Ever since the Shiv Sena compromised on its Hindutva ideology to join hands with the Congress and the NCP, it has been humiliated by its coalition partners over a key issue- the legacy of Nathuram Godse and Veer Savarkar. While Sena allowed its coalition partners to disparage Veer Savarkar long ago, it has taken the job into its own hands to besmirch Godse’s name.
Reportedly, Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut on the death anniversary of Mohandas Gandhi remarked that if there was a real ‘Hindutvawadi’, he would have shot Jinnah, instead of Gandhi.
When asked to comment on Rahul Gandhi’s claim that a ‘Hindutvavadi’ (Godse) had killed Mohandas Gandhi. Raut replied, “Had anyone been a real Hindutvavadi, he/she would have shot Jinnah, why would one shoot Gandhi?”
He said, “The demand for a (separate) Pakistan, was a call given by Jinnah. If you were a real man and had guts, then you would have killed the man who spread violence through the partition. Such an act would’ve been an act of patriotism.”
The Sena leader further added, “To kill Gandhi, who was a saint was not right, according to me. The world even today mourns Gandhi Ji’s death”
Godse was a patriot: Shiv Sena of the yore
Raut giving in to the secular demands of the Maha Vikas Aghadi and belittling Godse shows how low Shiv Sena has fallen from the vision of Hindu Hriday Samrat Bala Saheb Thackeray. Sena used to refer to Godse as ‘Pandit Godse’ who was a patriot, angered by partition and the subsequent killings of Hindus.
Raut giving his arbitrary definition of who is a Hindutvawadi comes barely a week after he gave his party the certificate of Hindutva. As reported by TFI, last Tuesday, Raut referred to a bypoll in 1987-88 to the Vile Parle Assembly seat and claimed that it was the first party in the country to contest an election on the Hindutva plank.
“It is after this victory that BJP approached Shiv Sena for an alliance on Hindutva which Balasaheb (Thackeray) agreed to as he didn’t want a division of Hindu votes. Contemporary BJP leaders are unaware of this history.” said Raut.
Read More: Shiv Sena’s Hindu Party claims fail the most basic “Hinduism Checks”
Why eulogize Gandhi, if we are a mature democracy?
The biggest obstacle in the maturity of Indian democracy is manifested in how Mohandas Gandhi, “the father of the Nation” has been eulogized to a God-like status and beyond criticism. He epitomizes our obsession with seeking ‘holy cows’ in the larger national perception and then marginalizes anyone who dares to speak against such an individual.
Despite all his shortcomings, and a range of personal and public controversies, Mohandas Gandhi has successfully remained the ‘holy cow’ of India, criticising who is seen as blasphemous. As a necessary corollary, his assassin, Nathuram Godse is constantly vilified.
Read More: The upcoming movie “Why I Killed Gandhi” is giving Congress nightmares
The consequence is an immature democracy that gets uncomfortable when confronted with the question- Was Nathuram Godse a patriot? After all, the man was an ideologically driven assassin but could he be a terrorist? Was he an enemy of the Indian state?
The historical circumstances in the backdrop of a violent, reckless partition that witnessed crores of Indians die, through no fault of theirs, have often been ignored when judging Nathuram Godse’s side of the story.
We cannot simply ignore who pushed the country into such turmoil and left innocent citizens of the country unprepared in the face of one of the most violent events in world history- the partition.
Raut’s statements are merely a manifestation of the pseudo-secular party that Shiv Sena has metamorphosed into. The party prizes power over ideology now. It may work for an election or two but in the absence of a concrete ideology, Shiv Sena is hastily digging a hole for itself.