Skip to main content

Warning bell for Gandhians: Social media trends praise Godse, call Mahatma casteist, racist

As I was scanning through Sabrang India, a website run by well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, I came across a post pointing towards how, on the Gandhi Jayanti day, #नाथूराम_गोडसे_जिंदाबाद (#Nathram_Godse_Zindabad) was trending on Twitter. I don’t know if it was among the top trends of the day, but what is interesting is, while some of the those who were posting anti-Gandhi tweets praising Gandhi’s murderer, others called Gandhi racist and casteist, still others blaming him for India's partition. 
Thus, a Facebook friend, who has been showing extreme sensitivity towards caste violence shared a story of what an Indian American Dalit writer Sujatha Gidla, speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival said on January 29, 2018 -- that Gandhi was a “casteist and racist”, that he wanted to “preserve the caste system and paid lip service to Dalit upliftment for political gain.” Gilda added, “Gandhi only wished to ‘prettify’ the caste system, and abolish it.”
In yet another example, another FB friend, who as an excellent journalist has never cared to compromise with the powers-that-be, appeared to state what many in the saffron brigade have long been suggesting – that Gandhi is responsible for India’s partition. This FB friend, whom I have known intimately, wondered why “everybody” was “going ga ga” on the Gandhi Jayanti day. “Why?”, he asked.
“Is he not the man whose freedom movement resulted in partition and massive displacement of people from Sindh, Punjab and Bengal?” the FB post said, insisting, Gandhi “can never qualify to be an Indian icon”, that he “only appealed to the colonialists, who never saw a nanga faqir like this”, though ended by saying, “By the way I do not owe allegiance to the Sanghis.”
Meanwhile, a little-known Gujarati news portal, Mera News, edited by one of the best Gujarati journalists, Prashant Dayal, commenting on social media attacks Gandhi, wondered why have we come a point when anyone calling Gandhi names is taken as a norm, but if you criticise goondas, you are not spared. It added, those who put out posts calling Gandhi names have never ever cared to read a page of history of Indian freedom struggle.
Very true. But surely it’s a dangerous trend, infecting even Dalit rights activists. A case in point is a well-known grassroots Valmiki social activist, whom I have known for about five or six years. What this Valmiki activist, who has been taking up the cause of manual scavengers in Gujarat, said in his FB post about three years ago should serve as a warning bell for Gandhians of all hues, suggesting towards a dangerous trend taking shape, accelerated amidst a sharp upswing of information explosion, especially through the social media.
This Dalit rights activist, justifying Nathuram Godse murdering Mahatma Gandhi, said on October 3, 2017, said, he had gone to a Dalit rally in Dholka, where he came to know “for the first time how Gandhi pressured Babasaheb Ambedkar into giving up the demand for separate electorate for Dalits, allowing us to elect our own representatives to legislatures."
"Gandhi betrayed us Dalits. This was pretty evident. This angered me. Why did Gandhi, who is called a Mahatma, blackmail Ambedkar like this this? In my angry mood, I began surfing FB, and I found on that day a post justifying Godse killing Gandhi. I copied it and posted it on my timeline", he told me, though adding, I didn't know the implications, when brought to light, he decided to delete the FB post.

Comments

TRENDING

Left-wing film maker's 'Socialism of a Third Kind': What about equal economic status?

KP Sasi, a well-known Left-wing film director and cartoonist from Thrissur, Kerala, currently based in Bengaluru, has come up with a 12-point charter on what he calls Socialism of a Third Kind. Sent in an email alert via Dalit Media Watch, Sasi, who is son of late K Damodaran, a Marxist theoretician and writer and one of the founder leaders of the Communist Party in India, provides his perspective of the types of equal status he thinks socialism should have. Though I found it interesting, I didn’t find in any of his 12 points what exactly his view on economy is – whether there could be economic equality, especially at a time when even Marxists agree private capital is a must for development in view of the fact that the productive forces are not ripe enough to change relations of production, supposed to be a precondition of socialism. Be that as it may, I found the 12 point charter by Sasi interesting, coming as it does from a person who has made powerful documentaries like "A Va

Imagine! Lord Ram, a Kshatriya, didn't have 'right' to convert tribals into Brahmins

Shukleshwar Mahadev temple in Anaval village The other day, I was informally talking with a younger friend on caste situation in Gujarat. In order to explain how caste has taken shape, he told me his own example. “I am supposed to be Anavil Brahmin”, as he said this, I wondered where these Brahmins are placed in the Brahmin caste hierarchy, which is known to be pretty rigid, and has many sub-castes. 

What's behind rise and rise of Girish Chandra Murmu, Gujarat cadre IAS official

Girish Chandra Murmu. The very name amuses me. A 1985 batch Gujarat cadre IAS bureaucrat retiring next month, I still remember, during my interaction with him as the Times of India (TOI) man in Gandhinagar, his rather huge laughter (a loud “ha ha ha”) after he would frankly tell me what all was going on in the government. Now, the very same Murmu, 59, has been appointed the first Lieutenant-Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.