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For The Record  

FTR #988 Hindutva Fascism, Part 1: The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Part 1 and and FTR #989 Hindutva Fascism, Part 2: The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Part 2

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FTR #988: This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

FTR #989: This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: In past pro­grams, we have ana­lyzed the Hin­dut­va (Hin­du nation­al­ist) fas­cist char­ac­ter of the RSS and its polit­i­cal front the BJP, the par­ty of cur­rent Indi­an Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

In past dis­cus­sions of the RSS and BJP, we have not­ed the fol­low­ing:

  1. Mod­i’s polit­i­cal for­tunes were boost­ed with sup­port and financ­ing from Pierre Omid­yar, who also helped finance the rise of the OUN/B fas­cists in Ukraine.
  2. Modi and his BJP are viewed with great favor by Bre­it­bart king­pin, for­mer Trump cam­paign man­ag­er and advis­er Steve Ban­non. A num­ber of Trump’s busi­ness asso­ciates in India are asso­ci­at­ed with the BJP.
  3. Bernie Sanders’ prospec­tive Vice-Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Tul­si Gab­bard helped arrange the details for Mod­i’s Amer­i­can vis­it and is net­worked with the RSS.
  4. Under Modi, anti-Mus­lim vio­lence has dra­mat­i­cal­ly accel­er­at­ed, while free speech has been atten­u­at­ed. BJP mem­bers have cel­e­brat­ed Gand­hi’s mur­der.

An enti­ty pat­terned after Mus­solin­i’s Black­shirts, the RSS was the orga­ni­za­tion that spawned the assas­si­na­tion of Mahat­ma Gand­hi.

Fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions gen­er­al­ly demo­nize a “malev­o­lent oth­er,” in the case of the RSS, it was Indi­a’s large Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion. (Before gain­ing inde­pen­dence, India and the mod­ern nations of Pak­istan and Bangladesh were part of one large British colony.

The dis­turb­ing facts con­cern­ing Mahat­ma Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion at the hands of the RSS and its ide­o­log­i­cal leader V.D. Savarkar was relat­ed by James Dou­glass in Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able. (Dou­glass is also the author of JFK and the Unspeak­able: Why He Died and Why It Mat­ters–a book we have used on numer­ous occa­sions.)

In this pro­gram we set forth key fea­tures of the assas­si­na­tion of Gand­hi includ­ing:

  1. The Hin­dut­va (Hin­du nation­al­ist) fas­cist ide­ol­o­gy of the RSS, the orga­ni­za­tion inspired by, and presided over, by V.D.Savarkar,which–along with its ide­o­log­i­cal leader–were deeply involved with Gand­hi’s mur­der.
  2. The RSS’s orga­ni­za­tion­al and ide­o­log­i­cal affin­i­ty with Mus­solin­i’s Black­shirts.
  3. The orga­ni­za­tion’s (and Savarkar’s) coop­er­a­tion with the British, whom Savarkar saw as poten­tial part­ners in an “Aryan Empire.”
  4. The close rela­tion­ship between the RSS and the Hin­du Mahasab­ha, a para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion that par­tic­i­pat­ed in the British colo­nial mil­i­tary dur­ing World War II and sub­se­quent­ly assumed promi­nence in the fledg­ling Indi­an nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment.
  5. The lax­i­ty of Indi­an police offi­cials in pur­su­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into Gand­hi’s killers fol­low­ing an ear­li­er attempt at slay­ing the Mahat­ma.
  6. The appar­ent sym­pa­thy of com­plic­it Indi­an secu­ri­ty offi­cials, many of whom had affin­i­ty with the RSS and Hin­du Mahasab­ha.
  7. The appar­ent com­plic­i­ty of Indi­an Prime Min­is­ter Nehru and Home Min­is­ter Patel in the killings–failing to enact basic, for­mal­ized secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures that would have pro­tect­ed.
  8. The com­plic­i­ty of the Indi­an court try­ing Gand­hi’s killers in obscur­ing the fun­da­men­tal par­tic­i­pa­tion of Savarkar in the assas­si­na­tion con­spir­a­cy.
  9. The court’s acqui­es­cence in allow­ing Gand­hi’s self-con­fessed assas­sin Nathu­ram Godse (Savarkar’s per­son­al sec­re­tary) to read a nine-hour con­dem­na­tion of Gand­hi and implic­it defense of the Mahat­ma’s mur­der.
  10. The sub­se­quent reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Savarkar’s polit­i­cal rep­u­ta­tion after the BJP (a polit­i­cal cat’s paw for the RSS) assumed pow­er in India.
  11. The Orwellian re-write of Indi­an text books to omit any ref­er­ence to the Hin­dut­va fas­cist role in Gand­hi’s killing.

We flesh out key points of expose and argu­ment in greater detail:

  1. Ini­tial­ly a rev­o­lu­tion­ary oppo­nent of the British colo­nial author­i­ty, V.D. Savarkar under­went a meta­mor­pho­sis, in which he came to . . . . hope for an Indo-British alliance based on a shared racial back­ground that would trans­form the British Empire into the ‘Aryan Empire.’ . . . . he and oth­er rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­ers were now ready and will­ing to be friends of the British Empire if it equipped India with a form of gov­ern­ment vital for her free­dom. . . .”
  2. Next, we high­light the found­ing of the RSS by Savarkar acolyte K.B. Hedge­war: ” . . . . Hedge­war con­sult­ed with Savarkar on how to imple­ment his Hin­du nation­al­ist vision. Fol­low­ing their dis­cus­sion, Hedge­war found­ed the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS), ‘the Orga­ni­za­tion of Nation­al Vol­un­teers,’ whose innocu­ous name cov­ered an orga­ni­za­tion that con­scious­ly copied the strat­e­gy of Mus­solin­i’s fas­cist Black­shirts. . . .”
  3. It is impor­tant to note that Gand­hi’s future assassin–Nathuram Godse–parlayed copy­ing the writ­ings of Savarkar to becom­ing his per­son­al sec­re­tary and head­ing an “aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ment” of a branch of the RSS.
  4. One of the orga­ni­za­tions that worked close­ly with the RSS and which was a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of the RSS’s mil­i­tary sub­stance and lat­er promi­nence in the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment of the Indi­an state was the Hin­du Mahasab­ha. “. . . . In the 1930s, Savarkar helped cre­ate the anti-Mus­lim, mil­i­tary ori­ent­ed Hin­du Mahasab­ha orga­ni­za­tion. . . . When the Sec­ond World War began, Savarkar urged Hin­du youths to join the British-led armed forces so they could be ‘re-born into a mar­tial race.’ His 1940s slo­gan wed Hin­du nation­al­ism with the war effort: ‘Hind­huise all pol­i­tics and mil­i­ta­rize Hin­du­dom.’ . . . .”
  5. The Hin­du Mahasab­ha RSS deeply infil­trat­ed the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus of the fledg­ling Hin­du state, set­ting the stage for Gand­hi’s mur­der: ” . . . Savarkar’s fol­low­ers held cab­i­net and admin­is­tra­tive posi­tions in the gov­ern­ment. Hin­du Mahasab­ha and RSS extrem­ists had also infil­trat­ed Indi­a’s secu­ri­ty forces. Key police offi­cials were more com­mit­ted to an exclu­sive­ly Hin­du nation than they were to Gand­hi’s demo­c­ra­t­ic ide­al of a diverse, sec­u­lar union. . . .”
  6. A key devel­op­ment in the pro­gres­sion of events cul­mi­nat­ing in Gand­hi’s mur­der was a pre­vi­ous assas­si­na­tion plot against him. Although this plot failed, the group of assas­sins-to-be (includ­ing Nathu­ram Godse) regrouped and suc­cess­ful­ly mur­dered Gand­hi in New Del­hi days lat­er.
  7. Gand­hi’s killing took place in spite of the fact that Madan­lala Pah­wa, one of the con­spir­a­tors in the ear­li­er, failed plot, rolled over and became state’s evi­dence! The author­i­ties knew what was to take place and yet, did noth­ing!
  8. The Jan­u­ary 20 (1948) attempt on Gand­hi was to involve an ini­tial explo­sion intend­ed as a diver­sion, fol­lowed by shots fired from hand­guns and mul­ti­ple hand grenades. Arms deal­er Badge changed his mind and declined to par­tic­i­pate at the last moment. After the det­o­na­tion of the diver­sion­ary gun cot­ton charge, the con­spir­a­cy failed to mate­ri­al­ize. Madan­lal Pah­wa, in charge of det­o­nat­ing the explo­sive, was cap­tured and, as will be seen, dis­closed to the author­i­ties who the plot­ters were and that they would try again.
  9. As high­light­ed above, Madan­lal Pah­wa dis­closed the entire assas­si­na­tion plot to the author­i­ties: ” . . . . At a Del­hi police sta­tion, Pah­wa soon con­fessed the entire plot to his inter­roga­tors. He named for the police one of the con­spir­a­tors, whom he called ‘Kirkree’ (his men­tor, Karkare). In describ­ing each of his six com­pan­ions, he said one of them was a defin­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Nathu­ram Godse, whom he knew under the pseu­do­nym ‘Desh­pande.’ Pah­wa led the police to the room in the Mari­na Hotel where Godse and Apte, who were reg­is­tered under ‘S, and M. Desh­pande,’ had held their final plan­ning ses­sion with the oth­ers. . . . Pah­wa’s co-con­spir­a­tors were linked with the Hin­du Mahasab­ha. Laun­dry that the room’s occu­pants had giv­en to the hotel for wash­ing includ­ed three items bear­ing the ini­tials ‘NVG’ (stand­ing for ‘Nathu­ram Vinayak Godse’ [Gand­hi’s assas­sin and Savarkar’s per­son­al sec­re­tary]).  The impor­tance of all this evi­dence iden­ti­fy­ing Gand­hi’s would-be assas­sins was under­lined by a chill­ing state­ment Madan­lal Pah­wa made to the police: ‘They will come again.’ . . .Incrim­i­nat­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion was in the hands of the police. Pah­wa was warn­ing that the killers would return. More­over, Madan­lal Pah­wa had already divulged the plot to kill Gand­hi the week before the con­spir­a­tors even tried to car­ry it out. . . .
  10. More about the fore­warnings of the 1/30/1948 plot to kill Gand­hi. . . . On hear­ing Jain’s sto­ry, Home Min­is­ter Desai had, he said lat­er, ‘a strong feel­ing that Savarkar was behind the con­spir­a­cy.’ Desai said he passed on Jain’s infor­ma­tion that night to his deputy police com­mis­sion­er, J.D.Nagarvala, order­ing him, first, ‘to arrest Karkare’ (Karkare had an out­stand­ing war­rant for his arrest in anoth­er case but had not yet been found), sec­ond, ‘to keep a close watch on Savarkar’s house and his move­ments,’ and third, ‘to find out as to who were the per­sons involved in the plot.’ Desai said he also shared Jain’s infor­ma­tion on the plot the next day, Jan­u­ary 22, 1948, in Ahmed­abad, with the Indi­an Union gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, Val­lab­hb­hai Patel, who was in charge of the nation­al gov­ern­men­t’s secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus. . . .
  11. Despite Pah­wa’s dis­clo­sure of the nature of the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al milieu involved with the 1/20/1948 plot and his state­ment that they would try again, noth­ing was done: ” . . . . . . . . Pyare­lal [Gand­hi’s sec­re­tary] told the Kapur Com­mis­sion [inves­ti­gat­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion] that, apart from the added offi­cers, he “could not say whether any spe­cial [police] pre­cau­tions were tak­en after the bomb was thrown. How­ev­er, he was cer­tain of one thing: ‘Mahat­ma would have been pro­tect­ed if the police had arrest­ed those per­sons about whom indi­ca­tions had been giv­en in Madan­lal’s state­ment.’ Why did­n’t the police car­ry out such arrests?  As of Jan­u­ary 21, both the Del­hi police and the Bom­bay police had in their pos­ses­sion state­ments iden­ti­fy­ing key mem­bers of the ongo­ing con­spir­a­cy to kill Gand­hi. More­over, they were in touch with one anoth­er. Yet for nine days the assas­sins moved about freely, until three of them, Apte, Godse, and Karkare, returned on the 30th to anoth­er prayer meet­ing in Del­hi, where Godse then killed Gand­hi. For that to hap­pen, with­out any inter­ven­ing arrests to pre­vent the assas­si­na­tion, strange events had to occur. And they did. . . .” The police remained silent about the details of the plot and plot­ters when com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their supe­ri­ors.
  12. We next set forth more detail about the remark­able and–for Gandhi–ultimately lethal appar­ent dis­in­ter­est on the part of the author­i­ties: ” . . . . Why did [Bom­bay deputy inspec­tor gen­er­al U.H.] Rana not give Nagar­vala the state­ment, pro­vid­ing fur­ther infor­ma­tion on Pah­wa’s co-con­spir­a­tors in the plot to kill Gandhi​?  And why did Nagar­vala not retain or copy the state­ment, or at the very least read it through? When it came to iden­ti­fy­ing the edi­tor and pro­pri­etor of the Hin­du Rash­tra, the igno­rance and dis­in­ter­est of the var­i­ous police offi­cials became even more puz­zling. The Kapur Com­mis­sion dis­cov­ered that the Indi­an gov­ern­ment had this infor­ma­tion in its files in Del­hi all along. Copies of the ‘Annu­al State­ment of News­pa­pers’ had been sent to both the Home Depart­ment and the Infor­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Depart­ment of the Gov­ern­ment of India. The news­pa­per named N.V. Godse as the edi­tor, and N.D. Apte as the pro­pri­etor, of the Hin­du Rash­tra, described by the doc­u­ment as ‘a Savarkarite group paper.’ Inspec­tor Gen­er­al T.G. San­je­vi was also the direc­tor of the Intel­li­gence Bureau, the high­est police job in India. For the ten days from Pah­wa’s cap­ture to Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, the list that iden­ti­fied Godse and Apte with the Hin­du Rash­tra was only a few steps away from San­je­vi in his own files. He nev­er took those steps. Nor did any oth­er police offi­cial. . . .”
  13. In a speech by Nehru in Amrit­sar (the site of an ear­li­er mas­sacre of Gand­hi’s fol­low­ers by the British army), the future prime min­is­ter attacked the Hin­dut­va fas­cists and their orga­ni­za­tions by name, but the loud­speak­er con­ve­nient­ly mal­func­tioned, neu­tral­iz­ing the con­tent of his speech. ” . . . . He [Vin­cent Sheean] was also struck by what Nehru said in ‘a speech of great polit­i­cal impor­tance. It was the first time any mem­ber of the gov­ern­ment of India had open­ly attacked the Hin­du reac­tionary or pro­to-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions by name—those orga­ni­za­tions which were, with­in twen­ty-four hours, to take the life of Mahat­ma Gand­hi.’  . . . . Nehru’s speech was coura­geous, giv­en at a crit­i­cal junc­ture of his­to­ry. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, almost no one in the vast crowd heard it. In a strange turn of events, as Sheean wit­nessed, ‘the loud­speak­er appa­ra­tus failed and not a word of Mr. Nehru’s speech could be heard.’ . . . .”
  14. Tushar Gand­hi, the Mahat­ma’s grand­son, attrib­ut­es the behav­ior of the police to their sym­pa­thy with the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al Hin­dut­va forces: ” . . . . Gand­hi’s great grand­son, Tushar Gand­hi, has writ­ten about police com­plic­i­ty in the assas­si­na­tion: ‘Accord­ing to a secret report sub­mit­ted to Home Min­is­ter Sar­dar Patel, many in the police force and many bureau­crats were secret mem­bers of the RSS and the Hin­du Mahasab­ha, and were active­ly sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing the ide­ol­o­gy of the Hin­du extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions. . . . The mea­sures tak­en by the police between 20th and 30th Jan­u­ary 1948 were more to ensure the smooth progress of the mur­der­ers, than to try and pre­vent [Gand­hi’s] mur­der. . . . In hind­sight, it can only be said that, in Gand­hi’s mur­der, the police, by their neg­li­gence and inac­tions, were as much guilty as the mur­der­ers them­selves. . . .”
  15. Gov­ern­ment lead­ers, includ­ing Nehru and Patel appear to have been pas­sive­ly com­plic­it in Gand­hi’s mur­der, through fail­ing to take nec­es­sary and, under the cir­cum­stances, oblig­a­tory secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures. ” . . . . To what degree were the gov­ern­men­t’s lead­ers also respon­si­ble for Gand­hi’s death? The offi­cial in charge of secu­ri­ty for Prime Min­is­ter Nehru, G.K. Han­doo, explained lat­er to the Kapur Com­mis­sion in its inves­ti­ga­tion of Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion what should have been done to pro­tect him from his assas­sins. Han­doo said the gov­ern­ment had a secu­ri­ty blue­print to fol­low in such mat­ters. . . . Yet in the ten days between the bomb­ing and Gand­hi’s mur­der, no such stan­dard secu­ri­ty mea­sures were tak­en to pro­tect him. Nehru and Patel did not deploy their secu­ri­ty police as they would have done nor­mal­ly in such a situation—as was in fact done for them­selves imme­di­ate­ly after Gand­hi’s mur­der, out of con­cern for their own lives. At a crit­i­cal time, under a clear­ly iden­ti­fied threat, they failed to pro­tect the life of the man they, their coun­try, and the world most revered. . . .”
  16. V.D. Savarkar was charged as a defen­dant in the mur­der of Gand­hi, but was pro­tect­ed by Godse and Apte. ” . . . . Savarkar was among those charged with Gand­hi’s mur­der, Digam­bar Badge, who turned state’s evi­dence, tes­ti­fied in the mur­der tri­al about God­se’s and Apte’s meet­ings with Savarkar. Savarkar, how­ev­er, was found not guilty because of a lack of cor­rob­o­ra­tive evi­dence. Godse and Apte pro­tect­ed Savarkar all the way to their exe­cu­tions, deny­ing vehe­ment­ly any con­nec­tion with Savarkar in the con­spir­a­cy. . . .”
  17. Feign­ing loy­al­ty to Gand­hi, Savarkar read a state­ment to the court bemoan­ing his fate. Godse, on the oth­er hand, was allowed to read a nine-hour state­ment in court jus­ti­fy­ing and explain­ing his actions in killing Gand­hi. It appears that Savarkar may well have been a major con­trib­u­tor to the com­po­si­tion of his pro­tege’s ora­tion. ” . . . Tushar Gand­hi observed:  ‘The lan­guage of the state­ment leads one to the con­clu­sion that much of it either flows direct­ly from the pen of the mas­ter ora­tor and wiz­ard word­smith, V.D. Savarkar, or was def­i­nite­ly embell­ished by him. Savarkar pos­sessed a mag­i­cal com­mand over the spo­ken and writ­ten word. Even if not entire­ly writ­ten by Savarkar, the final draft was sure­ly worked on by him con­vert­ing it into a high­ly emo­tion­al­ly charged doc­u­ment’ . . .  The fact that Judge Atma Cha­ran allowed Nathu­ram Godse, Gand­hi’s con­fessed assas­sin, to speak for nine hours, in an ide­o­log­i­cal assault on Gand­hi and a judi­cial defense of Savarkar, shows just how much the court was sub­servient to the polit­i­cal pow­er of Gand­hi’s mur­der­ers. . . . .”
  18. The judge’s sanc­tion­ing of God­se’s nine-hour dia­tribe against Gand­hi, the man for whose mur­der he was stand­ing tri­al, exem­pli­fied the sanc­ti­fied nature of Savarkar, the RSS, the Hin­du Mahasab­ha and the Hin­dut­va fas­cists behind Gand­hi’s killing. “. . . . Why did the judge give Godse a court­room plat­form from which he could launch an extend­ed attack on the rep­u­ta­tion of the man he had already shot to death? When Godse, and in effect, Savarkar, were allowed to attack Gand­hi in a nine-hoour court­room dia­tribe, the defen­dants became the pros­e­cu­tion. It was a clear pre­lude to Savarkar being declared not guilty by the judge. . . .”
  19. Infor­ma­tion sur­fac­ing after the tri­al con­firms that the author­i­ties were com­plic­it in cov­er­ing up the mur­der. ” . . . .  It was only after Savarkar’s death in 1966 that a gov­ern­ment com­mis­sion review­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion revealed that the cor­rob­o­ra­tive evi­dence to con­vict Savarkar had been in the gov­ern­men­t’s pos­ses­sion all along. On March 4, 1948, three months before the Gand­hi mur­der tri­al began, Savarkar’s body­guard, Appa Ram­chan­dra Kasar, and his sec­re­tary, Bajanan Vish­nu Damle, gave record­ed state­ments to the Bom­bay police con­firm­ing that meet­ings between Savarkar, Godse, and Apte had in fact tak­en place before the assas­si­na­tion. Kasar and Damle also revealed that Savarkar had addi­tion­al meet­ings in Jan­u­ary with his oth­er indict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors, Karkare, Pahawa, Badge, and Parchure. . . .When sum­ma­riz­ing evi­dence ting Savar­ka into the plot, Jus­tice Kapur stat­ed in his report: ‘All these facts tak­en togeth­er were destruc­tive of any the­o­ry oth­er than the con­spir­a­cy to mur­der [Gand­hi] by Savarkar and his group.’ . . .”
  20. Both Nehru and Patel had the damn­ing infor­ma­tion in hand with­in a month of the assas­si­na­tion: ” . . . Home min­is­ter Patel and Prime Min­is­ter Nehru soon learned that Savarkar was behind Gand­hi’s mur­der. Less than a month after the assas­si­na­tion, Patel wrote to Nehru: ‘It was a fanat­i­cal wing of the Hin­du Mahasab­ha direct­ly under Savarkar that [hatched] the con­spir­a­cy and saw it through.’ . . . Yet gov­ern­ment pros­e­cu­tors nev­er called to the mur­der tri­al’s wit­ness stand either Savarkar’s body­guard, Kasar, or his sec­re­tary, Damle. . . . ”
  21. A fun­da­men­tal ques­tion looms over our pre­sen­ta­tion of the facts con­cern­ing Gand­hi’s killing: ” . . . .  So why did the gov­ern­ment hold back crit­i­cal evi­dence that would con­vict­ed Savarkar? . . . Why did Morar­ji Desai, a promi­nent offi­cial who would even­tu­al­ly become Indi­a’s prime min­is­ter, defer to the defen­dant, Savarkar, rather than sim­ply ‘give the full facts’ about the fur­ther evi­dence Desai had on Savarkar?  Why was it ‘for him [Savarkar, the defen­dant] to decide’ what Desai, the gov­ern­ment offi­cer in charge, was pre­pared but reluc­tant to tes­ti­fy?
  22. Dou­glass’s reflec­tions on Desai’s behav­ior: ” . . . This court­room encounter, delet­ed from the tri­al record but report­ed by ‘The Times of India’ jour­nal­ist in atten­dance, sug­gests the unspeak­able pow­er that Savarkar retained even as Gand­hi’s charged assas­sin. The loom­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that Savarkar would be con­vict­ed on the evi­dence threat­ened the gov­ern­ment pros­e­cut­ing him. It was for Savarkar to decide what Desai should say on the wit­ness stand. . . .This court­room encounter, delet­ed from the tri­al record but report­ed by ‘The Times of India’ jour­nal­ist in atten­dance, sug­gests the unspeak­able pow­er that Savarkar retained even as Gand­hi’s charged assas­sin. The loom­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that Savarkar would be con­vict­ed on the evi­dence threat­ened the gov­ern­ment pros­e­cut­ing him. . . .”
  23. Savarkar’s polit­i­cal rep­u­ta­tion has been bur­nished by the RSS and its polit­i­cal cat’s paw the BJP. Fur­ther­more the BJP has insti­tut­ed an Orwellian re-write of Indi­an school text books. ” . . . . Once the BJP took pow­er through a ruth­less, anti-Mus­lim strat­e­gy, it set out to rewrite his­to­ry. BJP writ­ers revised school text­books to con­vey a Hin­du nation­al­ist slant in the his­to­ry of India. Some things were bet­ter left unsaid. The new his­to­ry books sim­ply omit­ted Gand­hi’s by RSS mem­ber Godse.
  24. More about the Orwellian re-write of Savarkar’s his­to­ry: ” . . . . The BJP also used its pow­er in Del­hi to revise the dark his­to­ry of its ide­o­log­i­cal source, recre­at­ing Savarkar as a brave patri­ot. On May 4, 2002, BJP leader L.K. Advani, who had become the gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, offi­cial­ly renamed Port Blair air­port in the Andaman Islands as ‘Veer Savarkar Air­port.’ The gov­ern­ment then unveiled a plaque in hon­or of Savarkar at the site of his cell at Port Blair. In 2003, the gov­ern­ment placed Savarkar’s por­trait in the Cen­tral Hall of Par­lia­ment House in New Del­hi. The BJP was try­ing to trans­form Savarkar in the pub­lic mind from the mas­ter­mind of Gand­hi’s mur­der into a myth­i­cal lib­er­a­tor of the coun­try. . . .”
  25. Mus­lim activist Sha­heed Suhrwardy was an ally of Gand­hi’s in his attempt to end Mus­lim-Hin­du vio­lence in India and Pak­istan.
  26. Orig­i­nal­ly tar­get­ed by the par­tic­i­pants in the 1/20/1948 assas­si­na­tion attempt on Gand­hi, Suhrawardy became a prime Pak­istani advo­cate for democ­ra­cy after work­ing with Gand­hi to tamp down Hin­du-Mus­lim vio­lence in the wake of the par­ti­tion of India and Pak­istan.
  27. Dri­ven out of Pak­istan, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Suhrawardy died under mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances in Lebanon after receiv­ing word of plot­ting against his life by ele­ments of the Pak­istani nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus.

NB: Dou­glass’s impor­tant (and yet short) text has some invalu­able insights into Gand­hi’s spir­i­tu­al orientation–the foun­da­tion of his polit­i­cal out­look. We do not have time to go into those here. We strong­ly rec­om­mend that peo­ple buy the book. (Nei­ther Mr. Emory nor any of the sta­tions that car­ry the pro­gram get any mon­ey from this. In addi­tion to an emphat­ic rec­om­men­da­tion that listeners/readers buy the book, we rec­om­mend that fur­ther insight into Gand­hi’s out­look and method­ol­o­gy can be gained from Erik Erik­son’s Gand­hi’s Truth: On the Ori­gins of Mil­i­tant Non­vi­o­lence.

1. Ini­tial­ly a rev­o­lu­tion­ary oppo­nent of the British colo­nial author­i­ty, V.D. Savarkar under­went a meta­mor­pho­sis, in which he came to . . . . hope for an Indo-British alliance based on a shared racial back­ground that would trans­form the British Empire into the ‘Aryan Empire.’ . . . . he and oth­er rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­ers were now ready and will­ing to be friends of the British Empire if it equipped India with a form of gov­ern­ment vital for her free­dom. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; p. 48.

. . . . Dur­ing his soli­tary con­fine­ment at Port Blair, Savarkar’s ide­ol­o­gy turned away from rebel­lion against the empire. In Sep­tem­ber 1914, he wrote a let­ter to the British gov­ern­ment in India express­ing his hope for an Indo-British alliance based on a shared racial back­ground that would trans­form the British Empire into the “Aryan Empire.” He wrote that he and oth­er rev­o­lu­tion­ary lead­ers were now ready and will­ing to be friends of the British Empire if it equipped India with a form of gov­ern­ment vital for her free­dom. . . .

2. Next, we high­light the found­ing of the RSS by Savarkar acolyte K.B. Hedge­war: ” . . . . Hedge­war con­sult­ed with Savarkar on how to imple­ment his Hin­du nation­al­ist vision. Fol­low­ing their dis­cus­sion, Hedge­war found­ed the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS), ‘the Orga­ni­za­tion of Nation­al Vol­un­teers,’ whose innocu­ous name cov­ered an orga­ni­za­tion that con­scious­ly copied the strat­e­gy of Mus­solin­i’s fas­cist Black­shirts. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; p. 51.

. . . . One of Savarkar’s ear­ly vis­i­tors in Rat­na­giri in March 1925 was K.B. Hedge­war, a med­ical prac­ti­tion­er inspired by Savarkar’s recent­ly pub­lihsed Hin­dut­va [Hin­dut­va: What Is a Hin­du?] Hedge­war con­sult­ed with Savarkar on how to imple­ment his Hin­du nation­al­ist vision. Fol­low­ing their dis­cus­sion, Hedge­war found­ed the Rashtriya Swayam­se­vak Sangh (RSS), “the Orga­ni­za­tion of Nation­al Vol­un­teers,” whose innocu­ous name cov­ered an orga­ni­za­tion that con­scious­ly copied the strat­e­gy of Mus­solin­i’s fas­cist Black­shirts. The RSS would become infa­mous by ter­ror­iz­ing Mus­lims to gain polit­i­cal pow­er in India at the end of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. . . .

3. Gand­hi’s future assassin–Nathuram Godse–parlayed copy­ing the writ­ings of Savarkar to becom­ing his per­son­al sec­re­tary and head­ing an “aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ment” of a branch of the RSS.

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; p. 53.

. . . . In 1929 Vinayak Godse, a postal work­er, was trans­ferred to Rat­na­giri. Three days after the Godse Fam­i­ly’s arrival in town, Vinayak’s nine­teen-year-old son, Nathu­ram, vis­it­ed Savarkar for the first time. As Nathu­ram’s younger broth­er and co-con­spir­a­tor in Gand­hi’s mur­der, Gopal, has writ­ten, Nathu­ram then “went to [Savarkar] often . . . Nathu­ram glad­ly under­took the work of copy­ing the writ­ings of Veer [mean­ing “brave”] Savarkar. “Impressed by Nathu­ram’s devo­tion, Savarkar appoint­ed him as his sec­re­tary.” Nathu­ram also joined the RSS, even­tu­al­ly head­ing the “aca­d­e­m­ic depart­ment” of one of its branch­es. Natahu­ram Godse had dis­cov­ered his life­long vocation—following, pro­mot­ing, and car­ry­ing out Savarkar’s teach­ing. . . . 

 4. One of the orga­ni­za­tions that worked close­ly with the RSS and which was a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of the RSS’s mil­i­tary sub­stance and lat­er promi­nence in the nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment of the Indi­an state was the Hin­du Mahasab­ha. “. . . . In the 1930s, Savarkar helped cre­ate the anti-Mus­lim, mil­i­tary ori­ent­ed Hin­du Mahasab­ha orga­ni­za­tion. . . . When the Sec­ond World War began, Savarkar urged Hin­du youths to join the British-led armed forces so they could be “re-born into a mar­tial race. His 1940s slo­gan wed Hin­du nation­al­ism with the war effort: ‘Hind­huise all pol­i­tics and mil­i­ta­rize Hin­du­dom.’ . . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 53–54.

. . . . In the 1930s, Savarkar helped cre­ate the anti-Mus­lim, mil­i­tary ori­ent­ed Hin­du Mahasab­ha orga­ni­za­tion. He was Mahasab­ha pres­i­dent from 1937 through 1944. When the Sec­ond World War began, Savarkar urged Hin­du youths to join the British-led armed forces so they could be “re-born into a mar­tial race. His 1940s slo­gan wed Hin­du nation­al­ism with the war effort: “Hind­huise all pol­i­tics and mil­i­ta­rize Hin­du­dom.” . . . .

5. The Hin­du Mahasab­ha RSS deeply infil­trat­ed the nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus of the fledg­ling Hin­du state, set­ting the stage for Gand­hi’s mur­der: ” . . . Savarkar’s fol­low­ers held cab­i­net and admin­is­tra­tive posi­tions in the gov­ern­ment. Hin­du Mahasab­ha and RSS extrem­ists had also infil­trat­ed Indi­a’s secu­ri­ty forces. Key police offi­cials were more com­mit­ted to an exclu­sive­ly Hin­du nation than they were to Gand­hi’s demo­c­ra­t­ic ide­al of a diverse, sec­u­lar union. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 57–58.

. . . . Hav­ing become in Jan­u­ary 1948 the Mus­lims’ defend­er in Del­hi, Indi­a’s Hin­du-dom­i­nat­ed cap­i­tal, Gand­hi was in deep­en­ing dan­ger. The Hin­du right had allied itself with ele­ments of Gandi’s own Con­gress Par­ty. Savarkar’s fol­low­ers held cab­i­net and admin­is­tra­tive posi­tions in the gov­ern­ment. Hin­du Mahasab­ha and RSS extrem­ists had also infil­trat­ed Indi­a’s secu­ri­ty forces. Key police offi­cials were more com­mit­ted to an exclu­sive­ly Hin­du nation than they were to Gand­hi’s demo­c­ra­t­ic ide­al of a diverse, sec­u­lar union. They could not be count­ed on to pro­tect the life of a pre­sum­ably pro-Mus­lim satya­grahi, when he was attacked by forces the police sym­pa­thized with. The state police pro­vid­ed the con­text of Gand­hi’s mur­der. . . .

6. A key devel­op­ment in the pro­gres­sion of events cul­mi­nat­ing in Gand­hi’s mur­der was a pre­vi­ous assas­si­na­tion plot against him. Although this plot failed, the group of assas­sins-to-be (includ­ing Nathu­ram Godse) regrouped and suc­cess­ful­ly mur­dered Gand­hi in New Del­hi days lat­er.

Gand­hi’s killing took place in spite of the fact that Madan­lala Pah­wa, one of the con­spir­a­tors in the ear­li­er, failed plot, rolled over and became state’s evi­dence! The author­i­ties knew what was to take place and yet, did noth­ing!

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; p. 59.

. . . . Two days before announced his Del­hi fast, Godse and Apte had already ordered the arse­nal they would use for their assas­si­na­tion plot. On Jan­u­ary 10, they placed the order with Digam­bar Badge, an arms sales­man in Poona. They told Badge to have the nec­es­sary explo­sives, revolvers, and hand grenades deliv­ered to them by Jan­u­ary 14 at the Hin­du Mahasab­ha office in Bom­bay. Savarkar had moved to Bom­bay, where the assas­sins would seek their men­tor’s final instruc­tions and bless­ing. On the night of Jan­u­ary 12, when Godse and Apte read the announce­ment of Gahd­hi’s fast from their teleprint­er, they set Jan­u­ary 20 as their tar­get date for mur­der­ing the Mahat­ma. . . .

 7. The Jan­u­ary 20 (1948) attempt on Gand­hi was to involve an ini­tial explo­sion intend­ed as a diver­sion, fol­lowed by shots fired from hand­guns and mul­ti­ple hand grenades. Arms deal­er Badge changed his mind and declined to par­tic­i­pate at the last moment.

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 72–73.

. . . . On the morn­ing of Jan­u­ary 20, Apte, Badge, and Badge’s ser­vant Shankar went to Bir­la House as a scout­ing par­ty for the assas­si­na­tion attempt late that after­noon. On the grounds, Apte sud­den­ly indi­cat­ed to Badge “a stoutish gen­tle­man dressed up in a black suit” whom they spot­ted walk­ing out of a build­ing. “This is that Suhrawardy,” Apte whis­pered, iden­ti­fy­ing one of their tar­gets. As Badge tes­ti­fied in the mur­der tri­al, “Apte [repeat­ing Savarkar] said that so far as pos­si­ble both Gand­hi­ji and Suhrawardy should be  ‘fin­ished.’ He fur­ther said that, if it was not pos­si­ble to ‘fin­ish’ both of hem, then at least one of them must be ‘fin­ished.’”

The three men sur­veyed the prayer ground and the back access to the ser­vants’ quar­ters (where through the trel­lis of a ven­ti­la­tor, one unseen assas­sin could shoot a pray­ing Gand­hi from only four or five steps behind him, while anoth­er could throw a hand grenade, blow­ing up Gand­hi and any­one near him.)

In the after­noon, the sev­en con­spir­a­tors met in a room of the Mari­na Hotel in Del­hi. After accept­ing sug­ges­tions from Badge and Karkare, Apte final­ized their instruc­tions to mur­der Gand­hi and his com­pan­ions at his prayer meet­ing: Madan­lal Pah­wa was to explode a gun­cot­ton bomb on a rear wall to pan­ic the crowd. As soon as the bomb went off and con­fu­sion erupt­ed, Badge and Shankar would shoot Gand­hi from the ser­vants’ quar­ters, shield­ed by the ven­ti­la­tor. Each of them would also throw a hand grenade at Gand­hi.

 Apte told Gopal Godse, Nathu­ram’s younger broth­er, as well as Pah­wa and Karkare, to throw their remain­ing hand grenades on Gand­hi at the same time. Thus even if the two shoot­ers failed to kill Gand­hi, five assas­sins would be hurl­ing hand grenades at him (and hope­ful­ly Suhrawardy beside him.) . . . .

. . . . Badge, how­ev­er, had devel­oped cold feet. He went aside, and wrapped his and Shankar’s revolvers in a tow­el along with their two hand grenades. He put the tow­el with its incrim­i­nat­ing con­tents in a hand­bag. He stowed the hand­bag under the back seat of a wait­ing taxi. Then he rejoined Apte and Godse and went into the meet­ing, keep­ing his hands in his side pock­ets as if he were still car­ry­ing his weapons. . . .

8. After the det­o­na­tion of the diver­sion­ary gun cot­ton charge, the con­spir­a­cy failed to mate­ri­al­ize. Madan­lal Pah­wa, in charge of det­o­nat­ing the explo­sive, was cap­tured and, as will be seen, dis­closed to the author­i­ties who the plot­ters were and that they would try again.

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 74–75.

. . . . From the audi­ence, Apte then sig­naled Pah­wa to begin the assas­si­na­tion sce­nario. The young man obe­di­ent­ly ignit­ed the fuse for the gun­cot­ton charge in the back wall.

As the fuse burned down to the charge, Gand­hi was draw­ing a par­al­lel between the treat­ment of minori­ties in Amer­i­ca and in India: “In Amer­i­ca, Negroes are still treat­ed cru­el­ly as if they were slaves, and yet the Amer­i­cans indulge in tall talk about social equal­i­ty. They do not real­ize the injus­tice of their actions. . . . We assume we are bet­ter peo­ple and can­not do such things. And yet, think of what hap­pens here.”

A deaf­en­ing explo­sion sud­den­ly shook the prayer ground. A large chunk of the back wall col­lapsed. Smoke and dust rose in the air. The two God­ses, Apte, and Karkare wait­ed anx­ious­ly for Badge and Shankar to launch their attack on Gand­hi.

Gand­hi raised his hand. He ges­tured to the crowd to calm down. The peo­ple returned to their places. The secret­ly dis­armed Badge and Shankar did noth­ing. Wit­ness­es point­ed out Pah­wa to the police. While Pah­wa was being arrest­ed, all six of his co-con­spir­a­tors melt­ed into the crowd and escaped.

 Madan­lal Pah­wa was inter­ro­gat­ed ini­tial­ly at Bir­la House. In response to the police’s ques­tions, he gave only one answer—that he explod­ed the bomb “because I did not like Gahd­hi­ji’s pol­i­cy of main­tain­ing peace and friend­ship.” . . . .

. . . . Gand­hi was under no illu­sion that Pah­wa’s arrest meant the threat was over. When he was told a co-work­er had said the explo­sion at the prayer meet­ing might turn out to have been noth­ing but a harm­less prank, Gand­hi laughed at the thought. He exclaimed, “The fool! Don’t you see? There  is a ter­ri­ble and wide­spread con­spir­a­cy behind it.” . . .

While his co-work­ers went about their busi­ness, Gand­hi pre­pared to meet his death. . . .

9. As high­light­ed above, Madan­lal Pah­wa dis­closed the entire assas­si­na­tion plot to the author­i­ties: ” . . . . At a Del­hi police sta­tion, Pah­wa soon con­fessed the entire plot to his inter­roga­tors. He named for the police one of the con­spir­a­tors, whom he called ‘Kirkree’ (his men­tor, Karkare). In describ­ing each of his six com­pan­ions, he said one of them was a defin­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Nathu­ram Godse, whom he knew under the pseu­do­nym ‘Desh­pande.’

 Pah­wa led the police to the room in the Mari­na Hotel where Godse and Apte, who were reg­is­tered under ‘S, and M. Desh­pande,’ had held their final plan­ning ses­sion with the oth­ers. . . . Pah­wa’s co-con­spir­a­tors were linked with the Hin­du Mahasab­ha. Laun­dry that the room’s occu­pants had giv­en to the hotel for wash­ing includ­ed three items bear­ing the ini­tials ‘NVG’ (stand­ing for ‘Nathu­ram Vinayak Godse’).

 The impor­tance of all this evi­dence iden­ti­fy­ing Gand­hi’s would-be assas­sins was under­lined by a chill­ing state­ment Madan­lal Pah­wa made to the police: ‘They will come again.’ . . .

. . . . Incrim­i­nat­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion was in the hands of the police. Pah­wa was warn­ing that the killers would return. More­over, Madan­lal Pah­wa ha already divulged the plot to kill Gand­hi the week before the con­spir­a­tors even tried to car­ry it out. . . .

. . . . On hear­ing Jain’s sto­ry, Home Min­is­ter Desai had, he said lat­er, ‘a strong feel­ing that Savarkar was behind the con­spir­a­cy.’ Desai said he passed on Jain’s infor­ma­tion that night to his deputy police com­mis­sion­er, J.D.Nagarvala, order­ing him, first, ‘to arrest Karkare’ (Karkare had an out­stand­ing war­rant for his arrest in anoth­er case but had not yet been found), sec­ond, ‘to keep a close watch on Savarkar’s house and his move­ments,’ and third, ‘to find out as to who were the per­sons involved in the plot.’ Desai said he also shared Jain’s infor­ma­tion on the plot the next day, Jan­u­ary 22, 1948, in Ahmed­abad, with the Indi­an Union gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, Val­lab­hb­hai Patel, who was in charge of the nation­al gov­ern­men­t’s secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus. . . .

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 75–77.

. . . . Nathu­ram Godse and Naryan Apte retreat­ed to Bom­bay, where they suc­ceed­ed in reunit­ing with their clos­est cohort, Vish­nu Karkare. In the mean­time, those whom Godse and Apte had left in charge of their news­pa­per, Hin­du Rash­tra, report­ed the assas­si­na­tion attempt as the work of anti-Gand­hi refugees.  Hin­du Rash­tra’s head­line pro­claimed: “Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Reac­tion Shown by Enraged Hin­du Refugees Against the Appease­ment Pol­i­cy of Gand­hi­ji.” Fix­ing the blame for the mur­der attempt—or from the stand­point of Gand­hi’s ene­mies, the credit—on refugees was easy. The only con­spri­ra­tor seized by the police was Madan­lal Pah­wa.

At a Del­hi police sta­tion, Pah­wa soon con­fessed the entire plot to his inter­roga­tors. He named for the police one of the con­spir­a­tors, whom he called “Kirkree” (his men­tor, Karkare). In describ­ing each of his six com­pan­ions, he said one of them was a defin­i­tive iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Nathu­ram Godse, whom he knew under the pseu­do­nym “Desh­pande.”

 Pah­wa led the police to the room in the Mari­na Hotel where Godse and Apte, who were reg­is­tered under “S, and M. Desh­pande,” had held their final plan­ning ses­sion with the oth­ers. When the police searched the room, they found in a draw­er a typed press release from a Hin­du Mahasab­ha leader, Ashutosh Lahiri, that repu­di­at­ed “his orga­ni­za­tion hav­ing signed the nine-point pledge required by Gand­hi­ji.” The press release said the Hin­du Mahasa­ha was “opposed to the basic pol­i­cy of Mahat­ma Gand­hi and his fol­low­ers in regard to the treat­ment met­ed out to Mus­lim minori­ties in India.” Here was an impor­tant clue that Pah­wa’s co-con­spir­a­tors were linked with the Hin­du Mahasab­ha. Laun­dry that the room’s occu­pants had giv­en to the hotel for wash­ing includ­ed three items bear­ing the ini­tials “NVG” (stand­ing for “Nathu­ram Vinayak Godse”).

 The impor­tance of all this evi­dence iden­ti­fy­ing Gand­hi’s would-be assas­sins was under­lined by a chill­ing state­ment Madan­lal Pah­wa made to the police: “They will come again.” Nathu­ram Godse, in the com­pa­ny of Apte and Karkare, would ful­fill Pah­wa’s prophe­cy to the police by shoot­ing Gand­hi to death on Jan­u­ary 30.

How was that to hap­pen?

Incrim­i­nat­ing, iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion was in the hands of the police. Pah­wa was warn­ing that the killers would return.

More­over, Madan­lal Pah­wa ha already divulged the plot to kill Gand­hi the week before the con­spir­a­tors even tried to car­ry it out. He had told his employ­er in Bom­bay, Pro­fes­sor J.C. Jain, about his upcom­ing role, “throw­ing a bomb” as a diver­sion at Gand­hi’s prayer meet­ing, so that his asso­ciates could kill Gand­hi. Jain thought Pah­wa was just mak­ing up the sto­ry, until he was shocked to read a Jan­u­ary 21 news­pa­per arti­cle about Pah­wa’s arrest for the bomb­ing inci­dent. Jain then man­aged to meet with B.G. Kher, pre­mier of the province of Bom­bay, and Morar­ji Desai, home min­is­ter of the province of Bom­bay. He had suc­ceed­ed in gain­ing the atten­tion of the two most impor­tant gov­ern­ment offi­cials in Bom­bay on the urgent mat­ter of Gand­hi’s impend­ing assas­si­na­tion, over a week before it would hap­pen. Jain informed the gov­ern­ment lead­ers that he knew from Pah­wa that the bomb­ing was part of what “appeared to be a big con­spir­a­cy” to kill Gand­hi: “Madan­lal had told me that [the con­spir­a­tors] had formed a par­ty, which was financed by one Karkare from Ahmed­na­gar,” who had vis­it­ed him along with Pah­wa. A fur­ther con­nec­tion was Savarkar, who Pah­wa said had met with him for two hours, rais­ing the young Hin­du refugee for exploits such as his attempt to dyna­mite the house of a Mus­lim.

On hear­ing Jain’s sto­ry, Home Min­is­ter Desai had, he said lat­er, “a strong feel­ing that Savarkar was behind the con­spir­a­cy.” Desai said he passed on Jain’s infor­ma­tion that night to his deputy police com­mis­sion­er, J.D.Nagarvala, order­ing him, first, “to arrest Karkare” (Karkare had an out­stand­ing war­rant for his arrest in anoth­er case but had not yet been found), sec­ond, “to keep a close watch on Savarkar’s house and his move­ments,” and third, “to find out as  to who were the per­sons involved in the plot.” Desai said he also shared Jain’s infor­ma­tion on the plot the next day, Jan­u­ary 22, 1948, in Ahmed­abad, with the Indi­an Union gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, Val­lab­hb­hai Patel, who was in charge of the nation­al gov­ern­men­t’s secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus. . . .

10. Despite Pah­wa’s dis­clo­sure of the nature of the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al milieu involved with the 1/20/1948 plot and his state­ment that they would try again, noth­ing was done: ” . . . . . . . . Pyare­lal [Gand­hi’s sec­re­tary] told the Kapur Com­mis­sion [inves­ti­gat­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion] that, apart from the added offi­cers, he “could not say whether any spe­cial [police] pre­cau­tions were tak­en after the bomb was thrown. How­ev­er, he was cer­tain of one thing: ‘Mahat­ma would have been pro­tect­ed if the police had arrest­ed those per­sons about whom indi­ca­tions had been giv­en in Madan­lal’s state­ment.’ Why did­n’t the police car­ry out such arrests?  As of Jan­u­ary 21, both the Del­hi police and the Bom­bay police had in their pos­ses­sion state­ments iden­ti­fy­ing key mem­bers of the ongo­ing con­spir­a­cy to kill Gand­hi. More­over, they were in touch with one anoth­er. Yet for nine days the assas­sins moved about freely, until three of them, Apte, Godse, and Karkare, returned on the 30th to anoth­er prayer meet­ing in Del­hi, where Godse then killed Gand­hi. For that to hap­pen, with­out any inter­ven­ing arrests to pre­vent the assas­si­na­tion, strange events had to occur. And they did. . . .”

The police remained silent about the details of the plot and plot­ters when com­mu­ni­cat­ing with their supe­ri­ors.

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 78–79.

. . . . Pyare­lal [Gand­hi’s sec­re­tary] told the Kapur Com­mis­sion [inves­ti­gat­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion] that, apart from the added offi­cers, he “could not say whether any spe­cial [police] pre­cau­tions were tak­en after the bomb was thrown. How­ev­er, he was cer­tain of one thing: “Mahat­ma would have been pro­tect­ed if the police had arrest­ed those per­sons about whom indi­ca­tions had been giv­en in Madan­lal’s state­ment.”

 . . . . Why did­n’t the police car­ry out such arrests?

 As of Jan­u­ary 21, both the Del­hi police and the Bom­bay police had in their pos­ses­sion state­ments iden­ti­fy­ing key mem­bers of the ongo­ing con­spir­a­cy to kill Gand­hi. More­over, they were in touch with one anoth­er. Yet for nine days the assas­sins moved about freely, until three of them, Apte, Godse, and Karkare, returned on the 30th to anoth­er prayer meet­ing in Del­hi, where Godse then killed Gand­hi.

 For that to hap­pen, with­out any inter­ven­ing arrests to pre­vent the assas­si­na­ton, strange events had to occur. And they did.

 On Jan­u­ary 21, Del­hi’s inspec­tor gen­er­al of police, T.G. San­je­vi, sent two of his offi­cers to Bom­bay to brief the Bom­bay deputy police com­mis­sion­er, J.D. Nagar­vala, on Pah­wa’s con­fes­sion. The Del­hi offi­cers claimed that when they saw the Bom­bay com­mis­sion­er, Nagar­vala, on the next two days, he met with them only per­func­to­ri­ly. In return, they sim­ply gave him an Eng­lish note on the case (which Nagar­vala denied receiv­ing). They did “not oral­ly tell Mr. Nagar­vala what was with­in their knowl­edge,” includ­ing Pah­wa’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the edi­tor of the Poona news­pa­per, the Hin­du Rash­tra or Agrani, as anoth­er co-con­spir­a­tor. The offi­cers told the com­mis­sion­er noth­ing they knew that would iden­ti­fy the assas­sins. Nor did Nagar­vala share with them the con­tents of the state­ment he already had from Pro­fes­sor Jain that also iden­ti­fied Pah­wa, Karkare, as well as their asso­ci­a­tion with Savarkar–” all point­ers to attempt­ed polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion by Savarkar’s fol­low­ers.” Each police con­tin­gent act­ed as if they were oblig­ed not to speak in a mean­ing­ful way, each claim­ing lat­er that non-coop­er­a­tion by the oth­er was to blame for Gand­hi’s death. Nagar­vala told the two vis­it­ing offi­cers that he had the inves­ti­ga­tion under con­trol and ordered them to return to Del­hi.

 In the mean­time, Nagar­vala’s Bom­bay police, fol­low­ing Morar­ji Desai’s orders were keep­ing what proved to be an inef­fec­tive watch on Savarkar’s home. Nagar­vala “stat­ed in his Crime Report No.1 that Savarkar was at the back of the con­spir­a­cy and that he was feign­ing ill­ness and was wrong­ly giv­ing out that he was out of pol­i­tics.”

 At this point, Gand­hi had just sev­en days left before his assas­sins would return. . . . .

11. We next set forth more detail about the remark­able and–for Gandhi–ultimately lethal appar­ent dis­in­ter­est on the part of the author­i­ties: ” . . . . Why did [Bom­bay deputy inspec­tor gen­er­al U.H.] Rana not give Nagar­vala the state­ment, pro­vid­ing fur­ther infor­ma­tion on Pah­wa’s co-con­spir­a­tors in the plot to kill Gandhi​?  And why did Nagar­vala not retain or copy the state­ment, or at the very least read it through?

 When it came to iden­ti­fy­ing the edi­tor and pro­pri­etor of the Hin­du Rash­tra, the igno­rance and dis­in­ter­est of the var­i­ous police offi­cials became even more puz­zling. The Kapur Com­mis­sion dis­cov­ered that the Indi­an gov­ern­ment had this infor­ma­tion in its files in Del­hi all along. Copies of the ‘Annu­al State­ment of News­pa­pers’ had been sent to both the Home Depart­ment and the Infor­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Depart­ment of the Gov­ern­ment of India. The news­pa­per named N.V. Godse as the edi­tor, and N.D. Apte as the pro­pri­etor, of the Hin­du Rash­tra, described by the doc­u­ment as ‘a Savarkarite group paper.’

Inspec­tor Gen­er­al T.G. San­je­vi was also the direc­tor of the Intel­li­gence Bureau, the high­est police job in India. For the ten days from Pah­wa’s cap­ture to Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, the list that iden­ti­fied Godse and Apte with the Hin­du Rash­tra was only a few steps away from San­je­vi in his own files. He nev­er took those steps. Nor did any oth­er police offi­cial. . . .

 . . . . The veil was lift­ed for a moment when Nagar­vala was asked why he did not arrest Savarkar or detain him. ‘His reply was that he could not do so before the mur­der as that would not only have caused com­mo­tion in the Maha­rash­tri­an region but an upheaval.’  Nagar­vala was admit­ting that before Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, he saw Savarkar and his fol­low­ers as too pow­er­ful to be stopped. From a police  stand­point, allow­ing Gand­hi’s assas­sins to move about freely until they killed him was a con­ces­sion to pow­er. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 79–82.

When the Del­hi police offi­cers returned from Bom­bay, hav­ing achieved noth­ing, The Kapur Report not­ed that they “should have at once tele­phoned or telegraphed to the Poona police, giv­ing them infor­ma­tion about the edi­tor of the Agrani and inquir­ing as to who he was, who his com­pan­ions were, what his activ­i­ties were and what his haunts were, and should have made a req­ui­si­tion for their arrest. All they did was sub­mit a report on their unsuc­cess­ful trip to Bom­bay.

Gand­hi had five days left to live.

Also on Jan­u­ary 25, Del­hi’s inspec­tor gen­er­al San­je­vi met with Bom­bay’s deputy inspec­tor gen­er­al, U.H. Rana, who hap­pened to be in Del­hi. San­je­vi gave Rana a copy of Pah­wa’s nost recent, Jan­u­ary 24 state­ment to the Del­hi police, to hand over per­son­al­ly to the Bom­bay police. Pah­wa had by this time men­tioned not only the edi­tor of the Hin­du Rash­tra (Godse) but also its “pro­pri­etor” or pub­lish­er (Apte) as his co-con­spir­a­tors.

 Rana depart­ed for Bom­bay on a mis­sion that was late but could still have saved Gand­hi’s life.  How­ev­er, he decid­ed to go by train instead of air. He said lat­er it was “because he did not like fly­ing.” He also chose a very long train route to Bom­bay, tak­ing him across half of India on a thir­ty-six-hour train ride. Dur­ing this time, Godse and Apte were actu­al­ly in Bom­bay, con­sult­ing with Savarkar and renew­ing their attempt to kill Gand­hi.

When Rana final­ly arrived in Bom­bay on Jan­u­ary 27, Godse and Apte had just left by plane for Del­hi. Gand­hi had three days left. Rana then met with Com­mis­sion­er Nagar­vala. Rana said he showed the “full state­ment of Madan­lal to Mr. Nagar­vala, but took it back from him and Mr. Nagar­vala did not read it through.” The Kapur Report observed that Nagar­vala “did not ask Mr. Rana as to the con­tents of the state­ment of Madan­lal because Mr. Rana appeared to be sat­is­fied with what he (Nagar­vala) had already done. This is rather a pecu­liar state­ment because Mr. Nagar­vala was work­ing out the infor­ma­tion giv­en by Pro­fes­sor Jain, which had been con­veyed to him by Mr. Morar­ji Desai, and Madan­lal’s state­ment at Del­hi would have been help­ful in work­ing out the infor­ma­tion.”

 Why did Rana not give Nagar­vala the state­ment, pro­vid­ing fur­ther infor­ma­tion on Pah­wa’s co-con­spir­a­tors in the plot to kill Gandhi​?

 And why did Nagar­vala not retain or copy the state­ment, or at the very least read it through?

 When it came to iden­ti­fy­ing the edi­tor and pro­pri­etor of the Hin­du Rash­tra, the igno­rance and dis­in­ter­est of the var­i­ous police offi­cials became even more puz­zling. The Kapur Com­mis­sion dis­cov­ered that the Indi­an gov­ern­ment had this infor­ma­tion in its files in Del­hi all along. Copies of the “Annu­al State­ment of News­pa­pers” had been sent to both the Home Depart­ment and the Infor­ma­tion and Broad­cast­ing Depart­ment of the Gov­ern­ment of India. The news­pa­per named N.V. Godse as the edi­tor, and N.D. Apte as the pro­pri­etor, of the Hin­du Rash­tra, described by the doc­u­ment as “a Savarkarite group paper.”

 Inspec­tor Gen­er­al T.G. San­je­vi was also the direc­tor of the Intel­li­gence Bureau, the high­est police job in India. For the ten days from Pah­wa’s cap­ture to Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, the list that iden­ti­fied Godse and Apte with the Hin­du Rash­tra was only a few steps away from San­je­vi in his own files. He nev­er took those steps. Nor did any oth­er police offi­cial.

 The Kapur Report com­ment­ed: “It would be unbe­liev­able if that thing did not hap­pen as it did, that Mr. U.H. Rana should have gone through the state­ment of Madan­lal along with Mr. San­je­vi, as Mr. San­je­vi’s note shows, and nei­ther of them should, on the 25th of Jan­u­ary, have tak­en the slight­est trou­ble to find out from the Intel­li­gence Bureau or the Press Infor­ma­tion Bureau who the pro­pri­etor (or edi­tor) of the Hin­du Rash­tra was.

 And so it went, in a police inves­ti­ga­tion marked by lethar­gy, delays, and offi­cial indif­fer­ence toward track­ing and arrest­ing the men who were stalk­ing Gand­hi. Pah­wa said they would come back, and they did. The police by their inac­tion gave the assas­sins anoth­er chance.

 Why?

 The veil was lift­ed for a moment when Nagar­vala was asked why he did not arrest Savarkar or detain him. “His reply was that he could not do so before the mur­der as that would not only have caused com­mo­tion in the Maha­rash­tri­an region but an upheaval.”

  Nagar­vala was admit­ting that before Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, he saw Savarkar and his fol­low­ers as too pow­er­ful to be stopped. From a police  stand­point, allow­ing Gand­hi’s assas­sins to move about freely until they killed him was a con­ces­sion to pow­er. . . .

12. In a speech by Nehru in Amrit­sar (the site of an ear­li­er mas­sacre of Gand­hi’s fol­low­ers by the British army), the future prime min­is­ter attacked the Hin­dut­va fas­cists and their orga­ni­za­tions by name, but the loud­speak­er con­ve­nient­ly mal­func­tioned, neu­tral­iz­ing the con­tent of his speech. ” . . . . He [Vin­cent Sheean] was also struck by what Nehru said in ‘a speech of great polit­i­cal impor­tance. It was the first time any mem­ber of the gov­ern­ment of India had open­ly attacked the Hin­du reac­tionary or pro­to-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions by name—those orga­ni­za­tions which were, with­in twen­ty-four hours, to take the life of Mahat­ma Gand­hi.’  . . . . Nehru’s speech was coura­geous, giv­en at a crit­i­cal junc­ture of his­to­ry. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, almost no one in the vast crowd heard it. In a strange turn of events, as Sheean wit­nessed, ‘the loud­speak­er appa­ra­tus failed and not a word of Mr. Nehru’s speech could be heard.’ . . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 84–86.

. . . . On Jan­u­ary 29, Vin­cent Sheean accom­pa­nied Jawa­har­lal Nehru to a mass meet­ing in Amrit­sar, near Indi­a’s north­west bor­der with Pak­istan. Four hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple gath­ered in a park to her their coun­try’s prime min­is­ter. Sheean from his spot near Nehru was awed by the sea of human­i­ty. He was also struck by what Nehru said in “a speech of great polit­i­cal impor­tance. It was the first time any mem­ber of the gov­ern­ment of India had open­ly attacked the Hin­du reac­tionary or pro­to-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions by name—those orga­ni­za­tions which were, with­in twen­ty-four hours, to take the life of Mahat­ma Gand­hi.”

As a bor­der city, Amrit­sar was filled with Hin­du and Sikh refugees from Pak­istan. Nehru’s audi­ence includ­ed a large num­ber of peo­ple seething with revenge against Mus­lim, whom they blamed for their plight. They were being egged on by the Hin­du Mahasab­ha and RSS orga­ni­za­tions that Nehru iden­ti­fied and attacked, on the eve of Gand­hi’s mur­der.

Nehru’s speech was coura­geous, giv­en at a crit­i­cal junc­ture of his­to­ry. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, almost no one in the vast crowd heard it. In a strange turn of events, as Sheean wit­nessed, “the loud­speak­er appa­ra­tus failed and not a word of Mr. Nehru’s speech could be heard.” . . . .

 . . . . On Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 30, Gand­hi’s last day on earth, Pyare­lal report­ed back to him the response of the Hin­du Mahasab­ha pres­i­dent, Dr. Shya­ma Prasad Mook­er­jee, as the for­mal head of Savarkar’s orga­ni­za­tion, was a min­is­ter in Nehru’s cabinet—a sign of the pow­er that the forces the prime min­is­ter denounced in his unheard speech the night before had gained in his own gov­ern­ment. Gand­hi had asked Mook­er­jee, if he would please use his author­i­ty, as the Mahasab­ha leader, to put a curb on the activ­i­ties of a Mahasab­ha work­er “who had been deliv­er­ing high­ly inflam­ma­to­ry speech­es con­tain­ing incite­ment to assas­si­na­tion of some Con­gress lead­ers.”

 Pyare­lal told Gand­hi Dr. Mook­er­jee’s “halt­ing and unsat­is­fac­to­ry reply: It seems he had under­es­ti­mat­ed the seri­ous­ness of the dan­ger rep­re­sent­ed by such irre­spon­si­ble utter­ances and activ­i­ties and the heavy toll they would exact before long.” . . . .

 13. Tushar Gand­hi, the Mahat­ma’s grand­son, attrib­ut­es the behav­ior of the police to their sym­pa­thy with the con­spir­a­to­r­i­al Hin­dut­va forces: ” . . . . Gand­hi’s great grand­son, Tushar Gand­hi, has writ­ten about police com­plic­i­ty in the assas­si­na­tion:

 ‘Accord­ing to a secret report sub­mit­ted to Home Min­is­ter Sar­dar Patel, many in the police force and many bureau­crats were secret mem­bers of the RSS and the Hin­du Mahasab­ha, and were active­ly sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing the ide­ol­o­gy of the Hin­du extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions. . . . The mea­sures tak­en by the police between 20th and 30th Jan­u­ary 1948 were more to ensure the smooth progress of the mur­der­ers, than to try and pre­vent [Gand­hi’s] mur­der. . . . In hind­sight, it can only be said that, in Gand­hi’s mur­der, the police, by their neg­li­gence and inac­tions, were as much guilty as the mur­der­ers them­selves. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 88–89.

. . . . Judge Atma Cha­ran, the pre­sid­ing judge in the tri­al for Gand­hi’s mur­der, deliv­ered a damn­ing judg­ment con­cern­ing the police’s role in abet­ting the assas­si­na­tion:

  . . . . “I may bring to the notice of the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment the slack­ness of the police in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the case dur­ing the peri­od between Jan­u­ary 20, 1948, and Jan­u­ary 30, 1948. The Del­hi Police had obtained a detailed state­ment from Madan­lal K. Pah­wa soon after his arrest on Jan­u­ary 20, 1948. The Bom­bay Police had also been report­ed [sic] the state­ment of Dr. J.C. Jain that he had made to the Hon­or­able Mr. Morar­ji Desai on Jan­u­ary 21, 1948. The Del­hi Police and the Bom­bay Police had con­tact­ed each oth­er soon after these two state­ments had been made. Yet the police mis­er­ably failed to derive any advan­tage from these two state­ments. Had the slight­est keen­ness been shown in the inves­ti­ga­tion of the case at that stage the tragedy prob­a­bly could have been avoid­ed.”

 Gand­hi’s great grand­son, Tushar Gand­hi, has writ­ten about police com­plic­i­ty in the assas­si­na­tion:

 “Accord­ing to a secret report sub­mit­ted to Home Min­is­ter Sar­dar Patel, many in the police force and many bureau­crats were secret mem­bers of the RSS and the Hin­du Mahasab­ha, and were active­ly sup­port­ing and pro­mot­ing the ide­ol­o­gy of the Hin­du extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tions. . . . The mea­sures tak­en by the police between 20th and 30th Jan­u­ary 1948 were more to ensure the smooth progress of the mur­der­ers, than to try and pre­vent [Gand­hi’s] mur­der. . . .

 In hind­sight, it can only be said that, in Gand­hi’s mur­der, the police, by their neg­li­gence and inac­tions, were as much guilty as the mur­der­ers them­selves. . . .”

 14. Gov­ern­ment lead­ers, includ­ing Nehru and Patel appear to have been pas­sive­ly com­plic­it in Gand­hi’s mur­der, through fail­ing to take nec­es­sary and, under the cir­cum­stances, oblig­a­tory secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures. ” . . . . To what degree were the gov­ern­men­t’s lead­ers also respon­si­ble for Gand­hi’s death? The offi­cial in charge of secu­ri­ty for Prime Min­is­ter Nehru, G.K. Han­doo, explained lat­er to the Kapur Com­mis­sion in its inves­ti­ga­tion of Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion what should have been done to pro­tect him from his assas­sins. Han­doo said the gov­ern­ment had a secu­ri­ty blue­print to fol­low in such mat­ters. . . . Yet in the ten days between the bomb­ing and Gand­hi’s mur­der, no such stan­dard secu­ri­ty mea­sures were tak­en to pro­tect him. Nehru and Patel did not deploy their secu­ri­ty police as they would have done nor­mal­ly in such a situation—as was in fact done for them­selves imme­di­ate­ly after Gand­hi’s mur­der, out of con­cern for their own lives. At a crit­i­cal time, under a clear­ly iden­ti­fied threat, they failed to pro­tect the life of the man they, their coun­try, and the world most revered. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 89–90.

To what degree were the gov­ern­men­t’s lead­ers also respon­si­ble for Gand­hi’s death?

 The offi­cial in charge of secu­ri­ty for Prime Min­is­ter Nehru, G.K. Han­doo, explained lat­er to the Kapur Com­mis­sion in its inves­ti­ga­tion of Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion what should have been done to pro­tect him from his assas­sins. Han­doo said the gov­ern­ment had a secu­ri­ty blue­print to fol­low in such mat­ters.

 Giv­en the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the con­spir­a­tors pro­vid­ed by Pah­wa and Jain after the bomb explo­sion. Han­doo said that Bom­bay and Poona police offi­cers (with their famil­iar­i­ty of Godse, Apte, and oth­er co-con­spir­a­tors) should have been enlist­ed as spot­ters. They should have been post­ed to watch for the assas­sins at the Del­hi air­port, rail­way sta­tions, hotels, and oth­er key Del­hi loca­tions, par­tic­u­lar­ly at Bir­la House dur­ing the prayer meet­ings. Two rings of plain­clothes secu­ri­ty police should have been formed to pro­tect Gand­hi, the first ring two to three yards from him, and the sec­ond ring twen­ty-five yards away.

 These were the kind of stan­dard gov­ern­ment secu­ri­ty mea­sures car­ried out for the prime min­is­ter and oth­er VIPs, espe­cial­ly in the con­text of the rec­og­nized threat. Gand­hi, con­sid­ered “the father of the nation,” more than qual­i­fied for such secu­ri­ty dur­ing the peri­od of Jan­u­ary 20–30, 1948, when a co-con­spir­a­tor in cus­tody had said repeat­ed­ly that Gand­hi’s assas­sins would return. As MP ques­tion­er Rohi­ni Chaud­hury point­ed out to Patel, Gand­hi’s con­sent to secu­ri­ty (except in the case of body search­es) was not required. Nor was Gand­hi adamant­ly opposed to a police pres­ence. He had agreed, in def­er­ence to Nehru’s and Patel’s bur­den of respon­si­bil­i­ty, to what­ev­er mea­sures they thought nec­es­sary for his secu­ri­ty (short of body search­es), “Let them do what­ev­er they like,” he had said.

Yet in the ten days between the bomb­ing and Gand­hi’s mur­der, no such stan­dard secu­ri­ty mea­sures were tak­en to pro­tect him. Nehru and Patel did not deploy their secu­ri­ty police as they would have done nor­mal­ly in such a situation—as was in fact done for them­selves imme­di­ate­ly after Gand­hi’s mur­der, out of con­cern for their own lives. At a crit­i­cal time, under a clear­ly iden­ti­fied threat, they failed to pro­tect the life of the man they, their coun­try, and the world most revered. . . .

 15. V.D. Savarkar was charged as a defen­dant in the mur­der of Gand­hi, but was pro­tect­ed by Godse and Apte. ” . . . . Savarkar was among those charged with Gand­hi’s mur­der, Digam­bar Badge, who turned state’s evi­dence, tes­ti­fied in the mur­der tri­al about God­se’s and Apte’s meet­ings with Savarkar. Savarkar, how­ev­er, was found not guilty because of a lack of cor­rob­o­ra­tive evi­dence. Godse and Apte pro­tect­ed Savarkar all the way to their exe­cu­tions, deny­ing vehe­ment­ly any con­nec­tion with Savarkar in the con­spir­a­cy. . . .”

Feign­ing loy­al­ty to Gand­hi, Savarkar read a state­ment to the court bemoan­ing his fate.

Godse, on the oth­er hand, was allowed to read a nine-hour state­ment in court jus­ti­fy­ing and explain­ing his actions in killing Gand­hi. It appears that Savarkar may well have been a major con­trib­u­tor to the com­po­si­tion of his pro­tege’s ora­tion. ” . . . Tushar Gand­hi observed:  ‘The lan­guage of the state­ment leads one to the con­clu­sion that much of it either flows direct­ly from the pen of the mas­ter ora­tor and wiz­ard word­smith, V.D. Savarkar, or was def­i­nite­ly embell­ished by him. Savarkar pos­sessed a mag­i­cal com­mand over the spo­ken and writ­ten word. Even if not entire­ly writ­ten by Savarkar, the final draft was sure­ly worked on by him con­vert­ing it into a high­ly emo­tion­al­ly charged doc­u­ment’ . . .  The fact that Judge Atma Cha­ran allowed Nathu­ram Godse, Gand­hi’s con­fessed assas­sin, to speak for nine hours, in an ide­o­log­i­cal assault on Gand­hi and a judi­cial defense of Savarkar, shows just how much the court was sub­servient to the polit­i­cal pow­er of Gand­hi’s mur­der­ers. . . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 90–94.

. . . . Savarkar was among those charged with Gand­hi’s mur­der, Digam­bar Badge, who turned state’s evi­dence, tes­ti­fied in the mur­der tri­al about God­se’s and Apte’s meet­ings with Savarkar. Savarkar, how­ev­er, was found not guilty because of a lack of cor­rob­o­ra­tive evi­dence. Godse and Apte pro­tect­ed Savarkar all the way to their exe­cu­tions, deny­ing vehe­ment­ly any con­nec­tion with Savarkar in the con­spir­a­cy.

Savarkar read a fifty-sev­en-page state­ment in his defense. In it, he told the sto­ry of his life, por­tray­ing him­self as a self-sac­ri­fic­ing patri­ot. He flat­ly denied all the charges against him. In con­clu­sion, he cit­ed state­ments he had made that he claimed showed his admi­ra­tion and affec­tion for Gand­hi.

 P.L. Inam­dar, a defense lawyer who pro­fessed a great admi­ra­tion for Savarkar, was tak­en aback by Savarkar’s per­for­mance in defense of him­self: “[Savarkar] read out the state­ment in the Court with all the gim­micks of an ora­tor bemoan­ing his fate of being charged with the mur­der of Mahat­ma­ji by the inde­pen­dent Indi­an gov­ern­ment, when he admired and eulo­gized the  per­son­al­i­ty of the Mahat­ma­ji so sin­cere­ly and so often. Savarkar actu­al­ly wiped his cheeks in court while read­ing this part of his ora­tion.”

 Although Savarkar was seat­ed next to Godse in the defen­dan­t’s dock, he total­ly ignored him and the oth­er defen­dants. Savarkar knew it was to his legal advan­tage if he act­ed as if he bore no rela­tion to his co-defen­dants, espe­cial­ly the con­fessed shoot­er of Gand­hi. Godse told friends how he “yearned for a touch of [Savarkar’s ] hand, a word of sym­pa­thy, or at least a look of com­pas­sion.” Godse, the trig­ger­man, main­tained his loy­al­ty to Savarkar to the gal­lows, pro­claim­ing his men­tor’s inno­cence to the end. While Godse in his court­room speech of defense derid­ed the pros­e­cu­tor because he “paint­ed me as a mere tool in the hands of Veer Savarkar,” his teacher sat impas­sive­ly, accord­ing to defense coun­sel Inam­dar, like “a sphinx sculpt­ed in stone.”

 Yet crit­ics have main­tained that Savarkar, in spite of his self-defen­sive, pub­lic cold­ness toward Godse, was actu­al­ly the com­pos­er of God­se’s sur­pris­ing­ly elo­quent, writ­ten state­ment. It took Godse nine hours to deliv­er his court­room speech. Tushar Gand­hi observed:

 “The lan­guage of the state­ment leads one to the con­clu­sion that much of it either flows direct­ly from the pen of the mas­ter ora­tor and wiz­ard word­smith, V.D. Savarkar, or was def­i­nite­ly embell­ished by him. Savarkar pos­sessed a mag­i­cal com­mand over the spo­ken and writ­ten word. Even if not entire­ly writ­ten by Savarkar, the final draft was sure­ly worked on by him con­vert­ing it into a high­ly emo­tion­al­ly charged doc­u­ment . . . . It was known that the accused were free to con­fer with each oth­er in prison, and on sev­er­al occa­sions guards had been caught smug­gling out mes­sages from the accused. There is no rea­son to believe that Nathu­ram was not able to get his men­tor and guru, V.D. Sar­varkar, to help him pol­ish what is today referred to by Nathu­ram’s ide­olig­i­cal off­spring as his last will and tes­ta­ment.”

 The fact that Judge Atma Cha­ran allowed Nathu­ram Godse, Gand­hi’s con­fessed assas­sin, to speak for nine hours, in an ide­o­log­i­cal assault on Gand­hi and a judi­cial defense of Savarkar, shows just how much the court was sub­servient to the polit­i­cal pow­er of Gand­hi’s mur­der­ers. God­se’s speech con­demned his mur­der vic­tim for his “sub­mis­sion to the Mus­lim’s blows.” Godse claimed he had to kill Gand­hi for sur­ren­der­ing India to the Mus­lims, lest he “lead the nation to ruin and make it easy for Pak­istan to enter the remain­ing India and occu­py the same.” Gand­hi’s “teach­ings of absolute ‘Ahim­sa,’ ” Godse said, “would ulti­mate­ly result in the emas­cu­la­tion of the Hin­du com­mu­ni­ty and thus make the com­mu­ni­ty inca­pable of resist­ing the aggres­sion or inroads of oth­er com­mu­ni­ties espe­cial­ly the Mus­lims.” Godse con­trast­ed Gand­hi’s teach­ing of non­vi­o­lence with the mil­i­tant Hin­du ide­ol­o­gy of “Brave” Savarkar, “the ablest and most faith­ful advo­cate of [the] Hin­du cause.” Godse, how­ev­er, insist­ed repeat­ed­ly that Savarkar had noth­ing to do with Gand­hi’s mur­der.

16. The judge’s sanc­tion­ing of God­se’s nine-hour dia­tribe against Gand­hi, the man for whose mur­der he was stand­ing tri­al, exem­pli­fied the sanc­ti­fied nature of Savarkar, the RSS, the Hin­du Mahasab­ha and the Hin­dut­va fas­cists behind Gand­hi’s killing. “. . . . Why did the judge give Godse a court­room plat­form from which he could launch an extend­ed attack on the rep­u­ta­tion of the man he had already shot to death? When Godse, and in effect, Savarkar, were allowed to attack Gand­hi in a nine-hour court­room dia­tribe, the defen­dants became the pros­e­cu­tion. It was a clear pre­lude to Savarkar being declared not guilty by the judge. . . .”

Infor­ma­tion sur­fac­ing after the tri­al con­firms that the author­i­ties were com­plic­it in cov­er­ing up the mur­der. ” . . . .  It was only after Savarkar’s death in 1966 that a gov­ern­ment com­mis­sion review­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion revealed that the cor­rob­o­ra­tive evi­dence to con­vict Savarkar had been in the gov­ern­men­t’s pos­ses­sion all along. On March 4, 1948, three months before the Gand­hi mur­der tri­al began, Savarkar’s body­guard, Appa Ram­chan­dra Kasar, and his sec­re­tary, Bajanan Vish­nu Damle, gave record­ed state­ments to the Bom­bay police con­firm­ing that meet­ings between Savarkar, Godse, and Apte had in fact tak­en place before the assas­si­na­tion. Kasar and Damle also revealed that Savarkar had addi­tion­al meet­ings in Jan­u­ary with his oth­er indict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors, Karkare, Pahawa, Badge, and Parchure. . . .When sum­ma­riz­ing evi­dence tying Savarkar into the plot, Jus­tice Kapur stat­ed in his report: ‘All these facts tak­en togeth­er were destruc­tive of any the­o­ry oth­er than the con­spir­a­cy to mur­der [Gand­hi] by Savarkar and his group.’ . . .”

Both Nehru and Patel had the damn­ing infor­ma­tion in hand with­in a month of the assas­si­na­tion: ” . . . Home min­is­ter Patel and Prime Min­is­ter Nehru soon learned that Savarkar was behind Gand­hi’s mur­der. Less than a month after the assas­si­na­tion, Patel wrote to Nehru: ‘It was a fanat­i­cal wing of the Hin­du Mahasab­ha direct­ly under Savarkar that [hatched] the con­spir­a­cy and saw it through.’ . . . Yet gov­ern­ment pros­e­cu­tors nev­er called to the mur­der tri­al’s wit­ness stand either Savarkar’s body­guard, Kasar, or his sec­re­tary, Damle. . . . ”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 92–93.

. . . . Why did the judge give Godse a court­room plat­form from which he could launch an extend­ed attack on the rep­u­ta­tion of the man he had already shot to death? When Godse, and in effect, Savarkar, were allowed to attack Gand­hi in a nine-hour court­room dia­tribe, the defen­dants became the pros­e­cu­tion. It was a clear pre­lude to Savarkar being declared not guilty by the judge.

 It was only after Savarkar’s death in 1966 that a gov­ern­ment com­mis­sion review­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion revealed that the cor­rob­o­ra­tive evi­dence to con­vict Savarkar had been in the gov­ern­men­t’s pos­ses­sion all along. On March 4, 1948, three months before the Gand­hi mur­der tri­al began, Savarkar’s body­guard, Appa Ram­chan­dra Kasar, and his sec­re­tary, Bajanan Vish­nu Damle, gave record­ed state­ments to the Bom­bay police con­firm­ing that meet­ings between Savarkar, Godse, and Apte had in fact tak­en place before the assas­si­na­tion. Kasar and Damle also revealed that Savarkar had addi­tion­al meet­ings in Jan­u­ary with his oth­er indict­ed co-con­spir­a­tors, Karkare, Pahawa, Badge, and Parchure.

 Jus­tice J.L. Kapur, who chaired the com­mis­sion on Gand­hi’s mur­der, observed in his 1970 report:

 “All this shows that peo­ple who were sub­se­quent­ly involved in the mur­der of Mahat­ma Gand­hi were all con­gre­gat­ing some­time or the oth­er at Savarkar Sadan and some­times had long inter­views with Savarkar. It is sig­nif­i­cant that Karkare and Madan­lal [Pah­wa] vis­it­ed Savarkar before they left for Del­hi and Apte and Godse vis­it­ed him both before the bomb was thrown and also before the mur­der was com­mit­ted and on each occa­sion they had long inter­views.

 Bom­bay Police Com­mis­sion­er Nagar­vala, who act­ed with so lit­tle urgency while Gand­hi was still alive, stat­ed in a let­ter on Jan­u­ary 31, 1948, that in the wake of Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, he had arrest­ed Kasar, Savarkar’s body­guard, and Damle, his sec­re­tary Nagar­vala learned from them that Godse and Apte had met with Savarkar for forty min­utes “on the eve of their depar­ture to Delhi”–a crit­i­cal meet­ing in addi­tion to those iden­ti­fied by Badge, Kasar and Damle “had admit­ted that these two [Godse and Apte] had access to the huse of Savarkar with­out any restric­tion.

When sum­ma­riz­ing evi­dence tying Savarkar into the plot, Jus­tice Kapur stat­ed in his report: “All these facts tak­en togeth­er were destruc­tive of any the­o­ry oth­er than the con­spir­a­cy to mur­der [Gand­hi] by Savarkar and his group.”

Home min­is­ter Patel and Prime Min­is­ter Nehru soon learned that Savarkar was behind Gand­hi’s mur­der. Less than a month after the assas­si­na­tion, Patel wrote to Nehru: “It was a fanat­i­cal wing of the Hin­du Mahasab­ha direct­ly under Savarkar that [hatched] the con­spir­a­cy and saw it through.”

Yet gov­ern­ment pros­e­cu­tors nev­er called to the mur­der tri­al’s wit­ness stand either Savarkar’s body­guard, Kasar, or his sec­re­tary, Damle. Their state­ments would have cor­rob­o­rat­ed and added to Badge’s tes­ti­mo­ny regard­ing Saarkar’s meet­ings with Godse and Apte. Nei­ther did the pros­e­cu­tion cite from the inter­views Kasar And Damle had giv­en the police on the Savarkar-Godse-Apte meet­ings. The pros­e­cu­tion ignored these two key wit­ness­es and their record­ed infor­ma­tion. Their tes­ti­mo­ny would have closed the gov­ern­men­t’s con­spir­a­cy case against Savarkar.

 So why did the gov­ern­ment hold back crit­i­cal evi­dence that would con­vict­ed Savarkar?

 17. A fun­da­men­tal ques­tion looms over our pre­sen­ta­tion of the facts con­cern­ing Gand­hi’s killing: ” . . . .  So why did the gov­ern­ment hold back crit­i­cal evi­dence that would con­vict­ed Savarkar? . . . Why did Morar­ji Desai, a promi­nent offi­cial who would even­tu­al­ly become Indi­a’s prime min­is­ter, defer to the defen­dant, Savarkar, rather than sim­ply ‘give the full facts’ about the fur­ther evi­dence Desai had on Savarkar?  Why was it ‘for him [Savarkar, the defen­dant] to decide’ what Desai, the gov­ern­ment offi­cer in charge, was pre­pared but reluc­tant to tes­ti­fy?

 This court­room encounter, delet­ed from the tri­al record but report­ed by ‘The Times of India’ jour­nal­ist in atten­dance, sug­gests the unspeak­able pow­er that Savarkar retained even as Gand­hi’s charged assas­sin. The loom­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that Savarkar would be con­vict­ed on the evi­dence threat­ened the gov­ern­ment pros­e­cut­ing him. It was for Savarkar to decide what Desai should say on the wit­ness stand. . . .This court­room encounter, delet­ed from the tri­al record but report­ed by ‘The Times of India’ jour­nal­ist in atten­dance, sug­gests the unspeak­able pow­er that Savarkar retained even as Gand­hi’s charged assas­sin. The loom­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that Savarkar would be con­vict­ed on the evi­dence threat­ened the gov­ern­ment pros­e­cut­ing him. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; p. 94.

A reveal­ing exchange occurred in the Gand­hi mur­der tri­al, when wit­ness Morar­ji Desai, the Bom­bay gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, was cross-exam­ined by Savarkar’s lawyer. Desai was tes­ti­fy­ing on what Pro­fes­sor Jain had told him, after Pah­wa’s arrest for the Jan­u­ary 20 attempt to kill Gand­hi: Pah­wa told Jain ear­li­er that Savarkar was involved in the plot. Desai said he then ordered the police to place a watch on Savarkar’s house. Savarkar’s attor­ney asked Desai: “Did you have any oth­er infor­ma­tion about Savarkar, besides Pro­fes­sor Jain’s state­ment, for direct­ing steps to be tak­en as regards him?”

 Desai respond­ed: “Shall I give the full facts? I am pre­pared to answer. It is for him [Savarkar] to decide.’

 Savarkar’s defend­er with­drew the ques­tion. He asked the judge to delete the exchange from the record as well as his motion to delete. The judge com­plied. The record was san­i­tized.

 Why did Morar­ji Desai, a promi­nent offi­cial who would even­tu­al­ly become Indi­a’s prime min­is­ter, defer to the defen­dant, Savarkar, rather than sim­ply “give the full facts” about the fur­ther evi­dence Desai had on Savarkar?

 Why was it “for him [Savarkar, the defen­dant] to decide” what Desai, the gov­ern­ment offi­cer in charge, was pre­pared but reluc­tant to tes­ti­fy?

This court­room encounter, delet­ed from the tri­al record but report­ed by “The Times of India” jour­nal­ist in atten­dance, sug­gests the unspeak­able pow­er that Savarkar retained even as Gand­hi’s charged assas­sin. The loom­ing pos­si­bil­i­ty that Savarkar would be con­vict­ed on the evi­dence threat­ened the gov­ern­ment pros­e­cut­ing him. It was for Savarkar to decide what Desai should say on the wit­ness stand.

 Tushar Gand­hi, cit­ing Patel, con­clud­ed that Savarkar was acquit­ted because of an unspeak­able polit­i­cal neces­si­ty: “Patel had admit­ted that the gov­ern­ment had ‘annoyed’ the Mus­lims, [and] we could not afford the Hin­dus too.’ If Savarkar had been found guilty and sen­tenced, it would have caused a mas­sive Hin­du extrem­ist reac­tion, which the Con­gress was scared of fac­ing.” . . . .

 18. Savarkar’s polit­i­cal rep­u­ta­tion has been bur­nished by the RSS and its polit­i­cal cat’s paw the BJP. Fur­ther­more the BJP has insti­tut­ed an Orwellian re-write of Indi­an school text books. ” . . . . Once the BJP took pow­er through a ruth­less, anti-Mus­lim strat­e­gy, it set out to rewrite his­to­ry. BJP writ­ers revised school text­books to con­vey a Hin­du nation­al­ist slant in the his­to­ry of India. Some things were bet­ter left unsaid. The new his­to­ry books sim­ply omit­ted Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion by RSS mem­ber Godse.

The BJP also used its pow­er in Del­hi to revise the dark his­to­ry of its ide­o­log­i­cal source, recre­at­ing Savarkar as a brave patri­ot. On May 4, 2002, BJP leader L.K. Advani, who had become the gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, offi­cial­ly renamed Port Blair air­port in the Andaman Islands as ‘Veer Savarkar Air­port.’ The gov­ern­ment then unveiled a plaque in hon­or of Savarkar at the site of his cell at Port Blair. In 2003, the gov­ern­ment placed Savarkar’s por­trait in the Cen­tral Hall of Par­lia­ment House in New Del­hi. The BJP was try­ing to trans­form Savarkar in the pub­lic mind from the mas­ter­mind of Gand­hi’s mur­der into a myth­i­cal lib­er­a­tor of the coun­try. . . .”

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 98–99.

. . . . As Patel and Nehru should have learned from Gand­hi’s insis­tence that the truth is always para­mount, their gov­ern­men­t’s unwill­ing­ness to pur­sue the truth in his death would not lay a sol­id foun­da­tion for the coun­try. The new­ly inde­pen­dent gov­ern­men­t’s delib­er­ate fail­ure to con­vict Sar­avkar of Gand­hi’s mur­der gave Savarkar’s fol­low­ers a freer hand in revis­ing his image. Since Savarkar’s own death in 1966, a broad­er move­ment has risen from his ide­ol­o­gy.

 The RSS, which slav­ish­ly fol­lowed Savarkar and whose mem­ber Nathu­ram Godse shot Gand­hi to death, has become the sec­ond largest polit­i­cal move­ment in the world after the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty. Using Savarkar’s ide­ol­o­gy of Hin­dut­va, the RSS cre­at­ed a clus­ter of Hin­du nation­al­ist groups. The RSS “fam­i­ly” includes the Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty (BJP), which became the dri­ving pow­er of Indi­a’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment from 1998 to 2004.

Once the BJP took pow­er through a ruth­less, anti-Mus­lim strat­e­gy, it set out to rewrite his­to­ry. BJP writ­ers revised school text­books to con­vey a Hin­du nation­al­ist slant in the his­to­ry of India. Some things were bet­ter left unsaid. The new his­to­ry books sim­ply omit­ted Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion by RSS mem­ber Godse.

The BJP also used its pow­er in Del­hi to revise the dark his­to­ry of its ide­o­log­i­cal source, recre­at­ing Savarkar as a brave patri­ot. On May 4, 2002, BJP leader L.K. Advani, who had become the gov­ern­men­t’s home min­is­ter, offi­cial­ly renamed Port Blair air­port in the Andaman Islands as “Veer Savarkar Air­port.” The gov­ern­ment then unveiled a plaque in hon­or of Savarkar at the site of his cell at Port Blair. In 2003, the gov­ern­ment placed Savarkar’s por­trait in the Cen­tral Hall of Par­lia­ment House in New Del­hi. The BJP was try­ing to trans­form Savarkar in the pub­lic mind from the mas­ter­mind of Gand­hi’s mur­der into a myth­i­cal lib­er­a­tor of the coun­try. . . .

19. Mus­lim activist Sha­heed Suhrwardy was an ally of Gand­hi’s in his attempt to end Mus­lim-Hin­du vio­lence in India and Pak­istan.

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 60–61.

Gand­hi’s deep belief in peo­ple who opposed him was exem­pli­fied by his per­sis­tent friend­ship with Sha­heed Suhrwardy, the Mus­lim League’s Chief Min­is­ter of Ben­gal in 1946–47.

When Gand­hi made his lone­ly pil­grim­age of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion through the Noakhal­li dis­trict of Ben­gal in 1947, Chief Min­is­ter Suhrwardy told him to go else­where. Suhrwardy down­played Mus­lim vio­lence against the minor­i­ty Hin­dus, whose evi­dence of per­se­cu­tion Gand­hi saw at first hand. Suhrwardy was noto­ri­ous among Hin­dus for his gov­ern­men­t’s com­plic­i­ty in the Great Cal­cut­ta Killing of August 1946, when 4,000 peo­ple were killed and 11,000 injured in four ter­ri­ble days of Mus­lim League “direct action” and Hin­du retal­i­a­tion. In the minds of Hin­dus, Sha­heed Suhrawardy was their arch­en­e­my, thought to be the man most respon­si­ble for the Great Cal­cut­ta Killing. Yet Gand­hi insist­ed on the respon­si­bil­i­ty and redemp­tion of both sides, exclud­ing no one. He reached out to Suhrwardy, chal­leng­ing but not con­demn­ing him. . . .

20. Orig­i­nal­ly tar­get­ed by the par­tic­i­pants in the 1/20/1948 assas­si­na­tion attempt on Gand­hi, Suhrawardy became a prime Pak­istani advo­cate for democ­ra­cy after work­ing with Gand­hi to tamp down Hin­du-Mus­lim vio­lence in the wake of the par­ti­tion of India and Pak­istan.

Dri­ven out of Pak­istan, for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Suhrawardy died under mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances in Lebanon after receiv­ing word of plot­ting against his life by ele­ments of the Pak­istani nation­al secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus.

Gand­hi and the Unspeak­able by James Dou­glass; Copy­right 2012 by James Dou­glass; Orbis Books [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑57075–963‑5; pp. 66–67.

. . . . Two days lat­er, at the prayer meet­ing, Suhrawardy announced he would be join­ing Gand­hi on his next mis­sion of peace. He said he would be going with him to the Punjab—but as it turned out, to Del­hi. He said, “I have put myself unre­served­ly under Mahat­ma­ji’s orders. Here­after I will car­ry out his bid­dings.”

 Suhrawardy would work with Gand­hi for the five months left until his assas­si­na­tion. That fall Suhrawardy shut­tled between India and Pak­istan, act­ing as Gand­hi’s inter­me­di­ary in his futile appeals to Jin­nah for mutu­al coop­er­a­tion.

 In Octo­ber, Gand­hi wrote anoth­er mes­sage of cost­ly grace to Suhrwardy: “You and I have to die in the attempt to make [Hin­dus and Mus­lims] live togeth­er as friends and broth­ers, which they are.”

 In the years fol­low­ing Gand­hi’s assas­si­na­tion, Sha­heed Suhrawardy would become a leader of pro-democ­ra­cy move­ments in Pak­istan. In 1956, as the Nation­al Assem­bly’s oppo­si­tion leader, he helped cre­ate the con­sti­tu­tion of Pak­istan.  He then became the coun­try’s prime min­is­ter from Sep­tem­ber 1956 to Octo­ber 1957.

 After he left office, the next gov­ern­ment sus­pend­ed the con­sti­tu­tion and declared mar­tial law. In 1958, Suhrawardy to sup­port Ayub Khan’s dic­ta­tor­ship. In 1959, the gov­ern­ment banned him from pol­i­tics. As he con­tin­ued to voice his dis­sent, in 1962, he was charged with “anti-state activ­i­ties.” He was impris­oned in soli­tary con­fine­ment for six months.

 Upon his release in August 1962, Suhrawardy coura­geous­ly launched a move­ment in resis­tance to Ayub Khan’s mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship. His goal was to restore the 1956 con­sti­tu­tion and a par­lia­men­tary democ­ra­cy.

While the pro-democ­ra­cy move­ment was grow­ing, its leader Sha­heed Suhrawardy died sud­den­ly on Decem­ber 5, 1963, in a hotel room in Beirut Lebanon. Expir­ing “under unusu­al­ly mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances,” he was pos­si­bly “poi­soned or gassed in his bed­room.”

 Moham­mad Taluk­dar, the edi­tor of Sha­heed Suhrawardy’s mem­oirs, has not­ed two omi­nous state­ments from the pow­er­ful to Pak­istan short­ly before Suhrawardy’s  death. The first came from Sul­fikar Ali Bhut­to, then Pak­istan’s for­eign min­is­ter, who passed on to Suhrawardy through a mutu­al friend the warn­ing: “Tell Suhrawardy not to try and return to Pak­istan. Oth­er­wise I shall make sure per­son­al­ly that he nev­er sets foot on its soil.” Bhut­to’s threat was fol­lowed by a cau­tion from an office in Pak­istan’s Intel­li­gence Depart­ment to Suhrwardy’s son: “Tell your father to take great care of him­self. The word is going round that they are out to get him.” Three days lat­er his father was dead. . . . .

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #988 Hindutva Fascism, Part 1: The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Part 1 and and FTR #989 Hindutva Fascism, Part 2: The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Part 2”

  1. This was a remark­able trib­ute — I relis­tened to both parts sev­er­al times. I nev­er real­ized the com­plex­i­ty involv­ing Gand­hi’s mur­der until now. Thank you Mr Emory

    Posted by Susan Shpak | December 25, 2017, 10:43 pm

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