The month of January is, unfortunately, laced with tales of horrifying mass murder and ethnic cleansing of hindus, cutting across regional and cast barriers. From the massacre of Marathas by the Army of the Afghan, Ahmed Shah Abdali in the third battle of Panipat, aided by some jealous, traitor hindu kings, to the mass exodus and of Kashmiri Pandits from their homes in Kashmir at the behest of radical Islamists there, to the mass killings of Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra following the murder of M. K. Gandhi by Nathuram Godse and the deceitful genocide of dalit hindu refugees from East Pakistan / Bangladesh by the Communist Govt of West Bengal in the Marichjhapi Islands in the Sunderbans- each of these accounts of grotesque killing would surely make one’s blood boil at the very thought of the extent of human cruelty on fellow humans. But do these bloodthirsty individuals qualify as humans at all? That’s the big question.
The man who is known to have killed Gandhi was Nathuram Godse, a Chitpavan Brahmin from Maharashtra. His aide was Narayan Apte, another Brahmin. Soon after the assassination of M. K. Gandhi on 30th January, 2948, the Chitpavan Brahmin community of Maharashtra became the target of unprecedented attack by the members of the Congress party and other anti Brahmin groups, apparently to avenge Gandhi’s killings. The instant pogrom was indeed ironical, given that such a mass scale genocide of a community could be organized to avenge the killing of a man who advocated non-violence and peaceful means to achieve one’s goal, that of freedom from British colonial rule. The followers of the advocate of ‘non-violence’ didnot take much long to trash his so called ideology and went on a looting and killing spree of the Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra with a skewed logic of an entire community being forced to bear the brunt of the deed of one of their own.
Estimates suggest that around 8000 brahmins were killed but there are no records of how many were forced to flee leaving their home and hearth behind. Besides mindlessly butchering the Brahmins, the marauders looted and burnt down their homes, ransacked their shops and businesses, raped their women, rendering them homeless. One Anand Khatavkar narrated hthe trauma and tribulations of his family as it went down to rags from richrs being the target of selective killing and property burning. His grandfather wss one of the richest cloth merchants of Pune at that time, being the owner of 3 clothes stores but were compelled to sell off all property to reduce trading credits. The family could recover only in the 70s.
The destruction of life and property began in Godse’s home base, Pune and spread like wildfire elsewhere. The worst affected districts were that of Satara and Kohlapur. The properties of Veer Vinayak Sawarkar were torched because they believed that he was a co-conspirator in Gandhi’s killing and his brother, Dr. Narayan Rao Sawarkar was stoned. He subsequently succumbed to his injuries in October, 1949.
Though all records and images of the macabre killings of the Maharashtrian Brahmins, who are generally known to be hindu nationalists, was destroyed, the nature of the attacks, as available from the accounts of the survivors, their descendants and other chroniclers, it is apparent that it was a premeditated one, which involved prior planning as all the Brahmin families were well identified and targeted – there was hardly any scope of error. The said pogrom was certainly not a ‘riot’ as it was made out to be, by a certain section of the Congress apologists and their logic of making an entire community accountable for the killing of Gandhi, is purely puerile. The fact that hundreds of bloodthirsty marauders could be gathered to carry out acts of plunder and killing in such a short period of time is mind boggling, given the fact that we are talking of an era when communication was not so fast as it is to this day. The very thought of it makes one wonder if the plunderers and terror mongers were aware of Gandhi’s proposed killing on that date? It is just a thought. However, the pogrom, it is obvious, was executed solely with the purpose of terrorizing the hindu nationalist Brahmins into submission and to discourage them from defiance, which would make the life of the ruling dispensation of the time much easier.
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