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WHY I KILLED GANDHI
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"
WHY I KILLED 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 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.
NOW YOU DECIDE HOW HISTORY SHOULD JUDGE ME.