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Indian Economy and Policy 1501103

1) What aspects of his mother’s femininity did Gandhi incorporated in his own
Ever since his days in South Africa Gandhi had realised the inherent strength in women folk.
He not only upheld feminine values but he also consistently tried to internalize women’s
experiences ,women’s values and women’s emotional intelligence into his personality.

Before Gandhi left his village for England his mother made him promise never to eat meat.
Gandhi since making that promise to his mother never ate meat and remained a vegetarian for
the rest of his life. His time in London, was influenced by a vow he had made to his mother upon
leaving India, in the presence of a Jain monk, to observe the Hindu precepts of abstinence from
meat and alcohol as well as of promiscuity.

Jain ideas and practices powerfully influenced Gandhi particularly through his mother who
was a devout Jain and was in contact with Jain leaders. Themes from Jainism that Gandhi
absorbed included ascetism; compassion for all forms of life; the importance of vows for self-
discipline; vegetarianism; fasting for self-purification; mutual tolerance among people of
different creeds; and "syadvad," the idea that all views of truth are partial, a doctrine that lies at
the root of Satyagraha.

2) Describe in brief the Brahmanic tradition that Maharashtrian Chitpavans like

Nathuram Godse represent?
Traditionally, the Chitpavans were a community of astrologers and priests who offer religious
services to other communities. The 20th century descriptions of the Chitpavans list inordinate
frugality, untrustworthiness, conspiratorialism, phlegmatic, hard work, cleanliness and
intelligence among their attributes. Agriculture was the second major occupation in the
community, practised by those who possess arable land.

Earlier, the Deshastha Brahmins believed that they were the highest of all Brahmins, and
looked down upon the Chitpavans as parvenus, barely equal to the noblest of dvijas. Even the
Peshwa was denied the rights to use the Ghats reserved for Deshasth priests at Nashik on the
Godavari. This usurping of power by Chitpavans from the Deshastha Brahmins resulted in intense
rivalry between the two Brahmin communities which continued in late Colonial British India
times. The 19th century records also mention Gramanyas or village-level debates between the
Chitpavans, and two other communities, namely the Daivajnas, and
theChandraseniyaKayasthaPrabhus. This lasted for about ten years.

Chitpavans were one of the rare Brahman communities in India which had a long history of
valour in the battlefield. The Maharashtrian Brahmins saw themselves as the upholders of a
tradition of Hindu resistance against the Muslim occupation of India. It was on this reconstructed
and self-created tradition that a part of the Maharashtrian elite built up their anti-British
nationalism. They saw themselves as the previously powerful, now weakened, competitors of the
British. So terrorism directed against the Raj came naturally to them. Their aim was redemption
of their lost glory.

Most of Gandhi’s charisma did not extend to Chitpavans. If the Kshatriyas were absent, the
Chitpavans would have enjoyed greater status and they incorporated – as traditional rulers,
Indian Economy and Policy 1501103

landowners and warriors – elements of the Kshatriya identity and lived with many of the
Kshatriya fears and anxieties relating to womanhood.

3) Starting from his association with Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement in 1929-30
to floating his newspaper Hindu Rashtra, describe in brief his political associations
with various organization.
After a brief period in Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement in 1929-30, Nathuram became
at the age of 20 an active and ardent member of the Hindu Mahasabha, a small political party,
and of the RashtriyaSwayamSevakSangh, a paramilitary wing of the Mahasabha. Both groups
supported the cause of Hindu revivalism and tried to articulate the Hindu search for self-esteem.
Godse did well in the party and within few years was the Secretary of the Poona branch.
Nathuram had become a baudhikkaryavah [intellectual worker] in the RSS.However, he did not
find the RSS militant enough and resigned soon, forming a new organization called Hindu Rashtra
Dal.This mere fact, if fact it be, has been pounced upon by the RSS in the five decades following
Gandhi’s assassination to argue that Godse had no association with the RSS, and curiously
Nathuram’s younger brother, Gopal Godse, who was convicted of partaking in the conspiracy to
murder Gandhi and served a fifteen-year jail term and still speaks in the most bitter terms of
Gandhi as the betrayer of India, has himself on more than one occasion had to issue a strong
rejoinder to the RSS, with whose ideological outlook he is otherwise in complete sympathy, for
attempting to disguise his brother’s long-term association with the RSS.

It scarcely matters, then, whether Nathuram Godse retained membership in the RSS when he
shot Gandhi dead. Godse was involved in Hindu extremist organizations, including the RSS and
the Hindu Mahasabha, his entire adult life, and the continuing attempts by RSS to evade
responsibility for Gandhi’s assassination are characteristic of that extreme pusillanimity and
tendency to falsehood which have always been the signal trademarks of an organization that is
determined to bring the idea of Hindu Rashtra to fruition.

4) What are the similarities and dissimilarities between Gandhi and Godse at the level
of manifest political style?
Similarities between Godse and Gandhi –

1. Both were committed and courageous nationalists. They both felt that the problem
of India was basically the problem of the Hindus as they constituted the majority of
the Indians.
2. Gandhi and Godse were allegiant to the idea of an undivided and free India. They felt
austerity was a necessary part of political activity.
3. Godse like Gandhi, lived like a hermit. He slept on a wooden plank, using just a
blanket and rarely wore a shirt only in extreme winter. Godse neither smoke or drank
and took Gandhi’s rejection of sexuality even further, by never marrying and
remained a strict celibate. He considered himself a sanatani and was cremated
according to sanatani rights.
4. Godse was also in favour of mobilizing the Indian Muslims for the nationalist cause
by making some concessions to their leadership. Godse in fact, had a grudging
respect for what Gandhi had done for the country.
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Differences between Godse and Gandhi –

1. Like a normal human being anywhere in the world, Godse considered totally
irrational Gandhi’s emphasis on political ethics, soul force and the moral supremacy
of the oppressed over the oppressor.
2. Godse’s Hinduism was also different from Gandhi. Gandhi felt Hinduism was a life
style and an open-ended system of universal ethics which would continuously
integrate new inputs. For Godse, salvation of Hindus lay in giving up their synthetism
and ideological openness and in being religious in the fashion of politically successful
3. Godse looked at history as a chronological sequence of real events, and noticed India
was ruled by Muslims or Christians for over 1000 years. He felt Hindus were
humiliated and this had to be redressed. Gandhi seldom cared about the past and
Muslim domination of India meant nothing to him, prompting Godse to famously
refer to Gandhi as ‘Father of Pakistan’

5) After killing Gandhi, Nathuram Godse reportedly said that he had done his duty like
Arjuna in the Mahabharata whomKrishna advised to kill his own relatives because
they were evil. What supporting props about the society in general and Gandhi in
particular could Nathuram may have cited to justify his remark?

Gandhi died, according to his own scenario, at the hands of one who was apparently
a zealot, a religious fanatic, a typical assassin with a typical background, educated and
intelligent, but an under-achiever. Godse was still relatively young, was coming from the
middle class and yet from a group which was a displaced elite and with a long record of
failures. Godse also had the fear of sexuality, idealization of parents, ideological rigidity and
constriction of emotions. This was the kind of society in which Nathuram Godse was born,
grew and died.
Godse and his associates’ decision to kill Gandhi was certainly determined by the
circumstances of Partition and the death of Hindus in the course of the communal violence
of 1947. But, during his trial, Godse also made clear that there was an ideological element to
the decision: “I had never made a secret of the fact that I supported the ideology of the
school that was opposed to that of Gandhi. I firmly believed that the teachings of absolute
ahimsa as advocated by Gandhi would ultimately result in the emasculation of the Hindu
community and thus make the community incapable of resisting the aggression or inroads of
other communities, especially the Muslims.”By his own admission, Godse belonged to an
ideological stream fed by Hindu nationalism and political violence against Gandhi, a school of
thought that began with B.G. Tilak and was perpetuated by “Tilakites” such as V.D. Savarkar,
Godse’s mentor.
Godse’s interpretation of the Mahabharata also has similarities with Tilak’s Gita
Rahasya. At the end of his trial, Godse said: “In fact, honour, duty and love of one’s own kith
and kin and country might often compel us to disregard non-violence. Arjun had to fight and
slay quite a number of his friends and relations, including the revered Bhishma, because the
latter was on the side of the aggressor. It is my firm belief that in dubbing Ram, Krishna and
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Arjun as guilty of violence, the Mahatma betrayed a total ignorance of the springs of human