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January 29, 1998


The Rediff Interview/ Gopal Godse

'Gandhi used to systematically fool people. So we killed him'

Gopal Godse The lights go off as you reach the dilapidated building in Santa Cruz, in Bombay's western suburbs. With great difficulty you navigate the stairs and knock on a first-floor door.

"What do you want," asks the lady who opened the door.

You tell her you have come to meet Gopal Godse.

"Yes, I'm here," a voice comes from a corner of the dark room. The lady brings a lighted candle and you see the 76-year-old man who underwent 18 years imprisonment for conspiring in Mahatma Gandhi's assassination.

"I'm sorry the lights are off," Nathuram Godse's brother says, "You know, this is India and even after 50 years of Independence we have not improved.

"Since Independence our people are accustomed to forget history. Today no one is bothered about the Partition. And no one wants to reunite India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

"Gandhi systematically fooled the people by saying, 'I'll accept the Partition of the country over my dead body.' But still he partitioned India. So we killed him..."

Godse, in an exclusive interview with Firdaus Syed Ashraf:

Do you ever regret Mahatma Gandhi's killing?

Mahatma Gandhi No, never. Gandhi used to claim the Partition would be over his dead body. So after Partition when he didn't die, we killed him. Usually an assassination of a leader is either for personal benefit or to acquire power. We killed Gandhi because he was harmful to India. And it was a selfless act. No one paid us a single penny for it. Our love for the motherland made us do it. We are not ashamed of it. Gandhi should have been honest to admit that his life was a failure.

You see, right from Pakistan and Bangladesh every Muslim is a converted Hindu. Gandhi's appeasement attitude (towards the Muslims) went far too much. That was why we killed him. Two hundred and fifty thousand Hindus were killed in Noakhali in October 1946. Hindu women were forced to remove their sindhoor and do Muslim rituals. And Gandhi said, 'Hindus must bow their heads if Muslims want to kill them. We should follow the principle of ahimsa (non-violence).' How can any sensible person tolerate this? Our action was not for a handful of people -- it was for all the refugees who came from Pakistan.

So, till this day, I have never regreted being one of the conspirators in Gandhi's assassination. In fact, many of Nathuram's friends told me after my release, 'Nathuram ni gadhav pana kela, tyani majha chance ghalavla' (Nathuram did you an injustice. He made you miss your chance to kill Gandhi).

Did your family undergo any social pressure after the assassination?

Yes, very much. No one used to be ready to marry girls from my family. So we decided that the first thing we should put across to the bridegroom was that we are related to Nathuram Godse. It is only now that people appreciate our honesty. Now they are ready for marriage (into my family).

If the Muslim League could influence the Muslims in 1947, why was it that the Hindu Mahasabha could not influence Hindus?

(That was) because I don't have any leadership quality. My talent is to write. And I have convinced my readers with my writing.

Unfortunately, the so-called secular Hindu leaders from the Congress have been ruling the masses since 1885. And they have ruled the country for another 50 years. It is only now that Hindus have become conscious (about the Congress). They have thrown the party out from Maharashtra and all over India.

You cannot gauge a nation in merely five decades. It took 500 years for the Christians to drive away Muslims from Europe. Muslims ruled right up to Spain and Portugal. I don't know how many years it will take for Hindus to rule the entire Bharat. It may be a decade, or it may be a century.

Did you ever contest elections?

Yes, I contested from Ranchi in Bihar. People asked me why I was contesting there. I said my slogan is 'Ab ke bar Ranchi se agli bar Karachi se'. (This election I will contest from Ranchi and the next from Karachi). I was able to secure only 7,000 votes because I did not have any mass support.

Can Muslims and Hindus ever live together in peace?

Yes, if the Muslims give up their blind faith. It is written in the Koran that idol worship is not permitted. If Muslims don't want Hindus to pray to their gods, how can they live together with them (the Hindus)? They want to convert Hindus to Islam not realising that their ancestors were Hindus. They must give up this attitude. Then only the two can live together.

And who created Pakistan? It wasn't the Arabs but the Muslims of Bharat. Who was Jinnah? His grandfather was a Hindu. Benazir Bhutto is also a Hindu Rajput.

Every Muslim nation keeps away from modern science. And when they do that they are left far behind the rest of the world. When the telephone was invented, Muslim countries were not using it. They said it is not mentioned in the Koran, that it was un-Islamic!

Of the 140 million Muslims in India, how many would you say want to convert Hindus to Islam?

The number is not important. What's important is that it is written in their religion. They have already shown that by creating Pakistan. No secular Hindu can go for Haj. Why is it so that only Muslims are allowed there? Is it because only Muslims are secular?

Who wants to expand Islam in India? Can you name them?

No. You have to understand one thing. Individually a Muslim may be good to the Hindus. But when in a group, he will be out of the national mainstream.

Gopal Godse interview, continues

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