On Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the freedom movement who was assassinated at close range by a fervent Hindu 75 years ago.
“I bow to Bapu on his punya tithi (death anniversary) and recall his profound thoughts,” Modi tweeted ahead of taking part in a ceremony in New Delhi.
“I also pay homage to all those who have been martyred in the service of our nation. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten and will keep strengthening our resolve to work for a developed India,” he added.
Gandhi’s passing anniversary is also honored as Martyrs’ Day in India, where he is often referred to as Bapu (father).
In January 1948, Gandhi was assassinated at a gathering of people of all faiths. Nathuram Godse, a religious fanatic enraged by Gandhi’s conciliation efforts with the nation’s Muslim minority, was responsible.
In addition to frequently visiting Gandhi’s spiritual retreat with international leaders, such as former US president Donald Trump, Modi has also spoken about Gandhi’s legacy.
Modi, meanwhile, has stayed silent over efforts being made by Hindu nationalists to honor and redeem Godse, who was put to death in 1949.
A Gandhi effigy has been used in certain assassination reenactments.
As Godse’s tutor, Hindu idealist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar has also received support from Modi’s administration.
Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Gandhi, stated to AFP last week that India is beginning to take Godse’s opinions seriously under Modi.
“That whole philosophy has now captured India and Indian hearts, the ideology of hate, the ideology of polarisation, the ideology of divisions,” he told AFP at his Mumbai home.
“There is no denying that in his heart, he (Modi) also knows what he is doing is lighting a fire that will one day consume India itself,” the 63-year-old said.