Nathuram Godse

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Nathuram Godse
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Full Name: Nathuram Vinayak Godse
Alias: Ramachandra
Nathuram
Origin: Maharashtra, British India
Occupation: Hindu nationalism activist
Goals: To kill Mahatma Gandhi (successful)
Crimes: Murder

Xenophobia
Islamophobia

Type of Villain: Assassin


There was only one common factor in Gandhi's life and mine. We were both the cause of each other's death. He wanted to live at any cost for his principles and I was prepared to die at all costs for mine.
~ Nathuram Godse

Nathuram Vinayak Godse (May 19th, 1910 – November 15th, 1949) was a right wing advocate of Hindu nationalism who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, shooting him in the chest three times at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30th, 1948. Godse, an ex Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh member from Pune, Maharashtra, thought Gandhi favored the political demands of India's Muslims during the partition of India. He plotted the assassination with Narayan Apte and six others.

Biography

Nathuram Vinayakrao Godse was born into a Maharashtrian Chitpavan Brahmin family. His father, Vinayak Vamanrao Godse, was a postal employee; his mother was Lakshmi (née Godavari). At birth, he was named Ramachandra. Nathuram was given his name because of an unfortunate incident. Before he was born, his parents had three sons and a daughter, with all three boys dying in their infancy. Fearing a curse that targeted male children, young Ramachandra was brought up as a girl for the first few years of his life, including having his nose pierced and being made to wear a nose-ring (nath in Marathi). It was then that he earned the nickname "Nathuram" (literally "Ram with a nose-ring"). After his younger brother was born, they switched to treating him as a boy.

Godse attended the local school at Baramati through the fifth standard, after which he was sent to live with an aunt in Pune so that he could study at an English-language school. During his school days, he highly respected Gandhi.

Godse dropped out of high school and became an activist with Hindu nationalist organizations Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Organisation) and Hindu Mahasabha, although the exact dates of his membership are uncertain.

Godse started a Marathi language newspaper for the Hindu Mahasabha called Agrani, which some years later was renamed Hindu Rashtra. Godse rejected Gandhi's philosophy, believing Gandhi repeatedly sabotaged the interests of Hindus by using the "fasting unto death" tactic on many issues. In Godse's view, Gandhi was giving in to interests that seemed to him anti-national.

Godse approached Gandhi on January 30th, 1948 during the evening prayer at 17:17. When Godse bowed, one of the girls flanking and supporting Gandhi, said to Godse, "Brother, Bapu ("Father", a nickname for Gandhi) is already late" and tried to put him off, but he pushed her aside and shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point-blank range with a Beretta M1934 semi-automatic pistol. Herbert Reiner Jr., a young vice-consul at the new American embassy in Delhi, was the first to rush forward and grasp Godse by the shoulders, spinning him into the arms of some military personnel, who disarmed him. Reiner then held Godse by the neck and shoulders until he was taken away by the military and police. Gandhi was taken back to his room in Birla House, where he died soon thereafter

Godse was put on trial at the Punjab High Court, at Peterhoff, Shimla. On November 8th, 1949, he was sentenced to death. Although pleas for commutation were made by Gandhi's two sons, Manilal Gandhi and Ramdas Gandhi, they were turned down by India's prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, deputy prime minister Vallabhbhai Patel and the Governor-General Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, and Godse was hanged at Ambala Jail on November 15th, 1949.