Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948. Why was Gandhi killed and what events occurred before and after Gandhi’s murder?
This documentary shows how India was dogged by nationalism and religious conflict on its path to independence – and how these factors mark the country to this day. On 20 January 1948, Gopal Godse, a Hindu fanatic, attempted to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi. Ten days later, his brother Nathuram Godse managed to finish the job: he killed Gandhi. For Gopal Godse, India’s Independence Day in August 1947 was a day of mourning. “Bharat Mata,” “Mother India,” which the young Brahmin zealously worshipped, had lost many of its provinces. Predominantly Muslim East Bengal had become East Pakistan, whilst western Punjab, the provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan and the land of the warlike Pashtuns made up West Pakistan a thousand miles away. This too was predominantly Muslim. Godse didn’t just see the former colonial power, Great Britain, as responsible for the “amputation,” he also believed the Muslims were to blame. But, in Godse’s eyes, the main culprit was a Hindu who was celebrated as a hero because he had defied the English, a small man with round wire glasses and a white cotton robe: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, also known as “Mahatma,” the great soul. The Godse brothers did not care that Gandhi had always condemned conflict between the various religious communities and opposed the partition of India. They were members of the far-right Hindu Mahasabha, the “Great Assembly of Hindus,” which had close links with the anti-British and fascist National Volunteer Corps. And now extremist Hindus are gaining ground in India again…
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