Free Press Journal

Revisiting Nathuram Godse’s journey from Gandhi’s supporter to killer

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Nathuram Godse is one such character from the Indian history whose patriotism and love for motherland can never be comprehended. Though our history books doesn’t talk much about him all we know he is was awarded death sentence after he shot the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948. The reality and reason behind the story is kind of a known suspence. An FIR was filed at Tughlak Road police station in central Delhi on the same evening. Nearly two years after the incident and going through every legal procedure the Indian state and judiciary convicted and executed Nathuram Godse. Today, May 19, on the birth anniversary of Nathuram let’s revisit his journey from Gandhi’s follower to killer.

Born as Ramachandra Godse

Nathuram was born in a Chitpavan Brahmin family in Baramati and at birth was named ‘Ramachandra’. He was given the name ‘Nathuram’ following an unfortunate incident. Before he was born his parents had three sons and a daughter, all the boys dying in their infancy. With a belief that the family bore a curse that targets male children, his parents brought him up as a girl for the first few years of his life. They pierced his nose and made him wear a nose ring (called ‘nath’ in Marathi) till they were blessed with another son. It was because of his ring he earned the name ‘Nathuram’. He attended a local school in Baramati till grade five and later shifted to Pune to study in English medium school. During his school days he was a tremendous Gandhi supporter and had even followed him in his Civil Disobedience Movement.


Decline in social mobility

Though he belonged to Chitpavan Brahmins he experienced a decline in the social mobility due to the increasing influence of the British rule. At the age of 16, he started a garment business but after experiencing a tremendous loss he took to tailoring. At a time when a Brahmin moving into a business was considered bad he showed the courage of accepting a lower caste profession.

Political influence

Intially he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh but he soon left it as he did not find it militant enough and joined the Hindu Mahasabha. Godse’s definition of politics was kind of similar to the British, both concentrated on employing force to defeat the ruler. He believed that Gandhi’s interest to Muslims was unfair and anti-national. Godse was a learned man and have also started a Marathi newspaper called ‘Agrani’ which was later renamed as ‘Hindu Rashtra’. He was the editor and also contributed articles for it. Though he always wanted Hindus to become a close religious group he never supported anti-caste movements and always fought against such evil practices. He also participated in inter-dining programmes to overcome the issue.

The final decision…

During the partition, when Hindus and Muslims were busy spreading violence Godse helped people irrespective of their religion. After witnessing the brutalities faced by the Hindu and Sikh refugees at the hands of Muslims in Pakistan, Godse came up with the decision to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi as according to him he was the root cause. Godse just couldn’t bear the pain of division of his motherland in front of his eyes. According to Godse, Gandhi was being overly generous to the Muslim population of Pakistan and Jinnah. As per documents penned down by Godse, the decision to execute came after Gandhi’s adherence to Jinnah’s demand for issuing Rs 55 crore to Pakistan.

Conclusion

The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi or for that matter anyone cannot be justified by anyone. He was a man with a self-respect, a man with a cause, after executing Gandhi, he didn’t flew but called the police to arrest him. Unfortunately, Godse’s side of the story has always been kept under the wraps and even his writings were banned post the incident.