"‘This afternoon at Birla house in Delhi our beloved Mahatma was killed’"

 

Memorial of Gandhi's Ashes
Public DomainMemorial of Gandhi's Ashes

Mohandas ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi was assassinated on January 30, 1948 while walking to a prayer meeting at Birla House in New Delhi. He was 78 years old. One of the world’s most famous Pacifists, Gandhi was shot three times at point-blank range by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu activist who felt that Gandhi had betrayed the Hindu cause, blaming him for the partition of India. It is believed that Gandhi uttered the words, "Hai [Oh] ... Hai ... Hai " as he hit the ground.

As Saleem narrates in Midnight’s Children, the announcement by All India Radio of the death of the ‘father of the nation’ stunned the country and several thousands of mourners immediately gathered at Birla House to pay their respects.

Following the assassination many people were killed, injured or left homeless thanks to massive anti-Brahim (the caste to which Godse belonged) riots which developed throughout India, especially in the state of Maharashtra. During his trial Godse was sentenced to death and hung at Ambala Jail on 15 November 1949.

There had previously been five previous unsuccessful attempts to kill Gandhi since 1934.

Original News Coverage by the Guardian ‘Assassination of Mr Gandhi’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1948/jan/31/india.fromthearchive

The life and death of Mahatma Gandhi  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/50664.stm

 

Speech by Indian Prime Minister Jaranhawal Nehru on the assasination of Mohandas 'Mahatma' Ganhdi.