Slava Novorossiya

Slava Novorossiya

Saturday, November 15, 2014


            On this date, November 15, 1949, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, was executed by hanging. I will post information about the assassin from Wikipedia.

Nathuram Godse at his trial for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi

19 May 1910
Baramati, Pune District, Bombay Presidency, British India
(now in Maharashtra, India)
15 November 1949 (aged 39)
Ambala Prison, Punjab Province, Dominion of India
(now in Haryana, India)
Cause of death
Execution by hanging
Known for
Assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

Nathuram Vinayak Godse (19 May 1910 – 15 November 1949) was the sole assassin of Mahatma Gandhi—the pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India and apostle of non-violence—shooting Gandhi in the chest three times at point blank range on 30 January 1948 in New Delhi. Godse from Pune, Maharashtra, had been a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Hindu Mahasabha. He left RSS in the early 1940s to form a militant organization, Hindu Rashtra Dal. He resented what he considered was Gandhi's partiality to India's Muslims, 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 India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and by two of Gandhi's sons on the grounds that a death sentence would dishonour the legacy of a man opposed to all forms of violence, Godse was hanged a week later. This was the first execution in Independent India.

Early life

Nathuram Vinayakrao Godse was born at the nativity mission center, Pune District. His father, Vinayak Vamanrao Godse, was a post office employee and his mother was Lakshmi (née Godavari). At birth, he was named Ramachandra. 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.

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. In 1930, Nathuram's father was transferred to the town of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra.

Political career

Godse dropped out of high school and became an activist with Hindu nationalist organizations such as the Hindu Mahasabha, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), although it is unclear how long this relationship endured. They were particularly opposed to the separatist politics of the All India Muslim League. Godse started a Marathi newspaper for the Hindu Mahasabha called Agrani, which some years later was renamed Hindu Rashtra.

The Hindu Mahasabha had initially backed Gandhi's campaigns of civil disobedience against the British government.

Godse later 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. He wasn't happy with Mahatma Gandhi's insistance of a united India. Godse believed parting ways with Pakistan would help maintain a clear majority for the Hindu population and would ensure Hindu rule. Such extremist views were common among right wing associations. This is a common understaing among a section of the general public behind his decision to kill Gandhi.

A group photo of people accused in Gandhi's murder case. Standing: Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa, Digambar Badge (Approver). Sitting: Narayan Apte, Vinayak D. Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Karkare
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Godse approached Gandhi on January 30, 1948 during the evening prayer at 5:17PM. 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. Gandhi was taken to Birla House, where he later died.

Trial and execution

Following the assassination of Gandhi, Godse was put on trial at Peterhoff, Shimla which housed the Punjab High Court. On November 8, 1949, he was sentenced to death. Among those calling for commutation of the death sentence for the defendants were Jawaharlal Nehru, as well as two of Gandhi's sons, who felt that executing their father's killer would dishonour his memory and legacy which included a staunch opposition to the death penalty. Godse was hanged at Ambala Jail on November 15, 1949, along with Narayan Apte, a co-conspirator. Savarkar was also charged with conspiracy in the assassination of Gandhi, but was acquitted and subsequently released.


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 RSS ban was lifted in 1949. The RSS, to this day, denies any connection with Godse, and disputes the claim that he was a member. However, Godse's brother, Gopal, claims that all Godse brothers were members of the RSS at the time of the assassination.

In art

The actor Horst Buchholz portrayed Nathuram Godse in the 1963 film Nine Hours to Rama.
In the 1982 film Gandhi, the actor Harsh Nayyar portrayed Godse.

The Marathi language play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy (Marathi: मी नथुराम गोडसे बोलतोय) ("This is Nathuram Godse Speaking"), first staged in 1997, was also produced, but only from Godse's point of view.

The film Hey Ram, made in 2000, also briefly touches upon events related to the assassination.

Several books based on Nathuram Godse's life were banned by the Indian government:
  • Gandhi Vadh aur Main (Gandhi Hatya Aani Me), by Gopal Godse (1967)
  • May it Please your Honor!, published by Surya Bharti, India, (2003) - the play based upon the book was banned
  • Why I assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, published by Surya Bharti (1993)
  • Nine Hours to Rama, Stanley A. Wolpert (1962)

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