Saturday, January 30, 2010

30th January 1948 - Gandhi's last day

Last Saturday was Gandhi's 62nd death anniversary. 'Freedom at Midnight' by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre describes in detail the last day in Mahatma's life, but somehow I wanted to read more about that and did some research that day for this blog post.

Hardly anything original here, just some tit-bits from here and there.

30th January 1948

Gandhi was shot at and killed by Godse on this fateful day around 5'o clock in the evening as he was rushing for his evening prayers, taking support of Abha's and Manu's shoulders. He was rushing because he was already late for the prayer meeting scheduled for 5 every evening. These prayer meetings had become a big draw for the Hindus and Muslims alike in the often hostile atmosphere of post-partition Delhi. The outside lawns of Birla House was where these meetings would happen everyday, and this day was no different.

Most credible writings from that time and later describe how Godse first folded his hands and offered a namaskar to Gandhi and then fired three shots into his chest from point blank range. Gandhi fell to the ground and his now iconic time piece fell to the ground and broke, recording the moment with it. The last two words he uttered were Hey Ram. Somehow these made him even more eternal, dying with God's name on his lips. Gandhi was a devout Hindu, though an extremely secular one. Its unfortunate that his exceptional ability to bring the two communities together in the worst of times, became the reason for his death.

Every year we used to have a minute of silence to remember Gandhi in School. It was a nuisance to me when I was young, but something I really associated with in the later years of schooling. I miss that minute of silence and the feeling of almost nothingness inside. The silence now is often broken by the noise in my own head. Its so difficult to just remain silent and calm when everything around and everything else is so noisy. Silence is almost scary and a rare commodity.

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