Who was Nathuram Godse?

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Nathuram Vinayak Godse was a nationalist who assassinated Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on January 30, 1948, when Gandhi Ji visited the then Birla House in New Delhi for a prayer meeting. Godse had fired three bullets at Gandhi’s chest from a close range, ensuring his demise. Godse chose not to escape, was arrested, tried and sentenced to death. On the 73rd death anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi, let’s read about the manwho had assassinated Gandhi.

Association with Hindu nationalist organisations

Godse was born into a Konkani Brahmin family from Baramati, Pune. He was inspired by nationalist ideals and chose to join the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS.

Godse joined as a ground-level worker of RSS who later had become the editor of a Marathi daily called Agrani – Hindu Rashtra, in which Hindu Mahasabha leader, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar had invested. Godse also formed a separate Hindu nationalist organisation called “Hindu Rashtra Dal” after a feud with RSS chief M.S. Gowalkar.

The reason behind killing Mahatma Gandhi

In his statement following his death sentence on November 8, 1949, Godse said that he was unhappy about Gandhi’s support for the Muslim community and blamed him for the partition of India and formation of Pakistan. As for killing Gandhi, Godse said he felt, “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.”

His hanging took place on November 15, 1949.

Controversies

In 2010, the Indian National Congress (INC) published a commemorative volume to mark 125 years of the party’s formation titled Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation, in which Godse’s association with RSS and Hindu Mahasabha was highlighted in connection with Gandhi’s murder. RSS strongly protested against this through a spokesperson named Ram Madhav, who claimed that Godse left RSS in the mid-1930s. Godse’s family members have however maintained that he never left the RSS.

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