The gun that killed Mohandas Gandhi 70 years ago on this day didn’t fall silent yet, as its occasional blazing is still turning living human beings into corpses. As Gandhi’s murderer and Hindutva fascist terrorist Nathuram Godse’s offspring are now ruling India, the deafening boot click of fascism can be heard clearer than ever. The killer is now canonised as a saint and venerated by the very rabble-rousers who live on the corpse of Muslims, Dalits, tribals and Kashmiri people. The gun of Godse is still killing people like Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. Others, who think and question, are waiting in the line of fire, for their final ordeal.
There is no respite for the bullet-spraying machine; the Hindutva kingdom is under construction and the emperor is licking his fingers, still stained with the fresh blood of Muslims, Christians, Dalits, tribals, Kashmiris and other oppressed people killed by his regime. The blood keeps him alive and thus, his kingdom’s sycophants crave for more blood so that the empire can strengthen itself under a macho monarch with a 56” chest. Questioning the monarch or his idol Godse amounts to blasphemy in this theocratic fascist kingdom and blasphemy means death. The gun of Godse blazes continuously. The gun tries to kill any idea that goes against its tyranny.
For years, through track-II campaigns, guerilla marketing and incessant publications of books, pamphlets and videos, the Hindutva fascist fountainhead Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its affiliate Hindutva terror organisations have been fighting an uphill battle to portray Godse as a legendary figure, as an honest Hindu “patriot” and a role-model whom the youth should idolise. The Hindutva camp is building temples to worship the deity of Godse and Narayan Dattatraya Apte, his lackey who was killed by the Indian state for murdering Gandhi.
Despite the cosmetic show of Gandhism and their ritualistic respect to the Gandhi portrait and statues since the last two decades, when it started carving a niche among the mainstream, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers and leaders love to loathe Gandhi in private for being a “Muslim appeaser” and highlight the “goodness” inherent in a “Marathi Brahmin” like Godse, who, according to the Hindutva camp, saved the country by killing an “infidel” like Gandhi. It’s not Gandhi the individual or his ideology that the RSS-led Hindutva camp hates the most, it hates the Muslims, towards whom Gandhi showed a fake, yet very hyped concern.
Utmost hatred towards the Muslims, the eagerness to enslave them and carry out a genocide drives the RSS and its offspring. As soon as Gandhi fell to the bullets fired by Nathuram Godse, the RSS started distributing sweets all over Maharashtra, Gujarat and other parts of India. The organisation’s happiness was manifested in the jubilation that prevailed among its leaders and cadres, and also among the people who remained unofficially under its fold, like the minister of Nehru’s cabinet – Shyama Prasad Mookerjee or the notorious Hindutva hate monger, Deendayal Upadhyay. The murder of Gandhi by Godse was hailed as a “nationalist” and “patriotic” act by many of the Indian Hindutva fascist ideologues. The pages of RSS’s organs like Panchjanya and Organiser, until the early 1990s, never stopped heaping praises on Godse, who, the RSS claimed, had quit the organisation before he killed Gandhi.
Gandhi’s long phoney-secular stunt during the Calcutta riots and the Noakhali riots, his support for the separation of Pakistan (thereby, official endorsement to the Two-Nation theory) and his fasting on the demand of releasing ₹55 crore promised to Pakistan, were used by the RSS to build up mass opinion against the values like secularism, communal harmony and unity, values that the ailing Gandhi would reiterate often to keep himself politically relevant in the changing context of a post-colonial India. By exploiting the pent-up anger among the people against the sclerotic British and Congress rule, the RSS cleverly transformed their discontent into communal jingoism. This allowed them to carve a niche for their political ideology among the Hindu victims of partition-related violence and among the vast majority of Hindu refugees from West Punjab and East Bengal.
The contradiction between Gandhi and Godse was a reflection of the contradiction between the RSS and the Congress, two prominent lackeys of the British imperialism, who often worked together towards one common goal – preventing a Bolshevik-style communist-led revolution in India. There was absolutely no ideological difference then and now, between these two largest fascist and reactionary forces that work for the sake of the Indian ruling classes – the big feudal landlords, comprador capitalists and foreign corporations. They are different in hues and in their treatment to the cow in public, however, they are equal and identical when it comes to serving the interests of the ruling classes.
The contradiction between them is over the stake of power. Earlier they fought over which representative of the ruling classes should rule and which of the two imperialist blocs, the US imperialism-led bloc or the Soviet social-imperialism-led bloc, should rule India. Since the 1990s both camps have shown their undying loyalty towards the US-ruled world order and most recently, the RSS-led Hindutva camp has risen to unapologetically support the neo-fascist, Islamophobic and racist world imperialism headed by Donald Trump and his white supremacist allies of Europe.
Gandhi was a self-contradictory and cunning person who kept his politics open to remoulding in order to meet the demands of the situation. Gandhi said one thing at some point in time and then said the opposite at a different point in time. According to famous author Arundhati Roy, “…Gandhi actually said everything and its opposite. To cherry pickers, he offers such a bewildering variety of cherries that you have to wonder if there was something the matter with the tree.”
He profoundly supported the reactionary Varna-Shrama system, thereby legitimised the caste system and on different occasions, Gandhi raised concerns over untouchability to show his reservations about the caste oppression. In an interview to the BBC Radio, Dr BR Ambedkar said this about Gandhi:
“A comparative study of Gandhi’s Gujarati and English writings will reveal that how Mr Gandhi was deceiving people.”
This observation by Dr Ambedkar is apparently true because the Gujarati writings of Gandhi catered to his Brahminical, reactionary feudal support base, who shared the common Brahminical fascist outlook with him. Gandhi tried to legitimise and humanise the Brahminical caste oppression as a history-gifted system which happened to be a protector of the social-stability in the feudal Indian society. While Gandhi questioned the practice of untouchability and called Indian upper-caste Hindus, mostly the English-educated upper-middle class urban people, to accept the “Harijans” as their own, he defended the Varna-Shrama system with equal ease.
The stark contrast prevailed in his writings as they catered to two different constituencies and the same model is now adopted by the RSS, who on one hand shows their new-found love for Gandhi, while on the other hand, they despise him for speaking out for Hindu-Muslim unity, which according to the RSS was a very deceptive ideology.
Unlike the opportunist parliamentary left or the ever-crying liberal democrats, the revolutionary and progressive left can never have positive views on the villainous role played by Gandhi in sabotaging the Indian anti-colonial democratic revolution. However, in the strongest terms, the leftist progressive people also condemn his brutal murder because that murder made him a martyr before the very people who started realising the hollowness of Gandhi’s principles and his tryst with Congress-sponsored violence as the means of controlling the newly-found state power. The killing of Gandhi by Godse actually closed the opportunity for the democratic, progressive and leftist camp to politically defeat Gandhi and expose his bankrupt ideology that serves the interest of the rich and the powerful rather than the poor.
In a politically volatile and communally ravaged India, Gandhi found himself and his faction of the Congress Party in a very weak condition after 1945. Due to Gandhi’s initial support to the Nazi Germany-led Axis Power during the Second World War and his subsequent call for Quit India Movement during the peak of the war to help the fascist Axis bloc win an easy victory against the British in India, the British rulers isolated him and picked Jawaharlal Nehru instead as their chief representative.
The one time disciple of Gandhi, Nehru was a shrewd careerist politician who served the British imperialist interest by forming a sham anti-fascist front in London and then used it to send moles within the Indian communist movement, which was then potent enough to shake the foundation of the British imperialist occupation over the country. The staunch anti-communist Nehru, with a vision to turn India into a safe haven for imperialist plunder even without the direct British rule, became a safe bait for the British in a post-colonial setup, which was designed by the British rulers themselves.
When power and status went to Nehru and his faction, a powerless and sad Gandhi resorted to different tactics to win the centre stage of the Indian politics. Ever since August 1947, Gandhi started losing his political relevance in India and kept asking for the disbandment of the Congress party to stop the growing powers of Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and others.
Gandhi was a liability whom neither the Congress could gulp nor could it puke. His killing in this backdrop, at the house of a strong and powerful comprador capitalist in Delhi, the subsequent reluctance of the Nehru government to delve into the root of the conspiracy to investigate the case properly and its absolute reluctance to prosecute Vinayak Savarkar and Madhav Golwalkar, who were found to be complicit in the crime, show that there was a tactic understanding between the Hindutva fascist camp and the Nehru government over Gandhi’s murder.
The Indian government’s Ministry of Home Affairs was then headed by Patel, an upper-caste Gujarati and Brahminical hegemonist who supported the pogrom against Muslims in India during and after the partition. Patel, under the patronage of Nehru, also helped the RSS, quite unofficially, to carry out a Muslim genocide in the Jammu region of the Kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir, to change the demography of the region that India wanted to occupy.
Though Patel was instrumental in imposing a brief ban on the RSS for a few months after the assassination of Gandhi, however, by lifting the ban soon, following a meagre undertaking from one of the masterminds of the assassination — Golwalkar — that the RSS will never take part in politics, which was soon overturned with the formation of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the precursor to the BJP, the Congress government of Nehru and Patel showed their soft corner for the RSS. This soft corner had obvious reasons, everyone had skeletons in their cupboards.
During the height of the 1962 India-China War, Nehru allowed the RSS to intensify its anti-communist tirade and violence. It showed that the RSS always served the greater interests of the very Congress and its leaders it loathed in public incessantly through their literature. The anti-communist violence perpetrated by the Nehru government on the left-wing revolutionary activists using ultra-chauvinism and xenophobia, couldn’t have been as violent and gory as it was unless the RSS was a part of it. The illicit love affair between these two agents of imperialism became evident multiple times in their joint campaigns against the communists and other democratic forces representing the interests of the working class and the peasantry.
Godse was a mere pawn used by some powerful politicians and business tycoons to bring forth the eerie thunder of the fascist camp to the political conscience of India and turn individual terrorism into a cult practice that the BJP and the RSS religiously follow to this day. The prosecution didn’t try Savarkar and Golwalkar in the case. These two Hindutva stalwarts-cum-key conspirators were given a waiver by the Nehru government due to some secret reasons that still raise doubts.
Now that the progeny of Godse, Savarkar and Golwalkar are in power under the leadership of Narendra Modi, there remains absolutely no scope that the country will ever know what transpired behind the scenes that led to the assassination of Gandhi. Using this lack of information as a weapon, the RSS’s footsoldiers, masquerading as “fringe”, will continue character assassination of Gandhi and Nehru, without ever fighting them politically, which the communists and left-wing forces always do. The BJP will keep distancing itself from such propaganda officially, as it once distanced itself cleverly from the fascist and genocidal doctrine of Golwalkar, the man it calls Guruji.
It’s not that only the masterminds of Gandhi’s assassination were simply let off by the regime of Nehru, rather the Congress consciously buttressed the foundations on which Savarkar and Golwalkar intensified their communal vitriol-driven political industry, which in turn laid the foundation of the modern-day fascist Modi regime. For the Congress, the fascist hoodlums of the RSS were the best pawns to defeat the communists, whose rise to prominence throughout India in the 1950s and 1960s threatened the hegemony of the Congress. The RSS and the fanatic Hindu Mahasabha were used by the Congress to incite riots in different cities throughout the 1950s until the 1980s, which helped the reactionary Indian ruling classes in weakening the unity of the people and pit them against one another, rather than fighting the oppressive rich and super-rich.
By publishing a stamp with the photograph of Savarkar, the notorious hate monger who coined the term and ideology of “Hindutva”, an ardent advocate of rape as a political tool, a hardcore supporter of partition and Muslim genocide, the Congress regime of Indira Gandhi showed that despite their cosmetic opposition to the ideology of the RSS, the Congress kept legitimising the fascist hate-mongers of the Hindutva camp throughout its reign. It’s no wonder that all commissions set up by the Congress regime never found the Maratha Brahmin duo, Savarkar-Golwalkar guilty of Gandhi’s assassination. They lived, operated and rejuvenated under the patronage of the so-called “secular” and progressive Congress rule.
The support that the RSS received from the Indian and colonial ruling classes helped it to grow itself as the strongest quasi-military organisation of the country. Now that it’s in power, almost everywhere in India, it has become more aggressive and invincible than ever. While the Congress allowed the unbridled growth of the RSS and the Hindutva fascists during its reign to control the growth of the communists, the RSS is unwilling to show any gratitude to its former patron and is doing everything possible to become the only, supreme and unquestionable authority of the Indian state.
The Indian ruling classes are happy to finally have the very force that can unapologetically implement its fascist, Brahminical agenda of enslaving the working class and peasantry using the most regressive ideology and the most heinous propaganda to vilify the Muslims and other oppressed communities. This is why the Ambanis, Adanis or other corporate houses are extremely liberal in untying their purse strings to trickle down the benefits of “development” to the coffer of the Khaki knicker-clad RSS thugs.
Gandhi doesn’t belong to the working class and the peasantry of the country, to whom he preached the doctrine of obeisance towards their masters and whom he asked to remain subjugated, to never try to break the shackles of slavery that grips them. Gandhi’s killer Godse and his paternal organisation, the RSS, want to even go further. They say, don’t break the shackles of slavery ever, rather slit each other’s throat so that the masters can reign unchallenged and can plunder the wealth of the nation to enrich themselves using the most sordid and filthy methods.
To consolidate the political power of the rich, to ensure that the unbridled loot and plundering of Indian resources continue, and to normalise communalism as a weapon to divide the revolutionary forces — the working class and the peasantry — the gun of Godse is still blazing and killing the common people, killing those who criticise the fascist enterprise that his successors have erected, killing those hapless Muslims, Christians, Dalits and tribal people who have been at the receiving end of violence and hatred from Godse’s clan. The gun of Godse must be defeated and must be thrown where its place is — in the bin of history — by a massive people’s resistance struggle against Hindutva fascism. Only by uprooting feudalism, comprador capitalism and the colonial rule of imperialist corporations over India, the dark shadow of Hindutva fascism and Godse’s cult can be overthrown from India. Unless defeated, Godse’s gun will kill more marginalised people and those bravehearts who take the side of the people and fight against the inhuman Hindutva fascist juggernaut.