The Apostle of Hate

Historical records expose the lie that Nathuram Godse left the RSS

Nathuram Godse (left) with his defence counsel LB Bhopatkar during the trial for Mohandas Gandhi’s assassination. FP
01 January, 2020

SHORTLY BEFORE HIS EXECUTION, in the early hours of 15 November 1949, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, the Hindu-supremacist fanatic who killed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 30 January 1948, recited a prayer:

Namaste Sada Vatsale Matrubhume
Twaya Hindubhume Sukham Vardhitoham
Mahanmangale Punyabhume Twadarthe
Patatvesh Kayo Namaste, Namaste!

O affectionate motherland, I eternally bow to you
O land of Hindus, you have reared me in comfort
O sacred and holy land,
May this body of mine be dedicated to you and I bow before you again and again!

These four Sanskrit sentences constitute the first of the three stanzas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s official prayer, which continues to be sung to this day at its shakhas—regular assemblies meant for physical and ideological training.

Godse’s choice of prayer is puzzling. He is believed to have left the RSS sometime around 1938, when he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha—the biggest Hindu-nationalist political party at the time. But the Sanskrit prayer, which replaced a previous Marathi version, was only drafted in 1939 and became popular among RSS cadres much later. Clearly, for Godse to know it, he would have to have had post-1939 RSS links.