Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gandhi's Death - Hey Ram

Few Excerpts from the book, The Men Who Killed Gandhi by Manohar Malgonkar.

On 20th January 1948, Madanlal had exploded a bomb at Birla House, where Gandhi lived.

When Lady Mountbatten, who had come to see him soon afterwards, had congratulated him on his coolness he had explained to her that he not even realized that something had been exploded in the grounds of Birla House. 'If somebody fired at me point blank and I faced his bullet with a smile, repeating the name of Rama in my heart, I should be deserving of congratulations.'

On 30th January 1948,

No one noticed whether Gandhi's face bore a smile as he faced his assailant. But Gurbachan Singh, a Sikh businessman from Panipat who was a devotee of Gandhi and who was only a few steps behind him as he fell, deposed that Gandhi's last words were, 'Hai Rama!'. Karkare, on the other hand, who stood within a few feet of Gandhi and saw him as the bullets struck him swore to the other that all Gandhi uttered was a cry of pain, a guttural rasp, 'Aaaah!'

It is of course, possible that both are wrong, and that what they heard, or say they heard, was conditioned by the one man's veneration for Gandhi and the other man's contempt. Then again it is possible that both are right, and the invocation 'Hai Rama!' uttered with his last breath may have sounded to Karkare like a cry of pain.


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