Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Assassination of Gandhi

Ashish Nandi has written about 'The Politics of the Assassination of Gandhi', and it is quite informative. I am not going to reproduce that piece verbatim because it is an extremely boring thing to do. Rather I would like to comment on the content.
I must confess I was a complete ignorant as regards knowledge about Nathuram Godse is considered. I felt he was just a petty, fame-thirsty person. But Nathuram Godse and the assassination was a complete case in itself. During his early childhood, Nathuram was brought up as a girl, which eventually, perhaps, led to the indispensablity of proving his masculanity to the world.There were two things which Gandhi dreamed of, alongwith his struggle for freedom from British rule. They were--the eradication of power structure or the caste syatem in the society which accumulated power and respectability to a few; and the second thing being his negation of the concepts of masculinity and femininity. Godse was against both the ideas.
Nathuram belonged to the community of Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra. Gandhi's call to disintegrate the caste system meant losing the power status which the Brahmins enjoyed, more so by the Chitpavan Brahmins because in Maharashtra there is no one equal to Kshatriyas, thus the divide between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins was huge.
Along with this, Godse had to open a shop when he was 16 and later become a tailor because of poor economic conditions, but resorting to economic activities were considered to be demeaning for Brahmins. Thus there was all the more reason for him to establish his superiority in the society.
Submissiveness was equated with femininity and legitimate violence with masculanity. Perhaps this was the premise for his choice of a violent way to freedom struggle.
But it would be really unwise to say that it was because of Godse's planning that such action could meet its end. Rather it could be said "it was an idea whose time had come!".
There were mounting security issues regarding Gandhi yet nothing substantial was being done. The police force turned lethargic and even his contemporaries felt that Gandhian principles had become anachronistic for Post-independence.
Gandhi himself had lost his zest for living because of Partition and the riots thereafter.
All these laid the foundations for a drama which was enacted by Nathuram Godse!Perhaps!

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