Nathuram Godse at his trial for the murder of Mahatma Gandhi
19 May 1910|
Baramati, Pune District, Bombay Presidency, British India
(present day Maharashtra, India)
|Died||15 November 1949
Ambala Prison, Punjab Province, Dominion of India
(present day Haryana, India)
|Known for||Assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi|
Nathuram Godse was born at Baramati, Pune District, India. His father was Vinayak Vaman Rao Godse, his mother Lakshmi (Godavari before marriage). His father was a fifteen-rupee-a-month employee of the post office.
Godse's political career[change | change source]
Godse dropped out of high school and became an activist with the Hindu Mahasabha. The Hindu Mahasabha had initially backed Gandhi's campaigns of civil disobedience against the British government. But Godse and his mentors later rejected Gandhi. They felt that Gandhi was sacrificing Hindu interests in an effort to please Muslim groups. They blamed Gandhi for the Partition of India, which killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi[change | change source]
Motive[change | change source]
The 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 to the government of Pakistan. The transfer had been specified in the partition agreement, but the Indian government had refused to complete it, complaining of continued Pakistani rebel occupation of disputed parts of Kashmir.
The Indian government immediately reversed its decision to withhold the funds, which infuriated Godse and his fellow Hindu nationals.
The decision to assassinate Gandhi was taken by Godse alone. The Mahasabha resolutely denied all complicity, and Godse took full responsibility.
Godse assassinated Gandhi on January 30, 1948, approaching him during the evening prayer, bowing, and shot him three times at close range. Godse was convicted of murdering Gandhi, for which he was executed by hanging.