The day Gandhi was Assassinated

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On 30th January 1948, the 20th century’s greatest Apostle of Peace became a victim of violence. On this day, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Brahmin from Pune and a member of the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha.

A little after 5 pm on that fateful day, Gandhi, supported by his grandnieces Abha and Manu, was walking down to the back garden of Birla House in New Delhi for his daily prayer meeting, when Godse fired three shots, at point blank range, at the 78-year-old Mahatma.

Gandhi Smriti, Delhi | Wikimedia Commons
Gandhi Smriti, Delhi | Wikimedia Commons

The 500-strong crowd was in shock. But they managed to seize Godse. After the assassination, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation on All India Radio and said, “The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere..."

Gandhi's funeral procession | Wikimedia Commons
Gandhi's funeral procession | Wikimedia Commons

Gandhi was cremated the next day, on the banks of the Yamuna River. Over 2 million people came to pay their respects. The 8-km-long funeral procession took more than 5 hours to reach Raj Ghat from Birla House.

Trial of persons accused of participation and complicity in Gandhi's assassination | Wikimedia Commons
Trial of persons accused of participation and complicity in Gandhi's assassination | Wikimedia Commons

A few months later, in May 1948, the murder trial of Gandhi’s assassin began in the historic Red Fort. It was conducted by a special court with Nathuram Godse as the main defendant, and his collaborator Narayan Apte and six others as co-defendants.

Godse and Apte were sentenced to death, and hanged, in Haryana’s Ambala Jail in Nov 1949. The death of Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, marked the end of an era. He left a legacy that was too powerful to describe and had touched minds and hearts way beyond India’s borders.

Cover Image: Wikimedia Commons

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