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Nathuram Godse

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Nathuram Vinayak Godse
Nathuram Godse
Nathuram Godse at his trial for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi
Born Ramachandra Vinayak Godse
(1910-05-19)19 May 1910
Baramati, Pune District, Bombay Presidency, British India
(now in Maharashtra, India)
Died 15 November 1949(1949-11-15) (aged 39)
Ambala Prison, East Punjab, India
(now in Haryana, India)
Cause of death Execution by hanging
Nationality Indian
Criminal charge Assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Nathuram Vinayak Godse (19 May 1910 – 15 November 1949) was a Hindu nationalist and the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi. On 30 January 1948, Godse shot Gandhi three times in the chest at point blank range outside of the Birla House in New Delhi.

Godse thought Gandhi favored the political demands of India's Muslims during the partition of India. He plotted the assassination with Narayan Apte and six others. After a trial that lasted over a year, Godse was sentenced to death on 8 November 1949. Although pleas for commutation were made by Gandhi's two sons, Manilal Gandhi and Ramdas Gandhi, they were turned down by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, deputy prime minister Vallabhbhai Patel and the Governor-General Chakravarti Rajagopalachari,[1] and Godse was hanged in the Ambala Jail on 15 November 1949.[2]

Early life

Nathuram Vinayakrao Godse was born at the nativity mission center, Pune District. His father, Vinayak Vamanrao Godse, was a postal employee; his mother was Lakshmi (née Godavari). At birth, he was named Ramachandra.[3] Nathuram was given his name because of an unfortunate incident. Before he was born, his parents had three sons and a daughter, with all three boys dying in their infancy. Fearing a curse that targeted male children, young Ramachandra was brought up as a girl for the first few years of his life, including having his nose pierced and being made to wear a nose-ring (nath in Marathi). It was then that he earned the nickname "Nathuram" (literally "Ram with a nose-ring"). After his younger brother was born, they switched to treating him as a boy.[4]

Godse attended the local school at Baramati through the fifth standard, after which he was sent to live with an aunt in Pune so that he could study at an English-language school. During his school days, he highly respected Gandhi.[5]

Political career

Group photo of people accused in the murder of Mohandas Gandhi. Standing (L to R): Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madan Lal Pahwa, Digambar Ramchandra Badge. Seated (L to R): Narayan Apte, Vinayak D. Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Karkare

Godse dropped out of high school and became an activist with Hindu nationalist organizations Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hindu Mahasabha, although the exact dates of his membership are uncertain.[6][7]

Godse started a Marathi language newspaper for the Hindu Mahasabha called Agrani, which some years later was renamed Hindu Rashtra. Godse rejected Gandhi's philosophy, believing Gandhi repeatedly sabotaged the interests of Hindus by using the "fasting unto death" tactic on many issues. In Godse's view, Gandhi was giving in to Muslim interests in ways that seemed unfair and anti-national.[8][9]

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Godse approached Gandhi on 30 January 1948 during the evening prayer at 17:17. When Godse bowed, one of the girls flanking and supporting Gandhi, said to Godse, "Brother, Bapu is already late" and tried to put him off, but he pushed her aside and shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point-blank range with a Beretta M 1934 semi-automatic pistol. Raghu Nayak, who worked as a gardener at the Birla House, was the first to chase down Godse and overpower him.[10] Gandhi was taken to Birla House, where he died.[11]

Trial and execution

Godse was put on trial at the Punjab High Court, at Peterhoff, Shimla. On 8 November 1949, he was sentenced to death. Although pleas for commutation were made by Gandhi's two sons, Manilal Gandhi and Ramdas Gandhi, they were turned down by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, deputy prime minister Vallabhbhai Patel and the Governor-General Chakravarti Rajagopalachari,[1] and Godse was hanged at Ambala Jail on 15 November 1949.[2]

Aftermath

Millions of Indians mourned Gandhi's assassination; the Hindu Mahasabha was vilified and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was temporarily banned. However, investigators could find no evidence that the RSS bureaucracy had formally sponsored or even knew of Godse's plot. The ban on the RSS was lifted in 1949. To this day it denies any connection with Godse and disputes the claim that he was a member.[7] However, Godse's brother Gopal Godse claims that all the Godse brothers were members of the RSS at the time of the assassination. According to Gopal Godse:

“All the brothers were in the RSS. Nathuram, Dattatreya, myself and Govind. You can say we grew up in the RSS rather than in our home. It was like a family to us. Nathuram had become a baudhik karyavah [intellectual worker] in the RSS. He has said in his statement that he left the RSS. He said it because Golwalkar and the RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi. But he did not leave the RSS.”[12]

Attempts at rehabilitation

In 2014, following the Bharatiya Janata Party's rise to power, the Hindu Mahasabha began attempts to rehabilitate Godse and portray him as a patriot. It requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to install the bust of Godse. It created a documentary film Desh Bhakt Nathuram Godse (Patriot Nathuram Godse) for release on the death anniversary of Gandhi on 30 January 2015.[13] There were attempts to build a temple for Godse and to celebrate 30 January as a Shaurya Diwas ("Bravery Day").[14] A civil suit was filed in Pune Court asking for a ban on the documentary film.[15]

In art

  • The Marathi language play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy ("This is Nathuram Godse Speaking"), first staged in 1997, was produced from Godse's point of view.[16]
  • The 2000 film Hey Ram briefly touches upon events related to the assassination.
  • Gandhi Vadh aur Main (Gandhi Hatya Aani Me), by Gopal Godse (1967)[17][18]
  • May It Please Your Honor, published by Surya Bharti, India, (2003) - the play based upon the book was banned[19]
  • [5] Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, published by Surya Bharti (1993)[citation needed]
  • Nine Hours to Rama, Stanley A. Wolpert (1962)[20]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006), Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire, University of California Press, p. 660, ISBN 978-0-520-25570-8 
  2. ^ a b Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar (2009), Decolonization in South Asia: Meanings of Freedom in Post-independence West Bengal, 1947–52, Routledge, p. 146, ISBN 978-1-134-01824-6 
  3. ^ "Early life | Nathuram Godse". Nathuram.com. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Jeffrey, Robin (1990). India, Rebellion to Republic: Selected Writings, 1857–1990. Sterling Publishers. p. 105. 
  5. ^ Time (14 February 2000) [1] "His Principle of Peace Was Bogus". Retrieved 3 July 2007
  6. ^ The Hindu (18 August 2004). [2] "RSS releases 'proof' of its innocence". Retrieved 26 June 2007
  7. ^ a b Zee News(IANS) (30 December 2010). [3] "RSS denies Godse was its member, rebuts Cong claim". Retrieved 1 November 2011
  8. ^ "The Book on Trial". google.co.in. 
  9. ^ Bharat Bhankal. "Bha Bha Blogship: NATHURAM GODSE - His Last Speech". bharatbhankal.com. 
  10. ^ http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/do-you-know-who-caught-nathuram-godse-after-mahatma-gandhis-assassination_1884433.html
  11. ^ Controversy over "Hey Ram" at the Wayback Machine (archived February 1, 2008)
  12. ^ A.G. Noorani. "The BJP and Nathuram Godse". Frontline. 
  13. ^ Ghose, Debobrat (21 December 2014). "Hindu Mahasabha head speaks to FP: Godse was a `martyr' and `patriot'". Firstpost. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Hindu Mahasabha announces Godse temple". Deccan Chronicle. 
  15. ^ PTI. "Pune court to hear suit against Godse film". The Hindu. 
  16. ^ Rediff on the NeT.[4] "Mee Nathuram Godse Boltoy – The Transcript"
  17. ^ Nathuram Vinayak Godse; Gopal Vinayak Godse (1993). Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi?. Surya Bharti Parkashan. p. 176. My friends had greeted me, and arranged a small ceremony. Late Shri ... On completion he published the series in a book form titled 'Gandhi Hatya Ani Mee' (Gandhi assassination and I) in October 1967. The Government being allergic to the truth which exposed their falsehood, banned the book two months later 
  18. ^ Girja Kumar (1 January 1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India. Har-Anand Publications. p. 443. ISBN 978-81-241-0525-2. The axe was to fall on the Marathi memoirs of Gopal Godse. ... and "spurned", he decided to publish his memoirs. It was immediately banned in several parts of India and copies of the book forefeited to the State 
  19. ^ Frontline - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. May 1998. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Charisma and Commitment in South Asian History: Essays Presented to Stanley ... - Google Books. Books.google.com. 2004. ISBN 9788125026419. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 

References

  1. Elst, Koenraad, Gandhi and Godse – a Review and a Critique, Voice of India, 2001. ISBN 81-85990-71-9
  2. Godse, Nathuram, Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, Surya Bharti, Delhi, India, 2003. OCLC 33991989
  3. Godse, Nathuram May it Please Your Honor!, Surya Bharti, India, 2003
  4. Khosla, G.D., Murder of the Mahatma and Other Cases from a Judge's Notebook, Jaico Publishing House, 1968. ISBN 0-88253-051-8
  5. Malgonkar, Manohar (2008). The Men Who Killed Gandhi, New Delhi: Roli Books, ISBN 978-81-7436-617-7
  6. Phadke, Y.D., Nathuramayan
  7. Pradeep Dalvi’s, "Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy" narrations by robby Raju pathak

External links

  • [6] Time Magazine's February 2000 interview of Gopal Godse
  • [7] Article discussing Why Godse Killed Gandhi
  • [8] Rediff's January 1998 interview of Gopal Godse
  • [9] Article discussing pro-Godse play
  • [10] Eyewitness to Gandhi assassination
  • Eyewitness: Mahatma Gandhi Assassination on YouTube
  • [11] First Information Report (FIR) by police
  • [12] "An Assassin Speaks" written by Gopal Godse, narrated by Navneet singh