Who really killed Mahatma Gandhi
Nathuram Godse shot Bapu thrice and killed him. But he was inept and incapable of succeeding without the support of an organisation. The accused enjoyed countrywide support, easy and unlimited funds and supplies. This could not have been possible without organisational involvement. There were two organisations with whom all the accused were closely associated the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha. For some strange reason, despite clues and confessions, these two organisations were never investigated Why? We will never know. Godse and Narayan Apte, the other accused who was executed for his role in the murder, were known to boast and brag, but were not known to deliver. According to Manohar Malgonkar’s The Men Who Killed Gandhi, to impress Vinayak Savarkar, Godse and Apte used to brag about various schemes to attack Muslims, the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Muslim League. Their modus operandi was to seek Savarkar’s blessings for their schemes and then seek finance and support from members of the RSS, Hindu Mahasabha and staunch Savarkarites.
One of the first schemes they sold was to raid the revenue agencies of the Hyderabad Nizam close to the border with the Bombay Province. For this, they collected funds, then approached Dixit Maharaj brother of Dada Maharaj, who was a head of a sect of affluent Hindus and asked him for one of his large cars.
Three weeks went by. When no news of raids on the Nizam were reported, Dixit Maharaj came looking for his car and found Apte romancing his girlfriend in the car he had borrowed for the raid. Next, the duo came up with a proposal to blow up the Pakistan assembly with a mortar. They secured Savarkar’s blessings and collected funds, but did not deliver. When news came that two special trains carrying arms and ammunitions, Pakistan’s share, would travel to the new nation, the duo sold a scheme of blowing up both the trains using bazookas. This time too, no action.
Then they decided to buy a Sten gun and use it to strafe fleeing Muslims. They abandoned it after not being able to even cock it. The final scheme they attempted to sell was to set up a supply chain of arms and ammunitions to fight the Kabalis invading Kashmir: they planned to recruit and train young Hindu fighters to fight the Kabalis, but by now their backers had lost faith in them, writes Malgonkar. There was a link between all the failed attempts on Bapu’s life and his murder. There were five known attempts on Bapu’s life, which failed. In each one of them the common factors were Poona, Godse, Apte, RSS and Hindu Mahasabha members, according to the report of the Kapur Commission,bwhich inquired into the conspiracy to murder the Mahatma, and press reports. Except for the last attempt, all happened prior to independence and were not investigated.
The first was on June 25, 1934, in Poona; second in July 1944 in Panchgani; third in September 1944 in Sevagram; fourth on June 19, 1946, somewhere in the Western Ghats between Karjat and Khandala; and fifth on January 20, 1948, in Birla House, New Delhi. All failed. Except in the first and fourth, no one was caught and none was investigated; in the three others Apte, Godse and the participation of the RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha members was reported, according to the Kapur Commission’s report.
Who Put the Gun in Godse’s Hand? What is chilling is that unlike popular perception that Godse took advantage of an opportunity to murder Bapu, it was methodically planned. Although five attempts failed, these preparations helped Godse and Apte succeed. Since 1946, after the Direct Action Day killings in Calcutta where Hindus and Muslims clashed and the retaliatory massacres in its wake, whenever Bapu was in Delhi and conducted his public, multi-faith evening prayers, every
time the Aayats from the Koran were read, people would rise up and protest. The protests turned progressively severe and aggressive. Apte and Godse had even boasted about carrying out one very aggressive protest at the Sweeper’s Colony in Delhi where Gandhi stayed. “We scared him off,” they had boasted in Poona.
The last failed attempt and when Godse eventually murdered Bapu were at the time of his evening prayers. The plan was to create an impression that people were angry with Bapu for his insistence on reciting Islamic prayers and the murder happened as an eruption of spontaneous fury against his obduracy. Godse and Apte did not have the capability to sustain such a long-term campaign. Only a cadre-based organisation could sustain such a campaign. The fact remains that although on January 30, 1948, at 5.17 pm, Nathuram Godse did pump three bullets into Bapu’s chest from point-blank range and murdered him, the loaded gun was put in his hands by his patrons and supportive organisations and the aadesh, the order, came from them too.