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3/14/2017 AshesForPosterity

02 FEBRUARY 1998 NATIONAL EXCLUSIVE

AshesForPosterity
At78,thelastoftheGodsebrotherskeepsalivethespiritoftheir
cause
SAIRA MENEZES
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TheMahatmawillbemoweddownoncemore.OnJanuary30,1998,78year
oldGopalGodse,siblingofMahatmaassassinNathuramGodse,willbein
Hyderabadtodothedeed.ReleasingDrT.Sitaramaiah'sbookGandhi,the
MurdererofGandhi,thelastoftheGodsebrotherswillwarmuptotheirtheme
chant:thatGandhiwashisownmurderer.
Fordecadesnow,fromhisSadashivPethflatinPune,GopalGodsehasbeen
defendingthememoryofhisbrother.BesideswritingbooksGandhiHatyaani
Me(Gandhi'sassassinationandI)andPanchchavanKotichaBali(thesacrifice
of55crores),hehasalsomadeclaimsto'Hindu'heritagesites:ShahJahan'sTaj
MahalisaShivatempleandtheQutubMinaraVishnuDhwaja,intonesGodse.
ExceptforHinduMahasabhamembers,histheoriesdon'thavemanybuyers.
Yetacontinuinginterestinthe'GandhivsGodse'storyhasspunoutthe12
editionofGandhiHatyaaniMe,firstbannedinthelate'60s.Thatisthegood
newsforGopalGodse.

"Look,mygenerationispracticallyoverandthecurrentgenerationmightnot
seeit.ButthenextonemightseeNathuramGodseforthepatriothewas."To
thisend,theGodseclanandthe'NathuramGodseIchchapatraNyas'
commemorateNovember15,thedayofNarayanraoApteandNathuram's
'martyrdom',as'IchchapatraPunarVachatDiwas'(repetitionofthewillday).As
perhiscommand,Nathuram'sashesaretobeimmersedintheSindhuriveronly
whenitflowsundertheIndianflag.Tillthen,thefoundationistoensureitis
passedonfromonegenerationtothenext.

WillpowerkeepsGopalGodsegoing.Awarethathedoesnothave"toomuch
time",hewritesfuriouslytorevealthe'truth'.Alternately,hiscausehasbeen
usedandabuseddependingonthepassingfanciesofpoliticalparties.Oflate,
theGodsecultisoutinthecold.Arosyfuture,adilutedsaffronstanceand
ardentNathuramadmirerscomprisingtheShivSena,theBJPandtheRSShave
slunkoutthroughthebackdoor."TheBJPwouldshuddertosupportsomeone
likeme.Theydon'twanttoassociatethemselveswithGandhi'sassassinationor
anyoneconnectedwithit.Theycallthemselvesanationalistparty,notaHindu
party,"hesays.GodsehimselfhadstoodforelectiontwiceoncefromMeerut
andtheothertimefromRanchiwherehissloganwas'AapkejitavRanchise,
AglachunavKarachise'.

EighteenyearsinprisonandthehardtimesthatbefellwifeSindhu,daughters
HimaniandVidyulataandadoptedsonNarayandidlittletocrumblehiscause.
Ifanything,itreinforcedthequestforKarachiandanunmitigatedabhorrence
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fortheminorityMuslims.Evennow,inthewinterofhislife,GopalGodsedoes
notfeelthechillofhisbrother'sact.Gandhijiwas79whenassassinatedand
Godsebelievesthathis40yearoldbrotherandthe39yearoldAptewere
sentencedtobehangedsothatthesumoftheiragesequalledthatofthe
Mahatma's."Thejokewasthatitwastheonlywaythejudgecouldbalancethe
scalesofjustice.Gandhi'sempathyfortheMuslimsanddecisiontoemptyRs
55crorefromourcoffersforPakistan'sbenefitshowsthathewastrulythe
FatherofPakistan.ThefastannouncedonJanuary12,1948,forHinduMuslim
unitywasafarce.Wehadtokillhimbecauseifhehadlivedlonger,we
probablywouldhavelostHyderabadtoo."

Whilethepassageoftimehastemperedthecauseof'AkhandBharat',ithas
alsopaledthevillainyofNathuramGodse.EvenmembersoftheMahatma's
familyviewhimthroughkindereyes.GopalGodse'sthesiswritteninprison'as
alifeconvicttodieinprisonunderIndianlaw'wasproppedupwith
informationculledfromtheTimesQuestionbureau.Ironically,theofficerin
chargewastheMahatma'sgrandson,ArunGandhi,whowaslatertovisithim
withajournalistfriendandgifthimtheMahatmaauthoredMyNonviolence.
"ArunGandhi'smothervisitedustooandstayedwithusovernight,"adds
Godse.

However,Godseopinesthatatruceofrepentancewouldamounttodistorting
history.WithdaughterHimani,nowthewifeofVeerSavarkar'snephew,
headingtheHinduMahilaSabha,andsonNarayancarefullyguardingtheashes
ofNathuram,itwillbealongtimebeforetheGodsesstopgunningforGandhi.

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http://www.outlookindia.com/magazine/story/ashesforposterity/204998 3/3