12 June 1919|
Rajgurunagar, Pune District, Bombay Presidency, British India
(now in Maharashtra, India)
|Died||26 November 2005(aged 86)|
|Known for||One of the conspirators in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.|
Gopal Vinayak Godse (Marathi: गोपाळ विनायक गोडसे) (c. June 12, 1919 – November 26, 2005) was the younger brother of Nathuram Godse and one of the conspirators in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. He was the last one to survive and lived his last days in Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Gopal-rao Godse was born in Khed (now Rajgurunagar) in Pune district. His primary education began at Karjat in Raigad District, and continued at Ratnagiri. After his father retired, his family settled at Sangli, and he passed the matriculation exam.
He joined Armed Forces (Indian Army Ordnance Corps) as storekeeper in 1940. When the World War II broke out, he opted for service on the front, and served in Iraq and Iran till year April 1944. After he returned, he was posted at Khadki and got married to Sindhu. They had two daughters, Vidyullata and Asilata. After Gopal was arrested in 1948, Sindhu-tai Godse supported her daughters by working in Gopal's elder brother Dattatraya's workshop called 'Udyam Engineering'. Later she set up a separate home and also started a small workshop of her own named 'Pratap Engineering'. Sindhutai Godse died in 2007, two years after Gopal Godse's death.
At the time of Gopal Godse's death in 2005, his daughter Himani Savarkar (née Asilata Godse) led a Hindu outfit from Pune. She died in 2015 after a long illness.
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi
Gopal Godse's brother, Nathuram Godse, shot Gandhi and was executed by hanging with co-conspirator Narayan Apte on November 15, 1949. Gopal was arrested on 5 February from his house in Pune and was sentenced to 18 years for his part in the assassination. The three men believed that Gandhi had turned his back on the Indian Independence Movement, and that his actions led to the Partition of India which in turn led to the inflammation of sectarian strife between Pakistan's Muslims and India's Hindus. In an interview in 1998 he reiterated that he never regretted Gandhi's killing. He hated what he called Gandhi's "appeasement" of Muslims.
According to Gopal what triggered the assassination was a bomb explosion on 20 January 1948 at Gandhi's prayer meeting in Delhi, just 50 meters away from Gandhi. The failed explosion for which Madan Lal Pahwa was caught, heightened the urgency-the Godse brothers wanted to finish it before the police caught them.
Gopal claimed that Gandhi never really said Hey Ram as he was dying and this was just a ploy of the government to prove that he was, indeed, a staunch Hindu who deserved to be elevated to sainthood. In an interview with Time Magazine he said, "Someone asked me whether Gandhi said, Hey Ram. I said Kingsley did say it. But Gandhi did not. Because that was not a drama."
He admitted that at one point, Gandhi was his idol. He credited Gandhi for the mass awakening that he created and that he removed the fear of prison from the minds of Indians.
Godse was released from prison in October 1964, but was re-arrested a month later under the Defense of India Act and kept in prison for over a year. He was finally released at the end of 1965. Gopal Godse lived largely on the royalties obtained from books he wrote on Mahatma Gandhi and the assassination. He wrote nine books in Marathi and English.
1. Has a life convict to die in prison under Indian law? - 1961
2. Jaya Mrityunjaya - 1969
3. Krantikarakancha Adhyatmavad Aani Itara Lekha -1971
4. Panchavanna Kotinche Bali (The sacrifice of 55 crores) - 1971
5. Saine Ka Lihila Jai Rashtracha Itihaas? - 1975
6. Lal Kilyatila Athavani - 1981
7. Gandhi Hatya Aani Me (Gandhi's assassination and me) - 1989
8. Qutub Minar Is Vishnu Dhwaja - 1997
9. Phansi Aani Nathuram - 1999