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Was Nathuram Godse in any way different from Afzal Guru?
Post JNU controversy there have been a lot of debates on nationalism, patriotism and other such terms in depth. During the process I found mention of Afzal Guru vis-a-vis Nathuram Godse lot of times. One camp says that if Nathuram Godse can be glorified, why not Afzal Guru. However, the other camp argues that Godse was different from Afzal Guru.

According to Godse supporters, Gandhi was killed by him in the interest of the nation. Had he not killed Gandhi, he would have further divided India due to his love for Pakistan (read as Muslims). Godse didn't escape after killing Gandhi, he surrendered, didn't beg for mercy. Thus, he is a true nationalist.

The pro-Afzal camp argues that Guru didn't get a fair trial which he deserved. May be the court issued capital punishment to him biased by nationalism. The government of that day too didn't dare to pardon him, out of the fear of public backlash.

Some even think that it was Afzal's right to fight for the freedom of Kashmir. If Bhagat Singh can be a martyr for India, why can't Afzal be a martyr for Kashmir?

Arguments for defending assassins always carry a hypocritical element. Let me consider Nathuram Godse first. Yes, he had disagreement with Gandhi ji. But so are many others who too have disagreements. Notably, one such person was Subhash Chandra Bose. Despite disagreements, Bose never attacked Gandhi even verbally. He believed in his ideology and worked accordingly. I would have held Godse a nationalist, if he had debated with Gandhi through various mediums. He also had the option of writing columns for opposing Gandhi. But killing Gandhi over disagreements is in no way nationalism. No killer can be called a nationalist. Those who argue that Godse surrendered himself and didn't beg mercy; they must realize that suicide bombers too sacrifice their lives while carrying out terrorist acts. Will you call them nationalists too?

In Afzal Guru's case, people say that he didn't get a fair trial. On what basis they are saying it? We have to trust our judiciary in such cases where capital punishment is involved. I don't think that our judiciary is prejudiced at all in such cases. SAR Geelani was acquitted not due to the fact that he was found innocent. He was acquitted because the evidence against him was not strong. That speaks volumes of our judiciary.

Those who compare Guru with Bhagat Singh should remember that Bhagat Singh in fact adopted a non-violent approach at the later stage. He threw a bomb inside the parliament not to injure anyone but to get a platform to fight the British in a courtroom. Unfortunately his past crimes haunted him and he was hanged mercilessly. His killing of the British officer was a revenge of British killing Lala Lajpat Rai. Anyways, Afzal Guru can't be compared with such a legend.

Thus I don't see how Afzal Guru and Nathuram Godse are any different. Both were terrorists and deserved to be hanged.

Now, who is glorifying Nathuram Godse? There are some fringe elements of extreme rightist ideology, who are trying to glorify Godse, the same way some extreme leftist glorify Afzal Guru.

But often, it turns into a fight between Congress and the BJP. BJP/RSS have never endorsed glorification of Godse, similarly Afzal Guru was executed by the Congress government. Then why are they taking sides with these terrorists? They should be united in condemning these terrorists to foil other's attempts to glorify terrorists.

Politics is alright, but maturity is politics is also very important. Hope good sense prevails with all, so that anti-nationals and terrorists are not glorified. We all need to realize that first the nation needs to exist to have all the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. India can't afford to lose its independence because of internal conflicts of ideology, which weaken the state. Many have sacrificed themselves for this all important independence. Nobody has the right to destroy what has been achieved our freedom fighters.

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 In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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