Nathuram Godse, an affiliate of BJP’s parent organization, Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) has become an indispensable part of the BJP. With recent developments, the ruling party's leaders have made it difficult for BJP to maintain its image as the only and truly nationalist and patriotic party with their embarrassing statements on Godse.
While BJP leaders have openly framed Godse as a ‘patriot’ the party has consecutively distanced itself from the remarks of its leaders. Nonetheless, though BJP is criticised time and again for its stand on Gandhi’s killer, its leaders don't shy away from commemorating Godse’s birth anniversary and worshipping him.
With BJP in power, Gandhi’s killer has become more alive in the minds of people than Gandhi himself. Gandhi was and is still regarded as the symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity while the BJP has built its fortress on Hindu Rashtra.
From fielding terror accused and Godse apologist Pragya Thakur to having the party's spokesperson deny being a Godse critic on national television, here are all the times the ruling party has appropriated and reasoned Gandhi’s murderer and his murder as a patriot’s act.
During a televised debate between the former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar and BJP spokesperson Amitab Sinha on the fee-hike issue of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Sinha had stirred controversy by refusing to condemn Gandhi's killer Godse.
Singh had alleged that Kanhaiya was a supporter of Stalin, the Soviet dictator, to which Kanhaiya denounced his claim saying, “Stalin Murdabad.” He, in retaliation, asked Singh to say the same for Godse. However, in a not so shocking but rather foolish act, Singh said, “Hum Godse virodhi nahi hai.”
The BJP spokesperson was slammed by scores of people and the opposition soon after his statement.
In another incident that drew controversy, BJP MP from Bhopal, Pragya Thakur, who also happens to be a terror accused in the 2008 Malegaon bombings, had proudly called the Gandhi killer a ‘patriot’ in the parliament.
Thakur had interrupted Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP A Raja while he was talking in the parliamentary debate on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, he had said that Godse murdered Gandhi because he believed in a specific philosophy. She said, "Deshbhakton ka udahran mat dijiye,” which led to an uproar in the house.
Her comment came right after A Raja took Godse’s name. However, she later claimed that her comment did not refer to Godse. She also apologized in the house for her comment after nation-wide criticism.
Well, the BJP leaders backing Godse does not surprise us anymore. The then BJP IT cell in-charge for Indore, Vicky Mittal, had once suggested auctioning the pistol used by Nathuram Godse to shoot Gandhi as a way to prove that Godse’s popularity surpasses Gandhi’s.
During an interview with Reuters’ journalists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the then Chief Minister of Gujarat had called himself a Hindu Nationalist, the most used prefix by many religious and political fanatics like Nathuram Godse, Sakshi Maharaj and even Pragya Thakur.
Hindu Nationalism has its roots in the independence movement of India. The Hindu wing was opposed to the idea of an inclusive and secular India. They stood against the Gandhi-Nehru led Congress that refused to declare India as the Hindu version of Pakistan.
PM Modi has aligned himself with the people who praise the murder of the father of our nation in the guise of nationalism and repeatedly reason out his crime by saying "he had good intentions."
To name a few, other BJP leaders who have publicly hailed Godse for his so-called ‘nationalism and patriotism' that led him to kill Mahatma Gandhi are Anantkumar Hegde, Nalin Kumar Kateel and Sakshi Maharaj.
The Godse-loving BJP and its irresponsible leaders have used Mahatma Gandhi’s killer's memories multiple times to scar India and its secular fabric. With the ongoing movement against the ruling party’s divisive policies, the people of India have taken it upon themselves to reiterate Gandhi’s vision for India.