Gandhi Is Killed


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Hindutva conspired to assassin Gandhi - a glorified Hindu leader of yester years. Two lunatics played a vital role in the execution of the conspiracy. One was Narayan Apte, the publisher of the newspaper Hindu Rashtra from Pune and the other was its editor, Nathuram Godse. An article in Indian Express dt. 1.2.98 gives the lunatics in action in the following words.

"Even as Gandhi revise his Bangla lesson in Birla House, at the retiring room No. 6 of the Old Delhi railway station, the conspiracy to murder Gandhi was being given final shape. It was the brainchild of Narayan Apte, a Hindu fundamentalist who published the newspaper Hindu Rashtra from Pune. The editor, Nathuram Vinyak Godse, 39, was there too. Another person in the room was Vishnu Karkare, a smalltime hotelier from Pune. There were more people behind them whose dream was to transform India into a Hindu nation."



 50 years ago

Gandhi Is Killed By A Hindu; India Shaken, World Mourns; 15 Die In Rioting In Bombay Three Shots Fired

The New York Times -

Slayer is Seized, Beaten After Felling Victim on Way to Prayer

Nehru Appeals to the Nation to Keep Peace -- U.S. Consul Assisted in Capture

By Robert Trumbull
Special to The New York Times

New Delhi, India, Jan. 30 --

K.Gandhi was killed by as assassin's bullet today. The assassin was a Hindu who fired three
shots from a pistol at a range of three feet.

The 78-year-old Gandhi, who was the one person who held discordant elements together and kept
some sort of unity in this turbulent land, was shot down at 5:15 P. M. as he was proceeding through
the Biria House gardens to the pergola from which he was to deliver his daily prayer meeting

The assassin was immediately seized.

He later identified himself as Nathuram Vinayak Godse, 36, a Hindu of the Mahratta tribes in
Poona. This has been a center of resistance to Gandhi's ideology.

Mr. Gandhi died twenty-five minutes later. His death left all India stunned and bewildered as to
the direction that this newly independent nation would take without its "Mahatma" (Great

The loss of Mr. Gandhi brings this country of 300,000,000 abruptly to a crossroads. Mingled
with the sadness in this capital tonight was an undercurrent of fear and uncertainty, for now the
strongest influence for peace in India that this generation has known is gone.

[Communal riots quickly swept Bombay when news of Mr. Gandhi's death was received. The
Associated Press reported that fifteen persons were killed and more than fifty injured before an
uneasy peace was established.]

Appeal Made By Nehru

Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in a voice choked with emotion, appealed in a radio address
tonight for a sane approach to the future. He asked that India's path be turned away from
violence in memory of the great peacemaker who had departed.

Mr. Gandhi's body will be cremated in the orthodox Hindu fashion according to his often
expressed wishes. His body will be carried from his New Delhi residence on a simple wooden cot covered with a sheet at 11:30 tomorrow morning. The funeral procession will wind through every principal street of the two cites of New and old Delhi and reach the burning ghats on the bank of the sacred Jumna River at about 4 P. M. There the remains of the greatest Indian since Gautama Buddha will be wrapped in a sheet, laid on a pyre of wood and burned. His ashes will be scattered on the Jumna's waters, eventually to mingle with the Ganges where the two holy rivers meet at the temple city of Allahabad.

These simple ceremonies were announced tonight by Pandit Nehru in respect to Mr. Gandhi's wishes, although many of the leaders desired that his body be embalmed and exhibited in state. India will see the last of Mr. Gandhi as it saw him when he lived -- ha humble and unassuming Hindu.

News Spreads Quickly

News of the assassination of Mr. Gandhi -- only a few days after he had finished a five-day fast to bring about communal friendship -- spread quickly through New Delhi. Immediately there was spontaneous movement of thousands to Biria House, home of G. D. Birla, the millionaire industrialist,
where Mr. Gandhi and his six secretaries had been guests since he came to New Delhi in the midst of the disturbances in India's capital.

While walking through the gardens to this evening's prayer meeting Mr. Gandhi had just reached the top of a short flight of brick steps, his slender, brown arms around the shoulders of his granddaughters, Manu, 17, and Ava, 20.

Someone spoke to him and he turned from his granddaughters and gave the appealing Hindu salute- palms together and the points of the fingers brought to the chin as in a Christian attitude of prayer.

At once a youngish Indian stepped from the crowd- which had opened to form a pathway for Mr. Gandhi's walk to the pergola- and fired the fatal shots from a European made pistol. One bullet struck Mr. Gandhi in the chest and two in the abdomen on the right side. He seemed to lean forward and then
crumpled to the ground. His two granddaughters fell beside him in tears.

Crowd Is Stunned

A crowd of about 500, according to witnesses, was stunned. There was no outcry or excitement for a second or two. Then the onlookers began to push the assassin more as if in bewilderment than in anger.

The assassin was seized by Tom Reiner of Lancaster, Mass., a vice consul attached to the American Embassy and a recent arrival in India. He was attending Mr. Gandhi's prayer meeting out of curiosity,
as most visitors to New Delhi do at least once.

Mr. Reiner grasped the assailant by the shoulders and shoved him toward several police guards. Only then did the crowd begin to grasp what had happened and a forest of fists belabored the assassin as
he was dragged toward the pergola where Mr. Gandhi was to have prayed. he left a trail of blood.

Mr. Gandhi was picked up by attendants and carried rapidly back to the unpretentious bedroom where he had passed most of his working and sleeping hours. As he was taken through the door Hindu
onlookers who could see him began to wail and beat their breasts.

Less than half an hour later a member of Mr. Gandhi's entourage came out of the room and said to those about the door:

"Bapu (father) is finished."

But it was not until Mr. Gandhi's death was announced by All India Radio, at 6 P. M. that the words spread widely.

Assassin Taken Away

Meanwhile the assassin was taken to a police station. He identified himself as coming from Poona.

It was remarked that the first of three attempts on Mr. Gandhi's life was made in Poona on June 25, 1934, when a bomb was thrown at a car believed to be Mr. Gandhi's. Poona is a center of the extremist anti-Gandhi orthodox Hindu Mahasabha (Great Society).

The second possible attempt to assassinate Mr. Gandhi was by means of a crude bomb planted on his garden wall on Jan. 20 of this year.

The only statement known to have been made by the assassin was his remark to a foreign correspondent: "I am no at all sorry."

He is large for a Hindu and was dressed in gray slacks, blue pullover and khaki bush jacket. His pistol, which was snatched from him immediately after the shooting by Royal Indian Air Force Flight Sergeant
D. R. Singh, contained four undischarged cartridges.

Lying on a wooden cot in his bedroom, Mr. Gandhi said no word before his death except to ask for water. Most of the time he was unconscious. When he was pronounced dead by his physician, weeping members of his staff covered the lower half of his face with a sheet in the Hindu fashion and the women present sat on the floor and chanted verses from the sacred scriptures of the Hindus. Those who could see these ceremonies through the windows knew then that Mr. Gandhi had expired.

Pandit Nehru arrived at about 6 o'clock. Silently and with burning eyes he inspected the spot where Mr. Gandhi was shot and then went into the house without a word. Later he stood high on the front gate of Biria House and related the tentative funeral arrangements to several thousand persons
gathered in the street and blocking all traffic. His voice shook with grief and hundreds in the crowd were weeping uncontrollably.

Several thousand mourners formed orderly and quiet queues at all doors leading into Biria House and for a time they were permitted to file past the body. Later when it became evident that only a small
fraction of the gathering would be able to view Mr. Gandhi's remains tonight, the body was taken to a
second-floor balcony and placed on a cot fitted under a floodlamp so all in the grounds would see their departed leader.

His head was illuminated by a lamp with five wicks representing the five elements- air, light, water, earth, and fire- and also to light his soul to eternity according to Hindu belief.

Pandit Nehru delivered Mr. Gandhi's valedictory in his radio address late this evening. In a quivering voice he said:

"Gandhi has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. The father of our nation is no more- no longer will we run to him for advice and solace. This is a terrible blow to millions and millions in this country.

"Our light has gone out, but the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. For a thousand years that light will be seen in this country and the world will see it... Oh, that this has happened to us! There was so much more to do."

Referring to the assassin Pandit Nehru said:

"I can only call him a madman."

He pleaded for a renewed spirit of peace, which had been Mr. Gandhi's last project, saying:

"His spirit looks upon us- nothing would displease him more than to see us indulge in violence. All our petty conflicts and difficulties must be ended in the face of this great disaster...In his death he has
reminded us of the big things in life."


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Last updated: February 23, 2000 .