Gopal Godse

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Gopal Godse
A group photo of people accused in the Mahatma Gandhi's murder case. Standing: Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa, Digambar Badge (Approver). Sitting: Narayan Apte, Vinayak D. Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Karkare
Born(1919-06-12)12 June 1919
Died26 November 2005(2005-11-26) (aged 86)
Pune, Maharashtra, India
Known forOne of the conspirators in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

Gopal Vinayak Godse (Marathi: गोपाळ विनायक गोडसे; c. 12 June 1919 – 26 November 2005) was the younger brother of Nathuram Godse and one of the conspirators in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948. He was the last among them to die and lived his last days in Pune.[1]

Early life[edit]

Gopal-rao Godse was born in Khed (now Rajgurunagar) in Pune district. He was the third among the four sons of Vinayak Godse and Lakshmi who survived infancy. Nathuram was his eldest living brother. 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 worked as a volunteer for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Simultaneously, he worked for the Hindu Mahasabha as well, but without enrolling as a member.

He joined the Armed Forces as a 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.

Life after the assassination of Gandhi[edit]

After Gopal was arrested in 1948 for his role in the assassination of Gandhi, 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 in Pune and also started a small workshop of her own named 'Pratap Engineering'. They lived in an apartment in Sadashiv Peth, Pune till their death. Sindhutai Godse died in 2007, two years after Gopal Godse's death.[2]

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.

Godse and Savarkar's family continued to be close. Godse's daughter Asilata subsequently married Ashok Savarkar, the son of Savarkar’s younger brother Narayan. The families continue to be close to the Hindu Mahasabha, and Gopal Godse remained its general secretary for a long time after his release from prison.[2]

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi[edit]

Godse's brother, Nathuram, shot Mahatma Gandhi and was executed by hanging with co-conspirator Narayan Apte on 15 November 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 with in 1998, he reiterated that he never regretted Gandhi's killing. He hated what he called Gandhi's "appeasement" of Muslims.[3]

According to Godse, 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.

Godse 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, 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.

Later life[edit]

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. He died at his residence in Pune on 26 November 2005.[4]


  • Has a life convict to die in prison under Indian law? (1961)
  • Jaya Mrityunjaya (1969)
  • Krantikarakancha Adhyatmavad Aani Itara Lekha (1971)
  • Panchavanna Kotinche Bali (The sacrifice of 55 crores; 1971)
  • Saine Ka Lihila Jai Rashtracha Itihaas? (1975)
  • Lal Kilyatila Athavani (1981)
  • Gandhi Hatya Aani Me (Gandhi's Assassination and Me; 1989)
  • Qutub Minar Is Vishnu Dhwaja (1997)
  • Phansi Aani Nathuram (1999)


  1. ^ "Interview with Gopal Godse". Sabrang. 1 February 1994. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b Rajagopal, Arvind (28 January 1994). "Resurrecting Godse: The Hindutva continuum". Frontline / Reprinted in Sabrang. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ "'Gandhi used to systematically fool people. So we killed him'". 29 January 1998. Archived from the original on 24 February 1999. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Obituary: Gopal Godse, 86, conspired to kill Gandhi". The New York Times. 27 November 2005. Retrieved 3 May 2017.

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