Narendra Modi’s government faces challenge in dealing with firebrand Hindutva elements

Vasudha Venugopal, ET Bureau Dec 16, 2014, 04.28AM IST
(Hindu Mahasabha president…)

Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse might have brought Parliament to a standstill but the organisation he belonged to is upping the ante by installing his bust in its Delhi HQ, a few km from where the Hindu fanatic had shot dead the father of the nation in 1948.

Hindu Mahasabha president Chandra Prakash Kaushik told ET that the organisation plans to write to government to ask for at least five cities where Godse’s statues can be installed. “If they do not give us the permission we will go ahead and install the statue in our lawn. We have the statues of all Mahapurushas. Why not Godse?,” he said. “We don’t believe what Godse did to Gandhi was violence. He was a Brahmin, editor of a newspaper.

He had evaluated all his options before resorting to this extreme step,” Kaushik said. N Vasudevan, director, Indian Council for Gandhian Studies, said the new efforts to revive Godse’s memory are part of a larger game to destroy Indian values of tolerance and nonviolence.

“This is sheer madness,” Vasudevan said, adding that Godse supporters and “such fringe elements have always existed in the Indian society” but it is only now that they have been emboldened. “They tried this during Vajpayee’s time too but he was a liberal person. Now they have nobody to stop them from putting an end to our liberal, secular traditions,” he said.

Recently BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj sparked a controversy by saying that Godse was as much a patriot as Gandhi which had caused much uproar in the parliament. BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Venkiah Naidu had said there was no question of honouring Gandhi’s killers.

But Mahasabha members admit Godse is quite a revered figure in these circles who call him “Hutatma”, (who sacrificed his soul for the country).

This time the Hindu Mahasabha celebrated Godse’s death anniversary in November as Balidan Diwas on a grand scale with activists reading out excerpts from Godse’s last letter, his views on Akhand Bharat and conducted mass drills.