Exorcising the Godse ghost: Who killed Mahatma Gandhi?


It’s been 63 years since Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse.

But, who’re behind the brutal assassination? Was it the handiwork of Godse & company or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)?

The controversial question crops up at regular intervals in various parts of the country kicking up fresh debates on the subject.

As for Congress leaders, it's almost an obsession to blame it on the RSS.

However, when a decisive answer comes from a non-controversial and apolitical person who besides being a Christian also happens to be a retired Supreme Court justice, it should prompt one to sit up and think.

Yes, we’re, of course, talking about K.T.Thomas who recently stirred a hornet’s nest when, presiding over an RSS function in the city, he unequivocally absolved RSS from Ganndhi assassination.

The controversy, of course, was ignored by the national media. However, Thomas' clean to chit to RSS, as expected, has left the Congress leaders in the State fuming.

Congress state president Ramesh Chennithala and MLA P.C.Vishnunath lambasted him for ‘distorting history.’ However, for the RSS leaders, Thomas' remarks proved like manna from the heaven considering his stature.

Even as the controversy rages, the questions still remain: who actually killed Gandhi? Was it the RSS? Those who've read history will know Godse severed his links with RSS calling it an organization run by eunuchs.

This being so, is right to point fingers at RSS, because Godse was its member once? Thomas put it better: "it's like blaming the whole Sikh community, because, one of its misguided members assassinated Indira Gandhi."

Is Thomas right in his views? Is RSS speaking the truth when it says it'd nothing to do with the Gandhi assassination?

Or is it that the Congress leaders have a point? It's said history is just a bucket of ashes.

But, certainly, the life and times of the Mahatma continues to defy this dictum, because, in the political parleys truth comes up with many faces; some shocking, others intriguing while a few really could irritate.

So, in all likelihood, we'll continue to ask again and again: who killed Gandhi?

Congress cares for the minority: Justice K T Thomas

Former Supreme Court justice K.T.Thomas who came in for severe criticism for his remarks absolving RSS from Mahatma Gandhi assassination said he still stuck to his gun.

“Godse was part of RSS. But, he'd left the organization before he killed Gandhi since he found it too soft. So, you can't blame it on RSS”, Thomas told Deccan Chronicle.

Thomas said judiciary in the country, so far, couldn't find any evidence against RSS. The case was first heard at Red Fort by Justice Atmacharan who didn’t find any RSS link. Nor the bench headed by Justice Khosle.

“Later, Nehru even ordered a probe which drew a blank. After this, in 1966 Indira Gandhi ordered judicial probe headed by Justice JL Kapoor who also couldn't find any RSS connection”, Thomas revealed.

When the whole judicial and democratic means had been expended, the country should put an end to the debate, he said. “It's unjust and unfair to drag the RSS name again and again”, he said.

He said, the biography written by Robert Payne, author of The Life and Death of Mahatma Gandhi also couldn't find any RSS link. “My comment on the subject should be treated as a judicial analysis”, he observed.

Stating that Congress leaders like Chennithala wouldn't know much about history, he said RSS was still being blamed for minority votes. "I don't know whether Chennithala had read Robert's work”, he teased.

He further said when Gandhi was assassinated, the then RSS president Golvarkar was in Madras. “The outfit went into an immediate mourning. Ideologically, we may differ. But, you can’t question their patriotism”, he said.

He recalled visiting the cell in Andamans in 1997 where Veer Savarkar was lodged for 27 years. "I could see many poems he'd written on the wall using stone, because, authorities never gave him anything to write”, he recalled.

He reminded that, the freedom people enjoy today was the result of the sacrifices made by persons like Veer Savarkar.

Can’t blame RSS: Gandhi family

Even as Thomas' remark on the Gandhi assassination continues to make waves, great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Sreekrishna Kulkarni asserted it was not right to link the RSS name.

“In 63 years’ time, the Government has instituted many judicial commissions and committees to investigate the assassination. None could establish the RSS connection”, Sreekrishna told Deccan Chronicle.

He said India is a democracy with a vibrant and independent judiciary. “The children of Gandhiji have never tried to obstruct or influence the impartial investigation of this case”, he reminded.

Sreekrishna said it was time people learnt to respect the judicial findings in the matter and rested the issue. As for RSS, he said it has contributed immensely to the nation’s development.

“It’s incorrect to drag the RSS name repeatedly for petty political reasons”, he appealed.

Sreekrishna also revealed that after Bapu’s assassination, his grandfather Ramdas Gandhi had written to Nehru requesting him not to hang Godse. But Godse was hanged”, he said.

RSS will circulate the speech

Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) is not taking kindly the criticism leveled by Congress state president Ramesh Chennithala and MLA P.C.Vishnunath against the observation made by former Supreme Court justice K.T. Thomas.

RSS state general secretary P. Gopalan Kutty master said the Congress leaders would be sued soon on defamatory grounds for dragging the RSS name into the Mahatma Gandhi assassination episode. “We’ll do that in a day or two”, Kutty said.

He said, the country had several commissions and committees on the issue. “But, none could prove RSS involvement. Justice K.T.Thomas only spoke the truth”, Kutty asserted.

Thomas’ speech would be printed into pamphlets and would be distributed across Kerala, he informed.

Thomas being respected by all sections of society, Kutty feels that many in the state would want to read the pamphlet. “If Congress leaders can prove that the RSS was involved in killing the Mahatma, let them remain deluded. We’re ready to take it up as a challenge”, he asserted.

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