Nathuram Godse
assassin of Mahatma Gandhi (1910-1949)
Nathuram Vinayak Godse (19 May 1910 – 15 November 1949) was the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, who shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point blank range in New Delhi on 30 January 1948
Group photo of people accused in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Standing (L to R): Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madan Lal Pahwa, Digambar Ramchandra Badge]. Seated (L to R): Narayan Apte, w:Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Ramkrishna Karkare
Please, see to it that mercy is not imposed on me. I want to show that through me, Gandhiji’s non-violence is being hanged.
Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
Nathuram Godse: Why I Assassinated Gandhi (1993)
Godse, Nathuram, Why I Assassinated Gandhi, Surya Bharti Prakashan, Delhi, 1993. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
Born in a devotional Brahmin family, I instinctively came to revere Hindu religion, Hindu history and Hindu culture. I had, therefore, been intensely proud of Hinduism as a whole. As I grew up I developed a tendency to free thinking unfettered by any superstitious allegiance to any isms, political or religious. That is why I worked actively for the eradication of untouchability and the caste system based on birth alone. I openly joined RSS wing of anti-caste movements and maintained that all Hindus were of equal status as to rights, social and religious and should be considered high or low on merit alone and not through the accident of birth in a particular caste or profession.
I used publicly to take part in organized anti-caste dinners in which thousands of Hindus, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Chamars and Bhangis participated. We broke the caste rules and dined in the company of each other. I have read the speeches and writings of Ravana, Chanakiya, Dadabhai Naoroji, Vivekanand, Gokhale, Tilak, along with the books of ancient and modern history of India and some prominent countries like England, France, America and Russia. Moreover I studied the tenets of Socialism and Marxism. But above all I studied very closely whatever Veer Savarkar and Gandhiji had written and spoken, as to my mind these two ideologies have contributed more to the moulding of the thought and action of the Indian people during the last thirty years or so, than any other single factor has done.
All this reading and thinking led me to believe it was my first duty to serve Hindudom and Hindus both as a patriot and as a world citizen. To secure the freedom and to safeguard the just interests of some thirty crores (300 million) of Hindus would automatically constitute the freedom and the well-being of all India, one fifth of human race.
‘15. I have never made a secret about the fact that I supported the ideology, which was opposed to that of Gandhiji. I firmly believed that the teachings of absolute Ahimsa as advocated by Gandhiji would ultimately result in the emasculation of the Hindu community incapable of resisting the aggression of other communities especially the Muslims. To counter this evil I decided to enter public life and as a part of the propaganda started a daily newspaper Agrani. I might mention that is not so much Gandhi’s Ahimsa that we were opposed to but his bias for Muslims, prejudicial and detrimental to the Hindu Community and its interests. I have fully described my point of view and have quoted instances when how Gandhi became responsible for a number of calamities which the Hindu community had to suffer and undergo.’
‘16. On 13th of January 1948. I learnt that Gandhiji had decided to go on fast unto death. The reason given for such fast was that he wanted an assurance of Hindu-Muslim unity in Indian Dominion. But I and many others could easily see that the real motive behind the fast was not merely the so-called Hindu-Muslim Unity, but to compel the Dominion Government to pay the sum of Rs. 55 crores to Pakistan, the payment of which was emphatically refused by the Government.’
25. Having reached Delhi in great despair, I visited the refugee camps at Delhi. While moving in the camps my thoughts took a definite and final turn. Chancely I came across a refugee who was dealing in arms and he showed me the pistol. I was tempted to have it and I bought it from him. It is the pistol which I later used in the shots I fired. On coming to the Delhi Railway station I spent the night of 29th thinking and re-thinking about my resolve to end the present chaos and further destruction of the Hindus.
‘49. The territory bounded by the North Western Frontier in the North and Cape Comorin in the South and the areas between Karachi and Assam, that is the whole of pre-partition India, has always been to me my motherland. In this vast area live people of various faiths and I hold that these creeds should have full and equal freedom for following their ideals and beliefs. In this area the Hindus are the most numerous. They have no place which they can call their own beyond or outside this country. Hindusthan is thus both motherland and the holy land for the Hindus from times immemorial. To the Hindus largely this country owes its fame and glory, its culture and art, knowledge, science and philosophy. Next to the Hindus, the Muslims are numerically predominant. They made systematic inroads into this country since the 10th century and gradually succeeded in establishing Muslim rule over the greater part of India.
‘50. Before the advent of the British, both Hindus and Muslims as a result of centuries of experience had come to realise that the Muslims could not remain as masters in India; nor could they be driven away. Both had clearly understood that both had come to stay. Owing to the rise of the Mahrattas, the revolt of the Rajputs and the uprise of the Sikhs, the Muslim hold on the country had become very feeble and although some of them continued to aspire for supremacy in India, practical people could see clearly that such hopes were futile. On the other hand, the British had proved more powerful in battle and in intrigue than either the Hindus or Mussalmans, and by their adoption of improved methods of administration and the assurance of the security of the life and property without any discrimination both the Hindus and the Muslims accepted them as inevitable. ‘50 (continued). Differences between the Hindus and the Muslims did exist even before the British came. Nevertheless it is a fact that the British made the most unscrupulous use of these differences and created more differences in order to maintain their power and authority. The Indian National Congress which was started with the object of winning power for the people in the governance of the country had from the beginning kept before it the ideal of complete nationalism which implies that all Indians should enjoy equal rights and complete equality on the basis of democracy. This ideal of removing the foreign rule and replacing it by the democratic power and authority of the people appealed to me most from the very start of my public career.’
‘51. In my writings and speeches, I have always advocated that the religious and communal consideration should be entirely eschewed in the public affairs of the country, at elections, inside and outside the legislatures and in the making and unmaking of Cabinets. I have throughout stood for a secular State with joint electorates and to my mind this is the only sensible thing to do. (…)’ ‘51 (continued). Under the influence of the Congress, this ideal was steadily making headway amongst the Hindus. But the Muslims as a community first stood aloof and later on under the corroding influence of the Divide and Rule Policy of foreign masters were encouraged to cherish the ambition of dominating the Hindus. The first indication of this outlook was the demand for separate electorates instigated by the then Viceroy Lord Minto in 1906. The British Government accepted this demand under the excuse of minority protection. While the Congress party offered a verbal opposition, it progressively supported separatism by ultimately adopting the notorious formula of “neither accepting nor rejecting” in 1934.’
‘52. Thus had originated and intensified the demand for the disintegration of this country. What was the thin end of the wedge in the beginning became Pakistan in the end. The mistake however was begun with the laudable object of bringing out a united front amongst all classes in India in order to drive out the foreigner and it was hoped that separatism would eventually disappear.’ 53. In spite of my advocacy of joint electorates, in principle I reconciled myself with the temporary introduction of separate electorates since the Muslims were keen on them. I however insisted that representation should be granted in strict proportion to the number of every community and no more. I have uniformly maintained this stand.’
Since the year 1920, that is, after the demise of Lokmanya Tilak, Gandhiji’s influence in the Congress first increased and then became supreme. His activities for public awakening were phenomenal in their intensity and were reinforced by the slogan of truth and non-violence which he paraded ostentatiously before the country. No sensible or enlightened person could object to those slogans. In fact there is nothing new or original in them.. They are implicit in every constitutional public movement. But it is nothing but a mere dream if you imagine that the bulk of mankind is, or can ever become, capable of scrupulous adherence to these lofty principles in its normal life from day to day.
In fact, honour, duty and love of one’s own kith and kin and country might often compel us to disregard non-violence and to use force. I could never conceive that an armed resistance to an aggression is unjust. I would consider it a religious and moral duty to resist and, if possible, to overpower such an enemy by use of force. Rama killed Ravana in a tumultuous fight and relieved Sita.. Krishna killed Kansa to end his wickedness; and Arjuna had to fight and slay quite a number of his friends and relations including the revered Bhishma because the latter was on the side of the aggressor. It is my firm belief that in dubbing Rama, Krishna and Arjuna as guilty of violence, the Mahatma betrayed a total ignorance of the springs of human action. In more recent history, it was the heroic fight put up by Chhatrapati Shivaji that first checked and eventually destroyed the Muslim tyranny in India. It was absolutely essentially for Shivaji to overpower and kill an aggressive Afzal Khan, failing which he would have lost his own life. In condemning history’s towering warriors like Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Gobind Singh as misguided patriots, Gandhiji has merely exposed his self-conceit.
‘57. Each of the heroes in his time resisted aggression on our country, protected the people against the atrocities and outrages by alien fanatics and won back the motherland from the invader. On the other hand, during more than thirty years of the undisputed leadership of the Mahatma, there were more desecrations of temples, more forcible and fraudulent conversions, more outrages on women and finally the loss of one third of the country. It is therefore astounding that his followers cannot see what is clear even to the blind, viz. that the Mahatma was a mere pygmy before Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind. His condemnation of these illustrious heroes was to say the least, most presumptuous. ‘58. The clique which has got into power with the patronage of British imperialism by a cowardly surrender to the Partition of India at the point of Muslim violence is now trying to exploit Gandhiji’s death in hundred hectic ways for its own selfish aims. But history will give to them their proper place in the niche of fame. Gandhiji was, paradoxical as it may appear, a violent pacifist who brought untold calamities on the country in the name of truth and non-violence, while Rana Pratap, Shivaji and the Guru will remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen for ever and for the freedom they brought to them.’
‘65. ...The Muslims ran the Khilafat Committee as a distinct political religious organisation and throughout maintained it as a separate entity from the Congress; and very soon the Moplah Rebellion showed that the Muslims had not the slightest idea of national unity on which Gandhiji had set his heart and had staked so much. There followed, as usual in such cases, a huge slaughter of the Hindus, numerous forcible conversions, rape and arson. The British Government, entirely unmoved by the rebellion, suppressed it in a few months and left to Gandhiji the joy of his Hindu-Muslim unity. The Khilafat agitation had failed and let down Gandhiji. British Imperialism emerged stronger, the Muslims became more fanatical and the consequences were visited on the Hindus. (…) ‘65 (continued). The services began to be distributed on communal basis and the Muslims obtained high jobs from our British Masters not on merit, but by remaining aloof from the struggle for freedom and because of their being the followers of Islam. Government patronage to Muslims in the name of minority protection penetrated throughout the body-politic of the Indian State and the Mahatma’s meaningless slogans were no match against this wholesale corruption of the Muslim mind. But Gandhiji did not relent. He still lived in the hope of being the common leader both of the Hindus and Muslims and the more he was defeated, the more he indulged in encouraging the Muslims by extravagant methods. The position continued to deteriorate and by 1925, it became patent to all that the Government had won all along the line; but like the proverbial gambler, Gandhiji increased his stake. He agreed to the separation of Sindh [from the Bombay Presidency] and to the creation of a separate province in the N.W. Frontier. He also went on conceding one undemocratic demand after another to the Muslim League in the vain hope of enlisting its support in the national struggle. (…)’
66 ‘Indeed in the subsequent years the Congress policy can be quite correctly described as “Peace at any Price” and “Congress in Office at all costs”. The Congress compromised with the British who placed it in office and in return, the Congress surrendered to the violence of Mr. Jinnah, carved out one-third of India to him, an explicitly racial and theological State, and destroyed two million human beings in the process. Pandit Nehru now professes again and again that the Congress stands for a secular State and violently denounces those who remind him that only last year he agreed to a communal and theological State; his vociferous adherence to a “Secular State” is nothing but a case of “my lady protests too much”.’
‘68. This section summarises the background of the agony of India’s Partition and the tragedy of Gandhiji’s assassination. Neither the one nor the other gives me any pleasure to record or to remember, but the Indian people and the world at large ought to know the history of the last thirty years during which India has been torn into pieces by the Imperialist policy of the British and under a mistaken policy of communal unity. ‘(…) virtually the non-Muslim minority in Western Pakistan have been liquidated either by the most brutal murders or by a forced tragic removal from their moorings of centuries; the same process is furiously at work in Eastern Pakistan. One hundred and ten millions [lakhs, i.e. eleven million] of people have become torn from their homes, of which not less than four millions are Muslims, and when I found that even after such terrible results, Gandhiji continued to pursue the same policy of appeasement, my blood boiled, and I could not tolerate him any longer. (…)’ ‘69. The accumulating provocation of 32 years culminating in his last pro-Muslim fast goaded me to the conclusion that the existence of Gandhiji should be brought to an end immediately. On coming back to India [from South Africa], he developed a subjective mentality under which he alone was to be the final judge of what was right and wrong. If the country wanted his leadership it had to accept his infallibility; if it did not, he would stand aloof from the Congress and carry on in his own way. Against such an attitude there can be no half way house; either the Congress had to surrender its will to his and had to be content with playing the second fiddle to all his eccentricity, whimsicality, metaphysics and primitive vision, or it had to carry on without him. He alone was the Judge of everyone and every thing; he was the master brain guiding the civil disobedience movement; no other could know the technique of that movement. He alone knew when to begin and when to withdraw it. The movement might succeed or fail, it might bring untold disaster and political reverses but that could make no difference to the Mahatma’s infallibility. ‘A Satyagrahi can never fail’ was his formula for declaring his own infallibility and nobody except himself knew what a Satyagrahi is. Thus, the Mahatma became the judge and jury in his own cause. These childish insanities and obstinacies, coupled with a most severe austerity of life, ceaseless work and lofty character made Gandhi formidable and irresistible. Many people thought that his politics were irrational but they had either to withdraw from the Congress or place their intelligence at his feet to do with as he liked. In a position of such absolute irresponsibility Gandhi was guilty of blunder after blunder, failure after failure, disaster after disaster.’
‘70 (b). Moplah Rebellion. Malabar, Punjab, Bengal and N.W. Frontier Province were the scene of repeated outrages on the Hindus. The Moplah rebellion, as it was called, was the most prolonged and concentrated attack on the Hindu religion, Hindu honour, Hindu life and Hindu property (…). The Mahatma, who had brought about all this calamity on India by his communal policy, kept mum. He never uttered a single word of reproach against the aggressors nor did he allow the Congress to take any active steps whereby repetition of such outrages could be prevented. On the other hand, he went to the length of denying the numerous cases of forcible conversions in Malabar and actually published in his paper, “Young India” that there was only one case of forcible conversion. His own Muslim friends informed him that he was wrong and that the forcible conversions were numerous in Malabar. He never corrected his misstatements, but went to the absurd length of starting a relief fund for the Moplahs instead of their victims; but the promised land of Hindu-Muslim unity was not yet in sight.’ ‘70 (c). Afghan Amir Intrigue. When the Khilafat Movement failed, the Ali Brothers decided to do something which might keep alive the Khilafat sentiments. Their slogan was that whoever was the enemy of the Khilafat was also the enemy of Islam, and as the British were chiefly responsible for the defeat and the dethronement of the Sultan of Turkey, every faithful Muslim was in solemn duty bound to be a bitter enemy of Britain. With that object, they secretly intrigued to invite the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India and promised every support. There is a long history behind this intrigue; the Ali Brothers never denied their share in the conspiracy. The Mahatma pursued his tactics of getting Hindu-Muslim unity by supporting the Ali Brothers through thick and through thin. (…) ‘70 (c) (continued). Even with regard to the invasion of India by the Amir, the Mahatma directly and indirectly supported the Ali Brothers. This is proved beyond the shadow of doubt. The late Mr. [Srinivasa] Shastri, Mr. C.Y. Chintamani the editor of The Leader of Allahabad and even the Mahatma’s life-long friend, the late Rev. C.F. Andrews, told him quite clearly that his speeches and writings amounted to a definite support to the Ali Brothers in their invitation to the Amir of Afghanistan to invade India. The following quotations from the Mahatma’s writing in those days should make it clear that he had forgotten his own country in his one consuming desire to please the Muslims and had become a party to the invasion of his motherland by a foreign ruler. The Mahatma supported the invasion in the following words: I cannot understand why the Ali Brothers are going to be arrested as the rumours go, and why I am to remain free. They have done nothing which I would not do. If they had sent a message to the Amir, I also would send one to inform the Amir that if he came, no Indian so long as I can help it, would help the Government to drive him back. ‘70 (d.) (i). Attack on Arya Samaj. Gandhiji ostentatiously displayed his love for Muslims by a most unworthy and unprovoked attack on the Arya Samaj in 1924. He publicly denounced the Samaj for its supposed sins of omission and commission; it was an utterly unwarranted, reckless and discreditable attack, but whatever would please the Mohammedans was the heart’s desire of Gandhiji. The Arya Samaj made a powerful but polite retort and for some time Gandhiji was silenced, but the growing political influence of Gandhiji weakened the Arya Samaj. (…)
‘70 (d.) (ii). Gandhiji’s attack did not improve his popularity with the Muslims but it provoked a Muslim youth to murder Swami Shraddhanandaji within a few months. The charge against the Samaj that it was a reactionary body was manifestly false. Everybody knew that far from being a reactionary body, the Samaj had been the vanguard of social reforms among the Hindus. The Samaj had for a hundred years stood for the abolition of untouchability long before the birth of Gandhiji. The Samaj had popularised widow remarriage. The Samaj had denounced the caste system and preached the oneness of not merely the Hindus, but of all those who were prepared to follow its tenets. Gandhiji was completely silenced for some time, but his leadership made the people forget his baseless attack on the Arya Samaj and even weakened the Samaj to a large extent. (…)’ ‘70 (e). Separation of Sindh. By 1928, Mr. Jinnah’s stock had risen very high and the Mahatma had already conceded many unfair and improper demands of Mr. Jinnah at the expense of Indian democracy and the Indian nation and the Hindus. The Mahatma even supported the separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency and threw the Hindus of Sind to the communal wolves. Numerous riots took place in Sindh-Karachi, Sukkur, Shikarpur and other places in which the Hindus were the only sufferers and the Hindu-Muslim unity receded further from the horizon.’ ‘70 (f). League’s Good Bye to Congress. With each defeat, Gandhiji became even more keen on his method of achieving Hindu-Muslim unity. Like the gambler who had lost heavily, he became more desperate increasing his stakes each time and indulged in the most irrational concessions if only they could placate Mr. Jinnah and enlist his support under the Mahatma’s leadership in the fight for freedom. But the aloofness of the Muslims from the Congress increased with the advance of years and the Muslim League refused to have anything to do with the Congress after 1928. (…)’
‘70 (j). Cripps’ Partition Proposal Accepted. The Congress did not know its own mind as to whether it should support the war, oppose or remain neutral. All these attitudes were expressed in turn one after the other; (…) The war was carried on without let or hindrance till 1942. The Government could get all the men, all the money, and all the material which their war efforts needed. Every Government loan was fully subscribed... ‘In 1942, came the Cripps Mission (…) with a clear hint of partition of India in the background. Naturally the Mission failed, but the Congress even while opposing the Mission’s proposals yielded to the principle of partition (…) At a meeting of the All India Congress Committee held in April 1942 at Allahabad, the principle of partition was repudiated by an overwhelming majority (…) but Maulana Azad, the so-called nationalist Muslim, was then the President of the Congress. He gave a ruling a few months later that the Allahabad Resolution had no effect on the earlier resolution of the Working Committee which conceded the principle of Pakistan however remotely. The Congress was entirely at the end of its wits. (…)’
‘70 (l). Hindi versus Hindustani. Absurdly pro-Muslim policy of Gandhiji is nowhere more blatantly illustrated than in his perverse attitude on the question of the National Language of India. By all the tests of a scientific language, Hindi has the most prior claim to be accepted as the National Language of this country. In the beginning of his career in India, Gandhiji gave a great impetus to Hindi, but as he found that the Muslims did not like it, he became a turncoat and blossomed forth as the champion of what is called Hindustani. Every body in India knows that there is no language called Hindustani; it has no grammar; it has no vocabulary; it is a mere dialect; it is spoken but not written. It is a bastard tongue and a crossbreed between Hindi and Urdu and not even the Mahatma’s sophistry could make it popular; but in his desire to please the Muslims, he insisted that Hindustani alone should be the national language of India. (…) ‘All his experiments were at the expense of the Hindus. His was a one-way traffic in his search of Hindu-Muslim unity. The charm and the purity of the Hindi language was to be prostituted to please the Muslims, but even Congressmen, apart from the rest of India, refused to digest this nostrum. For practical purpose, Hindustani is only Urdu under a different name, but Gandhiji could not have the courage to advocate the adoption of Urdu as against Hindi, hence the subterfuge to smuggle Urdu under the garb of Hindustani. Urdu is not banned by any nationalist Hindu, but to smuggle it under the garb of Hindustani is a fraud and a crime. (…) The bulk of the Hindus however proved to be stronger and more loyal to their culture and to their mother tongue and refused to bow down to the Mahatmic fiat. The result was that Gandhiji did not prevail in the Hindi Parishad and had to resign from that body; his pernicious influence however remains and the Congress Governments in India still hesitate whether to select Hindi or Hindustani as the National Language of India.’
‘70 (m). Vande Mataram Not to Be Sung. The infatuation of Gandhiji for the Muslims and his incorrigible craving for Muslim leadership without any regard for right and wrong, for truth or justice, and in utter contempt for the sentiments of the Hindus as a whole was the high watermark of the Mahatmic benevolence. It is notorious that some Muslims disliked the celebrated song of Vande Mataram and the Mahatma forthwith stopped its singing or recital wherever he could. This song has been honored for a century as the most inspiring exhortation to the Bengalees to stand up like one man for their nation. In the anti-partition agitation of 1905 in Bengal the song came to a special prominence and popularity. The Bengalees swore by it and dedicated themselves to the Motherland at countless meetings where this song was sung. The British Administrator did not understand the true meaning of the song ‘which simply meant ‘Hail Motherland’ Government therefore banned its singing forty years ago for some time. That only led to its increased popularity all over the country. It continued to be sung at all Congress and other national gatherings but as soon as one Muslim objected to it Gandhiji utterly disregarded the national sentiment behind it and persuaded the Congress also not to insist upon singing as the national song. (…) The right way to proceed would have been to enlighten the ignorant and remove the prejudice, but that is a policy which during the thirty years of unbounded popularity and leadership Gandhiji could not muster courage to try. (…)’ ‘70 (n). Shiva Bavani Banned. Gandhiji banned the public recital or perusal of Shiva Bavani, a beautiful collection of 52 verses by a Hindu poet in which he had extolled the great power of Shivaji and the protection which he brought to the Hindu community and the Hindu religion. The refrain of that collection says: “If there were no Shivaji, the entire country would have been converted to Islam.” (…)’
Gandhi exploited the feelings of tolerant Hindus with one-sided practices. Gandhi's recent prayer meetings in Hindu temples had started the practice of reading passages from the Quran, despite Hindus protesting this practice. However, Gandhi dared not read the Gita in a mosque in the teeth of Muslim opposition. Gandhi knew what a terrible Muslim reaction would have been if he had done so. Gandhi knew it is safe to trample on the tolerant Hindu. To belie this belief, I wanted to prove that a Hindu too could be intolerant when his honour was insulted.
One of the conditions imposed by Gandhi for his breaking of the fast unto death related to the mosques in Delhi occupied by the Hindu refugees. This condition was to the effect that all the mosques in Delhi, which were occupied by the Refugees, should be vacated and made over to the Muslims. Gandhiji got this condition accepted by the Government and a number of leaders by sheer coercion by his fast. On that day I happened to be in Delhi and I have personally seen some of the events that have occurred in getting this condition carried out to its full. Those were the days of bitter or extreme cold and on the day Gandhiji broke his fast it was also raining. Owing to this unusual weather condition, the pricking atmosphere made even person in well-placed positions shiver. Families after families of refugees who had come to Delhi for shelter were driven out (of mosques) and while doing so no provision was made for their shelter and stay. One or two families taking with them their children, women-folk and what little belongings they had with them and saying, "Gandhiji, do give us a place for shelter" even approached and came to Birla House. But was it ever possible for the cries of these poor Hindu people to reach Gandhiji living in the palatial Birla House! (…) But when Hindus in Pakistan were subjected to violent attacks he did not so much as utter a single word to protest and censure the Pakistan Government or the Muslims concerned. Gandhi was shrewd enough to know that while undertaking a fast unto death, had he imposed for its break some condition on the Muslims in Pakistan, there would have been found hardly any Muslims who could have shown some grief if the fast had ended in his death. It was for this reason that he purposely avoided imposing any condition on the Muslims. He was fully aware of from the experience that Jinnah was not at all perturbed or influenced by his fast and the Muslim League hardly attached any value to the inner voice of Gandhi. Gandhi is being referred to as the Father of the Nation. But if that is so, he had failed his paternal duty inasmuch as he has acted very treacherously to the nation by his consenting to the partitioning of it. I stoutly maintain that Gandhi has failed in his duty. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan.
‘70 (s). Cabinet Mission Plan. Early in the year 1946, the so-called Cabinet Mission arrived in India. (…) while firmly championing unity, the Mission introduced Pakistan through the back-door. (…) The Congress Party was so utterly exhausted by the failure of ‘Quit India’ that after some smoke-screen about its unflinching nationalism, it virtually submitted to Pakistan by accepting the Mission’s proposals.’ (…) Advice to Kashmir Maharaja. About Kashmir, Gandhiji again and again declared that Sheikh Abdullah should be entrusted the charge of the state and that the Maharaja of Kashmir should retire to Benares for no particular reason than that the Muslims formed the bulk of the Kashmir population. This also stands out in contrast with his attitude on Hyderbad where although the bulk of the population is Hindu, Gandhiji never called upon the Nizam to retire to Mecca. ‘70 (y). Removal of Tricolour Flag. The tricolour flag with the Charkha on it was adopted by the Congress as the National Flag out of deference to Gandhiji. (…) If any Hindu attached any importance to Shivaji’s Hindu flag, “Bhagva Zenda” the flag which freed India from the Muslim-domination it was considered communal. Gandhiji’s tri-colored flag never protected any Hindu woman from outrage or a Hindu temple from desecration, yet the late Bhai Parmanand was once mobbed by enthusiastic Congressmen for not paying homage to that flag.(…) When the Mahatma was touring Noakhali and Tippera in 1946 after the beastly outrages on the Hindus, the [tricolour] flag was flying on his temporary hut. But when a Muslim came there and objected (…), Gandhiji quickly directed its removal. All the reverential sentiments of millions of Congressmen towards that flag were affronted in a minute, because that would please an isolated Muslim fanatic. Yet the so-called Hindu-Muslim unity never took shape (…).’
71. (…) there was never a more stupendous fiction fostered by the cunning and believed by the credulous in this country for over a thousand years. Far from attaining freedom under his leadership, Gandhiji has left India torn and bleeding from a thousand wounds. ‘78. (…) In actual practice, however, Bose never toed the line that Gandhiji wanted during his term of office. And yet, Subhas was so popular in the country that against the declared wishes of Gandhiji in favour of Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, he was elected president of the Congress for a second time with a substantial majority even from the Andhra Desha, the province of Dr. Pattabhi himself. This upset Gandhiji beyond endurance and he expressed his anger in the Mahatmic manner full of concentrated venom by stating that the success of Subhas was his own defeat and not that of Dr. Pattabhi. (…) Out of sheer cussedness, he absented himself from the Tripura Congress session, staged a rival show at Rajkot by a wholly mischievous fast, and [it was] not until Subhas was overthrown from the Congress gaddi that the venom of Gandhiji became completely gutted.’
77. And the more the Mahatma condemned the use of force in the country’s battle for freedom, the more popular it became. This fact was amply demonstrated at the Karachi Session of the Congress in March 1931; in the teeth of Gandhiji’s opposition a resolution was passed in the open Session admiring the courage and the spirit of sacrifice of Bhagat Singh when he threw the bomb in the Legislative Assembly in 1929. Gandhiji never forgot this defeat and when a few months later Mr. Hotson, the Acting Governor of Bombay was shot at by Gogate, Gandhiji returned to the charge at an All-India Congress Committee meeting and asserted that the admiration expressed by the Karachi Congress for Bhagat Singh was at the bottom of Gogate’s action in shooting at Hotson. This astounding statement was challenged by Subash Chandra Bose. He immediately came into disfavor with Gandhiji. To sum up, the share of revolutionary youth in the fight for Indian Freedom, is by no means negligible and those who talk of India’s freedom having been secured by Gandhiji are not only ungrateful but trying to write false history.
‘85. (…) I am therefore surprised when claims are made over and over again that the winning of freedom was due to Gandhiji. My own view is that constant pandering to the Muslim League was not the way to winning freedom. It only created a Frankenstein (…) permanently stationing a hostile, censorious, unfriendly and aggressive neighbour on what was once Indian territory. About the winning of Swaraj or freedom, I maintain that the Mahatma’s contribution was negligible. But I am prepared to give him a place as a sincere patriot. ‘85 (continued). In my opinion, S.C. Bose is the supreme hero and martyr of modern India (…) advocating all honourable means, including the use of force when necessary, for the liberation of India. Gandhiji and his crowd of self-seekers tried to destroy him.’ ‘89. (…) Mr. Jinnah had also openly demanded Pakistan. (…) He has deceived no one (…) His was the behaviour of an open enemy. (…) ‘90. Gandhiji had seen Mr. Jinnah many a time and called upon him. Every time he had to plead with him as “brother Jinnah”. He even offered him the premiership of the whole of India, but there was not a single occasion on which Mr. Jinnah had shown any inclination even to co-operate. ‘91. Gandhiji’s inner voice, his spiritual power and his doctrine of non-violence of which so much is made, all crumbled before Mr. Jinnah’s iron will and proved to be powerless. Briefly speaking, I thought to myself and foresaw I shall be totally ruined, and the only thing I could expect from the people would be nothing but hatred and that I shall have lost all my honour, even more valuable than my life, if I were to kill Gandhiji. But at the same time I felt that the Indian politics in the absence of Gandhiji would surely be proved practical, able to retaliate, and would be powerful with armed forces. No doubt, my own future would be totally ruined, but the nation would be saved from the inroads of Pakistan . People may even call me and dub me as devoid of any sense or foolish, but the nation would be free to follow the course founded on the reason which I consider to be necessary for sound nation-building.’ ‘92. Having known that with his spiritual power he could not influence Mr. Jinnah, Gandhiji should have either changed his policy or should have admitted his defeat and given way to others of different political views to deal with Mr. Jinnah and the Muslim League. But Gandhiji was not honest enough to do that. He could not forget his egoism or self, even for national interest. There was, thus, no scope left for practical politics while the great blunders—blunders as big as the Himalayas—were being committed.’
93 (a). Constantly for nearly one year after the horrible Noakhali massacre, our nation was bathing in the pool of blood. The Muslims indulged in horrible and dreadful massacre of humanity followed by reactions from Hindus in some parts. The attacks of Hindus on Muslims in the East Punjab, Bihar, or Delhi, were simply acts of reaction. It is not that Gandhiji did not know that the basic cause of these reactions was the outrages on Hindus by the Muslims in the Muslim majority Provinces. But still Gandhiji went on condemning strongly such actions of Hindus only, and the Congress Government went to the extent of threatening to even bombard the Hindus in Bihar to check their discontent (…) [Gandhi said in his prayer speeches] We should with a cool mind reflect when we are being swept away. Hindus should never be angry against the Muslims even if the latter might make up their minds to undo even their existence. If they put all of us to the sword, we should court death bravely (…) We are destined to be born and die, then why need we feel gloomy over it? (…) (6th April 1947) ‘93 (b). The few gentlemen from Rawalpindi who called upon me (…) asked me, what about those who still remain in Pakistan. I asked them why they all came here (to Delhi). Why they did not die there? I still hold on to the belief that one should stick to the place where we happen to live even if we are cruelly treated and even killed. Let us die if the people kill us, but we should die bravely with the name of God on our tongue. Even if our men are killed, why should we feel angry with anybody, you should realise that even if they are killed they have had a good and proper end. (…) (23rd September 1947) ‘93 (c). (…) If those killed have died bravely they have not lost anything but earned something. (…) They should not be afraid of death. After all, the killers will be none other than our Muslim brothers. Will our brothers cease to be our brothers after change of their religion? (…)’ [The instances can be multiplied, e.g., when meeting Hindu refugees from West Punjab, Gandhiji told them to return to their homes, even if this meant certain death:] ‘If all the Punjabis were to die to the last man without killing, the Punjab will become immortal. Offer yourselves as nonviolent, willing sacrifices.’
‘103. Had Gandhiji [had] a firm belief in the doctrine of non-violence, he should have made a suggestion for sending Satyagrahis instead of the armed troops and tried the experiment. (…) It was a golden opportunity for Gandhiji to show the power of his Satyagraha (…) ‘104. But Gandhiji did nothing of the sort. (…) Gandhiji was reading the dreadful news of the Kashmir war, while at the same time fasting to death only because a few Muslims could not live safely in Delhi. But he was not bold enough to go on fast in front of the raiders of Kashmir, nor had he the courage to practise Satyagraha against them. All his fasts were to coerce Hindus.’
111. Is it not a deplorable sight for people to see the Congress celebrate the occasion of the establishment of a Dominion Government in the rest of country shattered and vivisected by the Pakistan in the East and West and with the pricking thorn of Hyderbad it its midst? On seeing this downfall of the Congress under the dominance of Gandhiji, I am reminded of the well-known verse of Raja Bharthari to the effect:
The Ganges has fallen from the Heavens on the head of Shiva,
Thence on the Himalayas, thence on the earth, and thence in the sea. In this manner, down and down she went and reached a very low stage.
Truly it is said that indiscriminate persons deteriorate to the low position in a hundred ways.
‘115. In the year 1938, I led the first batch of volunteers who marched into the territory of the Hyderabad State when the passive resistance movement was started by the Hindu Mahasabha, with a demand for Responsible Government in the State. I was arrested and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. I have personal experience of the uncivilized, nay barbarous rule of Hyderabad and have undergone corporal punishment of dozens of cane slashes, for the offence of singing the 'Vande Mataram’ song at the time of prayer.’
119. I had a very good idea about fiery attacks that would be launched against me in the Press (for killing Gandhi). But I never thought that I could be cowed down by the fire poured against me by the Press. For, had the Indian Press impartially criticized the anti-national policy carried on by Gandhiji and had they impressed upon the people that the interest of the nation was far greater than the whim of any individual howsoever great he may be, Gandhiji and his followers could never have dared concede Pakistan to the Muslims as easily as has been done. The Press had displayed such weakness and submission to the High Command of the Congress that it allowed the mistakes of leaders pass away freely and unnoticed and made vivisection easy by their policy. The fear about such Press, weak and subservient as it was, could not therefore dislodge me from my resolve.
121. Pakistan was conceded on the 15th of August 1947, and how? Pakistan was conceded by deceiving the people and without any consideration for the feelings and opinions of the people of Punjab, Bengal N.W.F. Province, Sind, etc. Indivisible Bharat was divided into two and in one of its parts a theocratic State was established. The Muslims obtained the fruit of their anti-national movements and actions in the shape of Pakistan. The leaders of the Gandhian creed ridiculed the opponents of Pakistan as traitors and communal minded, while they themselves helped in the establishment of a Muslim State in India yielding to the demands of Jinnah. This event of Pakistan had upset the tranquility of my mind. But even after the establishment of Pakistan if this Gandhian government had taken any steps to protect the interests of Hindus in Pakistan it could have been possible for me to control my mind which Was terribly shaken on account of this terrible deception of the people. But, after handing over crores of Hindus to the mercy of the Muslims of Pakistan Gandhiji and his followers have been advising them not to leave Pakistan but continue to stay on. The Hindus thus were caught in the hands of Muslim authorities quite unawares and in such circumstances series of calamities followed one after the other. When I bring to my mind all these happenings my body simply feels a horror of burning fire, oven now.
122 . Every day that dawned brought forth the news about thousands of Hindus being massacred, Sikhs numbering 15 000 having been shot dead, hundreds of women torn of their clothes being made naked and taken into procession and that Hindu women were being sold in the market places like cattle. Thousands and thousands of Hindus had to run away for their lives and they had lost everything of theirs. Along line of refugees extending over the length of 40 miles was moving towards the Indian Union. How was this terrible happening counter-acted by the Union Government? Oh! by throwing bread to the refugees from the air!
These atrocities and the blood-bath would have to some extent been checked if the Indian Government had lodged strong protests against the treatment meted out to the Minorities in Pakistan or even if a cold threat had been held out to the Muslims in Indian of being treated in the same manner as a measure of retaliation. But the Government which was under the thumb of Gandhiji resorted to absolutely different ways. If the grievances of the minorities in Pakistan were voiced in the Press, it was dubbed as an attempt to spread disaffection amongst the communities and made an offence and the Congress Governments in several Provinces started demanding securities under the press Emergency Powers Act, one after the other.
124. When all these happenings were taking place in Pakistan, Gandhiji did not even by a single word protest and censure the Pakistan Government or the Muslims concerned. The Muslim atrocities resorted to in Pakistan to root out the Hindu culture and the Hindu society have been entirely due to the teachings of Gandhiji and his behavior. If the Indian politics had been handled in a practical manner there would never have been the terrible human slaughter as has taken place–a thing without any precedent in history.
128. It would not be out of place to state here that the ashes of Gandhiji were distributed in large towns and many rivers in India and abroad but the said ashes could not be immersed in the Holy Indus passing through the Pakistan in spite of the endeavors of Shri Shree Prakash, the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan.
129. Let us then take the case of 55 crores ... (h) The case of Hyderabad had also the same history. It is not at all necessary to refer to the atrocious misdeeds perpetrated by the Nizam's Ministers and the Razakars. Laiq Ali the Prime Minister of Hyderabad had an interview with Gandhiji during the last week of January 1948. It was evident from the manner in which Gandhiji looked at these Hyderabad affairs, that Gandhiji would soon start his experiments of non-violence in the State of Hyderabad and treat Kasim Razvi as his adopted son just as Suhrawardy. It was not at all difficult to see that it was impossible for the Government in spite of all the powers to take any strong measures against the Muslim State like Hyderabad so long as Gandhiji was there. Had the Government then decided to take any military of police action against Hyderabad it would have been compelled to withdraw its decision just as was done in the case of the payment of Rs. 55 crores, for Gandhiji would have gone on fast unto death and Government's hands would have been forced to save the life of Gandhiji.
‘134. The practice of non-violence according to Gandhiji is to endure or put up with the blows of the aggressor without showing any resistance either by weapon or by physical force. Gandhiji has, while describing his non-violence, given the example of a “tiger becoming a follower of the creed of non-violence after the cows allowed themselves to be killed and swallowed in such large numbers that the tiger ultimately got tired of killing them.” It will be remembered that at Kanpur, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi fell victim to a murderous assault by the Muslims of the place on him. Gandhiji has often cited this submission to the Muslims’ blows as an ideal example of embracing death for the creed of non-violence. I firmly believed and believe that the non-violence of the type described above will lead the nation to ruin (…)’
I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other court of justice beyond the one founded by mortals, my act will not be taken as unjust.
‘136. There now remains hardly anything for me to say. If devotion to one’s country amounts to a sin, I admit I have committed that sin. If it is meritorious, I humbly claim the merit thereof. I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other court of justice beyond the one founded by mortals, my act will not be taken as unjust.’
‘139. I am prepared to concede that Gandhiji did undergo sufferings for the sake of the nation. He did bring about an awakening in the minds of the people. He also did nothing for personal gain, but it pains me to say that he was not honest enough to acknowledge the defeat and failure of the principle of non-violence on all sides. (…) But whatever that may be, I shall bow in respect of the service done by Gandhiji to the country (…) and before I fired the shots I actually (…) bowed to him in reverence. But I do maintain that even this servant of the country had no right to vivisect the country (…) There was no legal machinery by which such an offender could be brought to book and it was therefore that I resorted to the firing of shots at Gandhiji as that was the only thing for me to do.’
Had this act not been done by me, of course it would have been better for me. But circumstances were beyond my control.
‘140. (…) So strong was the impulse of my mind that I felt that this man should not be allowed to meet a natural death so that the world may know that he had to pay the penalty of his life for his unjust, anti-national and dangerous favouritism towards a fanatical section of the country. I decided to put an end to this matter and to the further massacre of lakhs of Hindus for no fault of theirs. May God now pardon him for his egoistic nature which proved to be too disastrous for the beloved sons of this Holy Land.’
I sat brooding intensely on the atrocities perpetrated on Hinduism and its dark and deadly future if left to face Islam outside and Gandhi inside, and (…) decided all of a sudden to take the extreme step against Gandhi.
‘147. May the country properly known as Hindusthan be again united and be one and may the people be taught to discard the defeatist mentality leading them to submit to the aggressors. This is my last wish and prayer to the Almighty.’
‘149. It is a fact that in the presence of a crowd numbering 300 to 400 people I did fire shots at Gandhiji in open daylight. I did not make any attempt to run away; in fact, I never entertained any idea of running away. I did not try to shoot myself, it was never my intention to do so, for it was my ardent desire to give vent to my thoughts in an open Court.
‘150. My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled against it on all sides. I have no doubt honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof on some day in future.
‘Akhand Bharat Amar Rahe!
‘Vande Mataram!’
The Tragic Story of Partition
Excerpts from the play Mee Nathuram Godse boltoy
Quotes about Nathuram Godse
One immediate consequence of the murder which is usually left unmentioned in the numerous hagiographies of the Mahatma is the wave of revenge which hit the Hindu Mahasabha, the RSS and most of all, the Chitpavan Brahmin caste. It seems that most hagiographers were embarrassed with the way the apostle of non-violence was mourned by his fans as well as by others who merely used the opportunity for, as in Red Fort Trial (p. 4) P.L. Inamdar puts it, ‘the manhunt of Maharashtrian Brahmins irrespective of their party allegiance by non-Brahmins in Poona and other districts.’ Offices and houses were burnt down, numerous people were molested and at least eight people were killed, according to an official tradition. However the article ‘Gandhi is killed by a Hindu’, published by The New York Times on 31 January 1948, puts the number of mortal victims in Bombay (now called Mumbai) alone, and on the first day alone, already at fifteen. Locals in Pune (where of course the Hindu Rastra office was set on fire, along with the offices of other pro-Hindu papers) told me they estimated the death toll in Pune alone at fifty. One of the rare studies of the event, by Maureen Patterson, concludes that the greatest violence took place not in the cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, centres of Hindu nationalism, but in ‘the extreme southwest of the Deccan plateau—the Desh—of the Marathi linguistic region’, including Satara, Belgaum and Kolhapur. Then, as now, press reporting on communal rioting was under strict control, and Maureen Patterson reports that even decades after the facts, she was not given access to relevant police files. So, we may not know the exact magnitude of this ‘Gandhian violence’ until all the records are opened, but the death toll may well run into several hundreds.... But unlike in the case of the anti-Sikh pogrom, where a few local Congress leaders were brought to trial after a long delay, and where references to the events keep on being made in studies of ‘communalism’, the Mahatma riots had no consequences for the perpetrators and were flushed down the memory hole, probably because the accused in the latter case did not have a high profile.
About mass killings of Brahmins in the aftermath of the assassination of Gandhi by Godse. P.L. Inamdar , M. Patterson. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
‘The audience was visibly and audibly moved. There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men were coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs. (…) I have, however, no doubt that had the audience on that day been constituted into a jury and entrusted with the task of deciding Godse’s appeal, they would have brought in a verdict of ‘not guilty’ by an overwhelming majority.
Justice Gopal Das Khosla, one of Godse’s judges, in his book Murder of the Mahatma. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
In 1998, a Mumbai playwright, Pradeep Dalvi, tried to recreate some of the atmosphere in his play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy (‘This Is Nathuram Godse Speaking’). After seven performances, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee managed to convince the Maharashtra state government, a Hindu nationalist coalition of Shiv Sena and BJP, to withdraw clearance for the play.
Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (2018). Why I killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse's defence. New Delhi : Rupa, 2018.
Although he failed in his matriculation examination, he is widely read. While arguing his appeal, he showed a fair knowledge of the English language and a remarkable capacity for clear thinking.
Justice Achhru Ram.[1]
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