Why I Killed the Mahatma: Uncovering Godse’s Defence
It is common knowledge that Mahatma Gandhi was shot dead in 1948 by a Hindu militant, shortly after India had both gained her independence and lost nearly a quarter of her territory to the new state of Pakistan. Lesser known is assassin Nathuram Godse’s motive. Until now, no publication has dealt with this question, except for the naked text of Godse’s own defence speech during his trial. It didn’t save him from the hangman, but still contains substantive arguments against the facile glorification of the Mahatma.
Dr Koenraad Elst compares Godse’s case against Gandhi with criticisms voiced in wider circles, and with historical data known at the time or brought to light since. While the Mahatma was extolled by the Hindu masses, political leaders of divergent persuasions who had had dealings with him were less enthusiastic. Their sobering views would have become the received wisdom about the Mahatma if he hadn’t been martyred. Yet, the author also presents some new considerations in Gandhi’s defence from unexpected quarters.
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