Nathuram Godse

From Academic Kids

Template:Reqimage Nathuram Vinayak Godse (May 19, 1910 - November 15, 1949) born at Baramati Poona District, was the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the principal figures in the movement for India's independence from Britain.



Godse was a Hindu Chitpavan Brahmin who blamed Gandhi for Partition of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan. Investigations revealed that Godse, a high school drop out, was a well-known member of the Hindu Mahasabha. Godse started a Marathi newspaper for Hindu Mahasabha called Agrani, some years later renamed Hindu Rashtra. Following his assassination of Gandhi, Godse, who did not try to flee, was captured, tried and executed. Godse at his trial on November 8, 1948, stood to read out a 90+ page typed treatise for 5 hours on his justification for killing Gandhi adding "Before I fired the shots I actually wished him well and bowed to him in reverence". Judge Khosla who presided over the trial mentioned before awarding the death sentence, "If the people sitting in the court had been on the jury, they would have acquitted Nathuram".

His alleged ties to the Hindu right-wing organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) led to its ban (reversed a year later) soon after Gandhi's assassination. The RSS to this day deny any connection with Godse and dispute the claim that he was a member. He was a former member of the Congress party.

Godse was also a known correspondent with and a keen follower of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the Hindu nationalist leader and a freedom fighter. Savarkar was also charged but not convicted of conspiracy in the assassination of Gandhi and subsequently released.

Godse's immediate motive for the assassination is usually ascribed to Gandhi's January 13, 1948 decision to fast to the death unless the Indian central government reversed a decision to withhold the transfer of 55 crore (550 million) rupees (which was to be paid in accordance with the partition agreements) to the government of Pakistan, a decision initially made as retaliation for Pakistan having invaded the then independent kingdom of Kashmir. The Indian government immediately reversed its decision, and this prompted Godse to assassinate Gandhi on January 30, 1948.

The gun used by Godse was a Beretta 1934 semi-automatic pistol in .380 ACP caliber, serial number 606824.

Godse's deposition in court

can be read here (

Godse in media

Hey Ram is a 2000 Bollywood movie produced and directed by Tamil actor Kamal Haasan concerning the assassination of Gandhi. Kamal Hassan also played the lead role in the movie. The title is taken from Gandhi's final words. The movie initially provoked opposition and controversy as it was expected to support and defend Godse's act. Kamal had to placate many politicians in order to get his film past the censor board.

Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy is a Marathi play by Pradeep Dalavi. The play is about Nathuram Godse's ideologies and why he sought to kill Mahatma Gandhi.

Godse and modern Indian politics

Following the deaths of millions in the communal violence that followed the Partition and also the death of Gandhi at the hands of Godse, Hindu political organizations such as the Mahasaba and the RSS were temporarily eclipsed. Many believed that they had blood on their hands. The ruling party of India was Gandhi's and Nehru's Congress party, which was non-sectarian, secular, and left-leaning.

However, the Congress image eventually tarnished after years of corruption and increasingly autocratic rule by Indira Gandhi and her son and successor, Rajiv Gandhi.

The RSS, on the other hand, had been busily organizing. In 1951, they had started a political wing, the Bhartiya Jana Sangh. When this party failed to win and hold power, in 1980 it was reorganized as the Bharatiya Janata Party or BJP. Through adroit exploitation of issues such as Ayodhya, the BJP finally won national power. It was the party in power briefly in 1996, and then again from 1998 to 2004, when it was displaced by a revived Congress party.

Critics of the RSS and BJP argue that these groups have consistently preached hatred and violence, while disclaiming responsibility when violence actually resulted (the Partition, decades of bloody communal riots, Gandhi's assassination). Hence there is a continuing debate over the role of the Hindutva groups (the Mahasaba, the RSS and its later political arm the BJP) in inciting Godse to the assassination. The BJP will take none of the responsibility; its critics see this as an evasion.

Books by Nathuram Godse

  • Why I assassinated Mahatma Gandhi? ISBN 1375099796
  • May it Please your Honor!

External links

sv:Nathuram Godse


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