Monday, February 18, 2008

"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.

8 comments:

SK Perinthalakkat said...

Good review! I have just finished reading this book and say that you are right on your observations.

I must add that a lot of propoganda has already happened in this country based on this episode. People, communities, political parties etc. were dragged in unneccessarily and the standard Goebells tactic of "tell a lie a 100 times, it becomes a truth" was used.

The book can be surely used to challenge these modern day Goebells.

oman said...

It is a fantastic book, well supported by facts. The best part, as you mentioned, is tat the book is an unbiased account of the happenings. This creates a lot of questions in mind regarding the status of 'Father of Nation', the whereabouts of the Rs.165 Crs. left with India, the role played by Mountbatten, the propoganda made for the last 61 years about Freedom "struggle", the cold blooded facts about partition, the suppression of the work done by Veer Savarkar etc. etc. Congress and in particular the Nehru's and Gandhi's, need to answer many questions. They owe it to the common people. That is, provided, the common people are ready to ask the question .......

Suro said...

a very nice book.
describes how the decision of one person can affect the whole country

Anonymous said...

could anybody tell me how i can find the book online ? i mean, if any ebook is available, that would be great... my email: phani.p.gudipati@gmail.com
thanks a lot again

praveen bavadekar said...

I read the book sometime back, and the review is indeed succinct.

The book reads very well against our current world situation and at one point may define the world view and the mental processes of terrorists even in todays world.

It will be interesting to juxtapose the almost juvenile but deadly antics of godse and apte against 26/11 guys from pakistan for example...

Malgaonkar is a personal favourite of mine, and part of this comes from our shared geographies. I stay in Belgaum, close to where Malgaonkar resides in his 'jungle abode' Burbusa.

I have met him a couple of times, when i have gone towards the dandeli forests area.

The last i met him was a couple of days ago. He is 97, can bearly walk, gets visibily pointedly tired of visitors and fans after some time, and hardly has the eye sight to read or write, but the twinkle in his eyes is still unmistakable.

Dropping names is a book where he reminiscences about the people and personalities he's met.

The book on kanhoji angrey, the maratha admiral is also a good read...

Anonymous said...

Factual presentation....i just finished reading the book. we were never told about the circumstances under which Gandhi was murdered nor given fair treatment of history....all we know is Gandhi, Nehru fought for our freedom etc...well, Thanks Mr Malgaonkar for a fair presentation of facts.

Jit said...

For long I've been looking for this very book but still not able to get hold of it. I wonder how can I get the book (ebook/paperback)?

I wud highly be grateful if any of the reviewer can help me getting a copy of the very book.

Please, mail me if you have ebook version or willing to share the paperback version. My email id is jit.takhar@gmail.com

Thanks in advance,

Cheers
Jit

alexander said...

From so long days i was looking for this book and i got it now...
after reading it i ll post my comments on this book