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January 29, 1998


The Rediff Interview/ Gopal Godse

'According to Nathuram the Sindhu was the only river which was pure as Gandhi's ashes were not immersed there'

What is the national mainstream?

I can give you an example: There was some inauguration of a dam in Kerala. A Muslim minister was asked to light the lamp. He refused, saying his religion does not permit him to do that! That's hypocrisy. Whenever you find benefits you keep your Islam away. And when you are asked to light a lamp you say it's against your religion! That's why I say Muslims in a mob are not in the mainstream.

Veer Savarkar once said, "If a Vithal is worshipped by a Harijan and you say that he is polluted, then he is no Vithal at all."

How can there be a mainstream in India when there are so many castes? A Maharashtrian has a different caste and culture from that of his counterpart in West Bengal.

Britishers created this caste system. Even in Maharashtra they wanted to create a split between the brahmins and the others. Laloo Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav are from the same caste. But still they quarrel. Why? Because they are hungry for power. What has tied them and every Indian together is the common culture. That is what we call Hindutva. For example, a marriage between a Mahar in Maharashtra and a brahmin in West Bengal. They come from the same mantras. That is what we call culture and Hindutva.

The most essential thing is why we are together. Because of language? No. Because of our common culture. And that is why from north to south people are going to attend the Amarnath Yatra. Once you forget your culture, the mere existence of the geographical boundary which is termed India will be of no use.

What were your experiences in jail?

When we took the step, we were sure of the consequences. We took it because we loved our nation. Bhagat Singh did not want to liberate his ancestral land. He wanted to liberate Lahore, Pune and the entire nation. So he sacrificed his life. Revolution is integrated with its leader. A man who sacrifices his life is not bothered about petty things. We knew Gandhi's leadership was not good for the nation. Someone had to jump in the fire. So we did it.

Veer Savarkar was made to do the work which bullocks did in an oil mill. And he did it. Why? Because he was dedicated to the nation. All revolutionaries have to make personal sacrifice. Luckily for us, all the jailers knew we were simple men. They knew our cause. So they never troubled us. And I never violated the prison rules. I studied about life imprisonment and wrote about it.

Can you tell me about your last meeting with Nathuram Godse?

I met him on November 13, 1948 in Ambala jail. It was the day before his execution and there were 20 others with me. Both he and Narayan Apte were jolly.

Nathuram told us that his ashes must not be immersed in any river in India -- it must be scattered only in the Sindhu in Pakistan. His explanation was that Gandhi's ashes have been immersed in all the rivers of the world -- even in the Nile, Volga and Thames. But the Pakistan government refused to immerse his ashes in the Sindhu, saying they didn't want to pollute it with the ashes of a kafir. According to Nathuram the Sindhu was the only river which was pure as Gandhi's ashes were not immersed there.

How do you see India's future?

(Laughs) You make me the prime minister and half the problem of this country will be solved. But I think we will improve only if our leaders adopt a selfless attitude. Take for example the education policy. We must set up a target: in 15 years we will educate so many people. And only those people who can read and write will be allowed to vote. In such an eventuality, politicians will get busy educating the masses in order to get votes.

Another problem is the large number of candidates. And many of them are uneducated. We must make some norms to prevent this. Only then we will improve. To date, nobody has any thought of the nation. Otherwise you would never have heard of recovering more than Rs 30 million from a politician's flat. They don't have any integration with the nation. They are only integrated with their family and sons-in-law.

What is your opinion about secularism in India?

All these 50 years we practised a mockery of secularism. The magistrate has to ask about the religion of a person before giving a judgment. If a man is a Hindu he gets one kind of justice and if he is a Muslim he gets another. Can you call this secularism? This is what is happening in our country. Even in the Property Act you have different rules for Muslims.

What about poverty in India?

Poverty has increased because resources have not increased. On one side you want to increase the life of a person. On the other, you don't want to increase the resources. If you have noticed, during the advertisement of family planning on television you never see a Muslim woman saying 'Hum do Hamare do' (We are two, ours two). And these secularists say that family planning is applicable to all of us! I don't understand why former prime minister Narasimha Rao says 'If there is a Common Civil Code riots will start all over the country'.

Which do you prefer -- the BJP or Shiv Sena?

The Shiv Sena. The BJP is more hesitant to stand by Hinduism. The Shiv Sena supports the killing of Gandhi. People accept them as a Hindu party. When I was honoured, the BJP kept away from it. In Maharashtra the Sena has more respect than the BJP.

The Rediff Interview

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