Friday, January 30, 2015

Gandhi and Godse


It was a cold morning on 30 Jan 1948.  Nathuram Godse, Narayan Apte and Vishnu Karkare met together once again in Retiring Room number 6 at Old Delhi Railway Station.

Godse had failed in his two earlier attempts to kill Gandhi.  He did not want to fail again.  “Third time success,” he said half jokingly to his friends.

“There will be heavy police guard for Gandhi especially because of the murder attempt just ten days back,” said Godse. 

Godse suggested they should buy an old camera which needed a tripod and a black hood.  He would pose as a photographer and conceal the pistol inside the base of the camera.

“Nobody uses that sort of a camera nowadays,” said Apte.  He dismissed it as “a bad idea.”

“Disguise yourself as a Muslim woman wearing a burqa,” suggested Karkare.  “There are many Muslim women who attend Gandhi’s prayers.  After all, he is their saviour, isn’t he?”  He spat out his hatred.  

“No,” said Godse having put on the burqa that was brought in.  “The folds are a hindrance.  I won’t ever be able to take out the pistol at the right time.”

“Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best,” said Apte when they had wasted almost the whole morning discussing various ideas.  Apte suggested that Godse should wear a greyish military suit which was very commonly used by people those days.  Its design was such that it could conceal a pistol easily.

They went to the Birla temple.  Apte and Karkare offered prayers to the deities for the success of their mission.  Godse did not enter the temple.  When Apte and Karkare returned having offered their obeisance to goddess Kali, they found Godse standing beside a statue of Shivaji.  “I have had my darshan,” he said curtly.

Godse had been convincing himself that he was indeed doing the right thing by killing Gandhi.  Gandhi had blasphemed Hinduism and its gods.  He had made the Hindus weaklings.  He had let the Muslims get away with what they wanted.  Godse could feel hatred surging in his veins.  Murderous hatred.  His grip on the pistol became tight.

None of the three men had imagined that they could gain entry to the Birla House so easily.  There were no guards at the gate.  5.10 pm.  Gandhi was late.  Finally he came supporting himself on the shoulders of Abha and Manu. 

“Namaste, Gandhiji,” said Godse as he stepped right in front of Gandhi.

“Brother,” said Manu, “Bapu is already ten minutes late...”

Godse pushed her aside fiendishly, took out his pistol and fired three times.

“Hey Ram!”

“All those who believe in the brotherhood of men will mourn Gandhi’s death,” said the French Premier, Georges Bidault, on hearing of the assassination.

“India is for the Hindus,” asserted Godse as he awaited his death in the prison.  He could never understand the meaning of concepts like “brotherhood of men”.


18 comments:

  1. Yes but one cannot truly understand the minds of men even if one understands their ideology

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    1. Mind is more complex than the ideology, I admit. But both are related. A compassionate man can never commit a murder and we wouldn't expect an ideology of compassion from a hard-hearted person.

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  2. Always found Ghodse interesting.
    Interesting post, following you.

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    1. Godse is interesting for a character study. He is the type with high level ambition but low level resourcefulness. Religion becomes an easy tool for such people. Hatred seeps into their hearts easily.

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  3. I always wonder at the sick mentality of people like Godse. They don't understand humanity. How can they understand the concept of brotherhood of men?
    Moreover, I wonder at the people who applaud this act. Is killing an unarmed, 78 year old man, praiseworthy?
    You have nicely depicted the difference between the feelings of Godse, and the rest of the humanity. Gandhi's death is one of the biggest loss the world has suffered.

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    1. Godse is one character I would have relegated into oblivion. Unfortunately my country brings him up again and again even to the horror of instituting him as a deity!

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  4. Pity that a great man like Gandhi had to meet his untimely end at the hands of a fanatic!

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    1. A man like Gandhi could not have died of common cold. Fanatics outlive Gandhi.

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  5. People say to me that Godse did the right thing. I don't understand how. India is for Hindus! If everyone is going to put up weapon and kill others for dangerous notions as this the world shall doom, World has always suffered due to such mentality of some people.

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    1. It is plain lack of understanding of history and some silly selfish motives that drive the Right Wing in India today. We call Obama as Guest but we officially declare hatred of non-Hindus!

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  6. Sarcastically, Gandhiji hailed from Gujarat too...

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  7. By the way, you've narrated the event very well... :-)

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    1. It's all history, Maniparna. I've relied heavily on 'Freedom at Midnight' for the description.

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  8. I've come across quite a number of people who admire Godse...and even Hitler. No wonder then that history never encounters a dearth of dimwits. Every era has its special nutcase.

    I have an 'unconventional' (read less accepted) view of our extremist freedom fighters too. All of them were young, immature, half-educated guys who set out to seek vengeance for British oppression, but more often than not ended up killing the wrong guys. Srange that history sometimes makes heroes out of nincompoops

    Loved this post :)

    Do drop by mine

    Cheers
    CRD

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    1. Bhagat Singh is an example of the young and hot-blooded type that you mention. He regretted later that he used violence and denounced the use of violence for attaining noble objectives. But many youngsters of today are not aware of the latter part of Bhagat Singh's views.

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  9. "brotherhood of men" is one term even terrorists need to understand the meaning of.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Godse said he would kill Gandhi even in his next birth. That is terrorism.

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