Pragmatic | Moral lodestar, not a law-maker

Rajaji’s views on clemency for Gandhi’s killers are edifying.

Gopal Krishna Gandhi recounts the rationale proffered by the then Governor General, C Rajagopalachari when he turned down a petition for clemency for Nathruam Godse, moved by Mahatma Gandhi’s son, Ramdas Gandhi:

The new Indian State had not claimed it was running the country according to the principles of ahimsa. It acknowledged the Mahatma to be its moral lodestar, but had not recognised him as its law-maker.[HT]

In these times of Anna Hazare and his brand of crusaders, it is an important distinction which should not be forgotten. The modern Indian state didn’t recognise Mahatma Gandhi as its law-maker, but only as its moral lodestar. It can’t be any different now.

We should neither mistake morality for law, nor persons of high moral stature for law-makers.