NEW DELHI: In what appears to be a deliberate strategy one Hindutva organisation takes a step back for another to take several steps forward. The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha that has worked closely with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on several initiatives in the past, such as the more recent ghar wapsi and love jihad programs, is now preparing to commemorate the assassin of Gandhi as a “martyr” and a “desh bhakt”,

Preparations are in full swing as the organisation builds a Godse rath that will travel across the country, starting of course with western Uttar Pradesh, handing out literature and reeling out stories of the assassin’s contribution to the nation. November 15, the day he was hung will now be observed as “balidan diwas” (day of sacrifice).

Interestingly, the rath will also carry photographs of revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh. The Mahasabha president Chandraprakash Kaushik told reporters that the 120 offices of the organisation will commemorate Balidan Diwas in the districts of the country. Godse shot Gandhi while pretending to touch his feet, and was hung to death in Ambala jail on November 15,1949. Co-accused in the murder of the Father of the Nation was Nathuram Godse’s brother Gopal who wrote a book ‘Gandhivadh Kyon’ that will be distributed by the Hindutva outfit as well.

Kaushik is quoted in the media as saying,"Godse was much more patriotic than Gandhi. I am very sure several people in the country think so. 'Balidan diwas' should be a day for the countrymen to sit and think why Godse killed Gandhi.” There has been no response from the government, or the Bharatiya Janata Party to this diatribe.

Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi told The Citizen that this vitriol was fairly usual for the Hindu Mahasabha that had been observing the day for several years now in Pune. He said that several leaders of the RSS had been attending this meeting for decades now, “including Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.”

Tushar Gandhi said that he was inclined to ignore this announcement, and was not bothered by what these “lunatics” do or do not do. He said that this “ideology of murder and intimidation” could only “worship murderers”. He said that his own “resolve to stand up for what I believe is stronger as a result, and those who want to worship murderers can continue to do so.”

The Hindu Mahasabha, seen as one of the many affiliates of the RSS, has been following a particularly vitriolic agenda with its office bearers getting away with statements that strike at the foundations of constitutional law. After BJP members were reportedly pulled up by party president Amit Shah for remarks on the beef ban, the Hindu Mahasabha has stepped in to take on the cudgels for the Hindutva brigade. Hindu Mahasabha leader Ashok Sharma has said in Meerut that it will take up the issue of cow slaughTer on war footing now that the BJP seems to have backed off. He said that a “number of BJP leaders have a stake in slaughter houses all over the country…” And in an open threat he added, “we will resort to violence if we find cow slaughter taking place anywhere.”

“Violence to negate violence is also another form of ahimsa,” he said adding that the strategy on cow slaughter would be announced by the organisation on November 15.

The Hindu Mahasabha that had not been very visible in the past, except for the occasional extreme statement, seems to be set to acquire centre stage in the current polity. In April it was in the spotlights with the vice president of the organisation Sadhvi Deva Thakur maintaining that the minorities---Chrisitans and Muslims--should be forcibly sterilised. And that idols of Hindu gods and goddesses should be placed in mosques and churches. At that time she was strongly advocating a celebration of “patriot” Nathuram Godse, by placing his statues in the states.

The organisation was in the news last month when a leader Om ji and a woman astrologer slapped and grappled with each other on television. The PT reported at the time, “shocking scenes were witnessed on the national tv today when two guests on a live show used expletives, slapped and grappled with each other, leaving the audience aghast and prompting the channel to condemn the incident.

A self-styled godman Om Ji of the Hindu Mahasabha and and woman astrologer Rakhi Bai were seen having sharp exchanges on tv show 'Aaj Ka Mudda' on IBN 7.

Om Ji was seen engaged in a heated discussion with Rakhi Bai over some controversy related to self-styled god woman Radhe Ma, who is embroiled in a case of alleged domestic violence.

"How can you criticise Radhe Ma, you correct yourself first," Om Ji was heard saying.”

The Hindu Mahasabha leadership is now clear that it will step on to the national platform with the Godse commemoration next month, and follow its own charter of violence that its president insists is central to its agenda.