It appears that the veneration of Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, is now a thing in India.
I would argue that India is further down the road to Fascism and genocide that Trump ever got, and that the opposition, though careerism and incompetence, cannot seem to do anything to stop it:
Last Sunday, in a nondescript building in the India city of Gwalior, 200 miles south of Delhi, a large crowd of men gathered. Most wore bright saffron hats and scarves, a colour evoking Hindu nationalism, and many held strands of flowers as devotional offerings.
They were there to attend the inauguration of the Godse Gyan Shala, a memorial library and “knowledge centre” dedicated to Nathuram Godse, the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi. The devotional yellow and pink flowers were laid around a black and white photograph of Godse, the centrepiece of the room.
On 30 January 1948, Godse stepped out in front of Gandhi and shot him three times at point-blank range. A fervent believer in Hindu nationalism, Godse thought Gandhi had betrayed India’s Hindus by agreeing to partition, leading to the creation of Pakistan, and by championing the rights of Muslims. In 1949, Godse was hanged for Gandhi’s murder.
In the following decades, Godse was widely decried as a terrorist and traitor, the murderer of the “father of India”. Yet, in recent years, as Hindu nationalism has moved from an extremist fringe to mainstream Indian politics – the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has a Hindu nationalist agenda at their core – Godse’s public reputation has steadily shifted from being condemned as traitor to being venerated as a misunderstood Indian patriot.
Meanwhile, Gandhi’s vision of a secular India with equal rights for all religions has been eroded and subjugated since the BJP came to power in 2014.
“Godse did the right thing by killing Gandhi,” said Devendra Pandey, 53, national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha, the Hindu nationalist organisation behind the memorial library. He was vocal in his belief that India should be declared “a country rightfully for Hindus” and that its 200 million Muslims should move to Pakistan.
“Godse considered Gandhi as his father, so to kill him must have caused him great pain but he had a very real reason,” he said. “Godse took action because Gandhi betrayed India – this library will teach the next generation how Godse was a true nationalist martyr.”
At some point there will be a reckoning in India over the country’s embrace of bigotry and its increasingly aggressive attempts to expel and subjugate Muslim Indians.