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SAIRA MUJTABA | 2 FEBRUARY, 2015

Gandhi or Godse?


Every year 30th January is celebrated as Martyr’s Day. The death anniversary of a legendary figure who shook the base of the vast British Empire and eventually helped the country gain independence from the shackles of slavery.

This year’s remembrance of the historic date was a bit different though. While the nation was preparing to remember the Father of the Nation, Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha had plans to install a statue of Mahatma’s assassin in Meerut, where prohibitory orders have been imposed.

It’s even more important to remember Gandhi today, clad in a simple dhoti (not a suit with his name all over it). To remember not because we have to clean the garbage from India, by using his picture for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but because it is imperative to clean up the garbage that the citizens of the country are being fed mentally. To remember because it is essential to protect the ideals that Gandhi stood for, the ideals that are being shattered with each passing day.

It’s even more important to remember Gandhi’s ideals because the men who remember his assassin as a ‘nationalist’ are pushing ideals completely opposite to what India gained independence on. Be it the setting up of a statue in honor of Mahatma Gandhi’s killer, Nathuram Godse, or building a temple for the assassin, or polarising the people on the pretext of ‘Love Jihad’ and ‘Ghar Waapsi’, the proponents of this dangerous ideology are reducing all that Gandhi stood for to a fig leaf at best.

In a discussion with students on Martyrs Day, Yogendra Yadav said, “On 30th January, 1948, Gandhi’s body was killed but his soul permeated the country. Today, the same forces who killed his body are now trying to kill his soul.”

The advertisement showing the Preamble to the Constitution without the word ‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’ and the ludicrous reasons being given to justify this are proof enough that the official push is for ideals that Gandhi vehemently opposed. When the Constitution of India was being drafted, Gandhi demanded two things to be included for sure. One was ‘universal adult franchise’ and the other was ‘no domination of any one religion’. Even Mr. Big O was prompted to say in his Town Hall speech that India would succeed if it’s not divided on religious and sectarian lines. This earned him some brickbats from the right wing, that were quickly removed from the vicinity lest the visit fall into controversy.

However, the need of the hour is for us to decide which side are we on. Are we with the man who fell to the bullets of his killer and whose last words were “Hey Ram!” or are we with those who want to build a temple for the man who killed him and who use Lord Ram only for electoral gains? Choosing between Gandhi and Godse is not a choice between two individuals but two ideologies that are poles apart and can never co-exist!

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