Mahatma Gandhi 71st Death Anniversary: Events leading up to the assassination of the Father of the Nation

On the 71st Death Anniversary of the Father of The Nation, i.e. Mahatma Gandhi, we trace the events that lead to his assassination by Nathuram Godse.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was also known as Mahatma Gandhi was not just a leader but also a visionary. The Father of the Nation, who fought for the freedom of India, was a man who was an inspiration to many Indian citizens. His views about Purna Swaraj and non-violence were the weapons which he used against the Britishers to free India from their clutches. He followed secularism and wanted to see India as a country where people of all castes, religions and gender would live together and enjoy equality. 

However, his views which weren’t really appreciated and followed by few people back in those days and one of them was Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse. Nathuram had a different thought process and was against the secular ideology of Gandhi. It was because of his staunch ideologies that he hated Gandhi. He tried to kill him a couple of times before. His final attempt to kill him on January 30, 1948, proved fatal for Gandhi. Here’s a list of events that lead up to Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination by Nathuram Godse. 

There were several futile attempts which took place in order to kill Mahatma Gandhi before Nathuram succeeded with it.

As per the book, Beyond Doubt-A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination, several attempts were made to murder Bappu before the final attack on the evening of January 30, 1948. The first attempt took place in the year 1934 when he had to deliver a speech in Pune. He was travelling in a car with his wife along with a convoy of similar cars when a bomb blew up the car ahead of their car, and hence, he was saved.  

Later in 1944, once again he was attacked, and this was the first time, Nathuram Godse and Gandhiji came face to face. After being diagnosed with malaria, Gandhiji went to rest at a house in Panchgani. During his stay, an anti-Gandhi group gathered outside the house and started chanting slogans against him. Bapu invited the leader of the protesters to talk to him. But Nathuram refused. Later, when things got out of hand, Nathuram charged with a dagger towards Gandhiji while chanting slogans against him. However, Gandhiji was saved by Mani Shankar Purohit and Bhilare Guruji. 

He was then attacked in September 1944 again by Nathuram at a time when Mahatma Gandhi was supposed to meet Muhammad Ali Jinnah for the partition talks in Bombay. Godse and his supporters attacked the ashram and wanted to stop Gandhi from leaving. However, he was stopped by the Gandhiji’s supporters and was found with a dagger.

The fourth attempt took place in 1946 when a train called Gandhi Special derailed. However, the driver was able to slow it down and avert the tragedy. The last failed attempt took place on January 20, 1948, which was just 10 days before his assassination. It was the day when Gandhiji had to address a crowd at Birla Bhavan and Madanlal Pahwa, Nathuram Godse, Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, Digambar Badge, Gopal Godse and Shankar Kistaiya together wanted to shoot him there. They wanted to throw a bomb near his podium and then shoot him when the crowd was scared. However, Madanlal didn’t get help as he tried to go ahead with the bomb blast. He managed to bomb the place, but people saw him with a gun and thus, his attempt failed. Madanlal and the rest were then identified by Sulochana Devi and were captured. Police took Madanlal to a hotel to identify two other members of the gang- Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, but they ran away. 

They came back to Delhi on January 29, 1948. This was the day before Gandhiji had to attend the peace prayer at the Birla Bhawan in Delhi. He was already there in the morning of January 30, 1948, and had to work on a few things. He did his morning prayers, worked on the Congress Constitution and then took his bath. He also scolded Manuben Gandhi for not taking care of her health. Post this, he ate lunch and was discussing the Noakhali riots. He then took a nap. When he woke up, Manu told him that 2 leaders wanted to meet him. He replied, “Tell them that, if I remain alive, they can talk to me after the prayer on my walk.”


It was post this that Gandhiji prepped for his prayer meet. He started walking towards the meeting with Manu and Abha. Amidst this, he was stopped by a man in Khaki. Seeing this, Manu scolded the man and said that Gandhiji is late. The man was Nathuram Godse. He pushed Manu Gandhi and shot Mahatma Gandhi. There was chaos all around and 25 minutes later, Mahatma Gandhi died due to excessive blood loss inside Birla Bhavan which is now known as Gandhi Smriti.

Credits: Beyond Doubt — A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination

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