Mahatma Gandhi Assassination took place on 30 January 1948 in the compound of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), a large mansion in New Delhi. His assassin was Nathuram Godse was an advocate of Hindu nationalism. He also was a member of the political party the Hindu Mahasabha. And a member of the Hindu nationalist volunteer organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Godse considered Gandhi to have been too accommodating to Muslims during the Partition of India of the previous year.
Sometime after 5 p.m., according to witnesses, Gandhi had reached the top of the steps leading to the raised lawn behind Birla House where he had been conducting multi-faith prayer meetings every evening. As Gandhi began to walk toward the dais, Godse stepped out from the crowd flanking Gandhi’s path and fired three bullets into Gandhi’s chest and abdomen at point-blank range. Gandhi fell to the ground. He was carried back to his room in Birla House from which a representative emerged sometime later to announce his death.
Godse was captured by members of the crowd and handed over to the police. The Gandhi murder trial opened in May 1948 in Delhi’s historic Red Fort, with Godse the main defendant, and his collaborator Narayan Apte and six others as the co-defendants. Godse and Apte were sentenced to death on 8 November 1949. They were hanged in the Ambala jail on 15 November 1949.
Godse felt that the massacre and suffering caused during, and due to, the partition could have been avoided if Gandhi and the Indian government had acted to stop the killing of the minorities (Hindus and Sikhs) in West and East Pakistan. He stated Gandhi had not protested against these atrocities being suffered by Hindus in Pakistan and had instead resorted to fasts. So, he was justified in Mahatma Gandhi Assassination.
Godse called Gandhi subjective, someone who pretended to have a monopoly on truth. He shat Gandhi thought of himself as the final judge of what is true or false, right or wrong, and the suffering of Hindus did not matter to him. Godse claimed that his group of volunteers and he were social workers who had worked across religious and caste boundaries for years to help their fellow Indians, and he was upset with Gandhi’s actions and willingness to ignore non-Muslim interests and make concessions to Muslims.
Godse said that Gandhi exploited the feelings of tolerant Hindus with one-sided practices.
Godse stated that Gandhi’s fast to pressure the Indian government to release the final payment to Pakistan that it had previously frozen because of the war in Kashmir, and the Indian government’s subsequent policy reversal, was proof that the Indian government reversed its decision to suit the feelings of Gandhi.
Godse stated he did not oppose Gandhian ahimsa teachings, but Gandhi’s talk of religious tolerance and nonviolence had already caused India to cede Pakistan to Muslims, uprooted millions of people from their home, caused immense violent loss of life and broken families. He believed that if Gandhi was not checked he would bring destruction and more massacres to Hindus.
The trial began on 27 May 1948 and ran for eight months before Justice Atma Charan passed his final order on 10 February 1949. The prosecution called 149 witnesses, the defense none. The court found all of the defendants except one guilty as charged. Eight men were convicted for the murder conspiracy, and others convicted for violation of the Explosive Substances Act. Savarkar was acquitted and set free due to lack of evidence. Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte were sentenced to death by hanging and the remaining six (including Godse’s brother, Gopal) were sentenced to life imprisonment.
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