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Ivan Titov
Ivan Titov

Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy: A Play that Defends Gandhi's Murderer



Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy: A Controversial Play on Gandhi's Assassin




Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy is a two-act play written in Marathi by Pradeep Dalvi. It is based on the book May It Please You Honour by Gopal Godse, the brother and co-conspirator of Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. The play explores the motives and beliefs of Godse, who was hanged for his crime, and presents his defense plea in court. The play has been widely criticized and banned by various governments and groups for glorifying Gandhi's killer and spreading communal hatred.




mi nathuram godse boltoy book



Introduction




The play begins with Godse addressing the audience from his prison cell, where he awaits his execution. He narrates his life story, from his childhood to his involvement in Hindu nationalist organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Hindu Mahasabha. He explains his ideological differences with Gandhi, whom he accuses of appeasing Muslims and betraying Hindus. He also claims that Gandhi was responsible for the partition of India and Pakistan, which resulted in millions of deaths and displacements. He then describes how he planned and carried out the assassination of Gandhi at Birla House in Delhi, along with his accomplices. He ends his monologue by saying that he does not regret his actions and that he is proud to be a Hindu patriot.


The play is based on the book May It Please You Honour by Gopal Godse, who was also sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the conspiracy. The book contains the transcripts of the statements made by Nathuram Godse and his co-defendants during their trial at the Red Fort. The book was banned by the Indian government until 1968, when the ban was lifted by the Supreme Court.


The play attempts to explore the assassination of Gandhi and the trial of Godse from Godse's point of view. It tries to portray him as a rational and courageous person who acted out of conviction and love for his country. It also challenges the popular image of Gandhi as a saintly and infallible leader who embodied non-violence and peace.


Staging and controversies




The play was first staged in 1997 by Mauli Productions, with Sharad Ponkshe playing the role of Godse. It ran for 13 successful shows but was soon banned by the governments of Maharashtra and Kerala, who alleged that it violated Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.


The producer of the play, Pradeep Dalvi, challenged the ban in court, arguing that it violated his freedom of expression and that it did not incite violence or hatred against any community. He also claimed that he had received permission from Gopal Godse to adapt his book into a play. In 2001, after four years of legal battle, he won his case in both Bombay High Court and Supreme Court, which allowed him to stage the play across India.


However, even after getting clearance from the courts, the play faced stiff opposition from various political parties and groups, especially those affiliated with Gandhi's ideology or legacy. The Congress party, which considers Gandhi as its founding father and inspiration, strongly condemned and protested against the play. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which was in power in Maharashtra at that time, also tried to prevent its staging by imposing various restrictions and conditions. The Shiv Sena party, which is known for its Hindu nationalist agenda, supported the play and offered protection to its cast and crew.


The play also faced threats and attacks from some violent elements who wanted to stop it at any cost. In one incident, a bus carrying the artists was set on fire by some Congress activists in Mulund, a suburb of Mumbai. In another incident, a bomb was planted outside a theater in Pune where the play was scheduled to be performed. Fortunately, no one was injured or killed in these incidents.


Despite these challenges and risks, the play managed to stage more than 600 shows across India over a span of two decades. It attracted large crowds who were curious to see what Godse had to say about his act. It also sparked debates and discussions among people about Gandhi's role in India's history and politics.


Criticism




The play has been widely criticized by various sections of society for being biased, provocative and disrespectful towards Gandhi. Some of the critics are:


  • Gandhi's family and supporters: They have denounced the play as an insult to Gandhi's memory and legacy. They have also accused it of distorting facts and spreading lies about Gandhi's life and work. They have demanded that it should be banned or boycotted by people who respect Gandhi's values and principles.



  • Civil liberties activists and theater workers: They have opposed the ban on the play as an infringement on freedom of expression and artistic creativity. However, they have also expressed their displeasure with the content and message of the play. They have called it vicious, hateful and divisive. They have argued that it does not reflect any artistic merit or social relevance.



  • Another author: Yashwant Dinkar Phadke, who wrote another book on Godse called Nathuramayan, has criticized Dalvi's play for presenting distorted and falsified facts about Godse's life and motives. He has challenged Dalvi to answer some questions raised by him in his book regarding Godse's claims.



Conclusion




Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy is a controversial play that tries to justify Gandhi's assassination from Godse's perspective. It is based on a book written by Gopal Godse, who was also involved in the conspiracy. The play has been banned several times by various governments but has also been allowed by courts after legal battles. The play has faced opposition from many political parties and groups who consider it offensive and inflammatory towards Gandhi's followers. The play has also been criticized by civil liberties activists and theater workers who find it hateful and vicious towards Gandhi himself. The play has also been questioned by another author who has written a different book on Godse. The play has nevertheless attracted large audiences who are curious to hear what Godse had to say about his act. The play has also sparked debates and discussions among people about Gandhi's role and relevance in India's history and politics. The play is still relevant and controversial today because it touches upon some sensitive issues and emotions related to India's past and present.


FAQs




  • What is Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy?



Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy is a two-act Marathi play written by Pradeep Dalvi based on a book by Gopal Godse. It explores the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse from Godse's point of view.


  • Why was Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy banned?



Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy was banned by various governments because they alleged that it violated Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. They also claimed that it glorified Gandhi's killer and spread communal hatred.


  • How did Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy win its case in court?



```html won its case in court by challenging the ban on the grounds of freedom of expression and artistic creativity. It also argued that it had received permission from Gopal Godse to adapt his book into a play. It also claimed that it did not incite violence or hatred against any community. The Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court upheld its right to stage the play across India.


  • Who played the role of Godse in Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy?



Sharad Ponkshe played the role of Godse in Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy. He received praise and criticism for his performance. He said that he did not agree with Godse's ideology but tried to understand his psychology and emotions. He also said that he faced threats and attacks from some people who opposed the play.


  • What is the message of Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy?



The message of Mi Nathuram Godse Boltoy is that Godse was not a madman or a fanatic but a rational and courageous person who acted out of conviction and love for his country. It also tries to challenge the popular image of Gandhi as a saintly and infallible leader who embodied non-violence and peace. It also tries to raise some questions about Gandhi's role and relevance in India's history and politics.



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