the attack but he was saved. We could have lost him then. Years later in 1948, Godse killed Gandhi.

It was a usual day, and people were moving forward to touch the Mahatma’s feet. Godse pretended to be his follower and went ahead to touch his feet but instead killed him by firing three bullets from his semi-automatic Beretta pistol. A man with such deceit can never be a patriot.

Godse killed the future of India. He silenced the voice that went to Noakhali, a voice that tried its best to avert the partition of India till he realised there is no time left and political aspirations of the then leaders were not subsiding. Had Gandhi not been killed, the Constitution of India would have been much different today. He believed in panchayat’s supremacy in governance and considered the parivar important. Our constitution is not in line with his philosophy. It is very citizen-centric. There are times when even Congress leaders make controversial statements like Thakur. Every time the issue of changes in the constitution is raised, they start crying foul about how the constitution is in danger.

There were many deliberations in the Constituent Assembly regarding the constitution. On one such occasion (January 22, 1947) while debating on the objective resolution of the Constitution Nehru expressed that he was open to the idea of future generation bringing changes in the constitution. Nehru had himself said that if the next generation wants it can change what belongs to them as per the demands of their time. But when it comes to making changes, Congress starts claiming ‘samvidhan khatre me hai (constitution is in danger).’

(Author is a former journalist and president of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts.)

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