Falsehoods Galore

The Godse Film

Ram Puniyani

Afilm, “Why I killed Gandhi”, has been recently released. It is an attempt to glorify Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi. One of its clips, the one related to Godse’s testimony in the Punjab High Court, is doing the rounds on social media.

In the long clip, Godse unabashedly falsifies the events and gives them a communal slant. It has already been popularised that Gandhi did nothing to save the life of revolutionary Bhagat Singh. This has been planted in the minds of large sections despite the farewell speech of then British Viceroy Lord Irwin.

Irwin corroborates Gandhi’s statements that he earnestly pleaded for commutation of the sentences. Irwin said on March 26, 1931: “…As I listened the other day to Mr Gandhi putting the case for commutation forcibly before me, I reflected first of what significance it surely was that the apostle of non-violence should so earnestly be pleading the cause of the devotees of a creed so fundamentally opposed to his own, but I should regard it as wholly wrong to allow my judgment on these matters to be influenced or deflected by purely political considerations. I could imagine no case in which under the law penalty had been more directly deserved."

Now Godse in his deposition states that Gandhi was writing against revolutionaries and, despite his opposition, the Congress convention passed a resolution praising the sacrifice and patriotism of Bhagat Singh. The truth is that the resolution praising Bhagat Singh was drafted by Gandhi himself.

“This Congress, while dissociating itself from and disapproving of political violence in any shape or form, places on record its admiration of the bravery and sacrifice of the late Sardar Bhagat Singh and his comrades Sukhdev and Rajguru, and mourns with the bereaved families the loss of these lives. The Congress is of opinion that this triple execution is an act of wanton vengeance and is a deliberate flouting of the unanimous demand of the nation for commutation,” the Congress resolution said.

In an attempt to create a binary between revolutionaries and Gandhi, Godse also forgets the attempts by Gandhi to get the Savarkar brothers released. In the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi Volume 20, pages 369-371, one can read an article in which he argues that Savarkar brothers should be released and be allowed to participate in the political life of the country in a non-violent way.

Now Godse in this clip pitches Gandhi against Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. It is true that Gandhi and Bose differed on many issues but both were committed to getting Independence for India. Gandhi did oppose his presidentship of the Congress party in 1939. Bose was arguing that India should ally with Germany and Japan to fight against the British. Gandhi was arguing for a non-violent struggle against Britain to get Independence. Most of the Central Committee of Congress was with Gandhi. Still Gandhi and Bose had highest respect for each other. Bose was happy to know about the launch of the Quit India movement. Bose also sought Bapu’s blessings for the success of Azad Hind Fauz (Indian National Army). As a mark of respect, he coined 'Father of the Nation’ for Gandhi and named a battalion in INA as Gandhi Battalion.

Gandhi’s respect for Bose was not diminished a bit, as he called him “Prince among Patriots”, and went to meet the INA prisoners in jail.

As a part of the RSS-Hindu Mahasabha propaganda, Godse accuses Gandhi of being pro-Muslim and anti-Hindu and holds him responsible for the partition of the country. All know the complex process of partition, the British policy of ‘divide and rule’ and this was being assisted by Muslim and Hindu communalists. Godse’s praise for Subhash Bose is like shedding crocodile tears. When Bose was fighting against the British, the Hindu Mahasabha actively aided the British by recruiting the people for the British army. Godse’s paper Agrani carried a cartoon depicting Mahatma Gandhi as Ravan, one of the ten heads being Bose, being slayed by Savarkar. And if he was really convinced by revolutionaries’ path, what stopped Savarkar from joining INA?

Godse is scathing on Gandhi for putting one of the conditions in his fast being vacating the mosques and other properties of Muslims occupied by Hindus. As the tragedy of partition unfolded, communal violence started gripping the nation and with the help of communal forces, Hindus occupied the properties of Muslims, including mosques. Godse dares Gandhi to take similar steps against Pakistan and Muslims. He deliberately undermines the fact that one of the major steps taken by Gandhi at that time was to quell the riots in Noakhali, where Hindus were major victims. He had similar appeal for Pakistan. Gandhi believed that if the safety of the Muslims was assured in India, he would be able to go to Pakistan and do a great deal for Hindus and Sikhs there.

Gandhi’s emphasis on peace was a clear act of morality. “If we are able to accomplish this in Delhi, I assure you that our way will become absolutely clear in Pakistan. And with that will commence a new life. When I go to Pakistan, I will not let them off easily. I will die for the Hindus and Sikhs there.”

The lie of lies in this court statement is that it was Godse alone who planned the murder. Initially, Sardar Patel stated that Gandhi’s murder was a part of Hindu Mahasabha plot and later the Jeevan Lal Kapoor Commission observed: "All these facts taken together were destructive of any theory other than the conspiracy to murder by Savarkar and his group."

The real motive of murdering Gandhi was that Gandhi was for inclusive nationalism, the dream of revolutionaries, Bhagat Singh and Bose included, and for his attempts to work against untouchability and caste inequality. Godse’s Hindu nationalism was opposed to both. The falsehoods being dished out are a cover for a deeper agenda.

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Vol 54, No. 35, Feb 27 - March 5, 2022