Mahatma Gandhi, the 20th-century advocate for non-violence, unfortunately met with a violent death himself. He was at the forefront of every campaign and movement for India’s independence against British rule. Martyrs’ Day, or Shaheed Diwas, is observed every year on January 30 to honour Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. This month, we mark the 76th anniversary of the death of one of India's most famous figures. So, who exactly killed Gandhi, and why? Remembering The Father of The Nation, Mahatma Gandhi on His Death Anniversary.

Who Was Mahatma Gandhi?

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, or Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi, was born on October 2, 1869. He was born in Porbandar, Gujarat. Gandhi was often referred to as ‘bapu,’ (father) by the nation. He was a lawyer, writer, social activist, and politician. After spending several years of his youth studying and working in London and South Africa, he returned to Bombay on January 9, 1915. Eventually, he started taking an active part in politics. He practiced non-violence and peace and encouraged fellow Indians to follow them as well. In the later years, he became a global icon for non-violence and peace. Even after India gained independence in 1947, he continued to focus on issues like religious disharmony, untouchability, economic inequalities, and social injustices happening in India. He often went on hunger strikes to fight against the injustices. His ideology on ‘satyagraha,’ inspired many movements around the world and influenced many public figures.

Who Killed Mahatma Gandhi?

On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was to attend a prayer meeting on the lawn of the Birla House in New Delhi. As he entered the venue and neared the meeting area, he was approached by a man dressed in a jacket and trousers. The man, Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist, greeted Mahatma Gandhi, who returned the gesture. Godse then took a pistol out of his trouser pocket and shot Gandhi three times at point-blank range. The bullets hit him in the chest, upper thigh, and stomach. He was quickly carried into the Birla house; however, he died half an hour later.

Why Was Gandhi Killed?

Gandhi’s killer was Nathuram Godse, who believed that Gandhi was too accommodating of India’s large Muslim minority. According to Godse, Gandhi was in favour of all the political demands that were made by British India’s Muslims during India’s partition in 1947. Godse believed that, as Gandhi was too tolerant of all religions being followed in India, it had already resulted in Pakistan being given to the Muslims. This had resulted in bloodshed, with many people being removed from their homes. Godse thought that if Gandhi was not stopped, it would lead to more killing, destruction, and violence, especially against the Hindus. In the end, it was nothing but Godse’s hatred of the idea of a secular India that led him to kill Gandhi. After killing Gandhi, Nathuram tried to kill himself; however, he failed in his attempt. He was caught and arrested, tried for murder, and hanged to death in the following year.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Death Anniversary (Punyatithi)

Every year, India observes January 30 as Martyrs’ Day, or Shaheed Diwas, to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Interesting Facts About 'Father of Nation' Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi’s fame and legacy are not restricted to India. They go far beyond India’s boundaries. Gandhi’s ideologies of non-violence and peace remain as relevant today as they were then. In fact, they are more important than ever in addressing several global issues. Gandhi’s statues that are found across the world serve as a testament to his effect on people and leaders around the world.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 30, 2024 08:12 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website