The Assassination Of Mahatma Gandhi: Why, How, And Who
By | January 27, 2020
Gandhi led a contradictory life
After a lifetime of advocating for nonviolence, Mahatma Gandhi was gunned down by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948. His assassination ripped through the peace community, bringing an end to his mission of making the world a better place. There was little reason behind his death, which came about when his assassin decided that Gandhi was too amenable to Muslims after India and Pakistan separated into two different states. His death changed the political landscape, and he was used as a martyr by Hindu nationalists. Rather than conform to his ideals of peace, however, the Indian Republic acted in opposition to his beliefs.
Throughout his life, Gandhi acted as the leader of the nonviolent independence movement of India. Rather than raise an army, he used acts of civil disobedience to advocate for people of color and fight discrimination. In and out of prison multiple times, he went on hunger strikes and instructed his followers to do the same, essentially laying a blueprint for all the peaceniks to follow.
Gandhi wasn't a perfect angel, however. His nonviolent beliefs led to a naive call for the Jewish people to embrace the Holocaust at the onset of World War II. In 1938, he wrote to Hitler, called him his "friend" before assuring him that he didn't believe the chancellor was the "monster" that people made him out to be.
When he wasn't advocating for the acceptance of one of the worst guys on the planet, Gandhi was also espousing some pretty awful beliefs about sex. He believed that men and women should sleep apart, but even though he was married, Gandhi still had extramarital affairs for which he never fully accepted responsibility.
As complicated a figure as he was, he did a lot of good for the community and the world at large and deserved to live out his life into old age.
Gandhi's assassin was unmoored in life
Like Lee Harvey Oswald and many other assassins of the 20th century, Nathuram Godse was never tied down to one place. It's not that he was traveling the world and learning about himself; he just never fit in anywhere. Early in life, he looked up to Gandhi, but as he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organization, he grew disillusioned with Gandhi's calls for peaceful solutions.
After spending time in the RSS, Nathuram is believed to have moved to the Hindu Mahasabha after the separation of Pakistan and India. The partition was a real sticking point for him: He felt that Gandhi favored the Muslims during the split, something that he refused to let stand. Rather than taking on Gandhi's principles, Nathuram carried out one of the most upsetting assassinations that the world had seen.