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Rohit Dhankar

[I would like to repeat what I am arguing for. Such repetition is required in the mindless slogan shouting era of today to safeguard against misunderstanding. I am not saying Godse was a great man. I am not saying Gandhi was a bad man worth killing. I am not saying, at the least not here, that Gandhi’s policies were wrong. I am representing how Godse thought. And I don’t agree with Sanghis, because whatever little know of their thinking on the issue, they attack Gandhi to prove that Godse was a patriot. I don’t take that position. I think it is possible that a patriot can be stupid enough to kill a greater patriot than himself, and harm the country by mistake. I am arguing strictly for two points only:

  1. Godse was a patriot and actually he killed Gandhi because he was a patriot.
  2. The people today who want that anyone who says that Godse was a patriot should be punished are bigots. Because they want all other views eliminated but their own. And that is precisely what a bigot is: A prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.]

In response to my yesterdays blog post some people have raised a question that Godse does not satisfy criteria three and four of the definition I quoted.

Of course, they are free to have their own interpretation of any of these criteria or have an altogether different definition of a patriot. I have no objection to that; nor do I have any right to object.

As far as my interpretation is concerned criteria three “Special concern for the well-being of the country” means ‘special concern in comparison to other countries’; and since country is necessarily made up of people (contrary to some fools who think country in this sense refers to land), thus, in a democratic country all citizens should be included. Godse says (if one wants to question his statement, s/he should find more material) that he always favoured democracy with equal rights to all. In this connection he quotes resolution of Hindu Mahasabha which unambiguously declares all Indians equal. Godse participated in congress protests in early thirties. Then was disillusioned by congress’ ambiguity on communal award, and joined Hindu Mahasabha and RSS. He also edited two news papers “Agrani” and “Hindu Rashtra”.  Any one who wants to see if he stayed steadfast to equal rights to all citizens should do some research and look if anything was published in these papers which proved that he argued for less rights for any section of Indian citizenry. Going by the name “Hindu Rashtra” will be foolish, perusal of actual content will be necessary. Therefore, to me he satisfies criteria three.

Criteria four “willingness to sacrifice to promote the country’s good” refers to taking personal risk and personal sacrifice. It does not mean that particular act in which risk and sacrifice occurs is necessarily for the whole population. It may be for a particular section which happens to be persecuted or oppressed at that time. Godse saw that political situation such that the most important section of the Indian nation “Hindus” (even by number they were and are most important section, and those who feel ashamed by this are suffering from some kind of complex) were under direct oppression. He also thought, rightly or wrongly, that identity and ethos of Indian nation have the largest contribution from Hindu culture. Godse also believed, and you are free to counter that if you can, India can remain secular only as long as the Hindus are in majority. One has to remember that partition had just happened and that was on the behest of Muslims, and was to establish a theocratic state. He thought that practical state decisions (like withholding Rs.55 crore, Kashmir and Hyderabad) keep getting reversed under Gandhi’s pressure to make Muslims happy; in addition to suffering for Hindus, India as a nation will become week, hostage to Muslim sentiment and Gandhi’s whims and will be unable to maintain its freedom, democracy and secularism. As I have repeatedly said he might have been wrong in his understanding, and that may make him a fool. But his sentiments and line of reasoning was informed by concern for the country and his act was a knowing act of self-sacrifice.

Many people do not know many things of that time. For example, many don’t know that Indian government banned reporting of massacre of Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan because they feared a reaction in India. News papers were required to take such an undertaking and deposit security amount. Godse saw it as the continuation of old tendency of hiding Muslim atrocities.

If particular concern for Hindus, without prejudice to equal rights to Muslims, is held to be a disqualification for being a patriot then Lala Lajpat Rai, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Aurobind, Hardayal, Vivekananda, and a host more people will have to be excluded. Many of this last list are dubbed communal by left liberals in their biased thinking. They only recognised that the Hindu society needs to be reformed and educated, and that continuous weakening of Hindu society is dangerous for India. None of them was antimuslim, however, many of them recognised a group behaviour among Muslims which could easily be moulded to give religion preference over the nation or country.

Lastly, the theories which consider patriotism as a negative sentiment understand neither humans nor countries, nations and cultures. These are logically inconsistent and morally flowed theories. Consider the following:

  1. A concept using rational human being is not possible without social living (shared life form)
  2. Answers to question of Identity (who am I?), Morality (What should I do?) Reason (Why should I do that?) are fundamental to human existence. No such questions, no humanity.
  3. None of these questions can be answered in isolation; that establishes necessity of community.
  4. None of them can be answered in a moment to moment manner; that establishes continuity for a live (self-reflecting and changing) cultural tradition.
  5. Such communities and cultural traditions cannot survive without some kind of political formation.
  6. Sustenance of such political formation in good, just and dynamic form require responsible and critical citizenry.
  7. Unless there are people who are willing to contribute materially, organisationally, intellectually, in security and politically; such communities and political formations can not survive.
  8. A commitment to such contribution requires the four criteria of patriotism.
  9. Thus, survival of such communities and political formations require patriotism.

The theories which deride patriotism either don’t understand or are deliberately encouraging free-loaders, thriving on others’ contribution without contributing anything or even may be harming the communities. Such theories should attract serious intellectual and moral critique. On the contrary, presently they are considered intellectually more refined and morally more advanced. They emerge out of the delusion created in the minds of academics which are given space to do only intellectual work because society recognises the need of advancement of knowledge. When such academics live too long in their cocoons where all needs are taken care of, and appreciation is louder for weaving finer and finer webs of words; they become deluded that they are advancing human understanding; while actually they have lost connection with real struggling human condition for long. Those who want empty academic appreciation may ravel in such theories.

At the end I would like to repeat what I am arguing for. Such repetition is required in the mindless slogan shouting era of today to safeguard against misunderstanding. I am not saying Godse was a great man. I am not saying Gandhi was a bad man worth killing. I am not saying, at the least not here, that Gandhi’s policies were wrong. I am representing how Godse thought. I am arguing strictly for two points only:

Godse was a patriot and actually he killed Gandhi because he was a patriot.

The people today who want that anyone who says that Godse was a patriot should be punished are bigots. Because they want all other views eliminated but their own. And that is precisely what a bigot is: A prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.

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30th November 2019