“Nationalist” ABVP Member Replaces Gandhi’s Photo on the Note With Nathuram Godse’s

Social Commentary

“Nationalist” ABVP Member Replaces Gandhi’s Photo on the Note With Nathuram Godse’s

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Nathuram Godse is the man who killed Gandhi, the Father of the Indian Nation. But bizarrely enough, he is a figure held in reverence by some who claim to be nationalists and patriots. Godse’s birth anniversary was earlier this week, and it was an occasion marked by many bringing up the murderer’s legacy in an attempt to whitewash or legitimise it. However, apart from the usual tone-deaf social media posts by the Godse defenders, one member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s  youth wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP), took his admiration of Gandhi’s assassin even further, by replacing Gandhi’s image with that of Godse on a currency note, and posting images of it accompanied by a caption that said “Godse amar rahe” (long live Godse).

A report by The Quint states that the post was made by one Shivam Shukla, who is also identified as an ABVP general secretary of Sidhi district in Madhya Pradesh. A complaint against Shukla at the Sidhi Kotwali police station demanded action against him for both sedition and forgery charges, for also tampering with a ₹10 note. However, the report also states that police is currently “probing the matter” to see whether the complaint has any grounds.

Even though the police is yet to register a case, the outrage against Shukla’s action has started to gain traction. Some even identified Shukla in photos with his local Member of Parliament, BJP’s Riti Pathak. For her part, Pathak has denied knowing Shukla and also told reporters, “I haven’t seen his post, but, if someone has posted something like this, it can’t be appreciated.”

Every year, on dates like Godse’s birthday and the date of Gandhi’s assassination, Godse’s name turns up like a bad penny. Of course, not everyone is a blind supporter of Godse, some have picked up on the irony of supporting Godse in a country Gandhi helped create.

While there are a few jokes floating around about people using currency with Gandhi’s face on it to buy cake to celebrate Godse’s birthday, it appears that the ABVP’s Shukla wanted to fix that by removing Gandhi from the notes entirely. It’s truly absurd that an organisation that claims to have the nation’s interest at heart should be so invested in erasing the legacy of one of India’s greatest freedom fighters.

Just to avoid any confusion, Mahatma Gandhi was a freedom fighter, Godse was a murderer. Which one do you think should be on Indian currency notes?