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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nathuram Godse "May it please Your Honour" Part ५

Spread The Word

May It Please Your Honour - Shri Nathuram Godse's legendary testimony

Continued from Part ४....

112. The day on which I decided to remove Gandhiji from the political stage, it was clear to me that personally I shall be lost to everything that could be mine. I am not a moneyed person but I did have a place of honour and respect amongst those known as middle class society. I have been in the public life of my Province and the service that I have been able to render so far has given me a place of honour and respect amongst my people. Ideas of culture and civilisation are not strange to me. I had in my view before me some scheme of constructive work to be taken in hand in my future life and I felt I had enough strength and enthusiasm to undertake them and carry them out successfully. I have maintained robust, health and I do not suffer from any bodily defect and I am not addicted to any vice. Although I myself am hot a much-learned man, I have a great regard and admiration for the learned.

113. Since the year l929-30 when the Congress launched its first campaign of the Civil Disobedience Movement, I entered the life of a public worker. I was merely a student then, but the lectures relating to this -movement and the accounts thereof published in the newspapers had greatly impressed me and I resolved to join the movement and take the career of a public worker. Just after when this movement was over the problems relating to Muslims assumed grave appearance and a movement to bring about the unification of the Hindus was being taken in hand more intensely by the Hindu Sabha leaders like Dr. Moonje, Bhai Parmanandji, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya as also by some leaders of the Arya Samaj and by the workers of the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh. The question of Communal Award was under hot discussion amongst all the political bodies and it is also noteworthy to mention here that in the Session of the Hindu Mahasabha which was held at Poona in the year 1935, it was decided to contest the elections for legislatures against the Congress as the views of the latter were unfairly in favour of the Muslims and detrimental to the Hindus. This contest against the Congress was decided by the Hindu Mahasabha under the auspices of the late Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya who was also a veteran leader of the Congress.

114. About the year 1932 late Dr. Hedgewar of Nagpur founded the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh in Maharashtra also. His oration greatly impressed me and I joined the Sangh as a volunteer there of. I am one of those volunteers of Maharashtra who joined the Sangh in its initial stage. I also worked for a few years on the intellectual side in the Province of Maharashtra. Having worked for the uplift of the Hindus I felt it necessary to take part in the. political activities of the country for the protection of the just rights of Hindus. I therefore left the Sangh and joined the Hindu Mahasabha.

115. In the year 1938, I led the first batch of' volunteers who marched into the territory of the. Hyderabad State when the passive resistance movement was started by the Hindu Mahasabha, with a, demand for Responsible Government in the State. I was arrested and sentenced to one year's imprisonment. I have a personal experience of the uncivilized, nay barbarous rule of Hyderabad, and have undergone, the corporal punishment of dozens of cane slashes. for the offence of singing the `Vande Mataram' song at the time of prayer.

116. In the year 1943 the Bihar Government had issued a proclamation prohibiting the holding of the Hindu Mahasabha Session at Bhagalpur. The Mahasabha resolved to defy this ban as it felt that the action of the Government was unjust and illegal. The session was held in spite of all the, precautions taken by the Government for its prevention. I took a leading part in the preparation for the session keeping myself underground for nearly a month. During this period while reading newspapers I have come across items of news appreciating my work I have also heard people expressing their approval of my part in public life. By nature I am not a person of violent temperament. The approver Badge in his deposition at Page 225 has stated that I took out a knife to stab Mr. Bhopatkar. This statement it totally false. Mr. Bhopatkar is at present leading the lawyers defending the accused. Had I made any such assault as described by the approver could he have come forward to render us assistance in our defence ? If that alleged incident were true, I should have least thought of taking the help of Mr. Bhopatkar.

117. Those, who personally know me, take me as a person of quiet temperament. But when the top rank leaders of the Congress with the consent of Gandhiji divided and tore the country-which we consider as a deity of worship-my mind became full with the thoughts of direful anger.

I wish to make it clear that I am not an enemy of the Congress. I have always regarded that body as the premier institution which has worked for the political uplift of the country. I had and have my differences with its leaders. This will be clearly seen from my letter addressed to Veer Savarkar on 28th February 1933 (RX D/30) which is in my hand and signed by me and I admit its contents.

118. There was no enmity between Gandhiji and myself on any personal grounds. To those who speak of Gandhiji's honest motive in supporting Pakistan, I have only to say that I had nothing but the purest interest of our nation at my heart in taking the extreme step against the person of Gandhiji, who was the most responsible and answerable person for the terrible event culminating in the creation of Pakistan. I could foresee the result of my action against the life of Gandhiji and did very well realise that the moment the people come to know about it they would change their view about me in spite of the circumstances. My status and honour in the society and the sympathies which the people entertained for me will be smashed completely. I fully realised that I would be looked upon as the most despicable fellow in the society.

119. I had a very good idea about fiery attacks that would be launched against me in the Press. But I never thought that I could be cowed down by the fire poured against me by the Press. For, had the Indian Press impartially criticised the anti-national policy carried on by Gandhiji and had they impressed upon the people that the interest of the nation was far greater than the whim of any individual howsoever great he may be, Gandhiji and his followers could never have dared concede Pakistan to the Muslims as easily as has been done. The Press had displayed such weakness and submission to the High Command of the Congress that it allowed the mistakes of leaders pass away freely and unnoticed and made vivisection easy by their policy. The fear about such Press-weak and subservient as it was-could not therefore dislodge me from my resolve.

120. It is stated in some quarters that the people could not have got the independence unless Pakistan was conceded. But I took it to be an utterly incorrect and untrue view. To me it appears to be merely a poor excuse to justify the action taken by the leaders. The leaders of the Gandhian creed often claim to have conquered `Swarajya' by their struggle. If they had conquered Swarajya, then it would be clearly seen that it is most ridiculous to say that those Britishers %ho yielded, were in a position to lay down the condition of Pakistan before the grant of independence could be only one reason for Gandhiji and his followers to give their consent to the creation of Pakistan and it is that these people were accustomed to make a show of hesitation and resistance in the beginning and ultimately to surrender to the Muslim demands.

121. Pakistan was conceded on the 15th of August 1947, and how ? Pakistan was conceded by deceiving the people and without any consideration for the feelings and opinions of the people of Punjab, Bengal N.W.F. Province, Sind, etc. Indivisible Bharat was divided into two and in one of its parts a theocratic State was established. The Muslims obtained the fruit of their anti-national movements and actions in the shape of Pakistan. The leaders of the Gandhian creed ridiculed the opponents of Pakistan as traitors and communal minded, while they themselves helped in the establishment of a Muslim State in India yielding to the demands of Mr. Jinnah. This event of Pakistan had upset the tranquility of my mind. But even after the establishment of Pakistan if this Gandhian Government had taken any steps to protect the interests of Hindus in Pakistan it could have been possible for me to control my mind which Was terribly shaken on account of this terrible deception of the people. But, after handing over crores of Hindus to the mercy of the Muslims of Pakistan Gandhiji and his followers have been advising them not to leave Pakistan but continue to stay on. The Hindus thus were caught in the hands of Muslim authorities quite unawares and in such circumstances series of calamities followed one after the other. When I bring to my mind all these happenings my body simply feels a horror of burning fire, oven now.

122. Every day that dawned brought forth the news about thousands of Hindus being massacred, Sikhs numbering 15 000 having been shot dead, hundreds of women torn of their clothes being made naked and taken into procession and that Hindu women were being sold in the market places like cattle. Thousands and thousands of Hindus had to run away for their lives and they had lost everything of theirs. Along line of refugees extending over the length of 40 miles was moving towards the Indian Union. How was this terrible happening counter-acted by the Union Government ? Oh! by throwing bread to the refugees from the air I

123. These atrocities and the blood-bath would, have to some extent been checked if the Indian Government had lodged strong protests against the treatment meted out to the Minorities in Pakistan or even if a cold threat had been held out to the Muslims in India of being treated in the same manner as a measure of retaliation. But the Government which was under the thumb of Gandhiji resorted to absolutely different ways. If the grievances of the minorities in Pakistan were voiced in the Press, it was dubbed as an attempt to spread disaffection amongst the communities and made an offence and the Congress Governments in several Provinces started demanding securities under the Press Emergency Powers Act, one after the other. I was alone served with notices demanding securities to the extent of Rs. 16,000 and in the Bombay Province alone nearly 900 such cases have occurred, as is stated by the Home Member, Mr. Morarjibhai Desai in the Court. Nothing was done to redress the grievances of the Press even though Press deputations waited upon the Ministers Thus there was total disappointment in my attempt to bring pressure by peaceful means upon the Congress Governments guided by Gandhian creed.

124. When all these happenings were taking place in Pakistan, Gandhiji did not even by a sings word protest and censure the Pakistan Government or the Muslims concerned. The Muslim atrocities resorted to in Pakistan to root out the Hindu culture and the Hindu society have been entirely due to the teachings of Gandhiji and his behaviour. If the Indian politics had been handled in a practical manner there would never have been the terrible human slaughter as has taken place-a thing without any precedent in History.

125. The most noticeable and important thing is that Gandhiji never cared for the opinion of the people so far as Muslims were concerned. His theme of nonviolence had now been deeply soaked in human blood and it was impossible for people to entertain any idea in favour of Pakistan. So long as there is a theocratic State and Government by the side of Indian Union, the peace and tranquility of the Union shall ever remain in danger. But in spite of all these facts, Gandhiji had taken in his hand the task of a propaganda which even the staunchest adherent of the Muslim League would scarcely have been able to do for stopping the spread of unfavourable opinion about Pakistan in the minds of the people.

126. About this very time he resorted to his last fast unto death. Every condition given by him for giving up the fast is in favour of Muslims and against the Hindus.

127. One of the seven conditions imposed by Gandhiji for the breaking of his fast unto death related to the mosques in Delhi occupied by the Refugees. This condition was to the effect that all the mosques in Delhi which were occupied by the Refugees should be vacated or got vacated and be made over to the Muslims. Gandhiji got this condition accepted by the Government and a number of leaders by sheer coercion brought to bear upon them by his fast. On that day I happened to be in Delhi and I have. personally seen some of. the events that have occurred. in getting this condition carried out to its full. Those were the days of bitter or extreme cold and on the day Gandhiji broke his fast it was also raining. swing to this unusual weather condition, the pricking atmosphere made even person in well-placed positions shiver. Families after families of refugees who had, come to Delhi for shelter were driven out and while doing so no provision was made for their shelter and stay. One or two families taking with them their children, women- folk and what little belongings they had with them and saying, `Gandhiji, do give us a place for shelter' even approached and came to Birla House. But was it ever possible for the cries of these poor Hindu people to reach Gandhiji living in the palatial Birla House! I witnessed with my own eyes this scene which would have melted the heart of even a hardhearted person. But thoughts even deeper than. this began to come to my mind. Was it out of fun that the refugees found these mosques to be better than their won houses from which they were ousted ? Was not Gandhiji aware of the reasons and circumstances that compelled the refugees to occupy the mosques ? No Temple and no Gurudwara existed in, the part of the country that has become Pakistan. These refugees had seen with their own eyes, their, temples and Gurudwaras being desecrated by filthy use made of them simply for the purpose of insulting the Sikhs and Hindus. The refugees had come-fled to Delhi having had to leave every thing belonging to them and there was no place of shelter for them in Delhi. What wonder there could be if the refugees brought to their minds again and again their own hearths and home in the Punjab and N.W.F. Province while they were either taking shelter at the sides of the streets or under a tree some how ? It was under such circumstances that these refugees had resorted to and occupied the mosques. They were living under the roof in mosques and in doing so were not these mosques being used for the benefit of humanity ? While Gandhiji imposed the condition of evacuating the refugees from the mosques occupied . by them, had he also asked the Government and the people concerned, to provide some alternative arrangement for their shelter, before getting the mosques evacuated it would have shown some human touch in his demand. While Gandhiji made a demand for the evacuation of the mosques by the refugees had he also imposed a condition to the effect that the temples in Pakistan should be handed over to the Hindus by the Muslims, or some other similar condition, that would have shown that Gandhiji's teaching of non-violence, his anxiety for Hindu-Muslim Unity and his belief in soul force would have been taken or understood as being impartial, spiritual and non-communal. Gandhiji was shrewd enough to know that while undertaking a fast unto death, had he imposed for its break some condition on the Muslims in Pakistan, there would have been found any Muslim who could have shown some grief if the fast ended in the death of Gandhiji. It was for this reason that he purposely avoided imposing any condition on the Muslims. It was already in his past experience that Mr. Jinnah was not at all perturbed or influenced by his fast and that the Muslim League hardly attached any value to the `Inner voice' of Gandhiji.

128. It would not be out Of Place to state here that the remains-ashes-of Gandhiji were distributed in large towns and many rivers in India and abroad but the said ashes could not be immersed in the Holy Indus passing through the Pakistan in spite of the endeavours of Shri Shree Prakash, the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan.

129. Let us then take the case of 55 crores. Here feed from the Indian Information dated 2nd February 1948 the following extracts:

(a)Extracts from the speech of the Honourable Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the press conference held on 12th January, 1948.

(b)Extract from the speech of the Honourable Sir Shanmukham Chatty.

(c)India's spontaneous gesture of good will, and

(d)An extract from the Honourable the Prime Minister's statement. Gandhiji himself has said about these 55 crores that it is always very difficult to make any Government to alter its decisions. But the Government have altered and changed their original decision of withholding the payment of Rs. 55 crores of Pakistan and the reason for doing so was his fast. unto death. (Gandhiji's sermon at Prayer-Meeting held on or about the 21st of January 1948). The decision to with-hold the payment of Rs. 55 cores to Pakistan was taken up by our Government which claims to be the people's Government. But this decision of the people's Government was reversed to suit the tune of Gandhiji's fast. It was evident to my mind that the force of public opinion was nothing but a trifle when compared with the leanings of Gandhiji favourable to Pakistan.

(e)The creation of Pakistan is the result of the. Muslim hostility to the national movement of India. A number of people who showed their allegiance to Pakistan have been clapped in jail as fifth columnists by this very Government. But to my mind Gandhiji himself was the greatest supporter and advocate of Pakistan and no power could have any control on hire in this attitude of his.

(f)In these circumstances the only effective. remedy to relieve the Hindus from the Muslim atrocities was, to my mind, to remove Gandhiji from this world.

(g)Gandhiji is being referred to as the Father of the Nation-an epithet of high reverence. But if so, he has failed in his paternal duty in as much as he has acted very treacherously to the nation by his consenting to the partitioning of it. Had Gandhiji really maintained his opposition to the creation of Pakistan the Muslim League could have had no strength to claim it and the Britishers also could not have created it in spite of all their utmost efforts for its establishment. The reason for this is not far to seek. The people of th-is country were eager and vehement in their opposition to Pakistan. But Gandhiji played false with the people and gave parts of the country to the Muslims for the creation of Pakistan. I stoutly maintain that Gandhiji in doing so has failed in his duty which was incumbent upon him to carry out, as the Father of the Nation. He has proved to be the Father of Pakistan. It was for this reason alone that I as a dutiful son of Mother India thought it my duty to put an end to the life of the so-called Father of the Nation who had played a very prominent part in bringing about the vivisection of the country-Our Motherland.

(h)The case of Hyderabad had also the same history. It is not at all necessary to refer to the atrocious misdeeds perpetrated by the Nizam's Ministers and the Razakars. Laik Ali the Prime Minister of Hyderabad had an interview with Gandhiji during the last week of January 1948. It was evident from the manner in which Gandhiji looked at these Hyderabad affairs, that Gandhiji would soon start his experiments of non-violence in the State of Hyderabad and treat Kasim Razvi as his adopted son just as Suhrawardy. It was not at all difficult to see that is was impossible for the Government in spite of all the powers to take any strong measures against the Muslim State like Hyderabad so long as Gandhiji was there. Had the Government then decided to take any military of police action against Hyderabad it would have been compelled to withdraw its decision just as was done in the case of the payment of Rs. 55 crores, for Gandhiji would have gone on fast unto death and Government's hands would have been forced to save the life of Gandhiji

(i)The practice of non-violence according to ,Gandhiji is to endure or put up with the blows of the aggressor without showing any resistance either by weapon or by physical force. Gandhiji has, while describing his

Nonviolence given the example of a `tiger becoming a follower of the creed of non-violence after the cows allowed them selves to be killed and swallowed in such large numbers that the tiger ultimately god tired of killing them.' It will be remembered that at Kanpur, Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi fell a victim to the murderous assault by the Muslims of the place on him. Gandhiji lies often cited this submission to the Muslims' blows as an ideal example of embracing death for the creed of non- violence. I firmly believed and believe that the non- violence of the type described above will lead the nation to ruin and make it easy for Pakistan to enter the remaining India and occupy the same.

135. Briefly speaking, I thought to myself and foresaw that I shall be totally ruined and the only thing that I could expect from the people would be nothing but hatred and that I shall have lost all my honour oven more valuable than my life, if I were for kill Gandhiji. But at the same time I felt that the Indian politics in the absence of Gandhiji would surely be practical, able to retaliate, and would be powerful with armed forces. No doubt my own future would be totally ruined but the nation would be saved from the inroads of Pakistan. People may even call me and dub me as devoid of any sense or foolish, but the nation would be free to follow the course founded on reason which I consider to be necessary for sound nation building. After having fully considered the question, I took the final decision in the matter but I did not speak about it to any one whatsoever. I took courage in my both hands and I did fire the shots at Gandhiji on 30th January, 1948 on the prayer grounds in Birla House.

136. There now remains hardly anything for me to say. If devotion to one's country amounts to a sin, I admit I have committed that sin, If it is meritorious, I humbly claim the merit thereof. I fully and confidently believe that if there be any other court of justice beyond the one founded by the mortals, my act will not be taken as unjust. If after the death there be no such place to reach or to go, there is nothing to be said. I have resorted to the action I did purely for the benefit of the humanity. I do say that my shots were fired at the person whose policy and action had brought rack and ruin and destruction to lakhs of Hindus.

137. Really speaking, my life also came to an end simultaneously with the shorts fired by me at Gandhiji. Since then I have been passing my days as if in trance and meditation. Whatever I have seen and observed during this time has given me complete satisfaction.

138. The problem of the State of Hyderabad which had been unnecessarily delayed and postponed has been rightly solved by our Government by the use of armed force after the demise of Gandhiji. The. present Government of the remaining India is seen taking the course of practical Politics. The Home, Member is said to have expressed the view that the nation must be possessed of armies fully equipped with modern arms and fighting machinery. While giving out such expressions he does say that such a step would be in keeping with the ideal of Gandhiji. He may say so for his satisfaction. But one must not forget that if that were so there would be no difference in the means for the protection of the country devised by Hitler, Mussolici or Churchill or Rusevelt, and scheme based on non-violence as envisaged by Gandhiji. It would then be impossible to say that there was any new and special message of nonviolence of Gandhiji.

139. I am prepared to concede that Gandhiji did undergo sufferings for the sake of the nation. He did bring about an awakening in the minds of the people. He also did nothing for personal gain; but it pains me to say that he was not honest enough to acknowledge the defeat and failure of the principle of nonviolence on all sides. I have read the lives of other intelligent and powerful Indian patriots who have. made sacrifices. even greater than those done by Gandhiji. I have seen personally some of them. But whatever that may de, I shall bow in respect to the service done by Gandhiji to the country, and to Gandhiji himself for the said service. and before I fired the shots I actually wished him and bowed to him in reverence. But I do maintain that even this servant of the country had no right to vivisect t he country-the image of our worship-by deceiving the people. But he did it all the same. There was no legal machinery by which such an offender could be brought to book and it was therefore that I resorted to the firing of shots at Gandhiji as that was the only thing for me to do.

140. Had this act not been done by me, of course 4t would have been better for me. But circumstances were beyond my control. So strong was the impulse of my mind that I felt that this man should not be allowed to meet a natural peath so that the world may know that he had to pay the penalty of his life for his unjust, anti-national and dangerous favouritism towards a fanatical section of the country. I decided to put an end to this matter and to the further massacre of lacs of Hindus for no fault of theirs. May God now pardon him for his egoistic nature which proved to be too disastrous for the beloved sons of this Holy Land.

141. I bear no ill-will or enmity towards anyone individual. Nor do I think that any person is inimical towards me personally. I do say that I had no respect for the present Government owing to their policy which was unfairly favourable towards the Muslims. But at the same time I could clearly see that the policy was entirely due to the presence of Gandhiji in that behalf. But in the absence of such pressure. the way is now open for the establishment of a secular State in the true sense of that word. I have to say with great regret that the Mon'ble Prime Minister Pandit Nehruji quite forgets that his actions and deeds are at times opposed to each other, when he talks about secular State in season and out of season; because it is significant to note that the Hon'ble Pandit Nehruji has himself taken a leading part in acquiescing to the, establishment of Pakistan, a theocratic State. But he should have realised that it will never bring prosperity to Indian Union with a State founded on fantastically blind religious faith and basis by its side. After having considered absolutely to myself, my mind impelled me. to take the action against Gandhiji. No one has brought and could bring any pressure on me in this. act of mine.

142. The Honourable Court may take any view in regard to the impulse my mind received and the, action I did there under and may pass against me such orders of sentence as may be proper. I have no desire to say anything about it. I do not desire any mercy to be shown to me. I do not also wish that anyone on my behalf should beg for mercy towards me.

143. Several persons are arraigned along with me in this trial as conspirators. I have already said that in the act I did, I had no companions and I alone am solely responsible for my act. Had they not been arraigned with me I would not have even given any, defence for me as would be clear from the fact that I desired and enjoined upon my counsel not to cross examine any of the witnesses connected with the incident of the 30th of January, 1948.

144. I have already made it clear that personally I had never accepted the idea of peaceful demonstration even on 20th January. 1948 even for effective propaganda. However, I agreed to join this peaceful; demonstration in the prayer-meeting of Gandhiji, though with great reluctance. But as luck would have it, I could not take part in it. And when I found that even such demonstration could not be effectively staged for one reason or the other, I became rather disappointed and desperate. Efforts of Mr. Apte and others to secure volunteers made at Bombay, Poona and Gwalior bore no fruit. I could not then see any other way except to take the extreme course.

145. With these thoughts in my mind, while moving through the refugee Camp in Delhi, I met a photographer with a camera on his back, He asked me to get myself photographed. He seemed to be a refugee. I agreed and got myself photographed by him. On returning to the Delhi Railway Station, I wrote two letters to Apte giving a faint idea of my, mental state enclosing therewith my photographs as I felt it my duty to inform Mr Nanarao Apte as he was my close associate in my business of the press; one of such letter was addressed to him personally at his home address at Poona and another was sent to the Hindu Rashtra Office.

146. I wish to further state that all the statements made by me herein are entirely true and correct and each of them is made by reference to authoritative reference books I have made use of the several issues of the Indian Information, an official organ of the Government of India for the information of the public, Indian Year Book, History of the Congress, Gandhiji's Autobiography, Congress Bulletins issued from time to time and the files of Harijan and Young India, and Gandhiji's Post Prayer speeches. I have made this ,rather long statement not because I want the people to eulogise my act. My only object, in doing so is to leave no room for any misunderstanding about me, and there should be no vagueness in their mind about my views.

147. May the country properly known as Hindusthan be again united and be one, and may the people be taught to discard the defeatist mentality leading them to submit to the aggressors. This is my last wish and prayer to the Almighty.

148. I have now finished; but before I sit down must sincerely and respectfully express my gratitude to Your Honour for the patient hearing given, courtesy shown and facilities given to me. Similarly I express my gratitude to my legal advisers and counsel for their legal help in this great trial. I have no ill-will towards the Police Officers concerned with this case. I sincerely thank them for the kindness and the treatment given by them to me. Similarly, I also thank the Jail authorities for the good treatment given by them.

149. It is a fact that in the presence of a crowd numbering 300 to 400 people I did fire shots at Gandhiji in open daylight. I did not make any attempt to run away; in fact I never entertained any idea of running away. I did not try to shoot myself. It was never my intention to do so, for, it was my ardent desire to give vent to my thoughts in an open Court.

150. My confidence about the moral side of my action has not been shaken even by the criticism levelled of against it on all sides. I have no doubt honest writers of history will weigh my act and find the true value thereof on some day in future.



Delhi, 8-11-1948

Courtesy of Shri Gopal Godse
Source: Climax of Anti-National Appeasement by ReferenceBuddy and Mr. Gopal Godse

Continue to Part ६....

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