ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Was the Killing of Gandhi by Godse justified?

Updated on November 28, 2019
emge profile image

MG is an air warrior who is an alumnus of the Staff College and a voracious writer on military history

Sadhvi Pragya
Sadhvi Pragya
Gandhi with his female companions
Gandhi with his female companions

Godse and Sadhvi

Mahatma Gandhi is dead and gone. He was assassinated by a man called Nathuram Godse on 30th January 1948. Nathuram Godse was a member of Hindu Mahasabha, a party that believed in the revival of Hinduism and protecting the rights of the Hindus in the subcontinent.

Gandhi may be dead and gone but his ghost continues to haunt India. Yesterday, in Parliament the BJP member from Bhopal commented that Godse was a "Desh bhakt". It means that she regarded the killer of Mahatma Gandhi as a Nationalist who loved India. This raised the hackles of the Congress Party which condemned the remarks of the BJP MP. Even the Prime Minister was compelled to distance himself from the remarks by Sadhvi Pragya

Who is Sadhvi Pragya? She is accused in a case of terrorism against the Muslim community. She has not been convicted and at the moment the trial is on for the last many years. The BJP selected her to oppose Digvijaya Singh, the Congress candidate from Bhopal who is well known as a Hindu baiter and strong proponent of the policy of appeasement of Muslims. The Sadhvi won the love of the people of Bhopal and the Congress leader was trounced by 350,000 votes. She's a leader with some following. Many have even commented that her trial on terror charges was a sham perpetrated by the Congress party when it was in power.

Godse shot Gandhi because he felt that the aged leader was responsible for the partition of Pakistan and also following a policy of appeasement of Muslims. There is some truth in the opinion of Godse and there are millions of Hindus in India who feel the way Nathuram Godse felt. This is an indelible fact of history and no whitewashing can obliterate this fact.


I

BJP and Godse

It is pertinent to point out that the BJP which has its roots in the erstwhile Jan Sangh and Hindu Mahasabha had never really given any credence to Gandhi for the freedom of India. Their parent organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had been of the view that the ills of India are due to the Gandhi- Nehru combines. One may not agree with this view but then this is has been the viewpoint of the Hindu Mahasabha, Jansangh, and the BJP. The RSS is the mother organization of these political outfits. We can try and understand the motive of Nathuram Godse in assassinating Gandhi, who all said and done was a mass Hindu leader

Gandhi's dream


It is worthwhile to examine the role of Gandhi during the partition movement. Gandhi's biggest dream was to be considered as one of the great philosophers and saints of India. He had assumed the title of Mahatma which in Hindu philosophy is conferred on a man of great letters and knowledge. I will digress from popular opinion and state that he and his supporters started using the title mahatma though for all practical purposes he was only a political leader.

Gandhi greatest wish was to be recognized as a great messiah on the lines of Buddha. He wanted to be beloved by the Muslims as well but unfortunately for Gandhi, the Muslims never recognized him as their leader and considered him a mere leader of Hindus.

Gandhi desired that India should not be partitioned. He also wished to be regarded as a great leader of both the Moslems and the Hindus. Unfortunately he failed on both counts as India was divided into two nations and the two nation theory and races was accepted by the Imperial power. The Moslem's as well as a sizable section of Hindus also accepted this. Secondly the Moslem's never recognized him as their leader despite all his endeavors. Thus he followed a policy of appeasement to the Muslims throughout his life but still ended up being classified as a Hindu leader.

Another facet of Gandhi

Gandhi Vs Jinnah
The Moslem preferred Jinnah as their leader and the few Moslem's who joined Gandhi had no popular base at all. Mohamedali Jinnah always referred to him as a Hindu leader. Even Lord Mountbatten the last governor-general of the British raj considered Gandhi as a representative only of the Hindus. He and Jinnah did not even consider him as representative of the scheduled caste and untouchables. What were Gandhi's views on the caste ( varna) system? He stated his views in his writings which have survived him when he referred to the varna system as the bedrock of Hinduism.

Even in South Africa an incident shows that he did have some color prejudice is well. In a letter to General Smuts, he wrote that Indians must not be kept in the same cell with the black people when they are in prison. One can draw own conclusions on this.

Partition and the Finale

Partition 1947
The acid test for Gandhi came with the 1947 partition of the subcontinent on the basis of the two-nation theory. The period was terrible. Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan were enveloped in a circle of violence. They lost their loved ones in the partition riots. Hindu women were raped en masse and many carried away to the harems of the Muslims and some who refused were killed. In many cases, the Hindu men were killed before their women and their abduction. Trains arrived from the west laden with dead bodies and people fleeing the killers were set upon with a brutality that will put Timur to shame.
One million refugees entered Delhi unable to understand what had happened. When they came to Delhi they found the Muslim well protected. This rationale was not understood by them. Matters were made worse by Gandhi who reportedly wanted the Hindu refugees to go back to Pakistan. Obviously they could not understand the rationale behind this. It didn't make sense

They also could not understand that the man who preached Ahimsa and non-violence made not a single attempt or appeal to the Viceroy to ask the military to intervene. They wondered why Gandhi did not visit Punjab to put a stop to the violence and just kept sitting in Delhi. Even his apologists are hard to explain this. It must be remembered when riots broke out in Bengal Gandhi along with Shurrowadi had gone there and brought a semblance of order but he made no attempt to douse the flames in Punjab, though the killings and rapes were 20 times more.

Somewhere down the line, the extremist Hindu leaders felt that the root cause of the problem was Gandhi and a small band of conspirators decided that Gandhi must be removed from the scene.


The Result
All this lead to one solution -the assassination of Gandhi. His killers were Hindus and along with Nathuram Godse, the conspirators were Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, Gopal Godse, Madanlal Pahwa and Digambar Badge. The historic trial for murdering Gandhi was held in Delhi's Red Fort. The Indian people were captivated by the trial. The man who turned approver Badge was spat upon in public.


Nathuram Godse, Apte and their accomplices during the trial were remarkably relaxed, unconcerned about the imminent death sentence. Godse and Apte were hanged and the others were all awarded life imprisonment. They never expressed any regret.
Last Word
Gandhi's actions have to be seen in the light of sentiments of millions of refugees. If figures have any meaning nearly half-a-million people were butchered and 12 million were rendered homeless. Can it justify Godse's action? I will say that the killing was pretty meaningless. But can we replicate the moment of terror during 1947? The people will have to draw their own conclusion from what I have written.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you for commenting. Martin Luther King did accept the principle of non-violence and so did Gandhi. There is a subtle difference as Luther King was not interested in politics but Gandhi was an out and out politician.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 months ago from North Texas

      I, too, saw the film, Gandhi, but I don't remember any of it, it was so long ago. I have always been led to believe Gandhi was a man of peace and love.

      Sometimes people who seek peace cause much consternation among those who want to force their own religious beliefs onto others and prefer violence to peace if they can't have things exactly their own way. That isn't the fault of the peace seeker, but of those who have no desire for tolerance.

      Much violence went everywhere Martin Luther King went also, because some racist people didn't want to get along and accept black people as equals, or at all.

      Mr. King wasn't the person who encouraged violence. He was just the opposite, but those people who hate people who were/are black for no logical reason caused the violence and thought death was preferable to tolerance and equality for black people.

      The racists disagreed with God's making people of color and murdering black people or black sympathizers was their way of letting God know He had/has made a huge mistake in making inferior black people. So they caused much trouble and death in informing God of His mistake. The day of judgment will tell whether criticizing God for having made black people has served the murdering violence causing racists well.

      I don't know Gandhi's history well enough to determine if he was murdered like Mr. King was, for wanting love, peace, and tolerance for certain groups of people, but those who only wanted hate for people different from themselves caused all the violence and death.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 months ago from Singapore

      Dear Liz, a coin has two sides so does Gandhi. I have seen the film. It glossed over most facts about Gandhi that were unpalatable.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      I remember being taken at school to see the film "Gandhi , which celebrated him as a great leader. You give an interesting alternative insight into this period of history.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Manitita. With your spiritual insight you are best placed to assess Gandhi.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      5 months ago from london

      Another powerful piece! you seem to assess the mood of the people well. Things could have gone a different way, of course. We need spirituality and it would seem that Gandhi was a political leader, not Vivekanda or Ramakrishna. With wisdom, he could and should have done more. Yes, many feel this way. Let us pray. Hari Om!

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 months ago from Singapore

      Than you Pamela for sparing time and commenting.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 months ago from Singapore

      Dear Readmikenow, thank hou for commenting. Gandhi did some good but overall he was just a politician who wished to cultivate an image like the Buddha. He failed and his lop sided policies finally proved to be his nemesis

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      5 months ago from Singapore

      Umesh. Thank you for sparing time to comment

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      5 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Good article. Well researched. Thanks.

    • Readmikenow profile image

      Readmikenow 

      5 months ago

      Excellent article! It is really great to see historical events from the perspective of the people whom it affected. I have learned many lessons about India from you, and now you have taught me many new things I did not know about Gandhi. Thankyou for the lesson.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This is a very interesting and informative article about Gandhi. I learned more about the history of those events. Thank you for sharing this information,

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Halemane for commenting and appreciating.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Alan for your comment. Gandhi was allowed by the English to flourish and so he went around India proclaiming his ideas. In fact, the English built up Gandhi as he was a harmless man really. They did this to thwart any radical coming up the ladder of leadership and they succeeded. Overall Gandhi's influence is in my view limited but now he has become like a holy cow but in time to come it may be different.

    • hmkrishna profile image

      Halemane Muralikrishna 

      6 months ago from South India

      Good article Mr MG Singh, such articles must once in a while have to be read by the present generation to see both sides of the coin.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      6 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Gandhi had a knack of getting people's backs up, winding them up to just short of violence. However some here in England /- in the East End where he lived between the wars he was regarded as benign, nevertheless a little short of comical with his choice of Hindu holy man's outfit that reminded people of a baby's nappy, and sandals in all weathers. The authorities here and in South Africa saw him as a nuisance all the same, not as dangerous. In India it seems he was an arbiter of sorts, although he drove a hard bargain with independence claims. Indian troops served in North Africa and the Far East alongside Empire forces as long as Britain recognised that with the end of hostílities against Germany and Japan independence was on the table. This was agreed, although Churchill himself didn't approve. We know that because Churchíll opposed independence after the war ended and negotiations by PM Clement Attlee began through representative (Sir) Stafford Cripps (I think).

      When Moslem/Muslim pressure built over segregation we had no optkion but to agree to it as part of Indian/Pakistani independence. As it was it didn't take long for East Pakistan to clamour for independence from West Pakistan.

      Could Gandhi have changed the Hindu outlook? I saw a film a long time ago, "Bhowani Junction" that opened people's eyes here about what went on between the two religious communities. Antagonism has built over the decades between Pakistan and India, and between India and China, with defences building up around the Himalayas.

      Where's that going? .

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 months ago from Singapore

      Devika, Thanks for commenting. Gandhi did bring in non-violence but many in India feel he shackled the Indian government later on with the result India lost the leadership of Asia to China.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Gandhi was a fair person and the non-violence protests showed the side of Gandhi not many people knew of at that time.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)