Throughout the period covered by this book that is, from Lord Mountbatten's arrival as the
Viceroy right up till the end of the Red Fort trial I was living in New Delhi, only one
bungalow away from Birla House where Gandhi was murdered. I can thus claim to have known the
Delhi of those days as a citizen, an insider, and I also happen to be equally familiar with
Poona (the place where the conspiracy was spawned), both as a city and as a state of
Of the six men who were finally adjudged to have been implicated in the murder
conspiracy, two were hanged. The other four the approver Badge and the three who got life
sentences, Karkare, Gopal and Madanlal Talked to me freely and at length. My ability to
speak Marathi well was an immense advantage because two of them, Karkare and Badge, were at
home only in that language.
All four gave me much information that they had never revealed before-hand. Gopal
Godse and his wife Sindhu filled me in on details which could not have been known outside
the Godse and Apte families. Gopal also kindly loaned me his personal papers among which
were eight large volumes of printed records of the Red Fort trial which had been prepared
for the High Court appeal. These volumes had been actually used by Nathuram Godse, the man
who killed Gandhi, and were scribbled all over with his notes and comments.
The author wishes to thank Mr R.E. Hawkins who, for many years, guided the affairs
of the Indian branch of the Oxford University Press for going through the manuscript of
this book and suggesting many improvements.
The Men Who Killed Gandhi
Editor of The Hindu Rashtra, Nathuram Vinayak Godse was born in an orthodox Brahmin
family on 19 may 1910. As the family had lost their three sons in infancy. His parents, to
appease the evil spirits, decided to raise their next son, as a girl, and he was made to
wear a nath or nose-ring, hence the name Nathuram, A neighbourhood do-gooder, he was an avid
believer in Gandhi's movement for non-cooperation.
Born in 1911, Narayan Apte was the eldest son of a well-known historian and
Sanskrit scholar. Educated in Poona and Bombay. He joined The Hindu Rashtra as its manager.
As the news of Gandhi's decision to undertake a fast to support the payment of 55 crores to
Pakistan, flashed on the teleprinter on 13 January 1948 he, along with Godse decided
Gandhi had to be killed.
Raised in Northcote Orphanage in Bombay. Vishnu Karkare began work in a tea
shop in Bombay when he was just ten years old. After fifteen years of hard work he moved to
Ahmednagar and started a tea shop in a disused cowshed and made it a success, The Deccan
Guesthouse, famous for its puris and a concoction of chillies which he called the
Younger brother of Nathuram Godse, Gopal Godse was a gentle, soft-spoken and
self-effacing man who was much influenced by his brother's fervent zeal for the Hindu cause.
During the Second World War, he volunteered for service overseas and was sent with the
British column to Iran and Iraq.
Arefugee from Pakistan. Madanlal Pahwa joined a fire-cracker manufacturing
unit in Bombay that was also involved in making hand grenades. A thick-set muscular man, he
was arrested on 20 January 1948 for throwing a bomb at Gandhiji's prayer meeting. While on
his trip to Delhi to kill Gandhi he had also planned to meet girls his family had arranged
for his to see as prospective wives, almost believing that life would go on as usual.
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