Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Review: "The Men who killed Gandhi" by Manohar Malgaonkar

“Men Who Killed Gandhi” was first published in 1978. It is like a research work by the author where he tries to unearth the facts about Gandhi’s assassination. Recently, the book has been released with new documents, and rare pictures that leave the readers amused. Interesting archival records include copies of the Air-India tickets used by Godse and Apte to make the trip from Bombay to Delhi and back for the assassination and even their bills at Hotel Marina in Connaught Place where they stayed while carrying out their mission.

It is an informative book about historical facts but it reads like a thriller about a well-laid murder plan. It traces the whole events (partition of India, riots, Gandhi’s fast) leading to the assassination and the trial at Red Fort afterwards. The book tries not to take a side at all – which is a good thing provided the fact that neither of them (Gandhi or Godse) was justified. If Gandhi was not justified to go on hunger strike for releasing 55 crores to Pakistan while India was at war with them, Godse was equally not justified to kill somebody (and that somebody in this case was Mahatma Gandhi). The book states that both Godse and Apte were pledged to the cause of an independent and undivided India. And they held Gandhi liable for India’s division.

The book also points out the leniency with which police handled the events leading to Gandhi’s murder (including a failed bomb attack only two weeks ago). As per the author, if the police would have been fast enough (and would have cut through their internal egos/red-tapism) they would have surely caught all these persons earlier enough to avoid the assassination. On the other hand, book also points out the childish ways of the murders and their co-accused, how on each step they left some witnesses behind to identify them and bring them to justice. It also points out that how Gandhi was all together alienated from the realities of divided India and public sentiments during last days of his life – and paid with his life for that.

1 comment:

Vibha said...

Very interesting Akshaya...
I will definitely read this one