Nobody killed Gandhi

Who killed Gandhi on January 30, 1948? If we must be technical, or politically correct; it was three petty bullets fired from a semi automatic Beretta M pistol that did it. Neither any ideology nor any individual was responsible for the act.

If only one surrenders the faculty of critical enquiry completely, would, or could we comfortably swallow the truth that we are being compelled to swallow, nowadays. Or else, there remains there is much to be reiterated, reasserted and remembered about the links of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. There is actually no need to divert the issue. Hence, this article gives emphasis to historical evidence which point to a conspiracy in which the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha were both, equal stake holders.

The RSS never accepted that it had anything to do with Gandhi’s murder conspiracy. For them, the proof is Nathuram Godse’s statement made in court. Godse denied any links with the RSS and said that it was only he and Narayan Apte who were involved in the conspiracy. For RSS, this submission by the assassin himself is proof enough.

But in the same statement made before the court, he, Nathuram Godse, also nullified Hindu Mahasabha and its mentor Savarkar’s hand in the killing. Does this then prove that neither the RSS nor the Hindu Mahasabha were responsible for Gandhi’s murder? Actually, Godse was instructed to shield the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha. That’s why during the trial he never even made any eye to eye contact with Savarkar.

When Lal Krishna Advani tried to give the RSS a clean chit, Godse’s younger brother and one of the conspirator Gopal Godse was infuriated. Not only did he he write a book on Gandhi’s assassination entitled as Why I Assassinated Gandhi but before other for a too, he testified that the elder Godse had never really left the RSS and served as its Bouddhik Karyavah (intellectual worker) till the end.

 When he was asked by a correspondent about Godse’s court statement, Gopal Godse said that Nathuram denied it because “Golwalkar and RSS were in a lot of trouble after the murder of Gandhi”. “You can say”, the junior Godse had added, “RSS did not pass a resolution, saying that, ‘go and assassinate Gandhi’. But you do not disown him.”

It is a matter of record fact that before going to gallows, Nathuram Godse had recited the new Sanskrit prayer of the RSS, a chant that replaced the old one in 1940. Mridula and Aditya Mukherjee, in their book RSS, School Texts and the Murder of Mahatma Gandhi rightly asked: “if he was no longer in the RSS, as he claimed, then how did he know the new prayer and why did he recite it at such a critical point in his life, on the threshold of its end?”
Let’s assume for a moment, that the RSS was not directly involved in the conspiracy. It was the Hindu Mahasabha which never ever felt ashamed of the act. Even today, it does not show any sign of embarrassment in this regard. Rather, they, have very recently, tried to erect statues and build temples after Godse’s name.

How close the actual association between both the organisations –the RSS and Hindu Mahasbha was –is revealed by a record of Home Ministry. On August 8, 1947, the Home Secretary asked the DIG of the CID and the Police Commissioner of Bombay to prepare a list of RSS and Hindu Mahasabha workers, the Poona Police only submitted the list of Hindu Mahasabha members and didn’t submit a separate list of the RSS members. Getting information about the RSS organization was quite difficult as it was a secret organization. Since 1940s when the RSS was strengthening its position in northern India, the IB was struggling to get details of its modus operandi. A report on the activities of the RSS dated September 17, 1947 stated that ‘most of its prominent organizers and workers are either members of the Hindu Mahasabha or sponsors of the Hindu Mahasabha ideology’. Hence, the Jeevan Lal Kapur Commission reached the conclusion that ‘there is evidence to show that many RSS members were members of the Hindu Mahasabha’. 

Apart from that, the pivotal factor behind Gandhi’s assassination was the vicious atmosphere which had been created all over the country, since the middle of the 1930s. Actually, not only the Hindu communal organizations like RSS and Hindu Mahasabha but the Muslim League too was spreading venom against Gandhi and other Congress leaders. For both Hindu or Muslim communalists, Gandhi was the common enemy. However, at last, after the partition of India, it was Hindu communalism which found in Gandhi the biggest obstacle to achieve the long cherished goal of establishing a Hindu Raj in India.

It is again a matter of official record that fact that Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister of India, in a letter to Golwalkar, categorically said that “all their (RSS men) speeches were full of communal poison. As a result of their poison, the country had to suffer the sacrifice of the invaluable life of Gandhiji.” “RSS men”, Patel added, “expressed joy and distributed sweets after Gandhiji’s death.” In his letter to Syama Prasad Mookerjee dated July 18, 1947 Patel categorically wrote:
“As regards the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha, the case relating to Gandhiji’s murder is sub judice and I should not like to say anything about the participation of the two organisations, but our reports do confirm that, as a result of the activities of these two bodies, particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible.”

Above all, if everything written above is false and RSS had nothing to do with Gandhi’s assassination, it must publically condemn Nathuram Godse, Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha. It should also apologize for its hate speeches against Gandhi that are well documented in archival records. It should make a public apology for erecting a statue of Savarkar in the premises of Parliament of India during NDA I. It must denunciate Sardar Patel who imposed a ban on the RSS and made such comments in his correspondence. Moreover, it should get rid of its dream, inherent in its ideology, of establishing a Hindu Rashtra. This is what killed Gandhi.

(The author is a PHD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi)

 1. No discussion on who killed Mahatma Gandhi is complete without addressing idea of a Hindu Rashtra



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