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Madhya Pradesh Congress Protests Film Comparing Gandhi, Godse

Kashif Kakvi |
NSUI burned Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh director Rajkumar Santoshi’s effigy outside the state Congress office and demanded a ban on the film in Madhya Pradesh.
gandhi godse nsui

Bhopal: A Hindi film comparing Mahatma Gandhi with Nathuram Godse has met with stiff opposition from the Congress in Madhya Pradesh.

The 3.10 minute-long trailer of the Rajkumar Santoshi-directed Gandhi Godse – Ek Yudh was released on January 11 on YouTube and the film will be released on January 26. The trailer shows Gandhi and his killer Godse are men of similar stature and also gives room to justify the latter’s ideology and why he killed the Father of the Nation.

In the trailer, Godse is seen blaming Gandhi for the Partition and the death of Hindus in post-Independence riots in a provocative manner.

The opening line of the trailer says, “Gandhi was forced to kneel before Pakistanis who murdered thousands of Hindus, Gandhi. What is the way out? Gandhi is above the government, the law and the country. He is Mahatma."

Subsequently, the trailer moves to Godse exercising with his gun and saying, “I’m a Hindu. I can sacrifice myself for the dignity of Hindus. Now, it’s time to kill Gandhi.” The tailer further shows Godse shooting Gandhi dead at a public gathering.

The movie seems to be based partly on fiction as it shows Gandhi having ideological arguments with Godse inside the prison after his assassination.

Congress’s student wing National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) burnt Santoshi’s effigy outside the party office on Monday and demanded a ban on the film in Madhya Pradesh.

Former law minister and Congress MLA from Bhopal South-West constituency PC Sharma said that there “cannot be any comparison between Mahatma Gandhi and Nathuram Godse”, The Times of India reported. “Gandhi is the Father of the Nation. How can any film or filmmaker compare him with Nathuram Godse?"

Questioned the Censor Board for passing the film, Sharma asked, “What is the use of having a Censor Board if the views of the BJP-RSS-Hindu Mahasabha are going to be imposed on the people of this country?"

The Congress leader alleged that the trailer “contains only objectional scenes but provocative dialogue against Gandhi”. “In one scene, Gandhi is termed a hypocrite, enemy of Hindus and a hurdle in making India a Hindu Rashtra. This is highly objectionable,” he said.

The trailer also “promotes violence”, Sharma further alleged as “one of the dialogue says, ‘Violence is necessary for the defence of the country and religion.’ It ends with Godse justifying Gandhi’s assassination by saying, ‘I am proud of what I have done.’”

On one hand, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserts that Mahatma Gandhi will continue to inspire future generations but allows to the release of a movie like Gandhi Godse, in which Godse is shown superior to Gandhi. Yet, the Censor Board cleared the film, which uses distorted history to push the agenda of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha”, he added.

Sharma warned, “We know Nathuram Godse as the first terrorist of independent India. The Congress party takes strong objection to the screening of such a film.”

Even Gandhi’s grandson Tushar Gandhi has opposed the movie as well saying “it’s a well thought out gameplan” to defame Gandhi and glorify Godse.

I’m not surprised because for them Godse is a hero. And if they portray him as a hero, it should not surprise any of us. But I cannot comment on the merits or the demerits of the film because I haven’t seen it and I don’t intend to see films which glorify murderers,” he told ANI.

It is a very well thought out gameplan and all these characters have been given the roles to perform and they performed the roles according to their queues and their timelines. The same director portrayed Bapu in a very wrong manner in his film Bhagat Singh. So, it’s not surprising that he would make a film glorifying Godse,” he added.

Well-known journalist Rana Ayyub opposed the movie as well. “A film is being made to understand Nathuram Godse’s point of view. Next, we should have biopics on the terrorists who shot Gauri Lankesh, Pansare, Dabholkar and others. This is how you normalise and embolden hate and terrorism,” she tweeted two days after the release of the trailer.

Hindu Mahasabha national vice-president Jaiveer Bharadwaj demanded that the movie be made tax free. “For the first time, the truth of Partition will come out and people will acknowledge the scarifies of Godse. I urge the government to make film tax free in Madhya Pradesh,” he told the media.

Replying to the Congress protest, he said, “When the Censor Board has passed the film, who can stop the release?”

Bharadwaj had opened a library named after Godse in Gwalior and also installed his statue inside the Hindu Mahasabha office, which was removed by the police after objections.

The BJP said that any attack on Gandhi is an attack on Indian culture and the country’s greatness. “Gandhi’s ideology and work can never be compared with his assassinator Godse. Any attack on Gandhi is an attack on the soul and belief of India,” BJP’s state spokesperson Hitesh Bajpai told Newsclick.

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