Back in Time is ED’s newspaper-like column that reports the past as though it had happened just yesterday. It allows the reader to relive it several years later, on the date it occurred.
January 30, 1948:
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated today by a young Hindu extremist Nathuram Vinayak Godse in New Delhi.
Hailing from Pune, Nathuram Godse is a Hindu nationalist from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He killed the Father of our Nation because he felt that the massacre and suffering caused during and due to the partition could have been avoided if Bapu and the Indian government had acted to stop the killing of the minorities (Hindus and Sikhs) in West and East Pakistan.
Godse believes that Mahatma Gandhi’s stance on religious tolerance and non-violence has already caused India to cede Pakistan to Muslims and if not stopped, Gandhi ji would bring destruction and more massacres to Hindus. He claimed that killing him was his ‘moral duty.’
This incident took place at nearly 5 pm when Mahatma Gandhi had climbed onto a raised lawn behind Birla House, where he had been conducting multi-faith prayer meetings every evening.
As he was walking towards the dias, Godse stepped out from the crowd flanking his path and fired bullets at him. Gandhi ji was quickly taken to his room and after some time, the crowd outside was informed of the heart-wrenching news, “Bapu is finished.”
The crowd immediately captured Godse and handed him over to the police. Our Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru announced the news at the All-India Radio at 6 p.m. today. His last rites will be conducted tomorrow.
The Gandhi murder trial opened in May, of the same year, at the historic Red Fort, with Godse – the main defendant, his collaborator Narayan Apte and six more deemed co-defendants.
Godse and Apte were sentenced to death on November 8, 1949 and hanged in the Ambala jail on November 15, 1949.
The news of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, who had taken a leading role in spearheading the campaign for independence from Britain, had a profound effect throughout the world. Leaders from across the globe expressed their condolences, and the United Nations General Assembly observed a minute of silence in his honour.
India had not been independent for even six months and was still in the midst of vicious communal violence following Partition when this tragedy took place. Post his death, India lost a certain pact with tolerance, truth and non-violence.
Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination has left a lasting imprint on India’s collective consciousness. It serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of religious intolerance and political extremism. 76 years have passed, but even today, his ideals remain in the hearts of the people, testifying to his love for the nation and the nation’s love for him.
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This post is tagged under: Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu, Father of our Nation, Godse, assassination, January, 76, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi death, Mahatma Gandhi killed, Mahatma Gandhi assassination, Godse gandhi, Godse gandhi assassinate
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