Nationalist Went Wrong

By Atul Kapoor

Sakshi Maharaj, a BJP MP, in an idyllic conversation with some media person called Nathuram Godse, assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, a ‘nationalist’ thus making invitation to his nemesis in the Indian parliament which is fast becoming an ‘abode’ for, and just for, political correctness. Amidst the flurry of apologies proposed by Sakshi Maharaj there upon for the slip of tongue that glided him towards the wrong end of political correctness nobody stood up for him to ask as to what was wrong in calling him so apart from the fact that it was politically incorrect.

  Let’s for once dissociate ourselves from ‘political correctness’ and deconstruct the blasphemous act of Nathu Ram Godse by making a brief peep into his life before that fateful day. He was a Hindu Brahmin scholar who looked forward with bated breath for that moment when his country would be set free from centuries of subjugation, a nation that he would be able to call his own with an assertive pride. And then, as things would unfold, his country would be forced to face the ‘partition’ with an unprecedented bloodshed which would leave an indelible imprint on his mind. Godse firmly believed that it was an unwarranted favouritism of Mahatma Gandhi towards Muslim community which was the root cause of ‘partition’ and the ensuing bloodshed and if Mahatma would have stuck his neck out, which he was quite capable of and had done on umpteen occasions to get things done exactly the way he had wanted irrespective of the outcome (abandoning Non Cooperation Movement at its peak was one glaring incidence),  India could have achieved freedom in true spirit without the irredeemable brunt. Hate and passion engulfed Godse to such crazy extent that he dared to do the unimaginable, in the name of the ‘nation’ though. While Godse went on to face the consequences of the act he committed the world would never come to terms with the justification of Godse to resort to what he believed to be his ‘last ditch effort’ to salvage pride for India in its future.

   Was not there an iota of truth in the argument that had Gandhi not taken his idealism and his love for impracticable reasoning to such dizzy heights then we could have achieved independence as united undivided India, something that every nationalist had always dreamt about? Mahatma’s intentions were beyond doubt in the right place but unfortunately some of his methods were ahead of the times, just the way they are in the present, and would remain so in the future as well, as long as we have a civilization to take care of. The world, as it exists, will never be able to catch up with Mahatma’s superlative ideas. His philosophy could only have worked in a preconditioned environment of ‘coitus interruptus’ which means everything else remaining constant. Coitus interruptus here would imply that every human being must subscribe to Mahatma’s thought process someway or the other by making desirable concessions in basic human traits of greed, aggression et al. Simply put, he meant that his hardcore believers should, under no circumstances, dither from embracing his viewpoint, which eventually would effectuate a change of heart in those who didn’t follow him at first. The precondition here of course is that the ‘non believers’ will fall in line with his sublime thought process no matter what if the believers were ready to sacrifice everything they had to bring about that change. He was so obdurate about the advent of the supposed ‘change’ that he would not care a cinch of the likelihood of its not coming and hence would not philosophize about such a possibility.

  Let’s try to get a perspective by studying a famous scene from a Hindi movie ‘Lagey Raho Munnabhai’ where the lead character, in his endeavour to follow the principles of Mahatma, after been slapped on a cheek by an aggressor offers his other cheek to him. It’s when the aggressor doesn’t think twice to fix another slap that he gets perplexed and knocks the aggressor down with a punch. His vindication: ‘While Mahatma taught you to offer other cheek he never went on to elaborate as to what should be done if the action boomerangs’. While the scene provides some comic relief it also draws attention to the larger question that, given the stature of Mahatma and his idiosyncrasy, no one ever hard pressed him to come clean on: ‘What if?’

   Coming back to Nathuram Godse, while nothing on earth would justify his act of killing Mahatma, in a balanced judgment we could have at least considered him as a ‘nationalist went wrong’ due to the overwhelming circumstances that led him take that momentous step. His killing of Mahatma didn’t just lead to demonizing him it also helped in accentuating Mahatma’s messianic stature even further thereby culling the possibility of even the limited criticism that Mahatma might have lived on to face for his ill-conceived ideas that brought such irreparable loss to the fledging nation. Mahatma’s abrupt death, or for that matter martyrdom, rather added further potency to his ideas that the very nation for which he sacrificed his life must seem to follow for generations to come, even if it would mean nothing more than out and out symbolism. Few things in world are so sacrosanct that they can’t be questioned. Impractical ideas of Mahatma are one of them. Why Nathuram Godse, killer of Mahatma, shouldn’t be revoked as nationalist is another.

About The Author: Atul Kapoor is an author of a novel ‘Incredible High’ published in the year 2010. Presently, he is working on his next book which is a group of short stories knitted together to give them a semblance of the novel. He keeps dabbling in poetry and writing articles in between.


  1. Yes I also feel the same. And if you really look at it ,he sacrificed his life for the sake of our country. Perhaps he felt if Gandhi remained alive he will do more harm to the country and that’s why he took this extreme step to eliminate a person whom he considered to be a threat to the well being of India. His concern for the country was the motive behind the act for which the whole world condemned him. Though I will not support killing of Gandhi but my heart goes to Godse.

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