Though there was controversy in Rajya Sabha over eulogising Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, the practice is not new in Maharashtra. Right-wing organisations such as the Hindu Mahasabha consider him a hero and have been celebrating his death anniversary every year since 1993. Individual supporters of Godse also celebrate November 15, the day he was hanged, as ‘Shaurya Divas’ in Dombivali.
On Thursday, Congress MP Husain Dalwai had raised the issue of eulogising Godse in the Rajya Sabha and said that he had written to the Maharashtra chief minister regarding the same. BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj also came under fire after he made a statement terming Godse a ‘patriot’. He retracted the same later.
For this year’s ‘Shaurya Divas’, the Hindu Mahasabha observed a recitation of Godse’s final letter on November 15. “We have been observing the day since 1993 and read his last letter. Godseji’s last wish was for his remains to be scattered in the Sindhu river in undivided India,” said Dinesh Bhogale, Hindu Mahasabha spokesman.
In the event this year, Godse was praised for his patriotism. An announcement of a film based on his life was also made in the programme. The movie will be released on January 30.
Nitin Dhavale, who celebrated the ‘Shaurya Divas’ in Dombivali, said this was the second year that the programme was conducted. “We all vowed that day that like Godse, our remains too should be scattered in a united India. We do not know if is practical or not, but this is our belief,” Mr Dhavale, who is also BJP’s Yuva Morcha president, said.
Defending the Shaurya Divas celebrations, Mr Dhavale said what Godse did was not personal vendetta. “Gandhi is not as great as the way he has been projected. Godse did not kill him for personal gain. It was his anger towards the plight of Hindus due to Gandhi’s approval of partition,” he said. He also added that the day will be celebrated every year henceforth.
On BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj’s statement that Godse was a ‘patriot’, Mr Bhogale and Mr Dhavale have diverse views. Mr Bhogale said, “The BJP cannot digest the radical Hindutva of Godse. They cannot come out in his support. The party is miles away from Hindutva and Godse’s thoughts are too much for them.”
However, Mr Dhavale welcomed Mr Maharaj’s earlier statement calling Godse a ‘patriot’. “I have not heard his statement, but if he said so then it’s perfect. Godse was a patriot and we are ready to debate over the issue with anyone,” he said.