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Updated on July 30, 2010

Nathuram and Gandhi

Gandhiji Assassin: Nathuram Godse's Final Address to the Court.

Nathuram Godse was arrested immediately after he assassinated

Gandhiji, based on a F. I.. R. filed by Nandlal Mehta at the

Tughlak Road Police station at Delhi . The trial, which was held in

camera, began on 27th May 1948 and concluded on 10th February 1949. He

was sentenced to death..

An appeal to the Punjab High Court, then in session at Simla, did not

find favourable and the sentence was upheld. The statement that you

are about to read is the last made by Godse before the Court on the

5th of May 1949.

Such was the power and eloquence of this statement that one of the

judges, G. D. Khosla, later wrote, "I have, however, no doubt that had

the audience of that day been constituted into a jury and entrusted

with the task of deciding Godse's appeal, they would have brought a

verdict of 'not Guilty' by an overwhelming majority"


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 untouchables and the caste system based on birth

alone. I openly joined RSS wing of 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. I have read the speeches and writings of

Ravana, Chanakiya, Dadabhai Naoroji, Vivekanand, Gokhale, Tilak, along

with the books of ancient and modern history of India and some

prominent countries like England , France , America , and Russia .

Moreover I studied the tenets of Socialism and Marxism. But above all

I studied very closely whatever Veer Savarkar and Gandhiji had written

and spoken, as to my mind these two ideologies have contributed more

to the molding of the thought and action of the Indian people during

the last thirty years or so, than any other single factor has done.

All this reading and thinking led me to believe it was my first duty

to serve Hinduism and Hindus both as a patriot and as a world citizen.

To secure the freedom and to safeguard the just interests of some

thirty crores (300 million) of Hindus would automatically constitute

the freedom and the well-being of all India , one fifth of human race.

This conviction led me naturally to devote myself to the Hindu

Sanghtanist ideology and program, which alone, I came to believe,

could win and preserve the national independence of Hindustan , my

Motherland, and enable her to render true service to humanity as well.

Since the year 1920, that is, after the demise of Lokamanya Tilak,

Gandhiji's influence in the Congress first increased and then became

supreme. His activities for public awakening were phenomenal in their

intensity and were reinforced by the slogan of truth and non-violence

which he paraded ostentatiously before the country. No sensible or

enlightened person could object to those slogans. In fact there is

nothing new or original in them. They are implicit in every

constitutional public movement. But it is nothing but a mere dream if

you imagine that the bulk of mankind is, or can ever become, capable

of scrupulous adherence to these lofty principles in its normal life

from day to day.

In fact, honour, duty, and love of one's own kith and kin and country

might often compel us to disregard non-violence and to use force. I

could never conceive that an armed resistance to an aggression is

unjust. I would consider it a religious and moral duty to resist and,

if possible, to overpower such an enemy by use of force. [In the

Ramayana] Rama killed Ravana in a tumultuous fight and relieved Sita..

[In the Mahabharata] , Krishna killed Kansa to end his wickedness; and

Arjuna had to fight and slay quite a number of his friends and

relations including the revered Bhishma because the latter was on the

side of the aggressor. It is my firm belief that in dubbing Rama,

Krishna , and Arjuna as guilty of violence, the Mahatma betrayed a

total ignorance of the springs of human action.

In more recent history, it was the heroic fight put up by Chhatrapati

Shivaji that first checked and eventually destroyed the Muslim tyranny

in India . It was absolutely essentially for Shivaji to overpower and

kill an aggressive Afzal Khan, failing which he would have lost his

own life. In condemning history's towering warriors like Shivaji, Rana

Pratap and Guru Gobind Singh as misguided patriots, Gandhiji has

merely exposed his self-conceit. He was, paradoxical as it may appear

a violent pacifist who brought untold calamities on the country in the

name of truth and non-violence, while Rana Pratap, Shivaji, and the

Guru will remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen for ever

for the freedom they brought to them.

The accumulating provocation of thirty-two years, culminating in his

last pro-Muslim fast, at last goaded me to the conclusion that the

existence of Gandhi should be brought to an end immediately. Gandhi

had done very well in South Africa to uphold the rights and well-being

of the Indian community there. But when he finally returned to India

he developed a subjective mentality under which he alone was to be the

final judge of what was right or wrong. If the country wanted his

leadership, it had to accept his infallibility; if it did not, he

would stand aloof from the Congress and carry on his own way.

Against such an attitude there can be no halfway house. Either

Congress had to surrender its will to his and had to be content with

playing second fiddle to all his eccentricity, whimsicality,

metaphysics and primitive vision, or it had to carry on without him.

He alone was the Judge of everyone and every thing; he was the master

brain guiding the civil disobedience movement; no other could know the

technique of that movement. He alone knew when to begin and when to

withdraw it. The movement might succeed or fail, it might bring untold

disaster, and political reverses but that could make no difference to

the Mahatma's infallibility. 'A Satyagrahi can never fail' was his

formula for declaring his own infallibility and nobody except himself

knew what a Satyagrahi is. Thus, the Mahatma became the judge and jury

in his own cause. These childish insanities and obstinacies, coupled

with a most severe austerity of life, ceaseless work and lofty

character made Gandhi formidable and irresistible.

Many people thought that his politics were irrational but they had

either to withdraw from the Congress or place their intelligence at

his feet to do with as he liked. In a position of such absolute

irresponsibility Gandhi was guilty of blunder after blunder, failure

after failure, disaster after disaster. Gandhi's pro-Muslim policy is

blatantly in his perverse attitude on the question of the national

language of India . It is quite obvious that Hindi has the most prior

claim to be accepted as the premier language. In the beginning of his

career in India , Gandhi gave a great impetus to Hindi but as he found

that the Muslims did not like it, he became a champion of what is

called Hindustani.. Everybody in India knows that there is no language

called Hindustani; it has no grammar; it has no vocabulary. It is a

mere dialect, it is spoken, but not written. It is a bastard tongue

and cross-breed between Hindi and Urdu, and not even the Mahatma's

sophistry could make it popular. But in his desire to please the

Muslims he insisted that Hindustani alone should be the national

language of India . His blind followers, of course, supported him and

the so-called hybrid language began to be used. The charm and purity

of the Hindi language was to be prostituted to please the Muslims. All

his experiments were at the expense of the Hindus.

>From August 1946 onwards the private armies of the Muslim League began a massacre of the Hindus. The then Viceroy, Lord Wavell, though distressed at what was happening, would not use his powers under the Government of India Act of 1935 to prevent the rape, murder and arson. The Hindu blood began to flow from Bengal to Karachi with some retaliation by the Hindus. The Interim Government formed in September was sabotaged by its Muslim League member’s right from its inception, but the more they became disloyal and treasonable to the government of which they were a part, the greater was Gandhi's infatuation for them. Lord Wavell had to resign as he could not bring about a settlement and he was succeeded by Lord Mountbatten. King Log was followed by King Stork. The Congress which had boasted of its nationalism and socialism secretly accepted Pakistan literally at the point of the bayonet and abjectly surrendered to Jinnah. India was vivisected and one-third of the Indian territory became foreign land to us from August 15, 1947.

Lord Mount batten came to be described in Congress circles as the

greatest Viceroy and Governor-General this country ever had. The

official date for handing over power was fixed for June 30, 1948, but

Mount batten with his ruthless surgery gave us a gift of vivisected

India ten months in advance. This is what Gandhi had achieved after

thirty years of undisputed dictatorship and this is what Congress

party calls 'freedom' and 'peaceful transfer of power'. The

Hindu-Muslim unity bubble was finally burst and a the ocratic state

was established with the consent of Nehru and his crowd and they have

called 'freedom won by them with sacrifice' - whose sacrifice? When

top leaders of Congress, with the consent of Gandhi, divided and tore

the country - which we consider a deity of worship - my mind was

filled with direful anger.

One of the conditions imposed by Gandhi for his breaking of the fast

unto death related to the mosques in Delhi occupied by the Hindu

refugees. But when Hindus in Pakistan were subjected to violent

attacks he did not so much as utter a single word to protest and

censure the Pakistan Government or the Muslims concerned. Gandhi was

shrewd enough to know that while undertaking a fast unto death, had he

imposed for its break some condition on the Muslims in Pakistan ,

there would have been found hardly any Muslims who could have shown

some grief if the fast had ended in his death. It was for this reason

that he purposely avoided imposing any condition on the Muslims. He

was fully aware of from the experience that Jinnah was not at all

perturbed or influenced by his fast and the Muslim League hardly

attached any value to the inner voice of Gandhi. Gandhi is being

referred to as the Father of the Nation.

But if that is so, he had failed his paternal duty in as much as he

has acted very treacherously to the nation by his consenting to the

partitioning of it. I stoutly maintain that Gandhi has failed in his


He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan. His inner-voice, his

spiritual power and his doctrine of non-violence of which so much is

made of, all crumbled before Jinnah's iron will, and proved to be

powerless. Briefly speaking, I thought to myself and foresaw I shall

be totally ruined, and the only thing I could expect from the people

would be nothing but hatred and that I shall have lost my entire

honor, even more valuable than my life, if I were to kill Gandhiji.

But at the same time I felt that the Indian politics in the absence of

Gandhiji would surely be proved practical, able to retaliate, and

would be powerful with armed forces. No doubt, my own future would be

totally ruined, but the nation would be saved from the inroads of

Pakistan . People may even call me and dub me as devoid of any sense

or foolish, but the nation would be free to follow the course founded

on the reason which I consider to be necessary for sound


After having fully considered the question, I took the final decision

in the matter, but I did not speak about it to anyone whatsoever. I

took courage in both my hands and I did fire the shots at Gandhiji on

30th January 1948, on the prayer-grounds of Birla House. I do say that

my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought

rack and ruin and destruction to millions of Hindus. There was no

legal machinery by which such an offender could be brought to book and

for this reason I fired those fatal shots. I bear no ill will towards

anyone individually but I do say that I had no respect for the present

government owing to their policy which was unfairly favorable towards

the Muslims. But at the same time I could clearly see that the policy

was entirely due to the presence of Gandhi.

I have to say with great regret that Primes Minister Nehru quite

forgets that his preaching's and deeds are at times at variances with

each other when he talks about India as a secular state in season and

out of season, because it is significant to note that Nehru has played

a leading role in the establishment of the theocratic state of

Pakistan, and his job was made easier by Gandhi's persistent policy of

appeasement towards the Muslims. I now stand before the court to

accept the full share of my responsibility for what I have done and

the judge would, of course, pass against me such orders of sentence as

may be considered proper. But I would like to add that I do not desire

any mercy to be shown to me, nor do I wish that anyone else should beg

for mercy on my behalf. My confidence about the moral side of my

action has not been shaken even by the criticism leveled against it on

all sides. I have no doubt that honest writers of history will weighs

my act and find the true value thereof some day in future.




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