Was Nathuram Godse A Terrorist, An Assassin, Or Both?

If you are one of those who believe in the morphed photos of Gandhi indulging in substandard activities,  then you are quite underqualified to read this. Please leave this article here itself and go read about Gandhi from reliable sources. You can have a different political ideology than Gandhi, that’s okay, but if you are one of those uneducated, unaware (but literate) young kids who know nothing about his ideologies yet comment on his personal stories all published in no other place but the WhatsApp university, then this is not for you.

If I could meet one person, living or dead, from whom I could draw maximum inspiration, it would have to be Mr. M. K. Gandhi, whose ideologies have worked like a guiding light for millions of people like me. However, the tragedy of how his life ended has left me extremely confused. I often wondered in my childhood, why would someone kill Gandhi ji? What state of mind could have one been in to do something like that? Was he a serial killer or someone who is normally very violent? This curiosity was rested once and for all when one of my friends told me that Godse wrote a book to explain his side of the story.

We all have read, seen and heard a lot about Gandhi but Godse’s story is relatively less popular.

Why Did Godse Assassinate Gandhi?

Godse had been a part of the freedom struggle movement all his life. There was a brief period when he worked with Gandhiji to tackle untouchability. Later, he became a strong critique of Gandhi Ji and Congress. He, along with Narayan Apte, had started a newspaper which was critical of Congress’ measures to get independence. Godse felt that Gandhi Ji’s philosophies were anti-Hindu and steps taken by him for unity were backfiring, as a result of which, Hindus were suffering. Godse did believe that Gandhi Ji appeased Muslims to a great extent, yet, the unity wasn’t established, and ultimately led to the partition, resulting in deaths of millions of people, as a consequence of displacement. He felt if his or other right-wing leaders’ policies had been followed then this situation would have been avoided.


As per the book, Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse, Pakistan’s aggression on Kashmir was rampant with violence, post-partition. India was supposed to pay Rupees 55 crores to Pakistan as per the agreement signed during partition. The discussions and negotiations for this were on, when the Government of India withheld the payment until the Kashmir issue was settled. Gandhi Ji did not find this decision in line with his principles of Ahimsa. So he threatened the Government to go on hunger strike until they reversed their decision. Eventually, the government did reverse its decision and paid money to Pakistan.

This event triggered Godse to such an extent that he felt that Gandhi Ji’s philosophies even after independence are still hampering the country’s progress and are interfering in the democratic working of the Government. Hence, he believed that assassinating Gandhi Ji was the only way out, for the benefit of the country.

This is nothing but a classic example of extreme nationalism which seems to be back in the picture again. Unlike what I was expecting, Godse’s track record before this incident wasn’t full of violence. There is no record of his violent nature before this incident. According to the book, he was an idealist, a follower of the right-wing ideology, he was involved in community service and worked hard for the country’s freedom.

Assassin Vs Terrorist

Was Godse a terrorist, an assassin, or both?

Let us see how the law defines a terrorist. Since independence, there have been multiple attempts to define a terrorist and terrorism. Many Acts were passed and then later repealed- namely TADA 1985, POTO 2001, POTA 2002, etc. There were different definitions at different points of time because of the frequent amendments made from 1985 to 2012.

Currently, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, deals with the act of terrorism. According to it, whoever does any act with an intent to strike terror or with an intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India, is a terrorist. By this definition, I don’t think Godse was a terrorist as I couldn’t find any record where his intentions were to strike terror or to threaten unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India.

Let’s see how does the UN define a terrorist. UN has not yet agreed on a single definition of what terrorism is. It says an unequivocal definition would remove the political distinction that some make between the actions of so-called freedom fighters and terrorists.


I am damn sure that most of the right-wing politicians in news because of Godse know nothing factual and they have not read anything about him. Their agenda is mere political stunts.

Godse was a murderer/assassin, nothing can change that. Whether he was a terrorist, that completely depends on the definition you are referring to. After reading his version I feel Congress did politicize Gandhi ji’s assassination a lot for their advantage and painted Godse as the ultimate source of anti-nationalism.

I am not surprised to read that he was a part of the freedom movement all his life. A lot of people were at that time. You may agree with his political ideology and still disagree with the criminal act of murder he did and this shouldn’t make you an anti-national. Showing your hatred towards Godse shouldn’t be the criteria of measuring your nationalism/patriotism.

I, in no form, support his act of killing Gandhi ji (or killing anyone) and as per the law he was rightly punished for that. But why are we getting his references in this election season? Are we seriously falling short of present issues or is it just another way to divert us from the real ones?

An interesting fact: In the entire book, M K Gandhi has been referred to as ‘Gandhi Ji’, whereas today’s leaders are referring to him as Chatur Baniya, etc.

PS: The above article is based on limited knowledge and limited experiences of my life. Happy to hear contradicting views and learn something new.

Reference: Why I Assassinated Mahatma Gandhi by Nathuram Godse

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