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Was the caste a reason to kill Mahatma Gandhi?

Updated on September 1, 2014

Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination has always been a subject of controversy. There still is a majority of people that support and admire Nathuram Godse, the murderer, for his so-called brave act of assassinating and old and frail man . To justify the murder, they have ample of so called valid reasons, such as Gandhiji’s appeasement of Muslim’s, Gandhiji’s fast to force Indian Government to pay Rs. 55 crore to Pakistan and partition itself and so on.

Fact is otherwise. Attempts on Gandhiji’s life were made various times prior to his death, first being in 1934 and third in 1944. There were no talks of Pakistan then, so there was no question of partition or Rs. 55 crore. Nahuram Godse led three murder attempts and succeeded finally on 30th January 1948.

Doesn’t this fact prove that Nathuram was determined to assassinate Mahatma for quite some time?

So it is clear that plan was hatched to kill Gandhi long before partition and related invented issues. Prior to Gandhi’s entry in Indian politics, Muslim appeasement was already was at helm under the leadership of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Lucknow Pact was signed by Tilak himself, that granted separate electorates to the Muslims. In this particular case Gandhi just followed the policy of his predecessor Bal Tilak. Muslim’s, Savarkar and even Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar had acknowledged inevitability of the Two-Nation-Theory. In fact Gandhi was only man who till his death had opposed the very idea of partition. Gandhi even denied separate electorates to any other community in his life time though had to bear tremendous pressure from the other leaders including Dr. Ambedkar.

So the logic provided to support murderer doesn’t stand on any ground.

Now the question arises, why after all Gandhi was assassinated?

What was the exact reason behind most gruesome murder of an apostle of the peace?

Now we need to look at the scenario that existed then in Indian society. No need to mention India has been a rigid caste-based society. Brahmins being ranking top in the social order and Shudra’s at the bottom. In Indian history Shudra’s were denied even basic rights. As per Vedic theology only two Varna’s being existent, Brahmin and Shudra in Kaliyuga. The untouchables were treated as Avarna’s, having no class at all! Gandhi, as he belonged to Baniya (Merchant) caste, was Shudra, ranking lowest in the Vedic social order.

Here we must not forget that Vedicism had tightened its grip over Non-Vedic religion of the masses. For at least over thousand years Vedic Brahmins practically had led Indian masses, because of the circumstantial opportunities in religion as well as in administration. During Peshava era, Chitpavani Brahmins had become de-facto rulers of the most part of the country. Because of this, particularly Maharashtrian Brahmins, thought of themselves belonging to the Ruling class, the way Muslim’s too campaigned in the same line during that period.

In a way, both Muslims and Chitpavan Brahmins of Maharashtra had one thing in common that both were under conviction that they being the rulers of the past of the country should not lose their historical position after independence.

During the same time, almost entire India had fallen to the impeccable charm and saintly warmth of Gandhi, a phenomena that never ever had occurred in the Indian History. A low caste Hindu person becoming absolute leader was the last thing Brahmins of Maharashtra would have anticipated and tolerated. The fact was that no matter how deeply they hated him, were unable to replace him with new leadership of their favor for Gandhi's phenomenal existence.

They tried to find their leadership in Vi. Da. Savarkar after his release from Andman. meanwhile, in 1925, a fanatic Hinduist organization, Rashtriya Svayansevak Sangh (RSS), was formed with a aim to unite Hindu people under Vedic leadership. Success of Hitler of Germany was their inspiration and Hitler an idol! Golwalkar Guruji openly commended Nazi ways and plead Muslim's of India too should meet with the same fate of Jews of Germany. Naturally they did not like the Gandhian ways of unarmed revolution. Savarkar openly criticized Gandhi heavily for his non-violent ways. Nathuram Godse was his staunch follower. However it shortly dawned on the both fanatic wings that it was impossible to replace Gandhiji with Vedic leadership, hence they had no choice but remove him.

Also Brahmins could see it inevitable that the new political order after independence will adhere to the democratic principles and that the democracy will sabotage their historical dominance. Winning of Gandhi was winning of democracy, thus placing orthodox Vedic Brahmins in sheer minority.

We can imagine how frustrated some orthodox groups would have been and reacted. Savarkar, after his Andman episode had turned Hindutvavadi (Hinduist), thinking Hinduist policy could attract Hindu’s in masses towards him, but apparently failed. Also one should not forget his idols were fascists. He always dreamt for armed revolution. Naturally he could not tolerate Gandhian way of non-violence that was succeeding to the heights no one could ever dream of.

Had he been successful, Savarkar bringing armed revolution, charging entire nation and get freedom; the whole scenario after independence would have been entirely different, but not to his avail. It was phenomenal success of Gandhiji that was bringing Independence closer, not any violent act committed by the handful of revolutionaries.

Adding to their frustration was a fact that even Gandhiji being of low caste, many secular Brahmins too had become Gandhi's staunch followers. Maharashtrian, especially Chitpavan Brahmins, couldn't tolerate losing their dominance over populace they had strived for! The hardcore fanatics finally were left with no option but to kill Gandhi! The attempts to kill him began in 1934 when there was no issue those are being portrayed by the supporters of Nathuram Godse or Savarkar, except that Gandhiji was gaining phenomenal popularity and command over freedom movement, leaving far behind the class that thought they were one destined to rule the country! They designed the plan to assassinate Gandhiji, attempted four times and finally succeeded in the last.

We should take the note of a fact that the outburst of communal riots killing about a million Hindu and Muslim took place in bordering and partition-affected regions. No Hindu or even a Muslim, who truly was badly affected by that insanity, ever thought of killing Gandhi holding him responsible for the inhuman bloodbath.

Then how come that a bunch of people sitting in Maharashtra, having not had even a single scratch over their body as a result of communal riot held Gandhi responsible for the partition and the aftermath? Writing his death sentence? Doesn't it seem insane?

Yes...but insanity was committed!

Hence, looking at the history, I can state that Gandhi was killed because he belonged to lower caste and his dominance and spell over Indian masses had became intolerable for the Vedic people from Maharashtra those belonged to the caste of Peshava’s, former rulers of India.

Otherwise there is no plausible reason behind that gruesome act that shook the world. Gandhiji's fast was not for immidiate release of Rs. 55 crore but for the restoration of peace in riot-affected Delhi. Gandhiji was not in anyway responsible for the partition. It was actually made inevitable when Bal Tilak had signed Lucknow pact that assigned separate electorates to the Muslims.

Then, looking at all the circumstances surrounding assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, we find no plausible, logical reason to it except that it was his caste that made him intolerable to the so-called high caste people of Maharashtra those thought who belonged to the former ruling class!

We need to re-access the true reasons behind assasination of Gandhiji in the light of above facts!

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      Aswin 19 months ago

      I am not sure how many of you have joined forces to repaint history. Nathuram Godse killed Gandhi mainly because his steadfast way of appeasing minorities at any cost was threatening the stability of the countries. As usual, people like you start putting the blame on RSS and other so-called Hindu Terrorists!! Do you even read Indian History? Gandhi himself had indulged in racist acts, whether intentional or not? He supported only Indians in South African and called the native blacks as Kafirs. He even supported Britishers when they indulged in racist discrimination of blacks????? It is true that Gandhi did mend his ways to become the Mahatma as we all know. But people like you like to only paint one side of the story.

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      Ajay Maktedar 2 years ago

      Great article.... Please translate it into marathi so that many of the so called pundits can read it....

    • sanjay-sonawani profile image
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      Sanjay Sonawani 2 years ago from Pune, India.

      Dear Mr. Manerikar, as discussed in the article the reasons postulated behind the assassination by Godse are false and fabricated. Then why he should have killed him? I could reach to no conclusion but caste which was a dominant factor of those times. I would not label the whole caste as fanatic, but the group involved was unfortunately belonged to Chitpavan caste, which was a ruling caste of the past as were the Muslims. We know from the history Muslim's didn't want to live in democratic India where they thought they will lose their previous status and become unprivileged ordinary citizens. This is why Two Nation Theory was evolved. In a way it was clash between two societies as to which class (Brahmin or Muslim) would rule the country after independence. Gandhi stood like an impregnable wall between them. Sometimes I wonder had Gandhi being Brahmin, would he have been assassinated? I have asked many of my Brahmin friends...and they too admit, though reluctantly, they things would have been different then. I think this gives a hint. I do not claim I am right in my assessment on this grave issue, but this also is an angle one should keep in the mind while discussing on the Gandhi Assassination.

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      राजेन्द्र मणेरीकर 2 years ago

      No doubt, you have presented your thought very well. However, the caste reason is not so attractive. Chitpavans have killed many, since Rule of peshva. Also brahmins were killed by Muslim rulers, figure is not small. Reasons behind such killings has no such simple answer. For british rulers, chitpavans were threat without caste reason. It is not so that people of others caste have not killed any person due to such reason. Normally I love your articles, but not this has given any thought.

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Thank you. Many people outside of India are not aware of Gandhi's work to correct abuses of the caste system, or how deeply this system is defended among conservative Hindus.

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      Shrawan Deore 4 years ago

      Mahatma Gandhiji was assassinated neither for 55 crore nor because of partition. He was threatened to death before independence, so that he should not gave up line of brahminism. As the goal of independence achieved, conspiracy of killing succeed. What was real (hidden ) ajenda of RSS behind the killing of Mahatma???

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      Madhusudan Cherekar 4 years ago

      This is the speech given by Nathuram Godse in the court in his last trial for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi

      Born in a devotional Brahmin family, I instinctively came to revere Hindu religion, Hindu history and Hindu culture. I had, therefore, been intensely proud of Hinduism as a whole. As I grew up I developed a tendency to free thinking unfettered by any superstitious allegiance to any isms, political or religious. That is why I worked actively for the eradication of untouchability and the caste system based on birth alone. I openly joined anti-caste movements and maintained that all Hindus were of equal status as to rights, social and religious and should be considered high or low on merit alone and not through the accident of birth in a particular caste or profession. I used publicly to take part in organized anti-caste dinners in which thousands of Hindus, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Chamars and Bhangis participated. We broke the caste rules and dined in the company of each other.

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