Saturday, 31 January 2015

DD official sent to kaalapaani for airing jashodaben news

Doordarshan has transferred one of its assistant directors from Ahmedabad to Andamans after the national broadcaster's Gujarati channel aired a news item on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's estranged wife Jashodaben. 

VM Vanol, 58, who has just over a year to retire, was transferred in January second week while the less-than-two minute item was aired by DD Girnar on January 1. The item talked about Jashodaben filing an RTI petition with Gujarat Police seeking details of her entitlements .. 

A questionnaire sent to I&B ministry by ET seeking clarity on Vanol's transfer went unanswered. Top ministry officials said the transfer was an editorial and administrative decision and was not because of any particular incident. They requested not to be named for this story. 

Vanol confirmed he had been transferred to the Port Blair station in Andamans but refused to go into details of what led to his transfer. Doordarshan officials in Ahmedabad and New Delhi said the day after the .. clip was aired, top bureaucrats from the I&B ministry in New Delhi spoke to DD Ahmedabad Kendra officials and demanded an explanation. Four people - a joint director and three assistant directors including Vanol - who were in charge of putting news together that day were allegedly pulled up. 

But I&B ministry officials said the meeting was a regular stock taking event and was not related to any particular issue. 

"Vanol was in charge of collecting news from Gujarat that day. Since Jashodaben's news was big in all private channels, he decided to put out a small item," an employee of DD Ahmedabad Kendra told ET. 

Incidentally, the public broadcaster had also run a small item on Jashodaben filing the RTI in December but that had gone unnoticed, said sources. Officials of DD Ahmedabad said that during the UPA regime, DD Girnar had blacked out Gujarat government ads that showed the then chief minister Modi publicising his development schemes. 

"On May 16, 2014, even before the results were clear, everything changed. We were told to change our attitude. Whichever government takes over, DD has no autonomy," an official at Doordarshan said. 

The women who died defending Kobani against Isis

This week Kurdish forces took full control of Kobani, a Syrian town near the Turkish border, after months of bombardment by Islamic State. Mona Mahmoodspeaks to four Kurdish families about the female fighters who died helping to wrest control of the town from Isis

Shireen Taher

Mustafa Taher, 30, a lawyer and Kurdish language teacher, on his sister
A few months after the revolution in Syria broke out, the Syrian regime permitted predominantly Kurdish towns in Syria to teach the Kurdish language in their schools. This included my home town, Kobani. My sister Shireen, then 19, was supposed to study English literature at Damascus University in autumn 2012, but it became inconceivable to travel between Kobani and the capital given the increase in violence throughout Syria. Shireen instead studied the Kurdish language in Kobani while waiting for the chance to join the university.
Of my 11 brothers and sisters, I was closest to Shireen. We were more like friends than sister and brother. She was sensitive, fond of parties and loved sport. We were great fans of Barcelona football team. When the World Cup final was held in Johannesburg in 2010, Shireen travelled to Damascus where I worked as a lawyer, so we could watch the matches which were screened in large parks.
Shireen was inspired by her female Kurdish language teacher, Vian, 29, a fighter with the Kurdistan Workers’ party, PKK. It was a sombre day for the locals of Kobani when Vian was killed in a fight against Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaida affiliate and Syrian jihadi rebel group, in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad on 26 July 2012. At the funeral in Kobani to extol Vian’s martyrdom, my father gave his old gun to Shireen and told her to follow her teacher and be a fighter – despite my mother’s disagreement. Shireen vowed to join the People’s Protection units, YPG, to seek revenge for her teacher and defend Kobani. If Shireen had not volunteered, I would have done.
Shortly afterwards, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) launched attacks against Kobani. They were initiated by a car bomb at the Red Crescent centre on 11 November 2012. My father, 67, and his friend were nearby and were killed, alongside 12 other martyrs. During my father’s funeral, Shireen said: “I always thought that one day my father would be named as the father of martyrs, but I never thought that I would become the daughter of a martyr.”
Our father’s death gave Shireen an enormous jolt to adhere to his will and be an outstanding fighter. Especially after we went to the mortuary for his body. It was hard to identify given the massive damage caused by the explosion. Shireen was devastated by the martyrdom of several of her friends. She could hardly cope with the loss of her father and teacher. Life became meaningless for Shireen. She would spend days training in the military camp on weapons like the Kalashnikov, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades.
During her two years of training, Shireen would visit us. I could not believe how much her personality changed during her long embedding in the military camp in a Kobani suburb. She used to have a Barcelona flag around her neck and wore full makeup. I can’t remember her hands without rings or bracelets. Her bag, which was full of perfume and cosmetics, came to be loaded with bombs and bullets.
The day I decided to move my mother and sisters to Turkey, like most of the locals of Kobani, to escape the hellish Isis attack against our town, my mother insisted that I call Shireen. She told my mother: “If you leave Kobani, you won’t be my mother any longer.” But after three days, Shireen asked my mother to leave as soon as possible as Isis was getting closer to the city.
Shireen was camping west of Kobani when Isis militants were pushing forward towards the city with their heavy weapons and tanks. The Kurdish resistance was able to distract the progress of Isis with their light weapons but they could not stop it forever. Shireen was hiding in a trench near the Kurdish radio broadcast office. I rang her from Turkey five hours before her martyrdom to check on her. She said: “Do not worry, I’m still alive.” At 8pm, my other sister – who had stayed in Kobani working in the hospital as a nurse – called Shireen out of her fear for her safety. Shireen asked her not to contact her any more as the fight was getting worse and she could no longer speak on her mobile.
When my mother answered, the man told her to come and get her daughter’s head. Then we heard about a heavy fight launched by Isis against Kobani. At 10pm, we got a call from my sister’s mobile. It was a man’s voice. He asked if he was speaking to Shireen’s family. One of my sisters confirmed that we were, and he told her that Shireen was killed by Isis and she needed to collect Shireen’s head.
Before my sister could break the news of Shireen’s martyrdom to my mother, the Isis militant contacted my mother in Turkey and told her Shireen wanted to speak to her. When my mother answered, the man told her to come and get her daughter’s head. My mother lost consciousness , and was taken to hospital.
We called Shireen’s friends at the war front, who said Shireen and five other female fighters were ambushed on 30 September by an Isis tank that shelled them all to death. I returned to Kobani to get Shireen’s body for her funeral, but her friends told me her body was still with Isis and no one was able to go into the district where she had been killed. I returned to Turkey with my sister – she had a nervous breakdown and could not stay in Kobani any more. Although Shireen’s martyrdom was heartbreaking for my family, we are all proud of her sacrifice and the sacrifice of all her friends killed defending Kobani... read more:

Pakistan and India to share exhibit at Venice Biennale

Where the politicians and diplomats have failed, the artists hope to succeed. Pakistan and India are to be united at the Venice Biennale this year when a top contemporary artist from each nation will share an exhibit, in an unprecedented initiative aimed at bringing the two neighbours closer together.
The show, entitled My East is Your West, has been funded by a Indian private philanthropic organisation. The respective governments, which have been exchanging intermittent artillery fire and verbal barbs for months, are not involved.
“We just thought, let’s stop complaining about what others should be doing, let’s just do our best and say that from a common past and a divided present, we would like a peaceful future,” said Feroze Gujral, cofounder of the Gujral Foundation.
The two participating artists are both stars of the burgeoning contemporary art scenes in their respective countries. Mumbai-based Shilpa Gupta has exhibited at the Tate Modern, the Serpentine Gallery and the Guggenheim. Rashid Rana, who lives and works in Lahore, is considered one of the most important current Pakistani artists.
“This is something coming from the art world. We have just had [Barack] Obama in Delhi watching a huge parade of weapons and talking about nuclear power. So it’s wonderful to have this unofficial dream of peace,” Gupta said.
India and Pakistan were divided in 1947 when Britain was forced to give up its south Asian empire. The two nuclear powers have fought three major wars since and have skirmished, militarily and diplomatically, continually. A nascent peace process has been frozen since 2008 after Pakistan-based militants attacked India’s commercial capital, Mumbai.
At least 14 million people were displaced in the partition of the two countries 68 years ago as Muslims fled to Pakistan and Hindus and Sikhs headed to India. Up to a million were killed in mob violence. “Partition hasn’t really been addressed at all in either nation,” said Gupta, whose previous work has investigated ideas of nationhood and frontiers.
Gujral said this shared history was one reason for her decision to organise the joint show in Venice. Her father-in-law, Satish Gujral, one of the most important Indian artists of recent decades, was born in Jhelum, in modern Pakistan, and fled to India in 1947, narrowly escaping death.
“His losses were irreplaceable … so this is a very special project. There is never any healing but there can be a celebration, a cultural conversation, that can cross borders,” she said.
India exhibited at the Venice Biennale for the first time four years ago. Pakistan last did in 1956.
That artists and patrons should pick up where officials have failed is less surprising than it may seem to outsiders. Despite poverty, political instability and sometimes violence, artists from south Asia are beginning to make a global name for themselves, attracting interest from international buyers, curators and museum directors.
This weekend tens of thousands of visitors are expected to attend the India Art Fair, now in its seventh year. The event has attracted artists and dealers from across the world, all keen to get a slice of the still booming Indian market.
British and European artists have proved popular among India’s new wealthy art collectors, though bureaucratic restrictions mean some gallery owners prefer to bring works to show rather than sell.
This year’s event, with 85 galleries, is more focused on local artists and those in smaller towns beyond India’s sprawling cities.
One Pakistani gallery, from the southern port city of Karachi, has surmounted a series of logistical obstacles to show at the event. “It is special being here, there’s a lot of history obviously, though getting visas is tough,” said Camilla Chaudhary, of ArtChowk.
Rashid Rana, who will share the Venice Biennale exhibit with Gupta, said the exhibition would be more about the south Asian region as a whole rather than just the complex relationship between India and Pakistan. “I am interested in messing with time and location … As artists we can defy these borders,” Rana said.
The venture has been greeted with some scepticism. Kanwal Sibal, a former foreign secretary of India, said cultural initiatives could help “form a pool of public opinion “that could help improve relations between states, but little more”. He said: “It has some value, but in terms of true impact on policy it is less than marginal.”

हरिशंकर परसाई - महात्मा गाँधी को चिट्ठी पहुँचे (1977)

यह चिट्ठी महात्मा मोहनदास करमचंद गाँधी को पहुंचे. महात्माजी, मैं न संसद-सदस्य हूँ, न विधायक, न मंत्री, न नेता. इनमें से कोई कलंक मेरे ऊपर नहीं है. मुझमें कोई ऐसा राजनीतिक ऐब नहीं है कि आपकी जय बोलूं. मुझे कोई भी पद नहीं चाहिये कि राजघाट जाऊँ. मैंने आपकी समाधि पर शपथ भी नहीं ली.
आपका भी अब भरोसा नहीं रहा. पिछले मार्च में आपकी समाधि मोरारजी भाई ने भी शपथ ली थी और जगजीवन राम ने भी. मगर बाबू जी रह गए और मोरारजी प्रधानमंत्री हो गए. आख़िर गुजराती ने गुजराती का साथ दिया.
जिन्होंने आपकी समाधि पर शपथ ली थी उनका दस महीने में ही ‘जिंदाबाद’ से ‘मुर्दाबाद’ हो गया. वे जनता से बचने के लिए बाथरूम में ही बिस्तर डलवाने लगे हैं. मुझे अपनी दुर्गति नहीं करानी. मैं कभी आपकी समाधि पर शपथ नहीं लूँगा. उसमें भी आप टाँग खींच सकते हैं.
आपके नाम पर सड़कें हैं- महात्मा गाँधी मार्ग, गाँधी पथ. इनपर हमारे नेता चलते हैं. कौन कह सकता है कि इन्होंने आपका मार्ग छोड़ दिया है. वे तो रोज़ महात्मा गाँधी रोड पर चलते हैं.
इधर आपको और तरह से अमर बनाने की कोशिश हो रही है. पिछली दिवाली पर दिल्ली के जनसंघी शासन ने सस्ती मोमबत्ती सप्लाई करायी थी. मोमबत्ती के पैकेट पर आपका फोटो था. फोटो में आप आरएसएस के ध्वज को प्रणाम कर रहे हैं. पिछे हेडगेवार खड़े हैं.
एक ही कमी रह गयी. आगे पूरी हो जायेगी. अगली बार आपको हाफ पेंट पहना दिया जायेगा और भगवा टोपी पहना दी जायेगी. आप मजे में आरएसएस के स्वयंसेवक के रुप में अमर हो सकते हैं. आगे वही अमर होगा जिसे जनसंघ करेगा.
कांग्रेसियों से आप उम्मीद मत कीजिये. यह नस्ल खत्म हो रही है. आगे गड़ाये जाने वाले में कालपत्र में एक नमूना कांग्रेस का भी रखा जयेगा, जिससे आगे आनेवाले यह जान सकें कि पृथ्वी पर एक प्राणी ऐसा भी था. गैण्डा तो अपना अस्तितव कायम रखे है लेकिन कांग्रेसी नहीं रख सका.
मोरारजी भाई भी आपके लिए कुछ नहीं कर सकेंगे. वे सत्यवादी हैं. इसलिए अब वे यह नहीं कहते कि आपको मारने वाला गोडसे आरएसएस का था.
यह सभी जानते हैं कि गोडसे फांसी पर चढ़ा, तब उसके हाथ में भगवा ध्वज था और होठों पर संघ की प्रार्थना- नमस्ते सादा वत्सले मातृभूमि. पर यही बात बताने वाला गाँधीवादी गाइड दामोदरन नौकरी से निकाल दिया गया. उसे आपके मोरारजी भाई ने नहीं बचाया.
मोरारजी सत्य पर अटल रहते हैं. इस समय उनके लिए सत्य है प्रधानमंत्री बने रहना. इस सत्य की उन्हें रक्षा करनी है. इस सत्य की रक्षा के लिए जनसंघ का सहयोग जरूरी है. इसलिए वे यह झूठ नहीं कहेंगे कि गोडसे आरएसएस का था. वे सत्यवादी है.
तो महात्माजी, जो कुछ उम्मीद है, बाला साहब देवरास से है. वे जो करेंगे वही आपके लिए होगा. वैसे काम चालू हो गया है. गोडसे को भगत सिंह का दर्जा देने की कोशिश चल रह रही है. गोडसे ने हिंदू राष्ट्र के विरोधी गाँधी को मारा था.
गोडसे जब भगत सिंह की तरह राष्ट्रीय हीरो हो जायेगा, तब तीस जनवरी का क्या होगा? अभी तक यह ‘गाँधी निर्वाण दिवस है’, आगे ‘गोडसे गौरव दिवस’ हो जायेगा. इस दिन कोई राजघाट नहीं जायेगा, फिर भी आपको याद जरूर किया जायेगा.
जब तीस जनवरी को गोडसे की जय-जयकार होगी, तब यह तो बताना ही पड़ेगा कि उसने कौन-सा महान कर्म किया था. बताया जायेगा कि इस दिन उस वीर ने गाँधी को मार डाला था. तो आप गोडसे के बहाने याद किए जायेंगे. अभी तक गोडसे को आपके बहाने याद किया जाता था.
एक महान पुरुष के हाथों मरने का कितना फयदा मिलेगा आपको? लोग पूछेंगे- यह गाँधी कौन था? जवाब मिलेगा- वही, जिसे गोडसे ने मारा था.
एक संयोग और आपके लिए अच्छा है. 30 जनवरी 1977 को जनता पार्टी बनी थी. 30 जनवरी जनता पार्टी का जन्म-दिन है. अब बताइये, जन्मदिन पर कोई आपके लिए रोयेगा? वह तो खुशी का दिन होगा.
आगे चलकर जनता पार्टी पुरी तरह जनसंघ हो जायेगी. तब 30 जनवरी का यह महत्त्व होगा- इस दिन परमवीर राष्ट्रभक्त गोडसे ने गाँधी को मारा. इस पुण्य के प्रताप से इसी दिन जनता पार्टी का जन्म हुआ, जिसने हिंदू राष्ट्र की स्थापना की.
आप चिंता न करें, महात्माजी! हमारे मोरारजी भाई को न कभी चिंता होती है और न वे कभी तनाव अनुभव करते हैं. चिंता क्यों हो उन्हें? किसकी चिंता हो? देश की? नहीं. उन्होंने तो ऐलान कर दिया है- राम की चिड़िया, राम के खेत! खाओ री चिड़िया, भर-भर पेट! तो चिड़िया खेत खा रही है और मोरारजी को कोई चिंता, कोई तनाव नहीं है.
बाकी भी ठीक चल रहा है. आप जो लाठी छोड़ गए थे, उसे चरण सिंह ने हथिया लिया है.
चौधरी साहब इस लाठी को लेकर जवाहरलाल नेहरू का पीछा कर रहे हैं. जहाँ नेहरू को पा जाते हैं, एक-दो हाथ दे देते हैं. जो भी नेहरू की नीतियों की वकालत करता है, उसे चौधरी आपकी लाठी से मार देते हैं.
उस दिन चंद्रशेखर ने कहीं कह दिया कि नेहरू की उद्योगीकरन की नीति सही थी और उससे देश को बहुत फायदा हुआ है.
चरण सिंह ने सुना तो नौकर से कहा- अरे लाना गाँधीजी की लाठी!
लाठी को लेकर चंद्रशेखर को मारने निकल पड़े. बेचारे बचने के लिए थाने गए तो थानेदार ने कह दिया- पुलिस चौधरी साहब की है. वे अगर आपको मार रहे हैं तो हम नहीं बचा सकते.
आप हरिजन वगैरह की चिन्ता मत कीजिये. हर साल कोटा तय रहता है कि इस साल गाँधी जयंती तक इतने हरिजन मरेंगे. इस साल ‘कोटा’ बढ़ा दिया गया था, क्योंकि जनता पार्टी के नेताओं ने राजघाट पर शपथ ली थी.
उनकी सरकार बन गयी. उन्हें शपथ की लाज रखनी थी. इसीलिये हरिजनों को मारने का ‘कोटा’ बढ़ा दिया गया. खुशी है कि ‘कोटे’ से कुछ ज्यादा ही हरिजन मारे गए. आप बेफिक्र रहें, आपका यश किसी ना किसी रुप में सुरक्षित रहेगा.
एक भक्त

Vrinda Gopinath - Six hilarious ways Modi tried to match Obama’s cool quotient (but failed miserably) // Exemplary Patriotism of our Vastrapurush

1.   Let’s face it, Narendra Modi’s exuberant bear hugs, vigorous handshakes, lingering hand-clutching and uncontrollable waving with US President Barack Obama as a desi version of  “Gimme Five” was ludicrously over the top.  The bear hug and hand shaking on the tarmac at Delhi airport where Modi broke protocol to personally receive Obama to more handshakes and waves at Rashtrapati Bhavan, to another bear hug and more vigorous handshakes and clutches before and after the press meet at Hyderabad House, then at the Indo-US CEO forum, Republic Day Parade etc etc, must have left Obama thanking the Lord that the bump and grind hadn’t reached 7 Race Course Road yet.

Now, we know the touchy-feely M.O.D.I Luvin' was for telly marketing and photo ops for millions across the country, but could Modi have been so effusive with Asian, Latin-American or Anglo-Saxon world leaders? Apart from the standard, vigorous handshake (and a bit of backslapping with Australian prime minister), Modi was certainly trying to get into the groove with Cool Obama, who has famously fist- bumped and high-fived his way across the world. Modi must give Bro Obama a big thank you for the slammin’ and jammin’ the way only Obama can. For real cool, it’s time Modi rapped “America avi gayo”.

 2.   The most embarrassing moment was when Modi referred to Obama as “Barack” at the formal joint Press meet after their luncheon at Hyderabad House. Now, Obama has addressed British Prime Minister David Cameron as Bro’ informally, but did Modi have to refer to Obama by his first name at the formal joint press conference when the world’s media, cabinet ministers and officials were sitting attentively? There was no question that Obama blanched and turned his attention to Modi, who carried on blissfully and referred to the US Prez as Barack yet again. Modi was talking in Hindi and the deliberate message of familiarity was being beamed to desi viewers, but it was gauche, awkward and clumsy.

 3.   The bespoke pinstriped dark navy wool suit that Modi wore to the bilateral talks with Obama at Hyderabad House was no ordinary pinstripe but his name Narendra Damordas Modi embroidered all over the fabric. While the last world leader to don such a suit (it costs around 15,000 sterling pounds or Rs 15 lakhs today) was deposed Egyptian tyrant Hosni Mubarak, it certainly out-dazzled Obama’s working dark grey suit (to cut down on non-vital decisions, the US Prez only wears grey and blue ). However, if Modi was thinking hip-hop bling and ice accessories (his fave diamond Movado watch), it certainly got Obama to make a mention at the President’s banquet when he foxily pointed out how a newspaper back home wrote, “Move aside, Michelle Obama. The world has a new fashion icon.” It must have not passed Obama’s notice that Modi had changed his attire thrice that day.

 4.    If the fashion barb was not enough, Obama even referred to Modi as a Bollywood star. Obviously, Obama had not forgotten Modi’s Central Park cameo last year during his visit to the US soon after he became prime minister, when Modi strode on the stage at a performance and mouthed the Star Wars credo, “May the force be with you.” Later, Modi’s Madison Square Garden address to NRIs was a lurid pageant to himself rather than a Jay Z high energy concert. Now, does Modi want to be seen as a statesman or be compared to a leader’s spouse in the fashion sweepstakes?

 5.   So much so, after calling Obama “Barack”, it was a slightly piqued Obama who stressed that it was not the “personal friendship” between him and Modi that they were able to build in a “brief amount of time”, but they were reflecting the warmth and affection between Indians and Americans, and the values shared between India and US that makes the bond so strong and promising. Obama referred to the Indian prime minister as Modi only when he was recounting a personal anecdote – on how many hours of sleep they both get. That’s rap for Modi, from Obama. Chilla.

 6. Finally, it was a forceful Obama who underlined the gospel of African-American cool – the testament of Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi, the US president's revered gods of non-violence, equality, freedom, liberty, and democratic ideals of modern society. Wonder what Modi thought when Obama passionately said at his Town Hall address, that “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith.” And that “every person has the right to practice their faith, how they choose or to practice no faith at all, and to do so free from persecution”, finally concluding, “Nowhere is this more important than in India.”

Is Modi willing to play the Obama gig? There’s no music yet. Everyone’s waiting.

Exemplary Patriotism of our Vastrapurush

Citizens' Statement against Capitulation to the US on Nuclear Liability

Press Release | Contact: Kumar Sundaram +91-9810556134

We are deeply disturbed by media reports that the Indian government has capitulated to aggressive U.S. demands and agreed to a deal that indemnifies American nuclear vendors from the consequences of accidents caused by design defects in their reactors.

Preliminary reports suggest that the government has agreed to create an insurance pool, backed by public sector companies, so that any potential American liability can be redirected back to Indian taxpayers. This creates a “moral hazard”, where the Indian people could end up being responsible for mistakes made by a multinational corporation.

The 2010 Indian liability Act is already a weak law heavily biased towards the nuclear industry. It caps the total liability for an accident at a paltry Rs 1,500 crores and takes away the rights of victims to sue the supplier.  The much-discussed supplier liability is very limited: the government alone, as the operator, has a right of recourse against the vendor.

So, we fail to understand the Modi government's motivation for weakening this law even further.  The U.S. has nothing attractive to offer in terms of nuclear commerce. The Indian government has agreed to purchase the AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse, and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) from General Electric. Both these designs are untested. The ESBWR technology is so immature that the design received certification from the U.S. nuclear regulatory commission—the first step before a reactor can be constructed—only last September.  Recent reports suggest that construction of AP1000 units has run into trouble in China.

Independent estimates suggest that the cost of electricity from these reactors may exceed Rs. 15 per unit. This is much higher than the tariff from competing sources of electricity.

Therefore, the reality behind the grandiose proclamations made by the Indian government is rather sobering. India has agreed to pay billions of dollars for immature American technology, and then ensured that American companies will not be held to account for any design defects. 

We hope that progressive forces and concerned citizens throughout the country will unite to oppose this disturbing development.


Praful Bidwai,
Achin Vanaik
Lalita Ramdas
Anil Chaudhary
Suvrat Raju
Abey George
Abhishek Shrivastava
Meher Engineer
Ashish Kothari
EAS Sarma
N D Jayaprakash
Sheba Chhachhi
Aruna Roy
Harsh Kapoor
Satya Sivaraman
Vidya Dinkar
Pamela Philipose
Zoya Hasan
Anand Patwardhan
Githa Hariharan
Priyamvada Gopal
Mohan Rao
Sumit Sarkar
Tanika Sarkar
Anitha Sharma
S P Shukla
Rohan D'Souza
S P Udayakumar 
Jammu Anand
Nitasha Kaul
Dwijen Rangekar

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Abolition of truth

Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca // samanyam etat pasubhir naranam
dharmo hi tesam adhiko viseso // dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah
(Hunger, sleep, fear and sex are common to men and animals
What distinguishes men from animals is the knowledge of right and wrong)
(Bhagwadgita; Tr S. Radhakrishnan, 1948, 1971, p 79)

For the Hindi version of this essay click here: सत्य की हत्या

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: He was the only ray of light to help us through these darkest days.

Ho Chi Minh: “I and others may be revolutionaries but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more nothing less.”

Louis Fischer: Just an old man in a loin cloth in distant India. yet when he died, humanity wept.

General Douglas MacArthur: Nothing more revolting has occurred in the history of the modern world than the senseless assassination of this venerable man... Gandhiji, however, was one of those prophets who lived far ahead of the times.

Sarojini Naidu: Far greater than all warriors who led armies to battle was this little man, the bravest, the most tried friend of all. 

George Bernard Shaw: It shows how dangerous it is to be good... Impressions of Gandhi? You might well ask for someone's impression of the Himalayas.

Rev Martin Luther King: If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable

Earl Mountbatten: Mahatma Gandhi will go down in history on a par with Buddha and Jesus Christ.

Albert Einstein: Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

Chakravarti Rajagopalachari: I pray that the history of India might be written with the rhythm and tune of the grief that Bharatmata had felt when Mahatma Gandhi fell.

A.K. Fazlul Huq (ex-Premier of Bengal) The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most tragic events since the great tragedy of Karbala. It is impossible to find words to express the feelings that are uppermost in our minds. May his soul rest in peace.

'Civil war broke out in city after city, and in places where the violence occurred late, the knowledge of what had happened previously in other places caused still new extravagances of fanatical zeal, expressed in an elaboration in the methods of seizing power and by unheard-of atrocities in revenge. To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect in a party member; to think of the future and wait was merely another way of saying one was a coward; any act of moderation was just an atempt to disguise one's unmanly character... This neither side had any use for conscientious motives; more interest was shown in those who could produce attractive arguments to justify some disgraceful action. As for the citizens who held moderate views, they were destroyed by both the extreme parties...Society had become divided into two ideologically hostile camps, and each side viewed the other with suspicion.' Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Bk 3; written circa 431 BC

The Abolition of truth
सत्य की हत्या

The advent of the Modi-led BJP government has emboldened the ideologues of religion-based nationalism. They apparently feel that the whole country is now ready for the politics of Gandhi's murderers. Several members of the so-called 'Sangh Parivar' have been making statements of this nature, filled with lies and hateful propaganda. The courtroom speech of the assassin Nathuram Godse is now being widely circulated, with its mixture of self-justification, lies and half-truths. Godse appointed himself judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one - with lots of help from his mentor V.D. Savarkar, the presiding deity of the Hindutva version of nationalism. Many terrorists do likewise - they decide guilt and they carry out the punishment. I'm all for an open airing of political and religious beliefs. Will our rulers arrange for the writings of Charu Mazumdar, J.S. Bhindranwale, the Hizbul Mujahidin, ULFA and Prabhakaran to be sold in India's railway stations? Hitler's Mein Kampf already sells widely. Why not? We're a democracy after all. 

The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: Inquiry Commission Report (1969)

Our polity is now faced with an assault on the mind. Our very sense of discrimination between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood is under attack. We live in an ideological climate of nihilism, wherein human life is of no consequence, and conversation is fast evaporating. It is time thoughtful Indians of every political inclination asked themselves a simple question: Has the new-found status of the 'Parivar' made us take leave of our senses? A fanatical conspirator enters a prayer meeting open to all, and shoots dead a 79 year-old unarmed and unguarded man at point-blank range. For nearly seven decades, one section of our intelligentsia looked upon the murderer as a martyr and hailed his act as it were something admirable. Today these fans of Godse and Savarkar are thrusting their hate-filled ideas down our throats. 

What is this if not the brazen celebration of communal terrorism and murder?

Let us be clear about this - if Godse's preparedness for death signifies something virtuous to the 'parivar', the activities of all the jehadis, maoists, khalistanis and sundry insurgents across the sub-continent also become virtuous. Don't all terrorists have their admirers? How do we adjudge one brand of murder as virtue and another as evil? Why are MP's, MLA's and other persons close to the highest executives of the BJP government engaged in white-washing political assassination?

The 'Parivar' is distinguished not only by its avowal of communal violence and revenge killings. The Home Ministry under 
Sardar Patel banned them on February 4, 1948. Patel also said that 'a fanatical wing of the Mahasabha directly under Savarkar' had hatched the conspiracy and seen it through. (Letter to Nehru on Feb 27, 1948, vol 6 of his correspondence, edited by Durga Das). However, Savarkar's 'parivar' is now in power, and still engages in shameless and systematic character-assassination. These days we may see this activity in the comments section of various news portals, where Gandhi is subject to vicious abuse on a daily basis. 

One big lie is that Gandhi was responsible for the partition of India, overlooking the fact that he referred to partition as a sin, and resisted it to the end of his days. He accepted it with sorrow only after the leadership of the Congress, most importantly Sardar Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru recommended it as the only way out of the political crisis of 1946-47. The truth is complex and it is a matter of shame that senior leaders of the so-called Sangh Parivar should be spreading falsehood and half-truths for narrow partisan ends. If the Two Nation Theory was false and evil, why did their hero V.D Savarkar support it? Here is what he said on August 15, 1943: "I have no quarrel with Mr Jinnah's two-nation theory. We Hindus are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations"  (Indian Annual Register 1943 vol.2 p.10). 

The other big lie is that Gandhi did not condemn Muslim fanaticism, was more concerned with the protection of Muslims and ignored the plight of Hindu victims of communal violence. This is utter nonsense, yet repeated day in and day out. In his speeches at his prayer meetings and in his writings Gandhi makes it clear time and again that good and bad people were to be found in all communities, that no community held a monopoly of good and evil. In November 1946 he spent several weeks walking in the areas around Noakhali, in Chittagong division of East Bengal, where Hindus had been the victims of communal violence. He stayed there and walked for 190 km; speaking of the need for repentance, harmony, and justice. This was in the face of the hostility of the Muslim League provincial government and the vicious behaviour of their cadre  towards him. Some of their tallest functionaries even accused him of instigating the massacres in Calcutta. They repeatedly called him the arch-enemy of Muslims. 

When Gandhi went to Bihar early in 1947 to calm the communal fires there (here, conversely, Muslims were targeted), he was accused of being partial to Muslims. The same accusations were hurled at him in August 1947, when he remained in Calcutta. In his speech in Delhi (January 18, 1948) calling off his last fast, he referred to a Muslim visitor in Patna who had given him a book by a cleric, in which he read that kafirs deserved to be exterminated. Gandhi denounced and despaired of such views (which were also condemned by Maulana Azad that same evening). The entire commentary may be read on page 446, vol 90 of the collected works here (in English); and page 426 (in Hindi), here. Such observations are indeed available throughout his writings and speeches. But both kinds of religious extremists relentlessly accused him of being partial to the other side. For them, nothing but total submission to their hateful world-view would suffice. 

Yet another lie is that his last fast was directed at forcing the Union Government to part with the 55 crores owed to Pakistan. Undoubtedly Gandhi wanted the Union Government to fulfil its obligation to hand over to Pakistan what was rightfully its property. But the facts show clearly that his fast was meant to calm the fires of communal hatred and violence then raging in Delhi and North India, and to secure the restoration of the tomb of Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Chisti in Mehrauli. Had he not staked his life for this cause, we would have had another Babri-type fabricated dispute on the edge of the capital. Gandhi's last fast, or yajna, as he called it, led to the Delhi Declaration of January 18, 1948, which was agreed to by all parties and groups, including the Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. This declaration was a solemn commitment to uphold communal harmony and friendship among all communities, to refrain from revenge attacks on innocent people, and to return all places of worship to their rightful owners. As Rajkumari Amrit Kaur said, "With his infinite love he was trying to quench the anger that raged in many breasts. He was the one thing that stood between us and disaster, for lawlessness and disorder and hate and violence can lead nowhere else."

Gandhi's words and speeches at his prayer meetings in the last weeks of his life are easily available in volume 90 of his Collected Works on the Gandhi Heritage Portal.

An avowal of political assassination

Her are some of the recent utterance of members of the 'Parivar'
Hindu Mahasabha head speaks to FP: Godse was a 'martyr' and 'patriot'

These utterances are an avowal of political murder. They undermine the ethic of lawful government and they corrode the authority and legitimacy of the Indian Union. Those who have been trained in communal half-truths and deceit for decades will not be able to see what is dangerous about this new-found bravado of the Godse-brigade. But responsible citizens hope that judges, IAS and IPS officers and other constitutional officials can see the Parivar undermining the integrity of the state. The portents are not good. When India's Chief Justice makes a gushing statement about the 'goodness' of Narendra Modi, it gives rise to concern about his impartiality. (See Professor Upendra Baxi's opinion). 

If state officials - including elected representatives - forget that they are servants of the Constitution, not of the government of the day; if they let fear and timidity affect their official performance, let them understand that they are contributing to the subversion of the Constitution. In which case, they should refrain from talking about Maoist subversion in future. They are worse, because they are sworn to uphold the law of the land.

Do Prime Minister Modi, his party colleagues, and their RSS mentors believe in and support vigilante violence and political assassination? If they do not, they should come out and say so. If they do, on what grounds can they ask insurgent groups to give up violence? The Kesari article demonstrates yet again the Sangh Parivar's contempt for law. There's no point saying this is not the official position of the BJP, or that these are 'fringe elements'. The RSS is not a fringe of the BJP. The BJP is a front of the RSS. So are the VHP, Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini, ABVP, BMS and a host of other organisations. Is there any doubt that most cadre and followers of the RSS political family hold these beliefs? Have the the leaders of the RSS distanced themselves from such ideas? It is all very well to be clever and dodgy, but cleverness cannot forever substitute for truthful speech.

Beyond good and evil?
The editor of a prominent news portal has written an opinion piece where he argues that the debate about Gandhi's assassination requires us to go 'beyond the binary of good and evil'. His argument shifts imperceptibly towards matters of public perception and relativism: "If someone has a right to eulogise Gandhi, surely others have a right to criticise him or praise his nemesis? If we can today write books giving imaginary versions of Ravana’s side of the story (and not Ram’s), surely we can live with the ideas of those who think Godse was not pure evil?". Well put. Of course we can live (and die) with the murderous ideas floating around us. We have been doing so for decades. Even when such ideas are aired by the highest in the land, as in 'when a great tree falls, the earth shakes'; and 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction' - etc. 

But who has questioned anyones' right to an opinion? 

The editor continues: "The only thing absolutely wrong about what Godse did was putting bullets through the Mahatma instead of debating him and converting the Indian public to his cause. But, at that time, the public was besotted with Gandhi and unwilling to listen to others. Godse’s ideas were checkmated by Gandhi's popularity, and this frustration drove him to murder.."

What does it mean to say "The only thing wrong about what Godse did"? As far as public debate is concerned, what else did he 'do' aside from killing Gandhi? The murder is precisely the point at issue. Would this debate be taking place at all if Gandhi had not been killed? Or if Hindutva ideologues were not defending political assassination? Incidentally, it is also incorrect to say 'the public was besotted with Gandhi'. He was immensely popular, but there were also people who hated him, and during his last upavas, there were demonstrations of large numbers of refugees from Pakistan who shouted 'let Gandhi die'.

Well before January 1948, the Mahasabha and Savarkar had attacked Gandhi in speech and print. The editor fails to note that (aside from several physical assaults and attempts at inflicting serious injury on him, right from his days in South Africa) there was a bomb attack in 1934, an attempted train derailment in 1946, another such in 1947, and two more attacks in January 1948, the last of which killed him. All these involved persons and groups that objected to his ideal of composite nationhood, and of Hindu-Muslim unity. 

But it is not the ideas of Hindutva that are being discussed, noxious though they were (and remain). It is the fact that the men around Savarkar were hell-bent on murder. The editor may well deflect the discussion into an argument about the respective merits of Savarkar's ideas and the right of people to hold such ideas. But he ought not to trivialise the murder by saying "the only thing absolutely wrong about what Godse did was putting bullets through the Mahatma", because the assassination is the central issue that has been highlighted by the admirers of Godse themselves. His brother Gopal Godse is on record stating his pride in the deed. One opinion piece in an RSS journal has even stated that Godse should have killed Nehru, and many others have spoken admiringly of Godse's deed. 

These days, India's Prime Minister invokes Gandhi at every available opportunity. As journalist Sandipan Sharma says, "the PM’s efforts to eulogise, emulate and hardsell the Mahatma should have by now triggered a Munnabhai-type revival of the Gandhian ideals in India. And yet, ironically, the exact opposite is happening: it is Godse’s cult that appears set for a cultural renaissance." He goes on: "There are many pitfalls of turning Godse into a hero... once you defend Godse’s action, the same logic can be extended to every terrorist who kills for his ideology - political or religious - making it impossible to differentiate between the assassins of Gandhi, the butchers of Peshawar and the perpetrators of 9/11 or 26/11. None of these were seeking personal vendetta; all were promoting their political ideologies through violent means. The people who valourise Godse are, at the core, firm believers in Hindutva, in the two-nation theory. For them, Indian secularism is their biggest enemy and Godse is a hero for having killed one of its biggest proponents. For them, Gandhi is not the man who helped Indian win freedom and the world discover the merits of ahimsa over violence; he is the person who helped create Pakistan..."

The question of violence
What is wrong about the manner in which the apologists of the 'parivar' discuss this issue? It is the fact that the act of murder is lost sight of, and we prefer to keep our attention focused on the stated motives of the murderers. The same may be said for protests against this or that film, book, cartoon, etc. Note the current campaign by the Savarkarites to bring in the pain of partition as the justification for the murder of Gandhi. Who can deny the pain of partition? But what does that have to do with murdering Gandhi? How does it justify political assassination? 

There's no doubt that the world is complex, as are the motives of human beings. We wish good and evil to be clearly demarcated, but unfortunately they often come in mixtures. Gandhi  was well aware of this. For him, the fact that in the Mahabharata the wrong-doers had good men like Bhishma and Drona on their side was a sign that, "evil cannot by itself flourish in this world. It can do so only if it is allied with some good". He wrote this in 1926 and remained consistent in his belief. In 1940, he said, "Goondas do not drop from the sky, nor do they spring from the earth like evil spirits. They are the product of social disorganization, and society is therefore responsible for their existence... they should be looked upon as a symbol of corruption in our body-politic". Confronted by riots in 1946 he said, "I deprecate the habit of procuring a moral alibi for ourselves by blaming it all on the goondas. We always put the blame on goondas. But it is we who are responsible for their creation as well as encouragement". At the height of the violence of 1947 he said, "it is time for peace-loving citizens to assert themselves and isolate goondaism. Non-violent non-cooperation is the universal remedy. Good is self-existent, evil is not. It is like a parasite living in and around good. It will die of itself when the support that good gives it is withdrawn." 

However, complexity does not abolish the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil. To arrive at that point would be to leave behind the capacity that makes us humans. Goodness is indeed a first principle - we can't define it in simpler terms. Disagreement between people about what is good or bad would be impossible if they did not first agree that there is a difference between good and bad. 

The central question of our time is violence, not the multifarious justifications produced by those who practice violence. Violence feeds on itself, it has always done and will always do. Those who still cannot see this are doomed to remain in an endless cycle of argumentation & intimidation. This is why Gandhi remains relevant. Above all, he was an advocate of friendship and dialogue. He stood for atma-bal, or soul-force and satya-bal (truth force) as against sharir-bal, or physical force. He read all the religious scriptures and asked his fellow Indians to do the same. He concentrated on what was common to them, rather than on dogma and doctrine. He drew sustenance from the fact that there were good persons among all communities, and that was proof enough that their faith must have provided them with an impulse toward goodness. In the worst of circumstances, in the midst of utter barbarity, in Noakhali, Patna, Delhi and wherever he went in those last weeks of his life, he appealed to the wrong-doers to look inwards, to remember their common humanity, to recognise the evil they had wrought, to repent (prayaschit) and change their ways.

Gandhi was an optimist of the soul. We need him as much today as we needed him in 1948. Even those who hate him need him, an old horse upon whose tired back we can off-load all our remorse and anger and pain. Well may the 'Parivar' hail his assassins (there were more than one). They seek to kill him yet again, to wipe out the last sweet traces of his memory from our minds. But to do that, they would have to abolish the very human capacity to love, smile and befriend people. As Gandhi said, The force of love is the same as the force of the soul or truth. We have evidence of its working at every step. As long as we retain those capacities, they will fail.

On January 31, 1948, as India and indeed the whole world was plunged in grief (barring those whom Sardar Patel accused of distributing sweets), the Hindusthan Standard published a black front page, with three simple sentences:

Gandhiji has been killed by his own people for whose redemption he lived. This second crucifixion in the history of the world has been enacted on a Friday - the same day Jesus was done to death one thousand nine hundred and fifteen years ago. Father forgive us.

The Indian people need to stand up and fight against the propaganda directed against Mahatma Gandhi, and the celebration of his murder by people whose minds are crazed by hatred, ignorance and spite. It is a crying shame that this campaign is being led by people who are close to or indeed, members of the ruling dispensation. It will bring them nothing but disgrace. Gandhi belongs to humanity. The Reverend Martin Luther King said: “If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.” 

Ishwar Allah Tere Nam
Sabko Sanmati De Bhagwan

Tributes to Mahatma Gandhi

C. Rajagopalachari, Governor-General
Bharatmata is writhing in anguish and pain over the loss. No man loved Bharatmata and Indians more than Mahatma Gandhi. Let the tragedy that was enacted in Delhi give the people of India the tune, reason, rhyme and melody for the history of their future. I pray that the history of India might be written with the rhythm and tune of the grief that Bharatmata had felt when Mahatma Gandhi fell. No one could die a more glorious death than Mahatma Gandhi. He was going to the seat of his prayer to speak to his Rama. He did not die in a bed calling for hot water, doctors or nurses. He did not die after mumbling incoherent words in the sick bed. He died standing, not even sitting down. Rama was too eager to take him even before he could reach the seat of his prayer. When Socrates died for his views and Christ for his faith, they believed that they would not get another example like that.

Jawaharlal Nehru: Great men and eminent men have monuments in bronze and marble set up for them, but this man of divine fire managed in his life-time to become enmeshed in millions and millions of hearts so that all of us became somewhat of the stuff that he was made of, though to an infinitely lesser degree. He spread out over India not in palaces only, or in select places, or in assemblies, but in every hamlet and hut of the lowly and those who suffer. He lives in the hearts of millions and he will live for immemorial ages....He has gone, and all over India there is a feeling of having been left desolate and forlorn. All of us sense that feeling, and I do not know when we shall be able to get rid of it, id yet together with that feeling there is also a feeling of proud thanksgiving that it has been given to us of this generation to be associated with this mighty person. In ages to come, centuries and may be millenniums after us, people will think of this generation when this man of God trod the earth and will think of us who, however small, could also follow his path and probably tread on that holy ground where his feet had been. Let us be worthy of him. Let us always be so.

Sardar Patel:  His supreme sacrifice will quicken our conscience. For even though his mortal frame will turn into ashes tomorrow, at 4 p.m., Gandhiji's imperishable teachings will abide with us. I even feel that Gandhiji's immortal spirit is still hovering over us and will continue to watch over the nation's destiny in future also. The mad youth who killed him was wrong if he thought thereby he was destroying his noble mission. Perhaps God wanted Gandhiji's mission to fulfil and prosper through his death. I am sure Gandhiji's supreme sacrifice will wake up the conscience of our countrymen and evoke a higher response in the heart of every Indian. I hope and pray that it may be given to us to complete Gandhiji's mission. At this solemn moment, no one of us can afford to waver or lose his or her heart. Let us all stand united and bravely face the national disaster that has overtaken us. Let us all solemnly pledge ourselves afresh to Gandhiji's teachings and ideals.

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Mahatma Gandhi has carried on his frail shoulders a great deal of the burden of humanity and now it was for them to stand together and share it. If millions of Indians could divide that burden and carry it successfully, it would be nothing short of a miracle.

Mrs. Sarojini Naidu: Mahatma Gandhi, whose frail body was committed to the flames yesterday, is not dead. It was right that the cremation took place in the midst of the dead kings who were buried in Delhi, for he was the kingliest of all kings. It is right also that he who was the Apostle of Peace should have been taken to the cremation ground with all the honours of a great warrior. Far greater than all warriors who led armies to battle was this little man, the bravest, the most tried friend of all. Delhi has become the centre and the sanctuary of the great revolutionary who emancipated his enslaved country from foreign bondage and gave to it its freedom and its flag.

M. A. Jinnah: I associate myself with the tributes that have been paid to this great man. He died in the discharge of the duty in which he believed. His tragic death, however much we may deplore it and however much we may condemn the murderer, was a noble death, for he died in the discharge of his duty.

H.S. Suhrawardy (ex-Premier of Bengal) To him we had learnt to turn for guidance and for advice in all our difficulties, and he never failed us. Weep India, weep until thy heart breaks, for extinguished is the light that shed truth and justice, a deep love for humanity and transcendental sympathy for the forlorn and the friendless. I am sure he sees what we do; let us try to fulfil his cherished dream of Hindu-Muslim unity and oneness of mind and spirit in the common service of humanity.

Albert Einstein: Everyone concerned in the better future of mankind must be deeply moved by the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi. He died as the victim of his own principles, the principle of non-violence. He died because in time of disorder and general irritation in his country, he refused armed protection for himself. It was his unshakable belief that the use of force is an evil in itself, that therefore it must be avoided by those who are striving for supreme justice to his belief. With his belief in his heart and mind, he has led a great nation on to its liberation. He has demonstrated that a powerful human following can be assembled not only through the cunning game of the usual political manoeuvres and trickeries but through the cogent example of a morally superior conduct of life. The admiration for Mahatma Gandhi in all countries of the world rests on recognition, mostly sub-conscious, recognition of the fact that in our time of utter moral decadence, he was the only statesman to stand for a higher level of human relationship in the political sphere. This level we must, with all our forces, attempt to reach. We must learn the difficult lesson that an endurable future of humanity will be possible only if also in international relations decisions are based on law and justice and not on self-righteous power, as they have been up to now..

A leader of his people, unsupported by only outward authority; a politician whose success rests not upon craft nor mastery of technical devices, but simply on the convincing power of his personality; a victorious fighter who has always scorned the use of force; a man of wisdom and humility, armed with resolve and inflexible consistency, who has devoted all his strength to the uplifting of his people and the betterment of their lot; a man who has confronted the brutality of Europe with the dignity of the simple human being, and thus at all times risen superior. Generations to come, it may be, will scarce believe that such one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth.

Mian Iftikharuddin (President, West Punjab Muslim League): Mahatma Gandhi's death ends an epoch of Indian history of which he was the originator ... Each one of us who has raised his hand against innocent men, women and children during the past months, who has publicly or secretly entertained sympathy for such acts is a collaborator in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.

Resolution passed by the Working Committee of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind: It was Mahatma Gandhi who, practising truth, patience, perseverance, forbearance and tolerance conducted the nation's peaceful and non-violent struggle for freedom to success. He was an ardent supporter and upholder of democracy, fraternity and Hindu- Muslim unity, and staked his life several times for his high ideals and at last sacrificed his life for these. The Working Committee fully appreciates the grand and unparalleled services of the Mahatma to the country as a whole and regards him as the greatest benefactor of India.

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan: He was the only ray of light to help us through these darkest days.

Ho Chi Minh: “I and others may be revolutionaries but we are disciples of Mahatma Gandhi, directly or indirectly, nothing more nothing less.”

General Douglas MacArthur: Nothing more revolting has occurred in history of modern world than the senseless assassination of this venerable man. That he should die by violence is one of those bitter anachronisms that seems to refute all logic. In the evolution of civilization, if it is to survive, all men can not fail eventually to adopt his belief that the process of mass application of force to resolve contentious issues is fundamentally not only wrong but contains within itself the germs of self-destruction. Gandhiji, however, was one of those prophets who lived far ahead of the times.

Rajkumari Amrit Kaur: It is impossible to estimate his loss at this critical juncture in our history. I am sure that we shall miss his wise counsel more and more as the days pass by. He has led us faultlessly to our goal of political independence. The communal strife that started almost immediately after August 15 wounded him to the depths. An India wedded to violence he could not tolerate. He saw the moral deterioration in us and, as a loving father, he again unwearyingly pointed out to us the right way. With his infinite love he was trying to quench the anger that raged in many breasts. He was the one thing that stood between us and disaster, for lawlessness and disorder and hate and violence can lead nowhere else.

Rev Martin Luther King: "Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance.... The whole concept of Satyagraha was profoundly significant to me."... “Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social contract theory of Hobbes, the 'back to nature' optimism of Rousseau, and the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the non-violent resistance philosophy of Gandhi.”

“If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.” “Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violent resister, but he resisted with love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love.”

Romain Rolland: “Gandhi is not only for India a hero of national history, whose legendary memory will be enshrined in the millennial epoch. Gandhi has renewed, for all the peoples of the West, the message of their Christ, forgotten or betrayed.” ..“For many, he was like a return of Christ. For others, for independent thinkers, Gandhi was a new incarnation of Jean-Jaques Rosseau and of Tolstoy, denouncing the illusions and the crimes of civilization, and preaching to men the return to nature, to the simple life, to health.”.. “I have seen here, in Switzerland, the pious love that he [Gandhi] inspired in humble peasants of the country side and the mountains.”

Will Durant: “Not since Buddha has India so revered any man. Not since St. Francis of Assissi has any life known to history been so marked by gentleness, disinterestedness, simplicity of soul and forgiveness of enemies. We have the astonishing phenomenon of a revolution led by a saint.”

A.K. Fazlul Huq (ex-Premier of Bengal) The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi is one of the most tragic events since the great tragedy of Karbala. It is impossible to find words to express the feelings that are uppermost in our minds. May his soul rest in peace.

Sheikh Abdullah: Although Gandhiji is no more, Kashmir will follow him for ever. Kashmiris are laying down their lives for Gandhiji's ideals. As long as a single Kashmiri is alive, the torch of truth and unity lit by Gandhiji will burn brightly.

Sri Sankaracharya of Sri Kamakoti Peetah: A more perfect ideal of ahimsa and love cannot be conceived. Gandhiji utilised every evil happening to test his inner purity. Whether in the form of judicial punishment while dealing with internal crime or in the form of war while dealing with foreign aggression, himsa is inevitable in political life. But our apostle of ahimsa tried to transform even that unavoidable himsa into ahimsa by completely eschewing hatred from it.

For more tributes to Gandhi, click here
For the Hindi version of this essay click here: सत्य की हत्या

See also
Inder Malhotra 'with Godse at the centre'
Modi wants them all: Godse and Gandhi together under BJP's 'big tent'
Gopalkrishna Gandhi: At point blank range - The killing of plural Hindustan
Apoorvanand: The retrial of Godse: Forgetting the facts
The music of humanity

हरिशंकर परसाई - महात्मा गाँधी को चिट्ठी पहुँचे

Abha Gandhi talks about Mahatma Gandhi's assassination

Godse pushed Manu forcefully aside with his left hand, momentarily exposing the gun in his right. The items in her hands fell to the ground. For a few moments she continued arguing with the unknown assailant. But when the rosary dropped she bent down to pick it up. At this precise moment, a burst of deafening blasts ripped apart the peaceful atmosphere as Godse fired three bullets into Gandhi's abdomen and chest. As the third shot was fired Gandhi was still standing, his palms still joined. He was heard to gasp, "He Ram, He Ram". Then he slowly sank to the ground, palms joined still, possibly in a final ultimate act of ahimsa. Smoke filled the air. Confusion and panic reigned. The Mahatma was slumped on the ground, his head resting in the laps of both girls. His face turned pale, his white shawl of Australian wool was turning crimson with blood. Within seconds Mahatma Gandhi was dead. It was 5.17 pm
The Broken Middle - my essay on the 30th anniversary of 1984