Subversive Historian – 01/30/09

The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi

Sixty-one years ago on this day in people’s history, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in New Delhi, India. On January 30th, 1948, the pacifist proponent of non-violence was shot and killed by a Hindu extremist named Nathuram Godse. The assassin was motivated by Gandhi’s last hunger strike which aimed at persuading the newly independent nation of India to stop withholding payment to the newly portioned nation of Pakistan. Having been long opposed to the controversial partition before a last minute change of opinion, he also sought to end the violent riots that erupted in its aftermath. In a polarized atmosphere, Gandhi’s hunger strike and reconciliation efforts were unforgivable to his killer. On the night of his death, Gandhi took his nightly public walk when Godse got close enough to shoot him three times point-blank in the chest.

Gandhi had been the target of numerous assassination attempts throughout his life but such did not deter his activism as he himself once said, “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone even at the cost of your life.”

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