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Martyrs Day: When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated

Martyrs Day Gandhi Godse; India celebrates Martyrs' Day or Shaheed Diwas every year on January 30. On January 30, 1948, during the

By Madhulika Mishra
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Ground Report | New Delhi: Martyrs Day Gandhi Godse; India celebrates Martyrs' Day or Shaheed Diwas every year on January 30. On January 30, 1948, during the evening prayers in the Birla House, Mahatma Gandhi, was shot dead by Nathuram Godse. Hence, on January 30, Martyr's Day is celebrated by the country to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

On this day, the president, the vice president, the prime minister, the defence minister and the three Service Chiefs (Army, Air Force and Navy) lay wreaths made of multi-colour flowers at his Samadhi at Raj Ghat in Delhi. At 11 am, a two-minute silence in memory of Indian martyrs is observed throughout the country.

Mahatma Gandhi's Assassination

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948 at age 78 in the compound of Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti), a large mansion in central New Delhi. His assassin was Nathuram Vinayak Godse, a Chitpavan Brahmin from Pune, Maharashtra, a Hindu nationalist, a member the Hindu Mahasabha, as well as a former member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing Hindu paramilitary organization. Godse considered Gandhi to have been too accommodating to Muslims during the Partition of India of the previous year.

According to witnesses, Gandhi had reached the top of the steps leading to the raised lawn behind Birla House where he had been conducting multi-faith prayer meetings every evening. As Gandhi began to walk toward the dais, Godse stepped out from the crowd flanking Gandhi's path and fired three bullets into Gandhi's chest and abdomen at point-blank range. Gandhi fell to the ground. He was carried back to his room in Birla House from which a representative emerged sometime later to announce his death.

Several Attempts to Assassinate Gandhi

First attempt occurred on June 25, 1934.

According to the archived evidence, it was in Pune when Gandhi ji had arrived to deliver a speech that the conspirators had bombed a car presuming Bapu was in it. His secretary Pyarelal in his book “

Second attempt in July 1944

Out of the five attempts, Godse was involved in three. It was in Panchgani when Gandhi ji was advised to rest that a group of protesters created a ruckus mouthing anti-Gandhi slogans. As a result, Gandhi ji invited the leader of the group Nathuram for a discussion which the latter rejected. Later on, during the prayer meeting, Godse was seen rushing towards Gandhiji with a dagger but was luckily tackled by Manishankar Purohit and Bhillare Guruji of Satara. Both of them had testified about this attack before the Kapur Commission.

Third attempt in September 1944

The Hindu Mahasabha was against the Gandhi-Jinnah meet. Godse and L.G.Thatte picketed the ashram to prevent Gandhiji from visiting Mumbai for the session. The ashram inmates detained Godse when he tried to attack Gandhi; a dagger was confiscated as documented in the Kapur Commission.

Fourth attempt in June 1946

Another attempt to kill Gandhi ji was hatched when he was travelling by the train Gandhi special to Pune. The train had crashed into the boulders placed on the tracks and thanks to the driver’s skills that though the train had met with an accident between Nerul and Karjat station, Gandhi ji was saved.

Fifth attempt on January 20, 1948

It was during a meeting at Birla Bhavan that the conspiracy to yet again attack Bapu was hatched. Madanlal Pahwa, Nathuram Godse, Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, Digambar Badge, Gopal Godse and Shankar Kistaiya had planned to attend the meeting to execute the murder. They were supposed to throw a bomb at the podium and then shoot. But fortunately, the plan did not work as Madanlal was caught, and identified in time by Sulochona Devi.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi in Freedom Struggle

Born on 2nd October 1869, as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, in Gujarat's Porbandar, Mahatma Gandhi completed his education from Gujarat and Bombay. Later he went to London to practice as a barrister. In 1893, when Gandhiji went to South Africa, he faced discrimination against Indians there. In 1916, Gandhi returned to India to lead the freedom struggle against British rule.

Gandhi organised many movements including the 'Champaran Movement', Noncooperation Movement', the 'Civil Disobedience Movement, and the 'Quit India Movement. Among all, the 'Quit India Movement was one of the biggest and most successful movements to set India free from British rule. He also introduced "Ahimsa" to India and organised non-violent protests against the British. India finally gained independence on 15th August 1947, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. The sequence of events that are observed annually on 30th January

On 30 January 1948, the nation mourns.

  • On this day P.M. and other political figures perform floral tribute on Rajghat (crematorium ground of M. K. Gandhi).
  • Across the nation, people perform two minutes of silent prayer (Maun Prarthna) for the demise of M. K. Gandhi.
  • Armed forces soldiers pay floral tribute by garlands.
  • In schools and colleges speech, debate, quiz competitions, etc. events are observed.
  • Public figures also deliberate their speech on the life of M. K. Gandhi.
  • People remind his ideologies across the nation.
  • Short story on the life of M. K. Gandhi telecasts on Television.

Mahatma Gandhi, one such benevolent freedom fighter who always considered humanity as his religion. For him, war was the blunt weapon and he followed non-violence, the sharpest weapon for attaining freedom. His principles of Satyagraha helped millions of lives across the globe. His teachings of sacrifice and living for the well-being of society have made him a revered figure that is respected by people throughout the world. (Martyrs Day Gandhi Godse)

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