Professor Gautam Chakravarty
09 April 2015
Nathuram Godse’s Reading of the Bhagavad Gita.
The historical accounts of the post-independence era tell us about the Gita being the most popular book among the freedom fighters. In 1909, a secret nationalist outfit pledged before goddess Kali to fight against the colonial powers, with a revolver in one hand and the Gita in the other. In 1908, Khudiram Bose, who was sentenced to death by hanging, carried the holy book to the gallows. Lala Lajpat Rai and Shri Aurobindo advocated the youth to read the Gita, believe in ‘nishkama karma,’ gather up arms and risk their existence to defend their ‘dharma.’ The implication of the book is not sectarian but universal- “All paths lead to me.” The secularist, Nehru believed that the processes of change- development or decay that the society has witnessed have “always found something living in the Gita.” Varghese George in Gita, Gandhi and Godse suggests that
“leaders have found their political action in their religious faith which they have used to justify the killings and destruction.” In 1920, Tilak wrote to Gandhi: “Politics is the game of worldly people and not of ‘sadhus.’” He preferred the Krishna ideal- ‘in whatsoever may come to me, in