The great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, a key figure in India’s independence, denounces that the current rise of Hindu nationalism offends the pacifist legacy of his great-grandfather, whose 75th anniversary of his assassination will be commemorated on Monday.
During a multi-denominational prayer, Gandhi was assassinated with a firearm on January 30, 1948 by the Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse, who accused him of being too conciliatory towards the Muslim minority.
The authorities at the time sentenced Godse to death and his figure was reviled for decades, but Hindu nationalist sectors now claim Gandhi’s murderer.
"This philosophy has taken India and the hearts of Indians hostage. It is about the ideology of hate, polarization and division"explains to AFP the writer and activist Tushar Gandhi, one of the best-known descendants of the militant and pacifist philosopher.
To the most radical nationalists, "It seems normal to them that Godse is their ideal patriot, their idol"Add.
Tushar Gandhi, 63, attributes this ideological drift to the rise to power of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who assumed the reins of power in 2014, and his Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata.
According to Gandhi’s great-grandson, Modi and his training question the multicultural and secular tradition that his family upheld in India.
The success of the current prime minister, according to him, "is based on hate"and the same Modi "He knows that what he is doing is fueling a fire that will one day affect all of India.".
Hindu nationalist sectors not only revere Gandhi’s assassin, but also built a temple in his honor near the capital New Delhi in 2015 and would even like to see a town named after him.
Godse was born in 1910 in a small Indian village, the son of a postal worker. In his youth he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an ultranationalist Hindu movement that did paramilitary training.
After being outlawed for a brief period, the RSS distanced itself from the figure of Gandhi’s assassin and gained relevance as the ideological support of the Bharatiya Janata party.
However, Modi paid tribute to Gandhi on multiple occasions and distanced himself from the RSS campaign to rehabilitate Godse.
Gandhi’s great-grandson continues to uphold the legacy of his great-grandfather, whom he considers a symbol of "honesty, equality, unity and inclusion".
At his home, located in a quiet neighborhood of Bombay, the economic capital of the country, there are numerous portraits and statuettes of his great-grandfather.
Tushar Gandhi, who wrote two books about his great-grandfather and his wife Kasturba, vindicates the importance of democracy and filed several motions in the Supreme Court to defend the country’s secular institutions.
However, he is resigned to Modi’s political dominance in India, where he faces weak opposition and is running as the favorite to be re-elected in next year’s elections.
"The evil is so deep and successful that I don’t see my ideology succeed in India for a long time."the Mint.
"But this does not take away my determination to continue fighting."assures.