The complete 90 pages long legendary reply of Mr. Nathuram Godse to the Charge Sheet in Court is available here. Articles below contain excerpts from it.
The statement in the following pages is a part of record of the Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case, which can be found in Printed Volume II, Criminal Appeals No. 66 to 72 of 1949 Punjab High Court, (then at) Simla.
The accused had engaged counsels. However, replies to the charges were to be given by the accused themselves, which they did. Before doing so, they submitted their written statements.
Nathuram, in his written statement, Detailed, particularly from Part II onward, the reasons of his decision to kill Gandhi. The prosecution had the knowledge of it before-hand. It raised an objection to the reading, which was over-ruled by the Judge.
The statement was read out. The press published portions of it the next day.
But the Government would not take it lying down. It would not yield to the supremacy of the judiciary. With the stranglehold of authority it banned the statement for its reproduction or publication in part or in full.
The motive on the part of the Government was obvious. It did not like Gandhi to be exposed to the public by what Nathuram Godse had stated. It wanted to permit atmosphere of prejudice against the assession to continue and suppress the truth, probably, in its own fashion of thinking, as a befitting reverence to the memory of the Mahatma.
The Government's action remained unchallenged and the ban continued for years till the law was annulled. It is after a lapse of about three decades that the statement reaches the public.
Nathuram preferred to argue his own case. He argued for two days without challenging his conviction under the murder charge. The Press had no free choice to publish the proceedings in their true form.
e prosecution produced 149 witnesses. The hearing was closed on December 30, 1948 and judgment reserved. It was pronounced on February 10, 1949.
Veer Savarkar was acquitted.
Digamber Badge was granted pardon and set free for having deposed against his co-accused.
Vishnu Karkare, Madanlal Pahwa, Gopal Godse, Shankar Kistaiya and Dr. Parchure were to suffer, inter alia, transportation for life.
Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte were sentenced to be hanged.
No sooner the sentences were announced the packed Courtroom echoed to the thundering of spontaneous slogans from the convicts, `AKHAND BHARAT AMAR RAHE !', `VANDE MATARAM !' and `SWATANTRYA LAXMI KI JAI !'
Nature of the Special Act
Gandhi enjoyed supremacy in the otherwise democratic set- up of Government. A Special Act, viz, Bombay Public Security Measures Act, was extended to Delhi before constituting the Special Court and the Act came into force with retrospective effect for the trial of the accused.
Equality before law and other inalienable rights were denied to the people through the provisions of this Act. The Supreme Court of India was not constituted then. Since retrospective effect was not provided to the annulment, the convicts were deprived of the benefits.
Unlike in other cases under the normal law, death sentence was not required to be confirmed by the High Court in conformity with the Special Act. The time limit to prefer appeals was only fifteen days instead of sixty or ninety days in normal cases.
All the seven convicts submitted appeals through the jail authorities to the Punjab High Court. Formerly the High Court functioned at Lahore. But Lahore, the City said to have been established by Lava, one of the mighty sons of Lord Rama, and the city then known as Lavapur, was now by a strange travesty of fate, in Pakistan and a part and parcel of the Country The High Court had become a `refugee' and had its seat at Simla in the vivisected India.
Nathu preferred appeal against his conviction for conspiracy and other charges and not against the death sentence.
It is obvious that the High Court was struck by the conduct and ability of Nathuram. It has made a special reference to it while recording the judgment. Says Justice Achhru Ram :
"Of all the appellants Nathuram V. Godse has not challenged his conviction under Sec. 302 of the Indian Penal Code, nor has he appealed from the sentence of death passed on him in respect of the offence. He has confined his appeal and also his arguments at the Bar only to the other charges which have been found proved against him...... He personally argued his appeal, I must say, with conspicuous ability evidencing a mastery of facts which would have done credit to any counsel."
As regards Nathuram's power of thinking, the Judge noted:
"Although he failed in his matriculation examination, he is widely read. While arguing his Appeal, he showed a fair knowledge of the English language a rid a remarkable capacity for clear thinking."
In the course of arguments, Nathuram had made a plea that on January 20, 1948 he was not present at the Birla House. The judges rejected the plea. In support of their rejection, they referred to their observations of the strong will power of Nathuram, Shri Achhru Ram says :
"We have seen quite enough of Nathuram during the period of more than five weeks we were hearing' these appeals and particularly during the eight or nine days while he was arguing his own case, and I cannot imagine that a man of his caliber could have even entertained the idea (of remaining behind)."
Justice Khosla after retirement. in a pen picture of the Court scene as it then passed before his mind's eye has said:
The highlight of the appeal before us was the discourse delivered by Nathuram Godse in his defense. He spoke for several hour' s, discussing,, in the first instance, the facts of the case and then the motive which had prompted him to take Mahatma Gandhi's life ......
"The audience was visibly and audibly moved. There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs. The silence was accentuated and made deeper by the sound of an occasional subdued sniff or a muffled cough...
"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 in a verdict of `not guilty' by an overwhelming majority."
Nathuram had displayed the same ability while arguing his case before Shri Atma Charan, the Judge of the Special Court, Red Fort, Delhi.
The complete 90 pages long legendary reply of Mr. Nathuram Godse to the Charge Sheet in Court is available here. Next article contains excerpts from it.
By Nathuram Godse
On 8 November 1948, Nathuram Godse (19 May 1910-15 November 1949) rose to make his statement in court. Reading quietly from a typed manuscript, he sought to explain why he had killed Gandhi. His thesis covered ninety-pages, and he was on his feet for five hours. Godse's statement, excerpted below, should be read by citizens and scholars in its entirely, for it provides an insight into his personality and his understanding of the concept of Indian nationhood – Editor
"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 are 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 which thousands of Hindus, Brahmins, Vaishyas, Kshatriyas, Chamars and B-----s participated. We broke the caste rules and dined in the company of each other. I have read the speeches and writings of 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 what Veer (brave) Savarkar and Gandhiji had written and spoken, as to my mind these two ideologies have contributed more to the moulding of the thought and action of the Indian people during the last thirty years or so, than any other factor has done.
All this thinking and reading led me to believe that it was my first duty to serve Hindudom 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 (three hundred million) of Hindus would automatically constitute the freedom and well-being of all India, one fifth of the human race. This conviction led me naturally to devote myself to the Hindu Sanatanist ideology and programme, 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 Lokmanya Tilak, Gandhi'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 these 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 dream if you imagine 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 the 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 essential 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 Govind Singh as misguided patriots, Gandhi 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 forever 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 good work 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 in 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 everything; 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 it and when to withdraw it. The movement might succeed or fail, but that could make no difference to the Mahatma's infallibility. 'A Satyagrahi can never fail' was his formula for his own infallibility and nobody except himself knew what a Satyagrahi is.
Thus the Mahatma became the judge and the jury in his own case. 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 policies 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, and disaster after disaster. Gandhi's pro-Muslim policy is blatantly illustrated 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 in India called Hindustani; it has no grammar; it has no vocabulary. It is a mere dialect; it is spoken, not written. It is a tongue and a crossbreed 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 the purity of the Hindi language were 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 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 little retaliation by the Hindus. The Interim Government formed in September was sabotaged by its Muslim League members 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 was succeeded by Lord Mountbatten. King Stork followed King Log. The Congress, which had boasted of its nationalism and secularism, 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 15 August 1947. Lord Mountbatten came to be described in the Congress circles as the greatest Viceroy and Governor-General this country ever had.
The official date for the handing over of power was fixed for June 30, 1948, but Mountbatten 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 the Congress party calls 'freedom' and 'peaceful transfer of power'. The Hindu-Muslim unity bubble was finally burst and a theocratic state was established with the consent of Nehru and his crowd and they have called it '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 considered a deity of worship - my mind was filled with direful anger.
One of the conditions imposed by Gandhi for his breaking of the fast 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 some conditions 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 conditions on the Muslims.
He was fully aware from past 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 has failed in his paternal duty inasmuch 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 duty. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan. His inner-voice, his spiritual power, his doctrine of non-violence of which so much is made of, all crumbled against Jinnah's iron will and proved to be powerless.
Briefly speaking, I thought to myself and foresaw that 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 all my honour, even more valuable than my life, if I were to kill Gandhiji. But at the same time I thought that the Indian politics in the absence of Gandhiji would surely be practical, able to retaliate and would be powerful with the 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 or 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 necessary for sound nation-building.
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 in 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 favourable 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 Prime Minister Nehru quite forgets that his preaching and deeds are at times at variance 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 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 should beg for mercy on my behalf.
My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled against it on all sides. I have no doubt that honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof someday in future."
Nathuram Godse was hanged a year later, on 15 November 1949; as per his last wishes, his family and followers have preserved his ashes for immersion in the Indus River of a re-united India
" On January 13, 1948, I learnt that Gandhiji had decided to go on fast unto death. The reason given was that he wanted an assurance of Hindu-Muslim Unity... But I and many others could easily see that the real motive... [was] to compel the Dominion Government to pay the sum of Rs 55 crores to Pakistan, the payment of which was emphatically refused by the Government.... But this decision of the people's Government was reversed to suit the tune of Gandhiji's fast. It was evident to my mind that the force of public opinion was nothing but a trifle when compared with the leanings of Gandhiji favourable to Pakistan.
....In 1946 or thereabout, Muslim atrocities perpetrated on Hindus under the Government patronage of Surhawardy in Noakhali made our blood boil. Our shame and indignation knew no bounds when we saw that Gandhiji had come forward to shield that very Surhawardy and began to style him as 'Shaheed Saheb' - a martyr - even in his prayer meetings...
....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 slogans of truth and non-violence which he ostentatiously paraded before the country... I could never conceive that an armed resistance to the aggressor is unjust...
... Ram killed Ravan in a tumultuous fight... Krishna killed Kansa to end his wickedness... In condemning Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Govind as 'misguided patriots,' Gandhiji has merely exposed his self-conceit... Gandhiji was, paradoxically,
a violent pacifist who brought untold calamities on the country in the name of truth and nonviolence, while Rana Pratap, Shivaji and the Guru will remain enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen forever...
....By 1919, Gandhiji had become desperate in his endeavours to get the Muslims to trust him and went from one absurd promise to another... He backed the Khilafat movement in this country and was able to enlist the full support of the National Congress in that policy... very soon the Moplah Rebellion showed that the Muslims had not the slightest idea of national
unity... There followed a huge slaughter of Hindus... The British Government, entirely unmoved by the rebellion, suppressed it in a few months and left to Gandhiji the joy of his Hindu-Muslim Unity... British Imperialism emerged stronger, the Muslims became more fanatical, and the consequences were visited on the Hindus...
The accumulating provocation of 32 years, culminating in his last pro-Muslim fast, at last goaded me to the conclusion that the existence of Gandhiji should be brought to an end immediately... he developed a subjective mentality under which he alone was the final judge of what was right or wrong... Either Congress had to surrender its will to him and play second fiddle to all his eccentricity, whimsicality... or it had to carry on without him... He was the master brain guiding the civil disobedience
movement... The movement may succeed or fail; it may bring untold disasters and political reverses, but that could make no difference to the Mahatma's infallibility... These childish inanities and obstinacies, coupled with a most severe austerity of life, ceaseless work and lofty character, made Gandhiji formidable and irresistible... In a position of such absolute
irresponsibility, Gandhiji was guilty of blunder after blunder...
....The Mahatma even supported the separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency and threw the Hindus of Sindh to the communal wolves. Numerous riots took place in Karachi, Sukkur, Shikarpur and other places in which the Hindus were the only sufferers...
....From August 1946 onwards, the private armies of the Muslim League began a massacre of the Hindus... Hindu blood began to flow from Bengal to Karachi with mild reactions in the Deccan... The Interim government formed in September was sabotaged by its Muslim League members, 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...
....The Congress, which had boasted of its nationalism and socialism, secretly accepted Pakistan and abjectly surrendered to Jinnah. India was vivisected and one-third of the Indian territory became foreign land to us... This is what Gandhiji had achieved after 30 years of undisputed dictatorship, and this is what Congress party calls 'freedom'...
....One of the conditions imposed by Gandhiji for his breaking of the fast unto death related to the mosques in Delhi occupied by 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...
Gandhi is being referred to as the Father of the Nation. But if that is so, he had failed his paternal duty inasmuch as he has acted very treacherously to the nation by his consenting to the partitioning of it... The people of this country were eager and vehement in their opposition to Pakistan. But Gandhiji played false with the people...
....I shall be totally ruined, and the only thing I could expect from the people would be nothing but hatred... if I were to kill Gandhiji. But at the same time, I felt that Indian politics in the absence of Gandhiji would surely be proved practical, able to retaliate, and 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...
....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 do not desire any mercy to be shown to me... I did fire shots at Gandhiji in open daylight. I did not make any attempt to run away; in fact I never entertained any idea of running away. I did not try to shoot myself... for, it was my ardent desire to give vent to my thoughts in an open Court. My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by
the criticism levelled of against it on all sides. I have no doubt, honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof some day in future. "
By Arvind Lavakare
Today is Martyr's Day, marking the day when Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated exactly 53 years ago from pistol bullets fired by Nathuram Godse, 37, the bachelor editor of two Marathi language newspapers in Poona as it was then known.
After the heinous deed, Godse raised his hand holding the gun and called for the police. He was apprehended without resistance.
His trial was conducted in a special court at New Delhi's Red Fort from May 27, 1948 to February 10, 1949 when he was sentenced by the single judge to be hanged until dead under Section 302 0f the Indian Penal Code.
His appeal to the Punjab high court was heard by three judges in May and June 1949. On the 22nd of the latter month his death sentence was confirmed. He did not plead for mercy and prohibited others from doing so on his behalf.
Accordingly at the jail in Ambala, in the pleasant, early sun of November 15, 1949, he walked to the hangman's platform, a copy of the Bhagwat Gita in his hands, after he had satisfied his last living desire to 'have a cup of coffee before the swing.'
On reaching the platform, he recited a Sanskrit verse of devotion to the Motherland; soon, his hands were tied behind him; part of the rope from the noose put around his neck was left on his shoulders; his toes were strung together by a cord. He shouted Vande Mataram loudly enough for the sound to reverberate in a radius of a hundred feet in the silent ambience around. And at 8 am that day, the hangman pulled the lever, the bridge gave way, the rope dropped and Gandhi's assassin was instantaneously dead.
He had left behind no property, no valuables. His last wish, recorded in his will, signed before a magistrate, remains unfulfilled: that his ashes be immersed in the river Indus (Sindhu) which is in Pakistan but on the banks of which, he said in his will, our pre-historic Rishis had composed the Vedas.
Today, on Martyr's Day, when Islamic jihad is bleeding India with a thousand wounds across the entire land even as a strong Hindu revivalist movement takes shape, the question rises from the Phoenix so to say. 'Was Gandhi's assassin a fanatic Hindu or a fierce nationalist who could not accept the 1947 Partition of undivided India?'
You be the judge and jury on the basis of the following few excerpts from the long statement in English read out by the assassin himself on November 8, 1948 at the Red Fort before it became a part of the record that can be found in Printed Volume II Criminal Appeals Nos 66 to72 of 1949, Punjab high court, then at Simla in view of Lahore having become a city of Pakistan.
'The background to the event of 30th January 1948 was exclusively political. The fact that Gandhiji used to recite during prayers verses from the Gita, the Quran and the Bible never provoked any ill-will in me towards him. In this vast area live people of various faiths and I hold that these creeds should have full and equal freedom for following their beliefs.
'In my writings and speeches I have always advocated that religious and communal considerations should be entirely eschewed in public affairs of the country... I have throughout stood for a secular State with joint electorates.
'I am prepared to concede that Gandhiji did undergo sufferings for the sake of the nation… I shall bow in respect to the service done by Gandhiji to the country and to Gandhiji himself for the said service, and before I fired the shots I actually wished him and bowed to him in reverence
'Since the year 1920, after the demise of Lokmanya Tilak, Gandhiji's influence in the Congress became supreme. His activities for public awakening were phenomenal… and were reinforced by the slogans of truth and non-violence. To imagine that the bulk of mankind is or can ever become capable of scrupulous adherence to these lofty principles in its normal life… is a mere dream. It was the heroic fight put up by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj that first checked and eventually destroyed Muslim tyranny in India. It was absolutely correct tactic for Shivaji to kill Afzal Khan as the latter would otherwise have surely killed him. In condemning Shivaji, Rana Pratap and Guru Gobind as misguided patriots, Gandhiji has merely exposed his self-conceit.
'During more than thirty years of the undisputed leadership of the Mahatma there were more desecration of temples, more forcible and fraudulent conversions, more outrages on women and finally the loss of one third of the country.
'Gandhiji was, paradoxically, a violent pacifist… He had often acted contrary to his professed principles and if it was for appeasing the Muslim, he hardly had any scruple in doing so.
'By the Act of 1919 separate electorates were enlarged and communal representation was continued not only in the legislative and local bodies but extended even within the Cabinet… Government patronage to Muslims in the name of Minority protection penetrated throughout the body politic of the Indian State and the Mahatma's slogans were no match against this wholesale corruption of the Muslim mind. The position began to deteriorate and by 1926 it became patent to all that Government had won all along the line but Gandhiji... went on conceding one undemocratic demand after another to the Muslim League in the vain hope of enlisting its support in the national struggle.
'The communal principle became deeply embedded in the Reforms of 1935. Mr Jinnah took the fullest advantage of every situation. During the war, 1939-44, Mr Jinnah… promised to support the war as soon as the Muslims' rights were conceded; in April 1940, within six months of the War, Mr Jinnah came out with the demand for Pakistan on the basis of the two-nation theory.
'The 'Quit India' campaign of 1942 had completely failed. Britishers had triumphed and the Congress policy can be quite correctly described as 'Peace at any price'… The Congress compromised with the British who placed it in office and in return the Congress surrendered to the violence of Jinnah, carved out a third of India to him an explicitly racial and theological State, and destroyed two million human beings in the process.
'Gandhiji is being referred to as the Father of the Nation -- an epithet of high reverence. But if so, he has failed in his paternal duty… Had Gandhiji really maintained his opposition to the creation of Pakistan, the Muslim League could have had no strength to claim it and the Britishers also could not have created it in spite of all their utmost efforts… The reason was… the people of this country were… vehement in their opposition to Pakistan. But Gandhiji played false with the people. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan.
'…after handing over crores of Hindus to… Pakistan, Gandhiji and his followers have been advising them not to leave Pakistan but continue to stay on. Every day that dawned brought forth news about thousands of Hindus being massacred… Gandhiji did not even by a single word protest and censure the Pakistani Government…
'About Kashmir, Gandhiji again and again declared that Sheikh Abdullah should be entrusted the charge of the State and that the Maharaja of Kashmir should retire to Benares for no particular reason than that the Muslims formed the bulk of the Kashmiri population. This stands out in contrast with his attitude on Hyderabad where although the bulk of the population is Hindu, Gandhiji never called upon the Nizam to retire to Mecca.
'About this very time he resorted to his fast unto death. Every condition given by him for giving up that fast is in favour of Muslims and against the Hindus. One of the seven conditions was to the effect that all the mosques in Delhi which were occupied by the refugees should be vacated… and be made over to the Muslims. Gandhiji got this condition accepted by the Government… Those were the days of bitter or extreme cold and on the day Gandhiji broke his fast, it was also raining. Families after families of refugees who had come to Delhi for shelter were driven out and while doing so no provision was made for their shelter and stay.
'The decision to withhold the payment of Rs 55 crores to Pakistan was taken by our government which claims to be the people's government. But this decision of the people's Government was reversed to suit the tune of Gandhiji's fast.
'All his fasts were to coerce Hindus.
'Honourable Pandit Nehruji has himself taken a leading part in the acquiescing to the establishment of Pakistan, a theocratic State. But he should have realised that it will never bring prosperity to the Indian Union with a State founded on fantastically blind religious faith and basis.'
In retrospect today on January 30, 2001, that last uncanny prescience of the assassin may well have permeated the Punjab high court ambience while the assassin was delivering his statement. Justice Khosla, one of the three judges hearing the appeal, wrote after his retirement: 'There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. Many women were in tears and men coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs... I have no doubt that had the audience of the day been constituted into a jury and entrusted with the task of deciding Godse's appeal, they would have brought in a verdict of 'not guilty' by an overwhelming majority.'
The great Gandhi's assassin 'not guilty'? You decide in the light of the reality that, ever since its illegal invasion of Jammu & Kashmir in October 1947, Pakistan has continued to bleed us till date with a thousand cuts and more, from Kargil to Kanyakumari, from Assam to Ahmedabad.
Justice Khosla's observations after retirement are also worth noting. In a pen picture of the Court scene as it then passed before his eyes he has said: "The highlight of the appeal before us was the discourse delivered by Nathuram Godse in his defence. He spoke for several hours, discussing, in the first instance, the facts of the case and then the motive which had prompted him to take Mahatma Gandhi's life..... "The audience was visibly snd audibly moved. There was a deep silence when he ceased speaking. many women were in tears and men coughing and searching for their handkerchiefs. The silence was accentuated and made deeper by the sound an occasional subdued sniff or a muffled cough.... "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 in a verdict of 'not guilty' by an overwhelming majority." May it please your honour, Surya Bharti Prakashan, Delhi, 1994, pp. 24-25Other sources:
- Excerpt from Nathuram Godse’s statement in court
- An assassin speaks 'Gandhi must be stopped at any cost'
- "Me Nathuram Godse boltoy", a Marathi play banned by Government of India. Who cares about the Artistic Freedom and Democratic Right to Freedom of Expression when it comes to Gandhis.
- Gopal Godse: The Living Legend