Karam Komireddy - How The RSS Tried To Rewrite History On Godse And Gandhi - And We Bought It

NB: Before reading this admirable essay on the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, readers might like to reflect on the following extracts from the Delhi Police archive of November 1947 - DS
The RSS, on the other hand, wanted to complete the process of ethnic cleansing. So said a sub-inspector of the Delhi Police named Bhagwan Das Jain. A mole inside the RSS, Jain reported on October 24 that the Sangh saw in the unsettled conditions the chance to take a bold step towards the establishment of Hindu rule in India. As he wrote, "according to the Sangh volunteers, the Muslims would quit India only when another movement for their total extermination similar to the one which was started in Delhi sometime back would take place". The RSS men, he continued, "were waiting for the departure of Mahatma Gandhi from Delhi as they believed that so long as the Mahatma is in Delhi, they would not be able to precipitate their designs into action"... By early November, Golwalkar himself was camped in Delhi, planning for future action. In a speech in Ramjas College, he noted with satisfaction that the RSS membership had increased by 2,500 in a single month. He told his audience to be prepared for the fight ahead. On December 6, Golwalkar convened a meeting of RSS workers in Govardhan, near Delhi. The police report on this meeting remarks that "the (RSS) workers are alleged to have discussed the ways and means of capturing the seats in the government... It is also alleged that one of its (the RSS's) programme(s) would be to assassinate the leading persons of the Congress...to terrorise the public and to get their hold over them."
Ramachandra Guha, citing data from police archives from 1947. Read the full article here: 
- Hindi translation below the post

Here is an extract from the same archive, which contains a CID report dated 27 Dec 1947 on a secret meeting of RSS members in Delhi on December 8, 1947, addressed by Golwalkar: "The Sangh will not rest until it had finished Pakistan. If anyone stood in our way we will have to finish him too, whether it was Nehru government or any other government. The Sangh could not be won over. They should carry on their work. Referring to Muslims he said that no power on earth could keep them in Hindusthan. They shall have to quit this country. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to keep the Muslims in India so that the Congress (may) profit by their votes at the time of election. But, by that time, no a single muslim will be left in India. If they were made to stay here, the responsibility would be Government’s, and the Hindu community would not be responsible. Mahatma Gandhi could not mislead them any longer. We have the means whereby such men can be immediately silenced, but it is our tradition not to be inimical to Hindus. If we are compelled, we will have to resort to that course also." (No outsider was admitted into this meeting. The SP, CID cites the reports as being submitted by a secret source.)

It has been almost 70 years since the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The day is observed sombrely every year, but if we are to honour the father of the nation, we must vigorously contest the distortions of history that are going largely unchallenged in today's India. The killing of Gandhi on 30 January 1948 was not the act of a lone madman. At the age of 78, Gandhi was passionately advocating tolerance and tirelessly disputing the demands of those who wished to transform India into what Nehru called a "Hindu Pakistan". Nathuram Godse, the assassin whose bullets ended Gandhi's life, was the agent of an ideology seeking to establish its supremacy by eliminating its most formidable adversary.

The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi: Inquiry Commission Report (1969)
हरिशंकर परसाई - महात्मा गाँधी को चिट्ठी पहुँचे

The fount of that ideology was the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). And the most tenacious obstacle to the RSS's dream of forging a Hindu state in India was Gandhi. After India's partition, Gandhi's influence over the Muslims who migrated to Pakistan naturally diminished. His moral authority over the people and government of India, however, remained strong; and he used his bully pulpit to prod India to transfer assets to Pakistan and provide security to Muslims. This confirmed his standing, in the eyes of the RSS and its ideological progeny, as an enemy of the Hindus. As Godse admitted at his trial for the murder of Gandhi, "I consider[ed] it a religious and moral duty to resist and, if possible, to overpower such an enemy by use of force".

Sixty-eight years on, the ease with which the RSS has gone about sanitising its past must put India to shame. The Right Wing organisation now denies any complicity in the killing of Gandhi. Its grudging admission that Godse had been a longstanding member of the RSS is accompanied by the dubious claim that he quit the organisation long before he pulled the trigger on Gandhi. As "evidence" of its innocence, it cites the findings of an independent commission of inquiry instituted in 1966 to investigate the circumstances of Gandhi's assassination. But the RSS's self-exculpatory claims fall apart when subjected to closer scrutiny.

First of all, it is important to remember that the RSS has no formal membership application. Anyone who turns up at its meetings and affirms faith in its beliefs is a member. That Godse joined the RSS is beyond dispute because the organisation admits he had been a member. It is equally indisputable that he shared the RSS's belief in Hindu supremacy. It is for the RSS to prove that Godse quit the organisation. To date, it has not produced a shred of evidence to demonstrate that he did.

Secondly, the Jeevan Lal Kapur Commission's "exoneration" of the RSS rests primarily on the deposition of one witness -- who in any case believed that the organisation should have been banned long before the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. As the Commission's report noted, the "RSS and militant Hindu Mahasabha leaders" created "conditions... conducive to strong anti-Gandhi activities including a kind of encouragement to those who thought that Mahatma Gandhi's removal will bring about a millennium of Hindu Raj."

But if the Kapur Commission did not find the RSS culpable beyond a reasonable doubt, it is because it concluded its inquiry long before fresh evidence came to light. It was only in the 1990s that new information about Godse's relationship with the RSS began to surface. In 1994, Gopal Godse, Nathuram's younger sibling and a co-conspirator in the assassination plot, disclosed that his elder brother was anxious to protect the RSS, which had been "like a family to us". "[Nathuram] said in his statement that he left the RSS", Gopal continued. "He said it because... the RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi. But he did not leave the RSS". Gopal denounced the "cowardice" of those disputing his brother's unbroken membership of the RSS. Corroborating Gopal's statement is the influential pro-RSS scholar Dr Koenrad Elst who, in his 2001 book Gandhi and Godse, wrote that "Nathuram contrived to create the impression that the RSS had little to do with him, simply to avoid creating more trouble for the RSS in the difficult post-assassination months."

The RSS, politically ascendant and devoted to "Hinduness", is creating an environment in which we are expected to assess it on its own questionable terms. But to succumb to its demands is to lose a little bit of the "Indianness" that is the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. The RSS cannot forever hide behind a report that, in this specific instance, is rendered obsolete by fresh evidence. If a commission with a remit similar to the one handed to Justice Jeevan Lal Kapur were to be constituted today, we can be almost certain that it will find the RSS culpable beyond a reasonable doubt.

NB: Here is the report of the first NDA government's (1998) brazen attempt to 'revise' Gandhi's Collected Works. Hundreds of whimsical deletions and changes were noticed by well-known scholars and Gandhians in India and around the world, who viewed them as an insult to scholarship, and demanded an end to such attempts to play with historical documents. Read the history of the controversy. Tridip Suhrud, now director of Sabarmati Ashram, wrote a detailed analysis of this shameless behaviour in EPW in November 2004. It was only after the defeat of the NDA government that the fraudulently 'revised' edition of the CWMG was withdrawnin 2005

Translation of the archival report cited above:
दूसरी तरफ राष्ट्रीय स्वयं सेवक संघ  नस्लीय सफाई  (हिंदुओं के अलावा अन्य धर्म के लोगों का सफाया ) का अपना अभियान पूरा करना चाहती थी  . दिल्ली पुलिस के एक सब इंस्पेक्टर भगवान दास जैन नें  अपनी रिपोर्ट में बताया . भगवान दास जैन को सरकार नें  संघ की अंदरूनी जासूसी  करने के लिए लगाया था . उन्होंने अपनी २४ अक्टूबर की रिपोर्ट में बताया था कि आज़ादी के बाद जो  अस्थिरता का माहौल बना हुआ था  संघ उसे एक ऐसे मौके के रूप में देख रहा था  जिसमें  एक बड़ा  कदम उठा कर  हिंदुओं की सत्ता  स्थापित करी जा सकती है . भगवान दास जैन नें अपनी रिपोर्ट में लिखा है . कि मुसलमानों पर पिछली बार की तरह ही एक बार और  उनके पूरे सफाए के लिए ज़ोरदार हमला और कर दिया जाय तो सारे मुसलमान भारत छोड़ कर चले जायेंगे . अपनी इस रिपोर्ट में  भगवान दास नें आगे लिखा है  कि राष्ट्रीय स्वयं सेवक संघ के लोग महात्मा गांधी के दिल्ली से बाहर जाने का इंतज़ार कर रहे थे . क्योंकि  संघ का  मानना था  कि  जब तक गांधी  दिल्ली में है  तब तक  वे अपनी योजना को लागू नहीं कर पायेंगे . आगे के कार्यक्रम की रूपरेखा बनाने के लिए नवम्बर की शुरुआत में  रामजस कालेज दिल्ली में हुई एक बैठक में संघ के  प्रमुख  गोलवरकर  नें  इस बात पर संतोष व्यक्त किया कि  एक ही महीने में उनके सदस्यों की  संख्या  में ढाई हजार  का इज़ाफा  हुआ  है ...

उन्होंने  श्रोताओं से कहा कि आगे आने वाली लड़ाई के लिए तैयार रहिये .  6 दिसम्बर को दिल्ली  के समीप  गोवर्धन नामक जगह पर  संघ के सरसंघचालक गोलवरकर नें  संघ के स्वयंसेवकों की एक बैठक बुलाई  . इस मीटिंग  के बारे में  दिल्ली पुलिस की रिपोर्ट  की टिप्पणी है ' कि  वहाँ पर संघ  के स्वयं सेवकों ने सरकार में अपनी जगह बनाने  की योजना पर चर्चा करी  . इस  पर यह भी आरोप है कि इन लोगों ने अन्य योजनाओं के साथ साथ कांग्रेस के नेताओं की हत्या  की भी योजना बनाई  ताकि लोगों के दिलों में दहशत पैदा करी जा सके और उन् पर काबू पाया जा सके ...

सीआईडी नें 27 दिसम्बर 1947 की अपनी रिपोर्ट में लिखा है "  दिसम्बर 1947 को राष्ट्रीय स्वयं सेवक संघ के स्वयं सेवकों की एक सभा में गुरूजी गोलवरकर नें कहा संघ तब तक चैन से नहीं बैठेगा जब तक हम पाकिस्तान का सफाया नहीं कर देते . अगर कोई हमारे रास्ते में आएगा तो हम उसका भी सफाया कर देंगे .चाहे वह नेहरु की सरकार हो या कोई और सरकार . संघ से कोई नहीं जीत सकता . आप सब अपना काम जारी रखिये . दुनिया की कोई शक्ति मुसलमानों को हिन्दुस्थान में नहीं रख सकती . उन्हें यह देश छोडना ही पड़ेगा . महात्मा गांधी मुसलमानों को इसलिए भारत में रखना चाहते हैं ताकि आने वाले चुनावों में कांग्रेस को वोटों का फायदा मिल सके . लेकिन तब तक कोई मुसलमान भारत में नहीं बचेगा . अगर इनको भारत में रखा गया तो इनके साथ जो कुछ होगा उसके लिए सरकार ज़िम्मेदार होगी हिंदुओं की कोई जिम्मेदारी नहीं होगी . महात्मा गांधी अब इन्हें और नहीं बहका सकता . अब हमारे पास ऐसे साधन मौजूद जो जो ऐसे लोगों को तुरंत खामोश कर सकते हैं . लेकिन हमारी परंपरा है कि हम हिंदुओं के विरुद्ध कार्यवाही नहीं करना चाहते ,लेकिन अगर हमें मजबूर किया गया तो हम वह भी करेंगे ." इस बैठक में कोई बाहरी व्यक्ति मौजूद नहीं था सीआईडी के एसपी ने अपने एक अंदरूनी स्रोत की रिपोर्ट के हवाले से यह रिपोर्ट सरकार को सौंपी.

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