10 Facts About Death Of Mahatma Gandhi
The world observed the demise of who we know as the “Father of the Nation” on January 30, 1948. Mahatma Gandhi who succeeded in India’s struggle for Independence lost his life in a dramatic series of events to the hands of Nathuram Godse. Godse not only killed Gandhi but also sabotaged his reputation in commutation for an image of a murderer, an assassin and a cold blooded treacherous Hindu fanatic. But does anybody really know the real course of action which ended with the death of a helpless old man. Here are some facts that would elucidate your understanding as to how, when and why things turned out like they shouldn’t have.
1. The real reason behind why the grey mirage surrounding the speculations of Gandhi’s death never came off was because the party predominant at that time was none other than the Indian National Congress which was in a lucrative position to overrule any accusation put up against them, their policies or their leaders. It comprised of many shrewd leaders.
2. In its truest sense Nathuram Godse was a well-educated Marathi politician who was a member of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh and Hindu Mahasabha which idolised Gandhi as their mentor and worked closely with him in the fight for India’s Independence. Although Godse stayed away from the Quit India Movement but he was a part of the Civil Disobedience Movement initiated by Gandhi and was the sole representative from the Marathi community as a spokesperson for the movement.
3. The reason for Gandhi’s death as pointed out by Godse was his growing stance with the minority groups especially Muslims. Instances suggest that his growing affection toward Mohammad Ali Jinnah was affecting his decisions. This was hindering the freedom struggle as seen by many Hindu Political groups. The only solution that they sought was taking Gandhi out of the picture. This hideous task was taken by Godse as a measure to the thwarting idiosyncrasies that inhabited Gandhi’s decisions.
4. An instance suggesting the above statements is when Jinnah demanded a separate piece of land for the Muslim Community along with a remuneration of 55 crores as peace money from the Indian Government. He even demanded a direct link between East Pakistan (now called Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. These demands were preposterous as many seek this as a threat to the national security. When government declined to adhere to these demands Jinnah got furious and Gandhi started a fast unto death. Suddenly the tables turned and the government was forced to accept Gandhi’s demand. In another instance, Gandhi also offered Jinnah to become the prime minister of the country as a measure to prevent partition. This was jeopardising the situation.
5. When Gandhi went to address a prayer meeting in Birla house on 30th January 1948, Godse who was awaiting there for a very long time went up to him and shot him three times from his .38 Beretta from close blank range. And the fuss that Gandhi said “Hey Ram” before his death is a mere conjecture. To tell the truth, Gandhi who was always chanting “Rama” once said “if I were to be shot in the chest and died with the words “hey Rama” on my lips, only then would I be a true Mahatma”. After killing him, Godse stood there and shouted for the police to come and arrest him.
6. Following the death of Gandhi, Godse was put to trial and on November 8, 1949 he was sentenced to death. To the surprise of many among those who pleaded for the commutation of Godse’s punishment from death sentence were Jawaharlal Nehru and two of Gandhi’s own sons. This is because they believed that a death sentence would be against Gandhi’s legacy and principles of forgiveness. Still on November 15, 1949 Godse was hanged in Ambala jail along with Narayan Apte, a co-conspirator. Another conspirator Savarkar was acquitted and released.
7. A wave of mourning swept the nation following Gandhi’s death. His death anniversary is celebrated as Martyr’s Day all over the country. But that year it was a mess. The Hindu Mahasabha was held responsible along with the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh which was held responsible since it was already condemned for being an extremist group. This ban was lifted the same year seeking the proposition that RSS was unaware of Godse’s intentions and that it should not be held responsible for the actions of a single man.
8. During Godse’s trial for Gandhi’s death, he was pacified and calm and undertook the full responsibility for his actions. He even wrote a book titled “why I killed Gandhi” even before killing him stating all the reasons behind his decision to assassinate him. The original book along with all its copies was either destroyed or a ban was imposed on the circulation of the book. All this was done to prevent Gandhi from getting into bad light and also to prevent the detriment of the party’s image.
9. In a verdict later written by a judge who presided the Godse trial stated the eloquence behind Godse’s last words which were so strong that he concluded, “I have, however, no doubt that had the audience of that day been constituted into a jury and entrusted with the task of deciding Godse’s appeal, they would have brought a verdict of “not guilty” by an overwhelming majority”. This was the influence of Godse’s appeal who is known as the traitor who killed Gandhi.
10. The news published in the New York Times the next day about Gandhi’s death was “Gandhi is killed by a Hindu. India shaken, world mourns”. This was brought under speculation since it raised many eyebrows following the emphasis on the word “Hindu”. It appeared that the Muslims at that time owned an infamous reputation and were expected to committing such a hideous crime but what happened was unlike what everybody was expecting.
Whatever the case may be but like Gandhi said, “Whatever is past is past. We have only to look to the future”, and we shall look forward to it.