Godse Trial: A speech every Nationalist Indian must be aware of

History is a very tricky subject and one that uses the past to shape the country and its citizens’ future. Often times history is written by those wielding power in such a manner that it suits their ‘agenda’; whether or not it is right. Victors had the power to pass on narratives which would break the morale of the conquered and the best way to do that was to break them emotionally and mentally. When one repeatedly hammers the ‘weakness’ of one’s ancestors into the psyche of the people; the latter is bound to accept that as the truth. It is rightly said that ‘a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes’. Such lies have a deep impact on people making several generation of the population embarrassed and ashamed of their own ancestors and worse; making them an apologetic lot like we Indians in general and Hindus in particular are.

Much of our medieval and modern history is shrouded in mystery. There have been so many distortions that separating facts from fiction is a tough task. The advent of internet has brought forth abundant information and such information that have the potential to present history in a new light. Many researches and hitherto hidden information have come to the fore. Unfortunately such important information has not been assimilated into mainstream; thereby keeping most Indians in the dark about them.

Nathuram Godse is a much maligned personality; thanks to Congress and leftists who have left no stone unturned to bring disrepute to this great patriot. It is easier for us to look at him as some sort of a villain for having killed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. However, there are always two sides to any coin and we have been long ignoring the other side. Justice Khosla, who was one of the judges participating in Godse’s trial, admittedly said that he found the Godse’s statement melodramatic but he did say “I have, however, no doubt that had the audience of that day been constituted into a jury and entrusted with the task of deciding Godse’s appeal, they would have brought in a verdict of ‘not guilty’ by an overwhelming majority,” Khosla writes capturing the mood of the people in the court after Godse completed his argument with a speech (The Murder of Mahatma by Justice Khosla). Here’s what Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyalu said “One may disagree with Nathuram Godse and his co-accused but we cannot refuse disclosure or circulation of his opinion” when The Central Information Commission (CIC) ruled (in 2017) that the statement of Nathuram Godse, along with other relevant records related to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, should be “proactively disclosed” on the website of the National Archives.

For me Acharyalu’s statement holds more importance than that of Justice Khosla because time and distance allows us to analyse Godse’s statement more objectively and without the emotional baggage that our previous generations carried with them. What Nathuram Godse said during said trial surely reflects the sentiments of many present day Indians. His actions are debatable and we may or may not agree with him on that count but that was possibly the best he could do in the circumstances that he was thrown in. Here are a few statements from his trial (Do listen to his entire speech provided at the end of this article).

  • On January 13, 1948, I learnt that Gandhiji had decided to go on fast unto death. The reason given was that he wanted an assurance of Hindu-Muslim Unity… But I and many others could easily see that the real motive… [was] to compel the Dominion Government to pay the sum of Rs 55 crores to Pakistan, the payment of which was emphatically refused by the Government…. But this decision of the people’s Government was reversed to suit the tune of Gandhiji’s fast. It was evident to my mind that the force of public opinion was nothing but a trifle when compared with the leanings of Gandhiji favourable to Pakistan
  • In fact, honour, duty and love of one’s own kith and kin and country might often compel us to disregard non-violence and to use force. I could never conceive that an armed resistance to an aggression is unjust. I would consider it a religious and moral duty to resist and, if possible, to overpower such an enemy by use of force. [In the Ramayana] Rama killed Ravana in a tumultuous fight and relieved Sita.. [In the Mahabharata], Krishna killed Kansa to end his wickedness; and Arjuna had to fight and slay quite a number of his friends and relations including the revered Bhishma because the latter was on the side of the aggressor. It is my firm belief that in dubbing Rama, Krishna and Arjuna as guilty of violence, the Mahatma betrayed a total ignorance of the springs of human action

  • The accumulating provocation of thirty-two years, culminating in his last pro-Muslim fast, at last goaded me to the conclusion that the existence of Gandhi should be brought to an end immediately. Gandhi had done very good in South Africa to uphold the rights and well-being of the Indian community there. But when he finally returned to India he developed a subjective mentality under which he alone was to be the final judge of what was right or wrong. If the country wanted his leadership, it had to accept his infallibility; if it did not, he would stand aloof from the Congress and carry on his own way
  • Gandhi is being referred to as the Father of the Nation. But if that is so, he had failed his paternal duty inasmuch as he has acted very treacherously to the nation by his consenting to the partitioning of it. I stoutly maintain that Gandhi has failed in his duty

It is time that the concluding statement of Godse is given serious consideration: “My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled against it on all sides. I have no doubt that honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof some day in future”.