Sunday, April 12, 2020

Time destined for Gandhi

Time destined for Gandhi

That day, Sardar Patel came for the meeting at 4pm. It was so important that none of the assistants disturbed Gandhiji when the time of prayer passed at 5pm. He was not keeping his waist watch those days. He was suffering from cough and cold in the winter of Delhi after breaking his fast until death on 18/1/1948 that was to stop the communal violence in Delhi. His demands to give ₹55 crore cash share to Pakistan and to repair the Kaki Masjid of Delhi damaged by the rioters added fuel to the fire amongst the communal refugees and the persons planning his assassination. Madanlal Pahva threw a bomb in Birla Bhavan, 2 days after the break of his fast on 20/1/1948 but failed to kill Gandhi. He had faith in God and believed that if death is destined, it can’t be stopped by any security, therefore, didn’t allow the thorough checking of the visitors. When the bomb attempt failed to kill him, he remarked: “ऐसे ही हम डर जाय तो सचमुच यह कोई हो जाय तो हमारा हाल कैसा होगा?”

In that bad health, he visited the Ursh of Kaki masjid on 29/1/1948. Godse, Karkare and Apte had positioned themselves in Old Delhi Railway Room no.6.. Like Gandhi, they also wake up in the brahma muhurta. Gandhi listened the slokas of Gita and one Gujarati Bhajan and then meditated as per his routine schedule. One of his assistants Abha didn’t join the session that morning, displeased him. 

As Clove or pepper powder is a great medicine for cold and cough, he was given clove powder twice in a day. That morning on 30 January, he took his normal drink of hot water with lemon and honey but missed the clove powder because it was finished. When Manu tried to make the powder in the afternoon of 30/1, he commented “who knows what is going to happen before nightfall or even whether I shall be alive. If at night I am still alive you can easily prepare some then." His had intuition that somebody is chasing him to kill. 

Godse initially planned to fire on him from the distance and Karkare and Apte to clear people if someone would come in the way. With Beretta M9 pistol in pocket of Godse, they three easily entered into the Birala House Campus. Generally, Dr Sushila Nayar or one man Gurbachan Singh used to walk ahead of Gandhi to clear the way. But that day, Dr Nayar was away to Pakistan and Gurbachan Singh was caught up in the group. There were hardly 250 persons including 20 policemen in plain clothes present in the campus. 

When Manu drew his attention of getting late in prayer time, the meeting with Sardar ended. Two leaders of Saurastra Dhebarbhai and Rasiklal Parikh came to discuss formation of districts in Saurastra State and asked for the meeting, but Gandhi told, “tell them that I will, but only after the prayer meeting, and that too if I am still living. We shall then talk things over." Patel was returning to his bungalow. Gandhi’s meeting with Nehru and Maulana Azad was scheduled at 7pmthat evening and his plan to go to Sevagram on next day or on 2nd February was to be announced in the prayer meeting.

65 inch tall and 50 kg weight, 79 years old Bapu took them his took his last steps towards eternity with his two walking sticks Abha to the left and Manu to the right. As no one was in front of Gandhi, Godse changed his plan to fire from the distance and grab the opportunity, pulled out pistol from the pocket, pushed forcefully Manu aside, and fired three rounds of bullets very closely on his heart and stomach. With the third fire Gandhi slowly sank to the left on the ground into the hands and lap of Abha and gasped ‘hey ram’ and departed. It was 5.17pm. Smoke filled the air. Confusion and panic reigned. His face turned pale, his white shawl of Australian wool was turning crimson with blood. Deputy to Pyarelal, Kalyanam was walking to the left of him behind Abha, therefore, couldn’t hear hey ram.. But believing Gandhi’s word to Manu early that very morning, "If someone fires bullets at me and I die without a groan and with God's name on my lips, then you should tell the world that here was a real Mahatma...". He was our Mahatma, sacrificed life for the unity of Hindu-Muslim in India.. His journey to truth and from darkness to light will lantern India for centuries. Godse killed his body but made him immortal. 

Had the prayer been conducted at 5pm as per the schedule, Godse might had failed in his attempt. But his departure was destined at 5.17 pm.

8 December 2018


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