Whose India are We Living in: Gandhi’s or Godse’s?

He was killed by anti-secularism Godse.


Is India a Hindu nation? It’s a question that has shadowed the idea of India from the early nationalist movement of the late 19th century to the present day. One powerful faction argues that the culturally and numerically dominant section of its people is Hindu and therefore the nation is Hindu. No, say those who insist that the nation is, and must remain, secular because its defining characteristic is unity in diversity.

In recent days the argument has gained momentum within the nation as well as among people of Indian origin settled abroad, perhaps understandably because the government in power in Delhi seems to assert an identity of Hindutava for India. A friend, who has followed the debate for long, recently sent me his essay arguing that from the dominant culture standpoint India is a Hindu nation just as, in his view, the US is a Christian nation even though both are formally secular. My response was that India and the US may arguably have dominant ‘cultures’ inspired by Hinduism and Christianity,
respectively, but they are both constitutionally secular ‘nations’.

Cultures evolve over millennia. Nations are a relatively new concept in human history. Some nations might be defined by singular cultures but most large nations, especially India and the US that have over centuries been hosts to large-scale migration, prudently opted for secular multi culturalism, more often than not over the objections of those who wanted assertive rights for the dominant culture.

Besides, regardless of the insistence of purists of various shades, cultures are dynamic and evolutionary. Take an important element of modern American culture: popular music. Not only has its appeal spread wide to influence cultural mores globally, its origins can be traced to several cultures. African beats, gospel choir harmonies, European formal scales, even Indian music’s improvisational techniques have helped evolve today’s pop and jazz into what it’s become and is still becoming.

Or, take Indian classical music. Sure, some of its origin can be traced to ancient devotional music. But is it possible to imagine its current incarnation without acknowledging Tansen, born a Hindu then became a Sufi, in Akbar’s court? Can we ignore the fact that the sitar is an amalgam of the Indian veena and the Persian setar? Weren’t Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan a jugalbandi in brilliance?

In other words, what some of us claim as pure Hindu culture is nothing but the result of a centuries-long process of synthesis. That is one reason why the founding fathers wisely opted to call this new nation India or Bharat, not Hindustan.

GODSEGODSE: wanted India to be a Hindu nation and not a secular.

Such arguments, however, are unlikely to move those who are convinced that India is a Hindu nation. Perhaps nowhere was the conviction more ferociously expressed than in Nathuram Godse’s statement to the Punjab high court on May 5, 1949. Expressing no regret for the assassination, he passionately argued that killing Gandhi was a necessary act to avenge the betrayal that the new nation had suffered because of that compromising, Muslim-loving so-called Father of the Nation who he thought was actually “Father of Pakistan”. In his eloquent rage, Godse did not acknowledge that Gandhi had resisted the idea of Partition till the end. Godse wanted the new nation to be a Hindustan standing proudly as anti-thesis to Pakistan. That Gandhi had argued for a secular India precisely, the embers of Godse’s rage smoulder on in today’s ideologues.

Gandhi, as well as Ambedkar and Nehru, Rajaji and Patel and others who thought India should be secular, wanted the new republic to be a pioneering venture in post-colonial nationhood. None of them were fans of Godse’s hero Veer Savarkar, even though Savarkar’s modern fans want to appropriate those leaders as their own.

Those pioneers were proud of the experiment in nationhood they were launching. Six decades on, the world does not doubt the viability of the venture. India remains a republican democracy, which holds regular elections, has a free press and allows its citizens to practise whichever religion they choose thanks to the secularism its Constitution guarantees. Any reason why all Indians cannot take pride in just that?



©MAGNETIQUE TRUST – 2014. All Rights Reserved.

About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media houses. Twitter Handle:@khantastix khansworld@rediffmail.com
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9 Responses to Whose India are We Living in: Gandhi’s or Godse’s?

  1. i b arora says:

    being secular or non-secular is primarily a political requirement,, for an average Indian this debate was generally of little consequence. its different matter that politics has been for quite some time been vitiating the harmony.


    • ...shabab says:

      For non-secular parties as I said anti-gandhi, the harmony was like venom, they never wanted this India. They wanted an India like a Taliban wants an Afganistan. Full of fundamentalists and extremists just like we have seen in Gujarat 2002.
      Today when we are chasing China in International market and getting closer and closer a minor display of ‘Hindutava’ or ‘so called Jehad’ can throw us out of track, this is what Pakistan wants. I hope Modl will not let Mohan Bhagpat over shadow the PM Seat.


  2. matheikal says:

    There are dominant cultures in every country and by that culture India is Hindu. But there is a sizeable population that’s not Hindu and their interests cannot be overlooked. That’s one chief reason why Nehru and others decided to define India as a secular nation. Today, when the whole world is moving towards greater openness, can India afford to narrow down its outlook?


    • ...shabab says:

      No, absolutely not Tom. As we know Pakistan was never in race with India as fas as progress, nation building were concern. Whenever they noticed we are zooming up they sent Kasab and party by this way or that way. They don’t want India to overcome from the stupid mess of Hindus and Indian Muslims. Today, when Indian muslims are as patriotic as Hindus we can not afford any saffron or Green Chand-Taara preachers, today when muslim kids learn and sing ‘JAN-GAN Man-Gan’ with other kids from Hindu, Chirstian or Sikh community they never ever even imagine that ‘Kesariya brand’ or ‘Jehadi team’ is out there, waiting to fill them with ‘hatred’ by tagging them ‘pakistani’ or to brain wash them with ‘twisted and distorted’ versus of Holy Qur’an.
      We just can not afford this stupidity anymore, need I say that we are being divided by others, sometime for their benefits and sometime to engage us in mandir-masjid issue which is a damn hurdle of progressive Indian community.
      Hope our minister, in power, will understand this and let us concentrate on our main objective- “A Super Power India.”


  3. Sunny says:

    Godse was a poor heart who failed to control patriotism and his fear, he has not killed gandhi but gandhi has forced him to take that step. Godse was knowing why Hindustan has suffered and he realized the newborn neighbours intentions, it was Godse alone but most of patriots were unhappy with Gandhi’s decision, the deal and freeware of 60 lacs were a big torture to capable guns, read godse, read gandhi hope you will get. Rest Rama knows, i have read and i have soft corner for godse and Gandhi, the real fighter had died before when he agreed for partition, his love for nehru has left us with an intolerant pakistan. Who knows if Godse wont kill, gandhi will sooner loose his respect, Whatever Rama did was for a good reason and we are lucky that we produced Gandhi and Godse both. One more thing Hindustan is a secular country, we all feel proud on that but 1st majority still awaits a thanks from 2nd majority. If 2nd majority will become 1st majority status then options of discussions may be ended, there will be no counters allowed, no debates but a thousand years ago old law, then it might have a gazwa-e-hind kinda name and no place for other believers… Though there are million of muslims but Ashfaq and Kalam are few i don’t doubt everyone but i doubt who talks about me but silent on themselves..
    Vande Mataram.!

    [only rqst to forgv me fr poor english nd if u r nt gettng my wrds ask bt dont manipulate, read and understand what i wanted to make you, Godse and Gandhi is an old chapter, start fresh or history have many bloodshed we cant think anything except revenge..]


    • ...shabab says:

      Thanks Sunny for your open minded comment, thats the way a comman Hindu thinks but rarely express, exception apart. I appreciate this comment, now its time to tell you and like-minded compatriots what a muslim an Indian muslim thinks but doesn’t express.
      Well, when I was in std 5th, a family of our relatives from Karachi visited us. They had choosen to cross the line Jinnah and Nehru drawn. But my grandfather, choosen to stay despite risks and pressure made by family members he denied to go to newly created Pakistan.
      When I asked my dad why didn’t he shifted there, I was told that my gran was a hardcore freedom fighter, who secretly killed several Brits with his sword. He was against Jinnah and Nehru who divided this country and he was not ready to be called a Pakistani, he lived Indian and died Indian, and we are proud of him.
      We proudly tell our relatives that we are living in a country where secularism is written in constitution. I am as patriotic as you are, I believe and tell my daughter that we are Indian first, muslims later because I don’t think any religion can ever go beyond nation’s interest. Its disgusting to see how badly religions are being used to gain.
      BJP is notorious because they use Hindutava to come in power, other use muslims to get power. And Pakistan uses Islam to disturb the harmony of this nation, how would they see us rising, our progress is their fear.
      It was most unfortunate to see a RSS backed Modi on PM seat, RSS agenda is simple and clear. Kill all the muslims and convert India in a Hindu Rashtrya at any cost. India, for which, Gandhi sacrificed his whole life. Nothing can over shadow what Gandhi did, and his image can never be tarnished.
      Yes, Vandé Mataram.
      JAI HIND and
      “Mazhab nahi sikhata, aapas mein baer rakhna, hindi hain hum, hindi hain hum, watan hain yeh gulistan hamara.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sunny says:

        Thank you saab and let me tell you muslims like you who says nation first, are very less in numbers and that is why the common hindu, who is not much strict/restrict with religion is hesitant. History is not in Muslims favour, The gift of Independence we can’t forget, Present is again not in favor of muslim and reason is not non-muslims but the fanatic muslims. An open mind and open heart can feel if it will be a free but sad is we are bounded by religion and the book which had written for goodness but we manipulated as we want………… I owe gandhi but also i see Godse as a victim not Gandhi.


        • ...shabab says:

          OK! I got it what you want to convey.

          I know majority takes minority as threat, it has valid reasons like Mumbai 26/11 and other terror attacks, yet I would say people who do this can never be Indians, nor are they muslims. What happens in India is done by Pakistan, and not muslims. I don’t take Pakistan as muslims country, they are just jeolous, frustrated people who can’t see India on top. They know very well, that India is the only country, attacked and invaded by others like Gaznavi, Taimurlang, Gauri, they looted India’s wealth and left. Babar invaded and stayed here, with him started the Moughal Era and ended with the death of Bahadur Shah Zafar. Then, we were ruled by British assholes and when it was ended, new enemy had been created by brits which is called Pakistan.
          These paki forces, as u know, have invaded India and they have tried to grab our land, specially Kashmir. But they never succeeded, Indian forces pushed them back.
          China and Persia also attacked us. I want to know why the hell India always suffers to defends itself? And why not it invades pakistan, attack them to kill for India’s benefits like US did with Iraq and Afganistan.
          Remember, Veer Abdul Hameed who blown off several tanks and armoured vehicles and it was continued until Hamid had have last breath, he was Indian first, muslim later.
          Will Modi ever dare to invade Pakistan for an all out solution? Or he will also end up like others? Lets see.

          YES! I would like you to read one of my previous posts MUST READ then give me your valuable remark.
          You can also add me in your friend list on facebook, as well as follow me on @TopSHABABindia for relevant tweets.


          • Sunny says:

            Thank you for giving hope. Not only veer abdul there were many others and i am inspired by ashfaque and bismil. they were from diffnt religion, having different view but same hunger for independence, same patriotism…. May our country prosper and we those who voted for change get a secure and strong nation.


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