It was the Court of the Special Judge, Red Fort, Delhi. The prosecution had concluded its evidence in the Mahatma Gandhi Murder Case, viz, Rex versus Nathuram Vinayak Godse and others.Source: Answer to the Charge Sheet by ReferenceBuddy and Mr. Gopal Godse
The Special Judge, Shri Atma Charan, had taken his seat. Quiet enveloped the Court-room. The accused were seated in their respective seats in the dock. Counsels on either side were present. The Press reporters were ready tensely holding their pens.
The Court-room was packed to capacity. People wore allowed entry only with passes.
The say of the accused was going to be heard. The day was November 8,1948.
The Judge started examination of the accused under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He announced :
"Accused No. 1 Nathuram Vinayak Godse, Hindu, age 37 years, Editor,. Hindurashtra Poona-"
Nathuram was up on his legs immediately after hearing `accused No. l.'
"You have heard" the Judge continued, "the entire evidence produced on behalf of the prosecution as against you. What have you to say with regard to it ?"
"I am to submit my written statement, Your Honor", Nathuram replied.
"Go ahead, read your statement" said the Judge. At this stage Shri Daphtari, the Advocate 'General stood up to object. Said he "Your Honour, the accused may be allowed to depose only what is consistent with this case. Otherwise he may not be allowed to read his statement."
The Judge disallowed the objection.
Nathuram stood poised before the mike to read from his written statement. The silence which had hollowed the Court-room was accentuated by the relay of echoes from the walls with his clear and resonant wards-
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR HONOUR -
Answer to the Charge sheet
I, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, the first accused above named respectfully beg to state as under :
1. Before I make my submission as regards the various charges I respectfully submit that the charges as framed are not according to law, in as much as there is a misjoinder of charges and there ought to have been two separate trials to the incident of the 20th of January 1948 and the other relating to the incident of the 30the of January 1948. The two having been mixed up together the whole trial is vitiated.
2. Without prejudice to my above submission I make my submission in respect of the various charges as framed as stated hereafter.
3. In the charge-sheet preferred against the accused, a number of counts has been stated and each of the accused individually and jointly with others has been charged with the commission of the various offences punishable under the Indian Penal .Code and other statutes.
4. It appears from the charge sheet that the prosecution takes the events that have happened on 20th January 1948 and thereafter on 30th January 1948 as one and the same or a chain of events in continuation of one and the same object culminating in the murder of Gandhiji. I therefore, wish to make it clear at the outset that the events up to 20th January 1948 are quite independent and they have no connection whatsoever with what happened thereafter and on 30th January 1948.
5. The first and the foremost amongst the said ,charges is the charge of conspiracy amongst the accused to murder Gandhiji. I shall therefore first ,deal with the same. I say that there was no ,conspiracy of any kind whatsoever amongst the ,accused to commit any of the offences mentioned in the charge-sheet. I may also state here that I have not abetted any of the other accused in the ,commission of the alleged offences.
6. I say that the evidence led by the Prosecution in this regard does not establish and prove that there was any conspiracy whatsoever. The only witness who deposes about the alleged conspiracy is Digambar R. Badge (Prosecution Witness 57). He is a totally unreliable witness as will be shown to Your. Honour by my counsel when he will explain the evidence in the case and deal with the evidence of this witness, P.W. 57.
7. As regards the charge of collecting and transporting arms and ammunition without licence, and abetment thereof on 20th January 1948, I say that I deny the said charge and say that I neither carried or transported gun-cotton slabs, hand-grenades, detonators, wicks, pistols, or revolvers and cartridges etc. as alleged, nor did I have under my control any of such arms and/or ammunition, nor did 'I abet and aid any of the accused to do so either before or on or about the 20th January 1948 or any other date. I deny therefore that I contravened any of the provisions of the Indian Arms Act or the Indian Explosives Substances Act and that I committed any offence punishable under the said Acts.
8. The main evidence in regard to this charge is 'the evidence of Digambar R. Badge (P.W. 57), but as stated in paragraph 6 above, he is a totally unreliable witness. This witness Badge (P.W. 57) is known to me but he hardly used to come to me nor have I ever visited his place of residence since several years past. His statement that he came to the Hindu Rashtra Office on 10th January 1948, being brought there by Apte ... the accused No. 2 ... is totally false and I deny that the said Badge saw me at the Hindu Rashtra Office or any other place on that day, or that in my presence Apte and he had any talk amongst themselves about gun-cotton slabs, hand grenades, etc. and about the delivery thereof at Bombay as falsely alleged by the said Badge. His statement that Apte asked me to come out of the room and that Apte told me that Badge was prepared to hand over the hand grenades etc. and that one work was over is totally false. This is a story got up by Badge to implicate me and others into the alleged cospiracy. I further say that I neither saw nor met Badge on 14th January 1948 at Dadar either alone or in the company of Apte. I did not even know that Badge had come to Bombay on that day.
9. I further deny that I had in my Possession c, i under my control, while at Delhi or abetted any one to have and Possess on 20th January 1948, any arms or ammunition as stated in the charge-sheet under the heading "Secondly" paragraphs B (1) and (2). Here also the evidence to support this charge is of Badge alone and I say that he has given false evidence to save his own skin; for on that condition alone he could secure the pardon promised and granted to him.
10. As regards the charge under the heading "Thirdly", I say that I deny the said charge and the abetment thereof as stated in several paragraphs A (1) and (2), and B (1) and (2).
11. As regards the charge under the heading "Fourthly" paragraph 2, I deny that I abetted Madanlal K Pahwa either myself alone or along with others to explode a gun-cotton slab on 20th January 1948 at Birla House, I say that there is no evidence to substantiate this charge and whatever little evidence there may be, can hardly connect me with the explosion of the gun-cotton slab.
12. As regards the charge of abetment in the "attempt to commit the murder of Mahatma Gandhi" under the said heading "Fifthly" in the charge sheet, I deny the said charge and say I had no connection either directly or indirectly with Madanlal K. Pahwa or any other person whatsoever. I say there is no evidence whatsoever to support this charge.
13. As regards the charge under the heading "Sixthly" in the charge-sheet as to paragraphs (A) (1) and (2) thereof, I say that I have not imported or brought unlicensed pistol and ammunition with the assistance of Narayan D. Apte. I also deny that Dr. Dattatraya S. Parchure and Narayan D. Apte procured the said pistol, or any one of them individually or jointly; abetted me or themselves each other in such procuration of the said pistol and the ammunition. I further say that the evidence produced by Prosecution in that behalf is not reliable. Without prejudice to the above, I further say that even if the acts mentioned in these paragraphs A (1) and (2) may have been committed, this Honourable Court has no jurisdiction to take any notice of them. I further say that so far as I am concerned the charge, if any, would merge under the charge in paragraph B (1) under this head.
14. As regards the charge under paragraph B (1) and (2) I admit that I had in my possession automatic pistol No. 606824 and cartridges. But I say that neither Narayan D. Apte nor Vishnu R. Karkare had anything to do with the pistol in my possession.
15.But before I pass to the charge under the heading "Seventhly", it will not be out of place to explain here how I happened to come to Delhi, and why I came to Delhi. I had never made a secret about the fact that I supported the ideology or the school which was opposed to that of Gandhiji. I firmly believed that the teachings of absolute 'Ahimsa' as advocated by Gandhiji would ultimately result in the emasculation. of the Hindu Community and thus make the community incapable of resisting the aggression or inroads of other communities especially the Muslims. To counteract this evil I resolved to enter public life and formed a group of persons who held like views. In this Apte and myself took a leading part and as a part of propaganda started a daily newspaper 'Agrani'. I might mention here that it was not so much the Gandhian Ahimsa' teachings that were opposed to by me and my group, but Gandhiji while advocating his views always showed or evinced a bias for Muslims, prejudicial and detrimental to the Hindu Community and its interests. I have fully described my Point of view hereafter in detail and have quoted numerous instances which unmistakably establish how Gandhiji became responsible for a number of calamities which the Hindu Community had to suffer and undergo.
16. In my papers 'Agrani' and 'Hindu Rashtra', I always strongly criticised Gandhiji's views and his methods such as fast for achieving his object, and after Gandhiji started holding prayer meetings, we Apte and myself- decided to stage peaceful demonstrations showing opposition. We had made such demonstrations at Panchagani, Poona, Bombay and Delhi. There was a wide gulf between the two ideologies and it became wider and wider as concessions after concessions were being made to the Muslims, either at the suggestion or connivance of Gandhiji and the Congress which was guided by Gandhiji, culminating in the partition of the Country on 15th of August 1947. I have dealt with this point in detail hereafter. On 13th of January 1948. I learnt that Gandhiji had decided to go on fast unto death. The reason given for such fast was that he wanted an assurance of Hindu-Muslim unity in Indian Dominion. But 1 and many others could easily see that the real motive behind the fast was nit merely the so-called Hindu-Muslim Unity, but 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. As an answer to this, Apte suggested the same old method to stage a strong but peaceful demonstration at the prayer meetings of Gandhiji. I consented to this half-heartedly, because I could easily see its futility. However, I agreed to join him as no alternative plan was as yet fixed in my mind. It was for this reason that N.D. Apte and myself went to Bombay on the 14th of January, 1948.
17. On 15th of January, 1948 we-Apte and myself-happened to go to the Hindu Sabha Office at Dadar in the morning. I happened to see Badge there. On seeing N.D. Apte and myself, Badge talked to N.D. Apte and asked him the reason of his coming to Bombay. Apte told him the reason. Badge thereupon of his own accord offered to come. to Delhi and join in the demonstration, if we had no objection to his coming there. We wanted men to back us and to shout slogans and we therefore accepted his offer. We told him as to when we were starting. Badge thereupon told Apte that he had to give some stuff to Pravinchandra Sethia, that he would do so in a day or two and see us on the 17th January, 1948.
18. After we met Badge on the 15th of January, 1948 in the Hindu Sabha Office at Dadar, I saw Badge on the 17th of January, 1948 in the morning.
19. The statements made by Badge about our going to Dixitji Maharaj along with him and seeing Dixitji Maharaj, about Apte having told Badge that Savarkar had entrusted Apte and myself the task of finishing Gandhiji, Pandit Jawaharlal and Suhrawardy is a pure concoction and product of Badge's brain. Neither Apte nor I have said anything like this to Badge or any other person. I deny categorically what the Prosecution has so falsely maintained that I was guided in my action by Veer Savarkar and that, but for his complicity, I could never have acted in the way I have done. I take. the strongest exception to, this untrue and unjust charge and I further regard it as an insult to my intelligence and judgement. The Prosecution's attempt to make out that I was a mere tool in someone else's hands is an aspersion which is far from the truth. Indeed I it is a perversion of it.
20. Badge's statements to the effect that I also wanted to go to Poona to meet my brother Gopal Godse who had undertaken to make arrangements for procuring a revolver and to bring him down to Bombay for accompanying us to Delhi, is also untrue. I had no talk with Badge when I met him on the 15th January 1948 except what is stated in paragraph 17 above. Further the statement of Badge that he met me on 16th January 1948 at Poona is also false. The alleged report of my conversation with him at Poona as deposed to by Badge. in his evidence is also f also and untrue. I was not in Poona on the 1 6th January 1948. It will be clear from this that it is not true 'that I gave him any pistol on that day for being exchanged for a big revolver.
21. I have already stated that we-Apte and myself-had planned to stage a strong but peaceful demonstration at Gandhiji's prayer-meeting at the earliest possible opportunity at Delhi, and for the purpose Apte and myself were to go there. As stated In paragraph 17, Badge offered to come to Delhi to take part in the demonstration referred to above. We felt an urgent need of taking some volunteers with us for a successful demonstration. Before we started for Delhi we started collecting money to meet the expenses for the journey and for the expenses of the volunteers.
22. I emphatically deny that we saw Savarkar on the 17 January, 1948 or that Savarkar blessed us with the words 'Yashasvi Houn Ya,' Be successful and come; Similarly I also deny that we had any conversation with Badge or that Apte or myself uttered the words- "Tatyaravani ase Bhavishya kele ahe ki Gandhijichi shambhar varshe bharali-ata apale kam nishchita honar yat kahi sanshaya nahi;-" After we met Badge on the 15th of January, 1948 at the Hindu Sabha Office at Dadar, we-Apte and myself-went on our business in connection with the Press.
23. Apte and myself came to Delhi by plane on the 17th of January, 1948 and we put up at the Marina Hotel. On the morning of the 20th of January, 1948 Badge came to the hotel and informed Apte in my presence that he and his servant Kistaiya would go to the prayer-ground in the evening with Apte just to see the scene of prayer where demonstrations would be held. When Badge came in the morning I was lying down on bed as I was feeling unwell owing to severe headache and I told Badge that I may not go to the prayer-ground as I was unwell. The statements of Badge that Apte, Gopal Godse, Karkare, Madanlal, Badge and his servant Madanlal all collected at Marina Hotel, that Madanlal and Badge had their meals there, that Gopal Godse was found repairing the revolver, that Apte, Karkare, Madanlal and Badge went to the Bath-room and' were fixing the detonators, Fuse-wires and primers to the gun-cotton stabs and hand-grenades or that Madanlal and I were standing at the either sides of the door of the room are entirely false. Badge has put in my mouth the words "Badge, this is our last effort; the work must be accomplished-see to it that every thing is arranged properly." I deny that I addressed the said or similar words to Badge on that day or any other day. As stated before, Badge came to the room in the morning and informed me that he would attend the prayer-meeting in the evening. We Clad no meeting at all on that day in my room as stated by Badge. Gopal Godse, to my knowledge, was not even in Delhi. Nobody arranged or fixed detonators fuse-wires or primers to gun-cotton slabs or hand-grenades in the room. In fact there was no such ammunition either with me or with Apte. Badge's vivid description about the distribution of arms and ammunition amongst the party and about assumption of false names is all false. It is not necessary for me to discuss the evidence and show the falsity of these statements as my counsel will do it in his address.
24. As stated above, being unwell due to severe headache, I did not oven go to the prayer-ground. Apte returned to the Marina Hotel at about 6-00 p.m. and informed me that he had a view of the prayer meeting and would be in a position to stage the demonstration in a day or two. After about an hour, we heard some commotion at Gandhiji's prayer meeting due to an explosion and we further heard of an arrest, of a refugee. Apte thought it advisable to leave Delhi immediately and we left accordingly. It is not true that I met Badge at Hindu Sabha Bhavan on 20th January 1948. Several witnesses have deposed about my being at the Birla House on the 20th January, 1948; but I emphatically say that they are grossly mistaken in saying so. I submit that they are confusing my presence with somebody else's. The identification by some of these witnesses is utterly unreliable in view of the fact that I had hot been to the Birla House on that day. These witnesses have identified me as I was shown to many of them by the Police while I was kept at Tughlak Road Police Station. Further it was easy to identify me on account of the bandage over my head which remained up to the 12th of February 1948. The Police witnesses who have deposed to the contrary have perjured themselves and I have made a complaint at the very first identification parade in respect of the Delhi witnesses held in Bombay about this.
25. After a deliberate consideration of our future plan of staging the demonstration at Delhi in the prayer- meeting of Gandhiji; I very reluctantly consented to join Mr. Apte. It was not possible to get willing and able volunteers from Bombay and Poona under the new situation. Besides all our funds were exhausted and we were not in a position to spend for the batch of volunteers from Bombay to Delhi and back. We, therefore, decided to proceed to Gwalior and see Dr. Parchure who had under him to volunteers of Hindu Rashtra Sena. It was also a more or less economical plan to take volunteers from Gwalior to Delhi. We therefore started for Gwalior, after reaching Delhi by plane on the 27th of January 1948, by the night train reaching Gwalior very early morning. As it was dark at the time we halted in a Dharamshala near the Station and in the morning we saw Dr. Parchure at his residence. He was in a hurry to 90 to his dispensary. He asked us to see him in the afternoon. We saw him at about 4 p.m. and we found that he did not wish to help us and that his Volunteers were busy in local affairs. Completely disappointed I asked Apte to go back to Bombay or Poona and try for volunteers there and I came back to Delhi telling Apte that I would myself try for volunteers from amongst the refugees. I deny categorically and with all the emphasis at my command that Mr. Apte and myself had been to Gwalior to secure a revolver or a pistol, as a number of such revolvers were being offered for sale clandestinely. Having reached Delhi in great despair, I visited the refugee camps at Delhi. While moving in the camps. my thoughts took a definite and final turn. Chancely I came across a refugee who was dealing in arms and he showed me the pistol. I was tempted to have it and I bought it from him. It is the pistol which I later used in the shots I fired. On coming to the Delhi Railway station I spent the night of 29th thinking and re-thinking about my resolve to end the present chaos and further destruction of the Hindus.. I shall now deal about my relations with Veer Savarkar in political and other matters of which the prosecution has made so much.
26. Born in a devotional Brahmin family, I instinctively came to revere Hindu religion, Hindu history and Hindu culture. I had been intensely proud of Hindudom as a whole. Nevertheless as I grew up I developed a tendency to free thinking unfettered by any superstitious allegiance to any `ism', political or religious. That is why I worked actively for the eradication of untouchability and the caste system based on birth alone. I publicly joined anti-caste movements and maintained that all Hindus should be treated with equal status as to rights social and religious, and should be high or low on their merit alone and not through the accident of birth in a particular caste or profession. I used publicly to take part in organised anti-caste dinners in which thousands of Hindus, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Chamars and Bhangis broke the caste rules and dined in the company of each other.
27. I have read the works of Dadabhai Naoroji, Vivekanand. Gokhale, Tilak along with the books of ancient and modern history of India and some prominent countries in the world like England, France, America and Russia. Not only that, I studied tolerably well the current tenets of Socialism and Communism too. But above all I studied very closely whatever Veer Savarkar and Gandhiji had written and spoken, as to my mind, these two ideologies had contributed more to mould the thought and action of modern India during the last fifty years or so, than any other single factor had done.
28. All this reading and thinking brought me to believe that above all it was my first duty to serve the Hindudom and the Hindu people, as a patriot and even as a humanitarian. For, is it not true that to secure the freedom and to safeguard the just interests of some thirty crores of Hindus constituted the freedom and the well-being of one fifth of human race ? This conviction led me naturally to devote myself to the new Hindu Sanghatanist ideology and programme which alone I came to believe, could win and preserve the national independence of Hindusthan, my Motherland and enable her to render true service to humanity as well.
29. I have worked for several years in R.S.S. and subsequently joined the Hindu Mahasabha and volunteered myself to fight as a soldier under its pan Hindu flag. About this time Veer Savarkar was elected to the Presidentship of the Hindu Mahasabha. The Hindu Sanghatan Movement got verify electrified and vivified as never before, under his magnetic lead and whirl-wind propaganda. Millions of Hindu Sanghatanists looked up to him as the chosen hero, as the ablest and most faithful advocate of Hindu cause. I too was one of them. I worked devotedly to carry on the Mahasabha activities and hence came to be personally acquainted with Savarkarji.
30. Later on my friend and co-worker in the Hindu cause, Mr. Apte and myself decided to start a daily paper devoted to Hindu Sanghatan Movement. We met a number of prominent Hindu Sanghatanist leaders and after securing sympathy and financial help from them met Veer Savarkar as the President if the Mahasabha. He too sympathised with our project and advanced a sum of rupees fifteen thousand as his quota to the capital required, on condition that a limited company should be registered at our earliest convenience, and his advance should be transformed into so many shares.
31. Accordingly, we started the Daily Marathi paper `Daily Agrani' and after some period a limited company was registered. The sums advanced by Veer Savarkar and others were converted into shares of Rs. 500 each. Amongst the directors and donors were such leading and respected gentlemen as Seth Gulab Chand (a brother of Shriman Seth Walchand Hirachandji), Mr. Shingre, an ex- Minister of Bhor, Shreeman Bhalji Pendharkar, the film magnate of Kolhapur and others. Mr. Apte and myself were the Managing Directors of the Company. I was the editor solely responsible for the policy of th6 paper. We conducted the paper for years on strictly constitutional lines, and pleaded the policy of Hindu Sanghatan in general.
32. As press representatives of this daily, Mr. Apte and myself used to visit the Hindu Sanghatan Office situated at Veer Savarkar's house in the middle hall on the ground floor of that house. This Hindu Sanghatan Office was in the charge of Mr. G. V. Damle, the Secretary to Veer Savarkar and Mr. Appa Kasar, Veer Savarkar's body-guard. We used to visit this office to secure from Mr. Damle, the Secretary, public statements issued by Veer Savarkar for, the Press in general, to note down other important information about the President's tours, interviews etc. which his Secretary was authorised to publish. Mr. A. S. Bhide, who used to edit an English Weekly namely 'Free Hindustan' was also residing with his family as a tenant in a set of rooms on the same. ground-floor. The second reason why Mr. Apte and I used to visit Savarkar Sadan was to see Messers Bhide, Damle, Kasar and other Hindu Sabha workers who used to gather at the Hindu Sanghatan Office and had been personal friends to each other. To meet them all and have friendly chats, whenever we went to Bombay, we used to go to this office. Sometimes we used to discuss there the Hindu Sanghatan work with them. Some of them used to help us in securing advertisements for our paper.
33. But it must be specially noted that these our casual visits to Savarkar Sadan were restricted generally to this Hindu Sanghatan Office, situated on the ground floor, for the above mentioned reasons. Veer Savarkar was residing on the first floor of the house. It was only very rarely that we could interview Veer Savarkar personally and that too by special appointment.
34. Some three years ago, Veer Savarkar's health got seriously impaired and since than he was generally confined to bed. He thereafter suspended all his public activities and more or less retired from public life. Thus deprived of his virile leadership and magnetic influence, the activities and influence of the Hindu Mahasabha too got crippled and when Dr. Mookerjee became its President the Mahasabha was actually reduced to the position of a hand-maid to the Congress. It became quite incapable of counteracting the dangerous anti-Hindu activities of Gandhite cabal on the one hand and the Muslim League on the other. Seeing this I lost all hope in the efficiency of the policy of running the Hindu Sanghatan movement on the constitutional lines of the Mahasabha and began to shift myself. I determined to organise a youthful band of Hindu Sanghatanists and adopt a fighting programme both against the Congress and the League without consulting any of those prominent but old leaders of the Mahasabha.
35. I shall just mention here two striking instances only out of a number of them which painfully opened my eyes about this time to the fact that Veer Savarkar and other old leaders of Mahasabha could no longer be relied upon by me and the Hindu youths of my persuasion to guide or even to appreciate the fighting programme with which we aimed to counteract Gandhiji's activities inside and the Muslim League outside. In 1946 or thereabout the Muslim atrocities perpetrated on the 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 'Shahid Saheb-a Martyr Soul (I) even in his prayer meetings. Not only that but after coming to Delhi, Gandhiji began to hold his prayer meetings in a Hindu temple in Bhangi Colony and persisted in reading passages from Quoran as a part of the prayer in that Hindu temple in spite of the protest of the Hindu worshippers there. Of course he dared not read the Geeta in a mosque in the teeth of Muslim opposition. He knew what a terrible Muslim reaction would have been if he had done so. But he could safely trample over the feelings of the tolerant Hindu. To belie this belief I determinist to prove to Gandhiji that the Hindu too could be intolerant when his honour was insulted.
36. Mr. Apte and I decided to stage a series of demonstrations in Delhi at his meetings and make it impossible for him to hold such prayers. Mr. Apte with a large section of the refugees took out a procession in Delhi condemning Gandhiji and his Shahid Surhawardy and rushed into his prayer-meeting in the Bhangi Colony. Seeing the tumultuous protest that followed, Gandhiji slyly took shelter behind barred and guarded doors although at that time we had not the slightest idea of using any force.
37. But when Veer Savarkar read the report of this demonstration, instead of appreciating our move, he called me and blamed me privately for such anarchical tactics, even though this demonstration was peaceful. He said Just as I condemn the Congressites for breaking up your party meetings and election booths by disorderly conduct, I ought to condemn any such undemocratic conduct on the part of Hindu Sanghatanist also. If Gandhiji preached anti-Hindu teachings in his prayer meetings you should hold your party meetings and condemn his teachings. Amongst ourselves all different parties should, conduct their propaganda on strictly constitutional lines."
38. The second leading incident took Place just after this, when the partition of India was actually decided on. A group of Hindu Mahasabhaites wanted to know what the Hindu Mahasabha's attitude should be with regard to the Congress Government which was certain to be the Government of the New State, ruling over the so-called India State in the remaining Part of India. Veer Savarkar and other top-ranking Hindu Mahasabha leaders quickly and emphatically said that any Indian Government formed to conduct such a freed Indian State should be no longer looked upon as a Government of a party-a Congress Government-but must be honoured and obeyed as a National Government of Hindustan and howsoever they deplored the creation of Pakistan their future motto should be a loyal and all-out support to the newly born Free Indian State. Thus alone would it be possible to safeguard the newly won Freedom. Any attempt on their part to undermine the Indian State would bring in a Civil War and enable the Muslims to realise their sinful and secret mission to turn the whole of India into Pakistan.
39. My friends and I however returned unconvinced. We felt in our heart of hearts that time had come when we should bid good-bye to Veer Savarkar's lead and cease to consult him in our future policy and programmes, nor should we confide to him our future plans.
40. Just after that followed the terrible outburst of Muslim fanaticism in the Punjab and other parts of India. The Congress Government began to persecute, prosecute, and shoot the Hindus themselves who dared to resist the Muslim forces in Bihar, Calcutta, Punjab, and other places. Our worst fears seemed to be coming true; and yet how painful and disgraceful it was for us to find that the 15th of August 1947 was celebrated with illumination and festivities, while the whole of the Punjab was set by the Muslims in flames and Hindu blood ran rivers. The Hindu Mahasabhaites of my persuasion decided to boycott the festivities and the Congressite Government and to launch a fighting programme to check Muslim onslaughts.
41. The meetings of the Working Committee of the Hindu Mahasabha and the All-India Hindu Convention were held on or about 9th of August 1947, in Delhi, and Veer Savarkar presided. Mr. Apte and other friends and myself wanted to make a last effort to bring the Mahasabha and its veteran leaders like Veer Savarkar, Dr. Mookerjee, Mr. L. B. Bhopatkar and others to our views and to adopt a fighting resolution. The Mahasabha Working Committee did not accept our suggestion to appoint a council of action against Hyderabad or boy-cott the Congress Government which was to run the newly created State of Divided India. To my mind to recognise a State of Divided India was tantamount to be a party to the cursed vivisection of India. But instead the Working Committee passed a frothy resolution and asked people to hoist the Bhagwa Flag on their houses on the day of August 15th, 1947. Veer Savarkar went further and actually insisted that the tricolour flag with the wheel should be recognised as a National Flag. We openly resented his attitude.
42. Not only that but on the 15th August, Veer Savarkar setting aside the will of the majority of Hindu Sanghatanists hoisted this new flag with the wheel, as a National Flag, on his house along with the Bhagwa. In addition to that when Dr. Mookerji asked his permission through a trunk call to Veer Savarkar, as to whether Dr. Mookerji should accept a portfolio in the. Indian Union Ministry, Veer Savarkar emphatically replied that the new Government must be recognised as a National Government whatever may be the elected party leading it, and must be supported by all patriots and consequently Hindu Sanghatanists ought to extend co-operation by accepting a portfolio if called upon to do so. He also congratulated the Congressite Ministers for the compromising attitude they were talking in calling on a Hindu Sabha leader like Dr. Mookerji to participate in the forming of the National Ministry, Mr. Bhopatkar too supported Dr. Mookerji.
43. By this time it came to light that some top leaders of the Congress and some of their Provincial Ministers too had contacted Veer Savarkar and there was a brisk correspondence between them for forming a united front to support the new State, which policy Veer Savarkar had already advocated. I myself could not be opposed to a common front of patriots, but while the Congress Government continued to be so sheepishly under the thumb of Gandhiji and while Gandhiji could thrust his anti- Hindu fads on that Congressite Government by resorting to such a simple trick as threatening a fast, it was clear to me that any common front under such circumstances was bound to be another form of setting up Gandhiji's Dictatorship and consequently a betrayal of Hindudom.
44. Every one of these steps taken by Veer Savarkar were so deeply resented by me that I myself along with Mr. Apte and some of the Young Hindu Sanghatanist friends decided once for all to chalk and work out our active programme quite independently of the Maha Sabha or its old veteran leaders. We resolved not to confide any of our new plans to any of them including Veer Savarkar.
45. I began to criticise the Hindu Maha Sabha and the policy of its old leaders in my daily paper `Agrani' or 'Hindu Rashtra' and to openly call upon the young generation of Hindu Sanghatanists to accept our own active programme.
46. In order to work out my new independent programme I decided to undertake two definite items. in hand to begin with. The first item was to organise a series of powerful though peaceful demonstrations against Gandhiji so as to make him feel the impact of organised Hindu discontent, and to create confusion and disorder by demonstrative protests, etc. in his obnoxious prayer- meetings through which he then carried out his anti-Hindu propaganda; and secondly to carry on an agitation against the Hyderabad State to defend our Hindu brothers and sisters near about the frontier line from the fanatic atrocities committed, on them by the Muslims As such a programme could only be carried out on secret and dictatorial lines we resolved to divulge it only to those who believed in it and would obey our orders without questioning.
47. I would not have referred to the above details in this statement but for the learned prosecutor's opening speech in which be painted me as a mere tool in the hands of Veer Savarkar. This statement I felt to be a deliberate insult to my independence of judgment and action. The above facts had to be mentioned to dispel the incorrect impression about me, if any. Consequently, before I begin to narrate the rest of my statement, I re- assert that it is not true that Veer Savarkar had any knowledge of my activities which ultimately led me to fire shots at Gandhiji; I repeat that it is not true and it is totally false that either Mr. Apte in my presence or I myself told Badge that Veer Savarkar had given us an order to finish Gandhiji, Nehru and Suhrawardy as the approver is made to state falsely. It is not true that. we ever took Badge to Veer Savarkar's house to take the last Darshan of Veer Savarkar in connection with any such plot or that Veer Savarkar ever said to us Be successful and come back'-`Yashasvi houn ya.' 'Neither Mr. Apte in my presence nor I myself ever told Badge that Veer Savarkar told us that Gandhiji's hundred years were over and therefore we were bound to be successful. I was neither so superstitious as to crave such blessings, nor so childish as to believe in such fortune-telling.
Courtesy of Shri Gopal Godse
Continue to Part २....