(By Pratik Sinha)
RSS is rallying behind BJP and Modi for the 2014 elections in a big way. There are innumerable reasons to outrightly reject the RSS brand of politics which is a huge threat to the secular fabric of our country and the Constitution of India. But today, lets go back in history and see how central a role RSS played in Nathuram Godse’s life – the man who shot down Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation, in the name of ‘Hindutva’.
Nathuram Godse, RSS and Gandhiji Nathuram Godse, RSS and Gandhiji
RSS has time and again denied Nathuram Godse’s connection with them and disputes that he was a member. However RSS’s claims were completely falsified when Nathuram Godse’s brother Gopal Godse, who was also an accused in the Mahatama Gandhi murder case, spilled the beans in an interview given to Frontline on January 28, 1994.
Q. Were you a part of the RSS?
A. 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 homes. It was like a family to us.
Q. Nathuram stayed in the RSS? He did not leave it?
A. Nathuram had become a baudhik karyavah (intellectual worker) in the RSS. He (Nathuram) said in his statement that he left the RSS. He (Nathuram) 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.
A group photo of people accused in the Mahatma Gandhi’s murder case. Standing: Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa, Digambar Badge (Approver). Sitting: Narayan Apte, Vinayak D. Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Karkare A group photo of people accused in the Mahatma Gandhi’s murder case. Standing: Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa, Digambar Badge (Approver). Sitting: Narayan Apte, Vinayak D. Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Karkare
As admitted by Gopal Godse, Nathuram Godse’s entire life revolved around RSS. Nathuram’s ideology was imbibed from RSS and it is this very ideology which led to the assassination of Gandhiji. Vinayak Savarkar, who was alleged to have hatched the conspiracy, was also equally involved with RSS. In fact, on Savarkar’s death, two thousand RSS workers gave his funeral procession a guard of honour. It is Vinayak Savarkar who is attributed to have coined the term ‘Hindutva’.
On February 2, 1948, the Indian government banned the RSS, in pursuance of its “determination to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the nation and darken her fair name“.
Sardar Patel, to whom Narendra Modi routinely clings on to in his speeches, was in fact the man who had banned the RSS – the institution which Modi joined at the tender age of 15.
In a September 11, 1948 letter to Guru Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the then RSS sarsangh-chalak, Sardar Patel was forthright in his denunciation of RSS leaders:
All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organise for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji.
Significantly, Sardar Patel was never in doubt about the role of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha in the murder of the Mahatma. In a letter dated February 27, 1948, to Pandit Nehru, he states this clearly
It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha directly under Savarkar that hatched the conspiracy and saw it through… Of course, his assassination was welcomed by those of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha who were strongly opposed to his way of thinking and to his policy.
Sardar Patel reiterated this position in another letter (July 18, 1948) to Shyama Prasad Mookherjee:
As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha… Our reports do confirm that, as a result of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible
We can forget history only at our own peril. The flag bearers of the ideology that led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi are today knocking at your doors to chose them to lead this country. We hope you’ll turn them away.