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Political Play
Ratan Sharda
Gandhi Murder, RSS and Poverty of Ideas of the other Gandhi 10 March, 2014
I was pained but not surprised by attack on RSS by Rahul Gandhi using Mahatma Gandhi’s name. It is a Congress truism that when you are not left with any other idea, fling Gandhi murder at RSS and by corollary BJP; basically target the entire school of thought and organizations working for the cause of Hindus and Hindutva. This not only shows poverty of ideas but also bankruptcy of mind.
There are two aspects of this outdated, practically dead and worn out discussion. One, allegation against RSS of murdering Gandhi and second is spectacle of a party trying to reclaim Gandhi whom it had abandoned the day it was within striking distance of power after independence. The first to abandon him was Nehru himself who was nominated undemocratically by Gandhi over Patel who had received overwhelming support from all the state units.

Gandhi had suggested that Congress be dissolved and new political parties be organized as per ideological stand of different groups within Congress, but Congress leadership chose to exploit independence movement goodwill for its selfish political purposes. Gandhi was abandoned at the time when India attained freedom and it was wrecked with Muslim League led violence. (Incidentally, same Muslim League is partner of Congress in Kerala, and basking in secular glory of Congress, but RSS is communal which fought against partition) Congress then abandoned all Gandhian ideas to enjoy fruits of power and exploit people.

Only thing they did was to declare Gandhi birthday as national holiday, a tremendous waste of precious national resources and pay token homage to the Mahatma on that day and on 30th Jan, the day of his assassination. Thus, they have no right to cry about Gandhi’s legacy and about anybody trying to appropriate it.

The second aspect of Gandhi murder is deliberately muddled and RSS brought in to cover Congress government’s total inability to protect Mahatma Gandhi and to take a measure people’s anger at that crucial and sensitive period of partition. A government that leaves its patron saint unprotected even after an abortive attempt on his life on 20th Jan, 1948 and confession by the accused that more attempts will be made, indicates irresponsibility of Nehru and his government. Anger of refugees left to fend for themselves and left orphaned by the government was at its peak, but all our leaders could do was to sermonize them about secularism and brotherly love.

I wish to highlight the background in this article about Congress fear of RSS during that historic period urge of Congress leadership to put RSS down some way or the other. All they needed was an excuse.

RSS was highly popular and appreciated by society in general and suffering masses of partition in particular because its volunteers made huge sacrifices to save people from massacres, bring them safely to India, run relief camps and rehabilitate them. In his book ‘Golwalkar and RSS's author Jagat S. Bright writes, "R.S.S. had worked like Red Cross Society during period of independence and partition." English Tribune wrote, "Punjab is the sword arm of Hindustan and R.S.S. is the sword arm of Punjab." Perturbed with these developments, mouthpiece of Muslim League, Dawn, wrote, "If Congress leadership wishes to receive co-operation from Muslims, then it must ban Sangh immediately."

There was a grand conspiracy by Muslim League supporters to assassinate all members of the government and all Hindu officials and thousands of citizens on 10th September, 1947 and host Pakistani flag on Red Fort on. This incident was averted due to timely information to the government of India by young volunteers of RSS. This incident is recorded in the chronicles of Dr. Bhagwandass, a freedom fighter and a Bharat Ratna recipient.

It was this popularity that disturbed Nehru and made him insecure. Even when RSS leadership reiterated time and again that it was not interested in power, jealous Congress leaders (who themselves took help from RSS to escape from Sindh and Punjab) had nightmares. According to daily 'Dainik Kaal' dated October 13, 1947, Satara Congress committee in Maharashtra passed a resolution and asked Chief Minister B. G. Kher to 'Uproot Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh'. 

The committee threatened that 'otherwise we would destroy Sangh ourselves using 1942 type of terrorist methods.' Giving sagely advice to them, Chief Minister told them, "Don't take up an action in a mood of pessimism, or else you would be totally destroyed."

Later on there was a meeting of All India Congress Committee on 17th January 1948 in Delhi that passed a strongly worded resolution against Sangh. It demanded state governments also to take anti-Sangh steps. Lowest units of Congress were also asked to follow this policy. During this time, Central government also released a circular that said, "It was illegal for a government servant to be a member of R.S.S." Leader of this anti-Sangh front was Uttar Pradesh C.M. Rafi Ahmed Kidwai.

Madhya Pradesh's home minister Pandit Dwarika Prasad Mishra’s countered the allegations of the opposing camp, in an statement to Nagpur Navbhaarat (19th December, 1947), "The very idea that Sangh can overthrow government on the strength of lathis is laughable. It is surprising that this allegation was not made against the local D.S.P. I cannot believe at all that Sangh is a political organization and that there is a possibility of it overthrowing Pandit Nehru’s government."

Nehru's intentions were clear when January 29, 1948, that is just a day before the murder of the Mahatma, he thundered in Amritsar that he would see that the RSS is totally uprooted from the face of India. This threat sounded similar to Muslim Leagues' call to ban RSS earlier when they realized that RSS would thwart their designs. It sounds strange that Nehru and Muslim League were on the same page regarding RSS - Gandhi or no Gandhi.

First thing Congress government did after murder of Gandhi was to ban RSS as Nehru had desired. There are enough historical documents, and reports of commission of enquiry who absolved RSS totally in case of Gandhiji's murder. Not only that, neither Nathuram Godse nor government prosecutor mentioned RSS during entire court proceedings. 

Devious ways of Nehru and Congress stand exposed by the fact that their own CID officer Sanjeevi who investigated the assassination gave clean chit to RSS within one month of the incident. He had completed his job in 17 days and handed over complete report in writing to Home Minister. With same alacrity and sense of responsibility Home Minister Patel had written a long letter to the Prime Minister on 27th February 1948, that is, on twenty ninth day of Gandhiji's death. 

Today this letter is available in the sixth volume Collection of Nehru Patel correspondence on page numbers 56 and 57. But, this was an unpublished government document at the time. Government kept this report under cover as it wished to persecute RSS and crush it.

Congress government could not implicate RSS in the Gandhi murder case in the court. Later, Congress instituted a Commission of Enquiry headed by a retired Supreme Court judge Jeevanlal Kapur in 1966 which gave its report after 3 years of studying the case. Again, nothing came of it. Not only that, Kapur strongly indicted those responsible for Gandhi's security with negligence.

After the assassination, Congress hooligans turned violent and burnt RSS workers' houses, businesses and looted, and workers beaten up in public, just as they acted against Sikhs in 1984. Renowned producer Bal Pendharkar’s studio in Kolhapur was burnt down. Brahimns were also targeted because Godse was a Brahmin just as Sikhs were targeted in 1984. Thus, this Congress’s sectarian violence has a long history.

RSS chief at that time M S Golwalkar exorted his followers not to be provoked and retaliate in any manner as that could create fissures in the society and lead to more violence. RSS followed all possible democratic norms to protest against the ban, bore violence silently. It offered satyagraha when courts had absolved it and there was no ground for ban. 

Government had to withdraw ban as it could not get even an iota of evidence against it. All this was absolutely peaceful. The fig leaf of an excuse of not having a written constitution was used to finally lift the ban after a written constitution was submitted by RSS. But, recall that Congress itself did not have a constitution for 14 long years after its formation from 1885 to 1899. Thus, not having constitution was not a valid ground, all other allegations had no leg to stand on.

Unfortunately, Patel's views vacillated during that period. He knew of CID report absolving RSS but kept it under wraps. He was perhaps guided by realpolitik and didn't wish to go against Nehru. During negotiations for lifting of ban, Patel again reiterated that RSS should join Congress. If RSS was guilty of Gandhi murder why was it being asked to join Congress? 

After lifting of ban, he wrote to RSS chief expressing his happiness at lifting of the ban. After ban was lifted, Patel even got a resolution moved under Congress president at that time Purushottamdas Tandon, allowing RSS people to join Congress. But, it was stalled when Nehru returned from his overseas tour and Tandon was forced to resign. It tells us that in his heart Patel was sure that RSS was not involved in any way in Gandhi's murder. 

RSS chief had great respect for Patel so he never carried any bitterness against Patel. He cancelled his regular tour programmes, which he never did in his life, to rush to Patel’s cremation when he heard of his death. It shows sagacity of Patel and M S Golwalkar. This is in sharp contrast to the cold treatment received by Patel at the hands of Congress party during his life and later after his death. It does not behove it to try to regain his legacy now. Dr. Varghese Kurien notes in his biography, how Patel’s daughter was cold shouldered by Nehru and was left to fend for herself after his death.

With mountain of historic evidence, it is foolish on part of people like Rahul Gandhi to throw mud at RSS in Gandhi’s name. A fake Gandhi trying to milk the original Gandhi is a poor trick on the people. How long can you flog a dead horse? If Congress has evidence and it has done nothing, it is most incompetent government ruling the country for longest period. It is clear that it has failed to do so because it has failed to find even an iota of evidence against RSS. 

Nehru had understood his folly after 1962 and invited RSS to Republic Day parade to march with the Army in 1963. But, his progeny have not learnt any lessons. In such a case RSS should drag Congress and Rahul Gandhi to court for defamation rather than complain to election commission. It had dragged Arjun Singh to court earlier and he evaded courts for years before he died.

Congress should find better ideas to fight BJP and Modi. While nation wishes to move away from clichéd political debate of secularism vs communalism and dividing people on communal lines in name of secularism. It wants development, equity and justice. Congress and Rahul Gandhi find themselves unable to raise themselves above self created muck they are wallowing in and take the debate on a higher plane. By doing so, it is leaving the field open for Modi.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
About The Author
Ratan Sharda is a citizen journalist. He has authored books like 'Secrets of RSS'. A marketing consultant by profession, Mr. Sharda is a keen observer of the country's political scenario.
COMMENTS (15)
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Naim Naqvi
Let the author deny - As admitted by Gopal Godse, Nathuram Godse’s entire life revolved around RSS. Nathuram’s ideology was imbibed from RSS and it is this very ideology which led to the assassination of Gandhiji. Vinayak Savarkar, who was alleged to have hatched the conspiracy, was also equally involved with RSS. In fact, on Savarkar’s death, two thousand RSS workers gave his funeral procession a guard of honour. It is Vinayak Savarkar who is attributed to have coined the term ‘Hindutva’. On February 2, 1948, the Indian government banned the RSS, in pursuance of its “determination to root out the forces of hate and violence that are at work in our country and imperil the freedom of the nation and darken her fair name“.Sardar Patel, to whom Narendra Modi routinely clings on to in his speeches, was in fact the man who had banned the RSS – the institution which Modi joined at the tender age of 15. In a September 11, 1948 letter to Guru Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, the then RSS sarsangh-chalak, Sardar Patel was forthright in his denunciation of RSS leaders: All their speeches were full of communal poison. It was not necessary to spread poison in order to enthuse the Hindus and organise for their protection. As a final result of the poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji. Significantly, Sardar Patel was never in doubt about the role of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha in the murder of the Mahatma. In a letter dated February 27, 1948, to Pandit Nehru, he states this clearly. It was a fanatical wing of the Hindu Mahasabha directly under Savarkar that hatched the conspiracy and saw it through… Of course, his assassination was welcomed by those of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha who were strongly opposed to his way of thinking and to his policy. Sardar Patel reiterated this position in another letter (July 18, 1948) to Shyama Prasad Mookherjee: As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha… Our reports do confirm that, as a result of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. We can forget history only at our own peril. The flag bearers of the ideology that led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi are today knocking at your doors to chose them to lead this country. We hope Indians will turn them away.
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