Nathuram Godse

Nathuram Vinayak Godse (19 May 1910 – 15 November 1949) was a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi on 30 January 1948. He shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point-blank range.[1] Godse was a member of the right-wing nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS);[2] he believed that Gandhi favoured the political demands of India's Muslims during the partition of India.

He plotted the assassination with Narayan Apte and six others. After a trial that lasted more than a year, Godse was sentenced to death on 8 November 1949. Although pleas for commutation were made by Gandhi's two sons, Manilal Gandhi and Ramdas Gandhi, they were turned down by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, deputy prime minister Vallabhbhai Patel, and the Governor-General Chakravarti Rajagopalachari.[3] Godse was hanged at Ambala Central Jail on 15 November 1949.[4]

Nathuram Vinayak Godse
Nathuram Godse
Nathuram Godse at his trial for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi
Ramachandra Vinayak Godse

19 May 1910
Died15 November 1949 (aged 39)
Ambala Prison, East Punjab, India
(now in Haryana, India)
Cause of deathHanging
OrganizationRashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Hindu Mahasabha
Criminal chargeAssassination of Mahatma Gandhi
Criminal penaltyDeath
Criminal statusExecuted

Early life

Nathuram Vinayakrao Godse was born into a Maharashtrian Chitpavan Brahmin family.[5] His father, Vinayak Vamanrao Godse, was a postal employee; his mother was Lakshmi (née Godavari). At birth, he was named Ramachandra.[6] Nathuram was given his name because of an unfortunate incident. Before he was born, his parents had three sons and a daughter, with all three boys dying in their infancy. Fearing a curse that targeted male children, young Ramachandra was brought up as a girl for the first few years of his life, including having his nose pierced and being made to wear a nose-ring (nath in Marathi). It was then that he earned the nickname "Nathuram" (literally "Ram with a nose-ring"). After his younger brother was born, they switched to treating him as a boy.[7]

Godse attended the local school at Baramati through the fifth standard, after which he was sent to live with an aunt in Pune so that he could study at an English-language school. During his school days, he highly respected Gandhi.[8]

Political career and beliefs

Group photo of people accused in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi. Standing (L to R): Shankar Kistaiya, Gopal Godse, Madan Lal Pahwa, Digambar Ramchandra Badge. Seated (L to R): Narayan Apte, Vinayak D. Savarkar, Nathuram Godse, Vishnu Karkare

Godse dropped out of high school and became an activist with Hindu nationalist organizations Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Organisation) and Hindu Mahasabha, although the exact dates of his membership are uncertain.[9][10]

Godse started a Marathi language newspaper for the Hindu Mahasabha called Agrani, which some years later was renamed Hindu Rashtra. Godse rejected Gandhi's philosophy, believing Gandhi repeatedly sabotaged the interests of Hindus by using the "fasting unto death" tactic on many issues. In Godse's view, Gandhi was giving in to interests that seemed to him anti-national.[11][12]

RSS membership

Godse joined RSS in Sangli (Maharashtra) in 1932 as a boudhik karyawah (ground worker), and simultaneously remained a member of the Hindu Mahasabha, both right wing organizations. He often wrote articles in newspapers to publicise his thoughts. During this time, Godse and Golwalkar (the RSS Sarsanghchalak, or Chief) often worked together, and they translated Babarao Savarkar's book "Rashtra Mimansa" into English. They had a falling out when Golwalkar took the entire credit for this translation. In the early 1940s, Godse formed his own organization, "Hindu Rashtra dal"[13] on the Vijayadashami day of 1942, though he continued to remain a member of the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha.[2]

In 1946, Godse left the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha over the issue of the partition of India. His relations with many members of the RSS soured, and he felt that the RSS was softening in its stance.[14][15]

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Godse approached Gandhi on 30 January 1948 during the evening prayer at 17:17. When Godse bowed, one of the girls flanking and supporting Gandhi, said to Godse, "Brother, Bapu (Father) is already late" and tried to put him off, but he pushed her aside and shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point-blank range with a Beretta M 1934 semi-automatic pistol. Herbert Reiner Jr., a young vice-consul at the new American embassy in Delhi, was the first to rush forward and grasp Godse by the shoulders, spinning him into the arms of some military personnel, who disarmed him.[16][17] Reiner then held Godse by the neck and shoulders until he was taken away by the military and police.[18][19] Gandhi was taken back to his room in Birla House, where he died soon thereafter.[20]

Trial and execution

Godse was put on trial at the Punjab High Court, at Peterhoff, Shimla. On 8 November 1949, he was sentenced to death. Although pleas for commutation were made by Gandhi's two sons, Manilal Gandhi and Ramdas Gandhi, they were turned down by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, deputy prime minister Vallabhbhai Patel and the Governor-General Chakravarti Rajagopalachari,[3] and Godse was hanged at Ambala Jail on 15 November 1949.[4]


Millions of Indians mourned Gandhi's assassination; the Hindu Mahasabha was vilified and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was temporarily banned. However, investigators could find no evidence that the RSS bureaucracy had formally sponsored or even knew of Godse's plot. The ban on the RSS was lifted in 1949.

To this day RSS denies any connection with Godse and disputes the claim that he was a member.[10] Godse's brother Gopal Godse claimed that all the Godse brothers were members of the RSS at the time of the assassination.[21] The nephew of Godse, Satyaki Savarkar, confirmed Godse resigned from his position in Hindu Mahasabha in 1946, and while he was very critical of RSS and discontinued ties with RSS, there is no official procedure to be excluded from RSS.[2]

Attempts at rehabilitation

In 2014, following the Bharatiya Janata Party's rise to power, the Hindu Mahasabha began attempts to rehabilitate Godse and portray him as a patriot. It requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to install the bust of Godse. It created a documentary film Desh Bhakt Nathuram Godse (Patriot Nathuram Godse) for release on the death anniversary of Gandhi on 30 January 2015.[22] There were attempts to build a temple for Godse and to celebrate 30 January as a Shaurya Diwas ("Bravery Day").[23] A civil suit was filed in Pune Court asking for a ban on the documentary film.[24]

In art

  • The Marathi language play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy ("This is Nathuram Godse Speaking"), first staged in 1997, was produced from Godse's point of view.[25]
  • The 2000 film Hey Ram briefly touches upon events related to the assassination.
  • Gandhi Vadh aur Main (Gandhi Hatya Aani Me), by Gopal Godse (1967)[26][27]
  • May It Please Your Honor, published by Surya Bharti, India, (2003) - the play based upon the book was banned[28]
  • [5] Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, published by Surya Bharti (1993)
  • Nine Hours to Rama, Stanley A. Wolpert (1962)[29]


  1. ^ Noorani, A.G. (8 February 2013). "The BJP and Nathuram Godse". Frontline. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Venugopal, Vasudha (8 September 2016). "Nathuram Godse never left RSS, says his family". Economic times. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b Gandhi, Rajmohan (2006), Gandhi: The Man, His People, and the Empire, University of California Press, p. 660, ISBN 978-0-520-25570-8
  4. ^ a b Bandyopadhyay, Sekhar (2009), Decolonization in South Asia: Meanings of Freedom in Post-independence West Bengal, 1947–52, Routledge, p. 146, ISBN 978-1-134-01824-6
  5. ^ Devare, Aparna. History and the Making of a Modern Hindu Self. Retrieved 2016-09-09.
  6. ^ "Early life | Nathuram Godse". Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  7. ^ Jeffrey, Robin (1990). India, Rebellion to Republic: Selected Writings, 1857–1990. Sterling Publishers. p. 105.
  8. ^ Time (14 February 2000) [1] "His Principle of Peace Was Bogus". Retrieved 3 July 2007
  9. ^ The Hindu (18 August 2004). [2] "RSS releases 'proof' of its innocence". Retrieved 26 June 2007
  10. ^ a b Zee News (IANS) (30 December 2010). [3] "RSS denies Godse was its member, rebuts Cong claim". Retrieved 1 November 2011
  11. ^ "The Book on Trial".
  12. ^ Bharat Bhankal. "Bha Bha Blogship: Nathuram Godse – His Last Speech".
  13. ^ Thomas Blom Hansen (1999). The Saffron Wave: Democracy and Hindu Nationalism in Modern India. Princeton University Press. p. 249.
  14. ^ Venugopal, Vasudha (8 September 2016). "Nathuram Godse never left RSS, says his family" – via The Economic Times.
  15. ^ Ibrahim A. Karawan, Wayne McCormack, Stephen E. Reynolds (2008). Values and Violence: Intangible Aspects of Terrorism. Springer Science & Business Media.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Obituary, May 26 (May 26, 2000), "Herbert Reiner Jr.; Captured Gandhi's killer", Los Angeles Times, retrieved January 27, 2017
  17. ^ Pronko, N. H.; Bowles, J. W. (2013), Empirical Foundations Of Psychology, Taylor & Francis, p. 343, ISBN 978-1-136-32708-7
  18. ^ Obituary, May 21 (21 May 2000), "Herbert Reiner Jr., Diplomat, 83; Captured Gandhi's killer in 1948", The Boston Globe
  19. ^ Trumbull, Robert (January 31, 1948), "Gandhi is killed by a Hindu; India shaken; World mourns; 15 die in rioting in Bombay", The New York Times
  20. ^ "Controversy over "Hey Ram"". Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  21. ^ A.G. Noorani. "The BJP and Nathuram Godse". Frontline.
  22. ^ Ghose, Debobrat (21 December 2014). "Hindu Mahasabha head speaks to FP: Godse was a `martyr' and `patriot'". Firstpost. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Hindu Mahasabha announces Godse temple". Deccan Chronicle.
  24. ^ PTI. "Pune court to hear suit against Godse film". The Hindu.
  25. ^ Rediff on the NeT.[4] "Mee Nathuram Godse Boltoy – The Transcript"
  26. ^ Nathuram Vinayak Godse; Gopal Vinayak Godse (1993). Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi?. Surya Bharti Parkashan. p. 176. My friends had greeted me, and arranged a small ceremony. Late Shri ... On completion he published the series in a book form titled 'Gandhi Hatya Ani Mee' (Gandhi assassination and I) in October 1967. The Government being allergic to the truth which exposed their falsehood, banned the book two months later
  27. ^ Girja Kumar (1 January 1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India. Har-Anand Publications. p. 443. ISBN 978-81-241-0525-2. The axe was to fall on the Marathi memoirs of Gopal Godse. ... and "spurned", he decided to publish his memoirs. It was immediately banned in several parts of India and copies of the book forefeited to the State
  28. ^ Frontline - Google Boeken. May 1998. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  29. ^ Charisma and Commitment in South Asian History: Essays Presented to Stanley ... - Google Books. 2004. ISBN 9788125026419. Retrieved 30 January 2014.

Further reading

  • Elst, Koenraad, Gandhi and Godse – a Review and a Critique, Voice of India, 2001. ISBN 81-85990-71-9
  • Godse, Nathuram, Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, Surya Bharti, Delhi, India, 2003. OCLC 33991989
  • Godse, Nathuram May it Please Your Honor!, Surya Bharti, India, 2003
  • Khosla, G.D., Murder of the Mahatma and Other Cases from a Judge's Notebook, Jaico Publishing House, 1968. ISBN 0-88253-051-8
  • Malgonkar, Manohar (2008). The Men Who Killed Gandhi, New Delhi: Roli Books, ISBN 978-81-7436-617-7
  • Phadke, Y.D., Nathuramayan
  • Pradeep Dalvi’s, "Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy" narrations by robby Raju pathak

External links

1910 in India

Events in the year 1910 in India.

1949 in India

Events in the year 1949 in India.


Ambala (),

is a city and a municipal corporation in Ambala district in the state of Haryana, India, located on the border with the Indian state of Punjab and in proximity to both states capital Chandigarh. Politically; Ambala has two sub-areas: Ambala Cantonment also known as (Ambala Cantt) and Ambala City, less than one kilometer apart, therefore it is also known as "Twin City". It has a large Indian Army and Indian Air Force presence within its cantonment area. Ambala separates the Ganges river network from the Indus river network and is surrounded by two rivers – Ghaggar and Tangri – to the north and to the south. Due to its geographical location, the Ambala district plays an important role in local tourism, being located 47 km (28 miles) south of Chandigarh, the state capital, 148 km (93 miles) southwest of Shimla, 198 km (121 miles) north of New Delhi and 260 km (155 miles) southeast of Amritsar.Gurudwara Manji Sahib is situated in Ambala.

Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 in the compound of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), a large mansion. His assassin was Nathuram Vinayak Godse, advocate of Indian nationalism, a member of the political party the Hindu Mahasabha, and a past member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which he left in 1940 to form an armed organization. Godse had planned the assassination.Gandhi had just walked up the low steps to the raised lawn behind Birla House where he conducted his multi-faith prayer meetings every evening. Godse stepped out from the crowd flanking the path leading to the dais and into Gandhi's path, firing three bullets at point-blank range. Gandhi instantly fell to the ground. Gandhi was carried back to his room in Birla House from where a representative emerged some time later to announce that he had died.

The Gandhi murder trial opened in May 1948 in Delhi's historic Red Fort, with Godse the main defendant, and his collaborator Narayan Apte and six others as the co-defendants. According to Markovits (2004), Godse tried to ...use the courtroom as a political forum by reading a long declaration in which he attempted to justify his crime. He accused Gandhi of complacency towards Muslims, blamed him for the sufferings of Partition, and generally criticized his subjectivism and pretension to a monopoly of the truth." According to J. Edward Mallot (2012), Godse blamed Gandhi for continuing to appease Muslims in such a manner "that my blood boiled and I could tolerate him no longer."The trial was rushed through, the haste sometimes attributed to the home minister Vallabhbhai Patel's desire "to avoid scrutiny for the failure to prevent the assassination." The trial was public, but the statement that Nathuram Godse gave during the trial on why he killed Gandhi was immediately banned by the Indian government. Godse and Apte were sentenced to death on 8 November 1949. They were hanged in the Ambala jail on 15 November 1949.

Dev Raj Singh Thakur

Dev Raja Singh Thakur (died May 1987), was a sergeant working in Indian Air Force. He received national prominence for chasing and apprehending Nathuram Godse.

He was awarded the Ashok Chakra Award, a gallantry award, in 1952 for arresting Godse. He is in news posthumously, for his family demanding a government job for a kin of gallantry award winner as there is no breadwinner in the family.

Digambar Badge

Digambar Badge was one of the Indians arrested for the conspiracy to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi. Badge (pronounced Bahdgay) turned approver and deposed as a prime prosecution witness. It was his confession that led to the prosecution case and charges against the others accused of conspiracy. Though he confessed to participating in the assassination plot, and admitted guilt, the prosecution granted him a pardon deal in exchange for his testimony against the others accused.Badge was a Shudra Hindu from Maharashtra who grew up in Challisgaon near Kasoda, a school drop out who did a variety of temporary jobs to earn his livelihood. He participated in non-violent civil disobedience movement (satyagraha) in Pune, then collected funds for charity by begging door to door. Badge began buys knives and daggers, reselling them near the Muslim ruled Hyderabad State border where Hindus were fighting against alleged persecution. This brought him into contact with members of the Hindu Mahasabha. In 1947, he expanded his business to include firearms and ammunition. His business, and the desire of Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte to acquire arms for the assassination brought him in contact with them. Badge employed Shankar Kistayya (co-accused in the conspiracy plot), a rickshaw puller and houseworker, to deliver his weapons and firearms to his customers.Badge's evidence lacked independent corroboration, a common flaw in conspiracy cases. Nevertheless, Judge Atma Charan accepted Badge as a truthful witness. "He gave his version of the facts in a direct and straight-forward manner. He did not evade cross-examination or attempt to evade or fence with any question".

Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai

Gandhi Memorial Museum, established in 1959, is a memorial museum for Gandhi located in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. Known as Gandhi Museum, it is now one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas (Gandhi Museums) in the country. It includes a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.


Godse is an Indian surname, and may refer to:

Dattatraya Ganesh Godse, Indian playwright

Hemant Godse, a member of the 16th Lok Sabha of India. He represents Nashik constituency of Maharashtra and is a member of the Shiv Sena.Gopal Godse (1919-2005), brother of Nathuram Godse and conspirator in Mahatma Gandhi's assassination

Mugdha Godse, Indian model

Nathuram Godse (1910-1949), Mahatma Gandhi's assassin

Vishnubhat Godse, Hindu priest

Gopal Godse

Gopal Vinayak Godse (Marathi: गोपाळ विनायक गोडसे; c. 12 June 1919 – 26 November 2005) was the younger brother of Nathuram Godse and one of the conspirators in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948. He was the last among them to die and lived his last days in Pune.

Hey Ram

Hey Ram (translation: Oh Ram! or Oh God!) is a 2000 Indian alternate historical fiction political drama film simultaneously made in Tamil and Hindi and also dubbed in Telugu. The film was written, directed and produced by Kamal Haasan, who also acted as the protagonist in the film. The film's soundtrack and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The plot centers on India's Partition and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse.

The film was screened at the International Film Festival of India, and was selected by Film Federation of India as its submission to the Oscars in the year 2000, but was not nominated. The film has garnered three National Film Awards. The copyrights to this film are owned by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment.

Himani Savarkar

Himani Savarkar (1947-2015) was a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha party and the President of Abhinav Bharat. She was the daughter of Gopal Godse, hence a niece of the Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse, and a daughter-in-law of Narayan Savarkar, the younger brother of the Hindu nationalist pioneer V. D. Savarkar.

Madan Lal Pahwa

Madan Lal Pahwa (in Punjabi ਮਦਨਲਾਲ ਪਾਹਵਾ) was one of the conspirators involved in assassinating Mahatma Gandhi. He came to India in 1947 as a refugee after the partition of India. The plight of refugees intensified his anger against Gandhi, the main leader of the Indian National Congress, and other Congress leaders. He tried to murder Gandhi on 20 January 1948 in a prayer meeting at Birla House New Delhi but failed in his attempt. Later when Nathuram Godse killed Gandhi on 30 January 1948, a case of attempt to murder was filed against Madan Lal. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement.

Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy

Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy is a two-act play written in the Marathi language. It has been written by Pradeep Dalvi (Mauli productions). It is based on the book May It Please You Honour written by Gopal Godse. According to Karline McLain the play "enacts Godse's defense plea" and thus "explores the assassination of Gandhi and the trial of Godse from Godse's point of view.

Nine Hours to Rama

Nine Hours to Rama is 1963 British film, directed by Mark Robson, that follows a fictionalised Nathuram Godse in the hours before he assassinated the Indian independence leader, Gandhi, and police attempts to prevent the murder. It is based on a 1962 novel of the same name by Stanley Wolpert. The movie was written by Nelson Gidding and filmed in England and India with mainly white actors in prominent roles. It stars Horst Buchholz, Diane Baker, Jose Ferrer, and Robert Morley. It was shot in CinemaScope DeLuxe Color.

Peterhoff, Shimla

The Peterhoff was a building in Shimla which has housed at least seven Viceroys and Governors General of India during the British Raj. It has been built in typical Tudor style - all wooden frames and shingled eaves.

Its first occupant was James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, who moved into the building in 1863.After India's independence from the British Empire, the building served as the Punjab High Court. It was at Peterhoff where the trial of Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, took place in 1948-49. In 1971, when Himachal Pradesh became a full-fledged state, Peterhoff served as the Raj Bhavan (the Governor's residence).The building was destroyed in a fire on the night of 12 January 1981. Subsequently, the Raj Bhavan was shifted to the Barnes' Court building. The Peterhof was rebuilt to a new design as a luxury hotel in 1991. It has 34 suites.

Surya Deo Sharma

Surya Deo Sharma was a Hindu leader and Trustee of Shri Peetambra Peeth Datia. He also founded Arya Veer Dal, an organisation for Hindu youth. He was accused of helping the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, Nathuram Godse, by providing him with guns.

Surya Deo Sharma was from Kathaout village in Ghazipur district, Uttar Pradesh.

The family youth destroyed the airstrip which was built by the British military as the second line of defence for the world war.Surya Deo Sharma entered Hindu politics in Gwalior State under the patronage of the Maharaja of Gwalior, Jiwaji Rao Scindhia. He was elected a municipal councillor and twice elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly in Madhya Pradesh, firstly from Sewdha and then from Datia.

After leaving politics, Sharma was appointed caretaker of the religious peeth in Datiya by his spiritual guide, Guru Maharaj

V. Kalyanam

V. Kalyanam (born 15 August 1922) is an Indian freedom fighter and was Mahatma Gandhi's personal secretary during the last few years of Gandhi's life (1943–48). He joined the freedom struggle during Quit India Movement in 1942, and then worked with Gandhi till Gandhi's assassination. Kalyanam was just behind Gandhi when Nathuram Godse fired the shots. According to Kalyanam, Gandhi died instantly after being shot and never uttered "Hey Ram" as his last words. He was the first to inform Nehru and Patel about Gandhi's death.Kalyanam later worked as Edwina Mountbatten's secretary in London. He returned a few years later and then worked for C. Rajagopalachari and Jayaprakash Narayan.Kalyanam has criticized Congress Party for forgetting the legacy of Mahatma. He said Gandhiji wanted to dissolve the party which had started becoming corrupt. He even said that Jawaharlal Nehru is responsible for corruption in India.Kalyanam joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014.

Vinay Apte

Vinay Apte (17 June 1951 – 7 December 2013) was an Indian film and television actor. He acted in several Marathi movies and television shows in his almost 40-year-old career. He has also acted in Hindi movies such as Chandni Bar, Ek Chalis Ki Last Local, It's Breaking News, Satyagraha and Rajneeti.

Apart from acting he was associated with a production house. He died in Mumbai on 7 December 2013.Apte began his acting career in 1974 in Marathi theatre and gradually began directing Marathi plays. His first play Mitrachi Goshta (Friend's Story) was written by well known Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar. Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy, a play directed by Vinay Apte, had been the target of heavy political controversy.He appeared in several TV serials such as Lajja and Eka lagnachi dusri goshta. He also appeared in several Bollywood films like dhamaal, aarakshan,gangajal and rajneeti. He was one of the leading actors in Marathi cinema, dramas and serials.

Vishnu Ramkrishna Karkare

Vishnu Ramakrishna Karkare (c. 1910 – 6 April 1974), a Hindu Mahasabha activist was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in an attempt to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi.

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