Nathuram Godse, Sadhvi Pragya and Great Controversy

Parmanand Pandey, Advocate, Supreme Court (Secretary General IPC)
  One fails to understand as to why there is so much hullaballoo on Sadhvi Pragya saying that Nathuram Godse was a patriot? He was the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi and he always confessed it but that does not make him unpatriotic.
What is ‘patriotism’? Patriotism is a term, which has not only more than one meanings but also it is an anathema to some people, religions and political ideologies. Hindus take it as the love for their ‘Matribhumi’ or Motherland. Muslims view the entire world as an open field for waging a war to bring it under Islam, where nations and countries cannot be an isolated object of their love or special affection. Likewise, the battle cry of Communists is, “Workers have no country of their own” and “Workers of the world, unite!” Many educated people also go beyond nationalism and praise humanism.
Then, what is the essence of “patriotism” of those who are attached to it, like Godse or Sadhvi Pragya? In fact, the issue involved in this attachment to and affection for a nation by some people – particularly in the context of Hindus and India – is much deeper than it looks on the face of it while talking about patriotism.
Patriotism even when it is loved by some people has not a uniform meaning – it has different meanings for the people of different countries. Patriotism of, say, Russia or Germany is not like the patriotism of Kurd and Yazidis of Iraq, Jews of Israel,  Hindus of India etc.
Why it is so? It is because of their peculiar history. Though in its essence, patriotism of a people may be defined as their love to their motherland. But different countries have different history, and so the context of their patriotism is different in each case. The patroitism of Godse – and the defence of his patriotism by Sadhvi Pragya – has to be evaluated on this understanding of this word ‘patriotism’.
India was a vast – if not the vastest – country in the world a few thousands years ago. It has a very long history. Its history is rich in culture and civilization values. Indian people, particularly Hindus who were 90% half a century back and still are 80% here, are not a dead civilization – they are alive to their this long history and cherish it. But this Hindu India has suffered much pain and injury, which pinch them. Starting with Mohd. Bin Kasim around 728 AD, through Mohd Ghori, Mohd Ghazani, Khiljis, Mughals to Aurangzeb, this Hindu India has suffered much. They smart under agony.
If one objects to this reference to past as this being only a matter of history, which cannot be changed or undone now, then let him be reminded by us that everyday is the making of history of tomorrow – the history of tomorrow is being made today. Then, everything being done today is justified as the things done in the past had been justified then. Trifle things don’t convince people and one must come to the substance of the matter.
Now on to Godse!
Just see what had been advocated for and done to India under the national leadership of Mahatma Gandhi in 1947 ! Gandhi advocated, Hindu India must face religious violence of Muslim League and its criminal goons with love and non-violence! Many a times, many Sikhs and Hindus did practice this nonsense – and in the consequence they were murdered by Muslim criminals, who were burning under religious zeal of creating a pure land of Islam – called Pakistan – and waging a war of Jihad against Kafirs.
Once when a Punjabi – whose entire family was murdered by Muslim mob in Pakistan, weeping in agony asked Gandhi, “Bapu, my all family members have been killed; what am I to do now?” Gandhi replied, “Face the mob without violence from your side; how did you come back alive; go back to that place again and face those killers with love” (available on internet resources). One has to see and judge Godse and his patriotism on the anvil of such historical events. What was done to Guru Teg Bahadur by Aurangzeb? What is the religious mission of a Muslim Caliph in the world? And why did Gandhi advocate the support (by Hindus) for the Khilafat Movement of Muslims and himself worked for its restoration? While judging the virtue or vice of Godse’s patriotism, it has to be answered by those who think the taking of the name of Godse is the greatest sin.
One has to add one more thing – a weight – to the scale while judging Godse’s patriotism. A leader – be he Mahatma Gandhi or someone else – is supposed to be aware of the history. Gandhi was supposed to know why Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded; why Prithviraj was killed by Mohd Ghori; or why Mohd bin Kasim was killed Raja Dahir. The list is long.
If Gandhi is supposed to be aware of the Indian history, why did he insist that Muslims should not go from India to Pakistan? In Pakistan there were 23% Hindus who chose to stay there in 1947 and now in 2019 they are about 2% – why did Gandhi in 1947 not anticipate this inevitability falling on Hindus of Pakistan? Even supposing everything in favor of Gandhi, Gandhi has to answer why there have been so many Hindu-Muslim communal riots in India since 1947? Why Owaisi openly threatens Hindus in India? Should Gandhi not have anticipated in 1947 the inevitability of such threats to Hindu in future? It is not said in vain by some one, “Sometime the generations are made to suffer for centuries because of the wrong committed in a fleeting moment by a person.” Let Godse be judged of what he did with this understanding of Indian history.
In his book ‘The Murder of the Mahatma’, Justice GD Khosla has written that ‘Nathuram Godse had declined to be represented by a lawyer and had made a prayer that he should be permitted to appear in person and argue his appeal himself. This prayer had been granted, and so he stood in a specially constructed dock. His small defiant figure with flashing eyes and close-cropped hair offered a remarkable and immediately noticeable contrast to the long row of placid and prosperous-looking lawyers who represented his accomplices. (Page 18)
Arguing his appeal in the High Court he said that ‘If devotion to one’s country amounts to a sin, I admit I have committed that sin. If it is meritorious, I humbly claim the merit thereof. I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other Court of justice beyond the one founded by the mortals; my act will not be taken as unjust. If after death there be no such place to reach or to go to, there is nothing to be said. I have resorted to the action I did purely for the benefit of humanity. I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack (sic) and ruin and destruction to lacs of Hindus”. (Page 46)
Justice Khosla further writes, ‘the audience was visibly and audibly moved. There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men were coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs. The silence was accentuated and made deeper by the sound of an occasional subdued sniff or a muffled cough. It seemed to me that I was taking part in some kind of melodrama or in a scene out of a Hollywood feature film. Once or twice I had interrupted Godse and pointed out the irrelevance of what he was saying, but my colleagues seemed inclined to hear him and the audience most certainly thought that Godse’s performance was the only worthwhile part of the lengthy proceedings.’ (Page 47)
Now look at those people who stood solidly behind the ‘tukade tukade gang’ for saying ‘hamen chahiye aazadi’ and ‘azmal hum sharminda hain , tere quatil zinda hain’ in the name of freedom of speech and expression and who did not sleep for many nights at the killing of the terrorists of Batala house are shamelessly asking that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur should be hanged only for saying that Godse was a terrorist. As far as the criticism of Mahatma Gandhi is concerned even Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, who although did not participate in the freedom struggle even for a day, has ripped apart the duplicity of Gandhi ji in all his writings.
Supporters of Arundhati Roy and Zakir Naik, who are asking for the skull of Sadhvi ji, will have to know that they have been championing the cause of the disintegration of the country. On the other hand, Godse, even while being taken to the gallows, kept on shouting for Akhand Bharat. And those who supported the vivisection of the country are now crying for the blood of the saffron-robed Sanyasin for saying a simple fact that Godse was a patriot. He was guilty of the assassination of Gandhi ji and got the capital punishment for that but that does not make him less patriotic than even the staunches patriot. Sadhvi needs to be supported in her assertion about Godse. Her patriotism is unquestionable and those who are asking for her head cannot be the believer in the constitution of India.

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