30th January 1948, the “Father of the Nation” Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, known worldwide as Mahatma Gandhi was walking towards the prayer mandap at Birla House in Delhi and was shot dead by Nathuram Godse, a Chitpavan Brahmin from Pune.

Who was Nathuram Godse.?

Nathuram Vinayakrao Godse was born into a Maharashtrian Chitpavan Brahmin family. His father, Vinayak Vamanrao Godse, was a postal employee; his mother was Lakshmi. Godse belonged to a Konkani Brahmin family in Baramati, Pune (Maharashtra); inspired by the nationalist ideals, he joined the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was the ideological architect of India’s ruling party BJP

The 38-year-old activist was a right-wing Hindu Mahasabha member. He accused Gandhi of deceiving Hindus by being too cooperative towards Pakistan & pro-Muslim. Gandhi was even blamed for the bloodshed resulting in the partition of India into two dominions- the Republic of India & Pakistan, after independence in 1947.


Five people were convicted of killing Gandhi

Nathuram Godse fired the three shots that killed Mahatma Gandhi 75 years ago, but the other 4 were part of the larger conspiracy. Godse wanted to take sole responsibility for the crime, but both the special court and the Punjab High Court later rejected his arguments.

Gopal Godse, Nathuram’s brother, Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, and Madanlal Pahwa were convicted along with the assassin himself.

Nathuram Godse was given a death sentence on November 8, 1949, by the trial court after the High Court upheld the decision. An accomplice, Narayan Apte, was also given the death sentence; others were sentenced to life in prison. Godse’s hanging was executed on November 15, 1949. Nathuram Godse, in his statement, said that he was sad about Gandhi’s support for the Muslims and blamed him for India’s partition. 

Nathuram and Gopal Godse

The brothers were the sons of a village postmaster. Nathuram joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 22 after the failure of his small cloth business. A few years later, he moved to Pune and became secretary of the local branch of the Hindu Mahasabha.

Nathuram’s younger brother, Gopal, worked with the Hindu Mahasabha for some time, but then joined the army as a member of the civilian personnel. He was later appointed a storekeeper of the Motor Transport Spares Sub-Depot at Kirkee, a military station near Pune.

Narayan Apte

Apte became a school teacher in Ahmedabad after finishing his BSc. A member of the Hindu Rashtra Dal, he went on to join the Indian Air Force in 1943 and was awarded a King’s Commission.

However, after the death of his younger brother, Apte had to resign from the force and return home. He agreed with Godse that peaceful methods would not be able to achieve much in the political arena.

Vishnu Karkare

Karkare had a difficult childhood. He was sent to an orphanage after his parents failed to take care of him due to a lack of money. Soon, Karkare ran away and started to earn a living by working odd jobs. He later opened his own restaurant in Ahmedabad.

Karkare met Apte and became his close associate after he joined the Hindu Mahasabha. With Apte’s support, he successfully contested the election to the Ahmednagar Municipal Committee.

Madanlal Pahwa

Pahwa was a troublemaker from an early age. He ran away from school to join the Royal Indian Navy but failed to pass the examination. Later, Pahwa joined the army, only to resign after a brief period of service.

He then returned to his home in Pakpattan (now in Pakistan). After large-scale rioting broke out in the city, Pahwa was evacuated to Ferozepur, Punjab. In December 1947, he met Apte and Godse and began organizing protests by groups of refugees, who believed that the government was not sympathetic to the Hindu victims of Partition.

The gun that killed Gandhi

The Beretta handgun that Godse used was an unusual weapon. Though considered to be supremely reliable, it was a rare weapon in India, as it was mostly used by Italy and other Axis Powers during World War II.

The trial of Nathuram Godse

  • Godse was never guilty of his crime, instead, he believed that he saved the nation. He gave a 150-point statement claiming that Gandhi was the ‘Father of Pakistan’ instead of the ‘Father of the nation’.
  • To “try” the accused in the Gandhi murder, a special court was established inside the Red Fort. Eight people were found guilty in the subsequent murder trial, including Nathuram Godse and his accomplice Narayan Apte.
  • On November 15, 1949, Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte were executed by hanging for the murder of The Father of the Nation.
  • Nathuram Godse was quoted during the court case as saying:

“I do say that my shots were fired at the guy whose policies and actions had brought misery and destruction to millions of Hindus,” said the assassin.

Although I have no personal grudge against any particular person, I must admit that the current administration’s stance was unfairly favorable to Muslims, and as a result, I had little regard for them. However, I could also see that Gandhi’s presence was the only thing responsible for the policy.

  • One-fifth of the world’s population, or almost 300 million Hindus, would naturally be free and well-off if their freedom and legitimate interests were to be secured.
  • But even after his conviction, Godse maintained his innocence. However, Godse’s claims make no logical sense logically, and to some, they may merely reflect his animosity toward the secular point of view Gandhi used to follow.
  • Godse blamed Gandhi for separating the country into India and Pakistan and blamed him for providing Muslims with numerous unfair benefits. But if we adopt this viewpoint, we would inevitably come to the conclusion that anything beneficial to Muslims would be harmful to Hindus.
  • Before the 1975 release of their book, “Freedom At Midnight,” Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins conducted thorough research.
  • The 1975 book brought out many details about how the plot to kill Gandhi was conceived. The information provided in the book further demonstrates that Gandhi’s murder was the result of a carefully thought-out plot to remove Gandhi from India’s political landscape.




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