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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

No mention of Godse in India’s largest Gandhi museum in Gujarat

Dandi Kutir in Gandhinagar is India’s biggest museum on the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi

india Updated: Jun 28, 2017 22:24 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Ahmedabad, Hindustan Times
Visitors at a multimedia show held at Dandi Kutir.
Visitors at a multimedia show held at Dandi Kutir. (Dandi Kutir Facebook Page)

Gandhinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Sabarmati Ashram on Thursday to join its centenary celebrations where he will be releasing a commemorative coin and a postal stamp on Shrimad Rajchandra, who is known for his formative influence on Mahatma Gandhi. 

But about 25km from the Ashram in Ahmedabad, the country’s largest museum dedicated to the Father of the Nation desists from mentioning Nathuram Godse, who has gone down in history as his assassin.

Dandi Kutir in Gandhinagar is India’s biggest museum on the life and times of Bapu. The official website of the Gujarat government-run centre says the three-storied edifice in the shape of a salt mound representing the Dandi March is a one of its kind museum dedicated to a single person. Yet, the museum conceptualised and built by the state government during Modi’s tenure as CM and later inaugurated by him in 2015, would not name Godse, an advocate of Hindu nationalism. 

The museum, which uses 4D virtual reality, laser shows, 3D holography and digital LED floors to describe the transformation of Mohandas into the Mahatma, narrates the events of 30 January 1948 as: “Vallabhbhai (Patel) had come to meet Gandhiji. Abha told him (Gandhi) he was late and 500 people were waiting outside. As the Mahatma went out, a person stepped out from the crowd to touch his feet. Manu tried to stop him but he pushed her and took out a pistol and… (sound of three gunshots are played).”

The audio description of Bapu’s assassination has no mention of Godse. It identifies his killer as “a person”. This is despite the fact that Godse’s name has gone down in History as the one who shot dead the Mahatma on 30 January 1948 in Delhi. He was later hanged to death for the assassination. 

MH Bagda, director of Museum and Archeology, which comes under the Youth and Culture Activities Department, told HT, “It (Gandhi’s assassination) is a matter of research… Dandi Kutir does not mention Godse.”

Recently, Dr Pankaj Phadnis, a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat in Mumbai, moved the Supreme court of India claiming that the Justice JL Kapur Commission of Inquiry set up in 1966 had not been able to unearth the entire conspiracy that culminated in the killing of Gandhi. 

The petition, according to news agency PTI, seeks a new Commission of Inquiry to ascertain whether a fourth bullet was also fired by someone apart from Godse and if there was any basis to blame Vinayak Damodar Savarkar for Gandhi’s death.

The museum gives details of all the other people who had been part of Gandhi’s life, including his father’s friend Mauvji Dave, who suggested that Gandhi should pursue law in London; Priyan Majumdar, who came to receive him in London; Josiah Oldfield, his roommate in London; Dada Abdullah, a businessman who called him to South Africa to fight a legal case for him; Maganlal Gandhi, his nephew who accompanied him to South Africa; Raichand Bhai, who used to write him letters from India, among others.

While Youth and Culture Activities minister Rajendra Trivedi refused to comment, the opposition Congress alleged that the BJP uses Gandhiji’s name conveniently for its own benefits. 

“Godse is one of the most important persons in the Mahatma story. When the Gujarat government has made so much effort and brought out minute details of Gandhi’s life (at the museum), omission of Godse’s name looks deliberate,” Congress national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil told HT. 

“They should apologise to the people of India for not mentioning Godse (as the assassin),” he added.

A part of the sprawling Mahatma Mandir convention centre that hosts the biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, the museum is promoted by the government as a place where the “life of Gandhi can be relived with modern technology in an interactive, immersive and spell-binding experience”. 

But what leaves many a visitor perplexed is the omission of Nathuram Godse’s name from the museum complex.

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 22:21 IST

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