Nathuram Godse was an assassin, not terrorist. Hindu terror is a fake monster

Makarand R Paranjape
Makarand R ParanjapeMay 15, 2019 | 11:00

Nathuram Godse was an assassin, not terrorist. Hindu terror is a fake monster

Let’s squarely state and face up to a couple of facts. First of all, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, the man who killed Mahatma Gandhi, was an assassin, not a terrorist. Secondly, as of now, there is no such thing as ‘Hindu terror’.

godse-690_051519102328.jpgNathuram Vinayak Godse was an assassin, not a terrorist. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I am not saying that no Hindu was, is, or can ever be a terrorist. Hindus are human beings, after all. As are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, Sikhs, Communists, Jains, and people of other faiths, ideologies, and denominations. Each of these communities will have some amongst them who will susceptible to both brainwashing and programming, turning them into dangerous human bombs or missiles, capable of blowing themselves up and killing many of their fellow-human beings.

A putrid myth

There is hardly any convincing evidence of large-scale, concerted, or organised activity that we may call ‘Hindu terror’. Furthermore, it would be quite accurate to say that terrorism is not part of the Hindu religious, cultural, philosophical, social, or spiritual ethos. True, several Hindus became revolutionaries during the freedom struggle and a few were even called terrorists by the colonial administration.

hin-690_051519102517.jpgTerrorism is not part of Hinduism's ethos. (Source: Reuters)

But in such cases, their violence was directed at specific targets, not at unarmed civilians or non-combatants. While British women and children were killed during the Great Revolt of 1857 most of these acts of brutality were aberrations. Similarly, the macabre dance of death during the Partition, as also the communal clashes thereafter, must be seen as instances of mob violence and mayhem, not as acts of terrorism.

If I have stated these facts at such great length it is only to underscore the obvious. The tag of ‘Hindu terror’ is a flimsy contrivance, if not an outright tissue of lies. ‘Hindu terror’ is a bogeyman, a fake monster, created by those who wanted, at all costs, to prevent a Hindu consolidation of votes. ‘Hindu terror’ is a fiend invented by those who want to delegitimise Hindus from seeking and holding on to power in India. It is meant to send the message that Hindus are not fit to rule or assume authority even though they constitute the majority in India. Above all, ‘Hindu terror’ is designed to keep educated and secular Hindus from joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by constantly demonising them.

If so, why would a well-educated, highly talented and successful public figure such as Kamal Haasan persist in calling Godse a terrorist or using the fake tag of ‘Hindu terror’?

hasan-690_051519102920.jpgKamal Haasan is wrong in calling Godse a terrorist. (Source: Reuters)

There can be only one reason: politics. Haasan, founder-president of the as yet unrecognised Makkal Needhi Maiam party, is only the latest of South Indian film stars to succumb to the lure of politics. He fired a loose volley of populist twaddle by proclaiming at a Sunday evening election meeting in Aravakurichi, Tamil Nadu, that “free India’s first terrorist was a Hindu, his name is Nathuram Godse.”

Politicising faith

Apparently, Haasan, “self-assumed great-grandson” of Mahatma Gandhi was “seeking answers” to Gandhi's assassination in 1948. Whether Haasan is an agnostic, atheist, or crypto-Christian, his remarks on Hindu terror in a Muslim dominated area were in poor taste.

Isn’t it obvious that Haasan’s motives were as clearly political as they were mischievous? We know that most religious terrorism in the last 20 years or so is associated with one faith community, Islam, albeit a small, radicalised, violent, armed ‘Jihadi’ section of it. Yet, Haasan did not dare to name that group.

Quite conveniently and ironically so, not only because they constituted a majority of his audience on Sunday, but because they had stopped the release of his films, demanded and enforced cuts, almost compelled him to leave the film industry not all that long ago. Haasan was not only pandering to their sentiments but deflecting from any responsibility on that community to own up to ideologies that might lead to or support terror, a recent and horrific instance of which were the Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lankan churches and hotels by Islamist jihadists.

Why Haasan’s strictures and insinuations are obnoxious as they are unfounded is that he was not only being hypocritical, but playing the same dangerous game of minority appeasement that has cost not only the community in question but India so dear. By joining the dirty tricks department of the Congress Party and those who orchestrated this pernicious narrative of ‘Hindu terror,’ Haasan has entered the ranks of the thoroughly exposed and discredited.

Domino effect

By adding his own name to the blacklist, Haasan has brought no honour to himself, nor goodwill to his fledgling political outfit. Instead, his using the tag of ‘Hindu terror’ will cast aspersions and raise doubts both on his motives and his credentials.

hindu-690_051519103135.jpgBy calling Hindus terrorists, Kamal Haasan has led to speculations over his credentials. (Source: Reuters)

There is bound to be another, even more costly fallout of his mendacity. Haasan’s flag-waving of ‘Hindu terror’ just before the last phase of the 2019 Indian general elections will serve as a provocation to a section of Hindu voters who feel hurt and humiliated. The BJP is sure to take advantage of Haasan’s slip, stoking the sense of outrage and resentment of this section of the Hindus. Being falsely and maliciously targeted by their own co-religionists is never pleasant. The response of these Hindu voters to Haasan’s jibe is likely to be pressing a particular button in the election booth — the sweet revenge of Hindus who feel wronged but don’t wish to turn terrorist?

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

Last updated: May 15, 2019 | 11:00
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