For politicians in India history is especially important because they live in the past instead of in the present. This is vividly bought out in the currently ignited fierce debate over whether or not Naturam Godse belonged to the RSS. As if this has any significant relevance to current events! But amusingly enough the passion spent on differing perceptions by both the Congress and the BJP are at sharp variance with historical reality.
The BJP denies that Godse belonged to the RSS, affirms the patriotic credentials of its organization, and has adopted Vallabh Bhai Patel as its hero. The Congress insists that RSS was responsible for Gandhi’s murder, that Patel was critical of the RSS, and rubbishes the BJP for adopting him as its hero. Now consider the reality and contrast it with the perceptions clung by both parties with such passion.
Nathuram Godse was living in Bombay and staying at the house of Narayan Apte. Both traveled to Delhi . Godse accompanied by Apte shot Gandhi. Both Godse and Apte were hanged. Apte.was under constant surveillance of the Home Ministry intelligence agencies because he was known to have owned small arms. The Home Ministry therefore must have been aware of the impending danger as the two traveled to Delhi to meet Gandhi. The Home Ministry had already recorded five earlier threats to Gandhi’s life. But despite India 's independence the administration during those early years remained entirely under British control run by officers appointed by the British. Lord Mountbatten was functioning as India’s Governor-General. After Gandhi’s murder, in the light of the Home Ministry surveillance of Godse and Apte, and the earlier threats to Gandhi’s life, young socialist leader Jayaprakash Narain accused the Home Ministry led by Sardar Patel of being criminally negligent. Patel could not evade his moral responsibility and tendered his resignation. Nehru however did not accept it.
Is it not somewhat amusing that in the light of these facts the Congress targets the RSS and glosses over the role of Patel? Is it not amusing that the BJP passionately holds up Patel as its model of national unity and good governance? But, then, the facts listed above are merely history. In India history is what you want to believe.