Gandhi & Godse

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They say Indians are peace loving, non violent and sophisticated but our choices seem to say something exactly the opposite. Why else would a nation embrace movies of mindless stories like Dabangg, a host of Rajanikant and South Indian movies and countless others, where the fight scenes and item songs are the main attraction? The hero who is almost made out to be a demigod indulges in drinks, frolics with skimpily dressed women and does exactly everything that Mahatma Gandhi would have opposed. Today is the day Gandhi was shot dead by Nathuram Godse and both would be extremely saddened seeing the state of India today.

It seems every story in India needs a hero and a villain. Take the Ramayana for example, where Ravana is portrayed as the biggest evil. Yet Ram not only respects him but goes on to say that it was his arrogance and one act of sin that brought him from being a respectable, highly intelligent, knowledgeable and virtuous man to be a daemon. Reality is often the same, there is no hero and no villain. There is no good guy or bad guy. Good guys sometimes out of their principles and patriotism do things they should not have done.

Mahatma Gandhi was a man who valued his principles dearly and who stood by his beliefs fiercely. He hoped to bring a change with his ideas, but the change he brought may well be one of his worst nightmares. Swatantryaveer Savarkar’s forewarning came true as the Muslim League went extreme, demanding a separate Pakistan using violent means, which in turn erupted the Hindus to turn to massacre as well. Watching his own countrymen tear each other apart like rabid dogs made Gandhi extremely unhappy and he inevitably gave in to the demands of separation.

Separation, however, was not a solution to the larger problem, for the violence intensified with trains full of dead bodies, refugees of injured and tortured men and raped women and girls. The person who saw this first hand was the man who helped refugees coming to India. The man was Nathuram Godse. A fierce patriot and a proud Hindu, he was a follower of Savarkar and blamed Gandhi for the atrocities. It was Gandhi who used his fasts to blackmail the Congress into accepting the partition and Hindus to stop retaliating to the violence. Though casualties were huge on both sides, it was the Hindus who normally gave in to Gandhi’s demands while the League and Pakistanis went on a rampage.

Thus, Nathuram decided to put an end to it all. Self defense and violence are different, and resorting to violence in the act of self defense is not a sin. Every religious as well and political ideologies accepted that. But Gandhi in his persistence with non violence failed to accept it. On 30th January, Nathuram approached Gandhi on his way to the evening prayers and touched his feet as a mark of respect. Within seconds, he took out his Beretta M 1934 semi automatic pistol and shot him at point blank range. Gandhi died on the spot and Godse surrendered himself to the officer present without any resistance.

This is not a story of a Mahatma or a Terrorist, Murderer, Fanatic or Extremist. This is not a story of Good Vs Evil and is definitely not a simple one to understand. This is a story of two patriotic souls who gave their lives in the hope of building a better nation. One was ready to live for his principles while the other was ready to die for them. It is an unfortunate tale of two Indians whose ideologies turned them into enemies, yet their visions and goals were the same; that of a great Indian Nation.

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