Gandhi and Godse

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Gandhi and Godse is a book by Koenraad Elst.

Elst: " Gandhi and Godse, a Review and a Critique (Voice of India 2001): Worldwide the only complete analysis of the stated reasons why Mahatma Gandhi was murdered. It proves that by his act, assassin Nathuram Godse was an extremist, but in his criticism of the Mahatma, he expressed opinions uttered by many. Against common Hindu diatribes blaming Gandhi, however, it shows that Gandhi’s failure vis-à-vis Islam was really Hindu society’s failure. Also published in Dutch (Davidsfonds 1998, Aspekt 2009) and French (Les Belles Lettres 2004). "

  • About the book: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as the Mahatma, was shot dead by the Hindu nationalist journalist Nathuram Godse on 30 January 1948, half a year after the independence and partition of India. During his trial, which ended in a death sentence, Godse was permitted to explain his motives in a speech. The present book is largely a critical comment on that courtroom speech. One of our findings is that while Godse’s act was by definition extremist, his criticism of Gandhi was in fact shared by many.

Elst:Gandhi and Godse, the analysis of the reasons for the Mahatma murder through the murderer's self-justification speech. Outsiders all learn two facts about the Hindu movement: that one of its members killed the Mahatma, and that Guru Golwalkar declared himself a Nazi. You can hide your head in the sand all you want and declare smugly that you don't have to care about these outsiders, but the hostility against the Hindu movement is very much a fact and determines the world in which that same movement has to function. It explains why successful Indians play down their Hinduism, why Narayan Murthy finances American anti-Hindu Sheldon Pollock's Sanskrit studies instead of many more competent Hindus, why the BJP hires secularists and when in power fails to pursue a Hindu (so-called "communal") agenda, etc. So, I have taken it upon myself to give a fair account of the Gandhi murder and Nathuram Godse's speech, and to analyse (and refute) the Nazi allegation against Golwalkar. There are 7 billion people on earth, yet in both these crucial cases I am the only one to have done so.



1. The Murder of Mahatma Gandhi and Its Consequences

2. Nathuram Godse’s Background

3. Critique of Gandhi’s Policies

4. Gandhi’s Responsibility for the Partition

5. Godse’s Verdict on Gandhi

6. Other Hindu Voices on Gandhi


Appendix 1: Sangh Parivar, the Last Gandhians

Appendix 2: Gandhi in World War II

Appendix 3: Mahatma Gandhi’s Letters to Hitler

Appendix 4: Learning from Mahatma Gandhi’s Mistakes

Appendix 5: Questioning the Mahatma

Appendix 6: Gandhi and Mandela

Appendix 7: Gandhi the Englishman



  • This way, Godse (born 1910) exacted ‘punishment’ for Gandhi’s alleged pro-Muslim policies. These were particularly his acceptance in June 1947 of the plan to partition India into a secular state, retaining the name India and a Muslim state called Pakistan; and more immediately his fast, earlier in January 1948, on behalf of the safety of the Delhi Muslims threatened by angry Hindu refugees pouring in from Pakistan, and in support of Pakistan’s demand that India pay them ₹550 million as their share from the treasury of British India. Under protest, the Indian Government had given in to the latter demand because of Gandhi’s pressure, and in spite of the presence of Pakistani invasion troops on Indian territory in Kashmir. Surely this was the first time in history that a country deliberately financed its battlefield opponent, and not everyone was pleased with this display of Gandhian values.
  • Let us now look in more detail into the organizational estrangement between Godse and his mentor Savarkar. Of the events ‘which painfully opened my eyes about this time to the fact that Veer Savarkar and other old leaders of the Mahasabha could no longer be relied upon’, Godse mentions the following examples. In 1946, Savarkar went out of his way to personally reprimand Godse when Apte and he had heckled Gandhiji during a prayer-meeting in a Hindu temple in Bhangi Colony (Delhi), where Gandhiji had read passages from the Quran in spite of protests by the Hindu worshippers, and where he had spoken in defence of Bengal Chief Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, the man possibly politically (and probably also directly) responsible for anti-Hindu pogroms in Calcutta and Noakhali.
  • The one difference between Godse and the so-called secularists in India is that Godse swore by genuinely secular and democratic principles, so that ‘all Indians should enjoy equal rights and complete equality on the basis of democracy’ and no special privileges on the basis of communal identity, such as weightage in parliamentary representation for the Muslims. Congressite and leftist secularists, by contrast, supported communal representation and weightage back then, and still support separate Personal Law systems for different communities defined by religion today. If words still have a meaning, Godse’s vision of independent India’s polity was more secular than that of the self-styled secularists.