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The listing of attempts on the life of Mahatma Gandhi

The listing of attempts on the life of Mahatma Gandhi

Over a long span of years before his assassination in 1948, attempts by the Hindu fundamentalists to eliminate Gandhi were in the works. There were about ten attempts in all, of which six have been verifiably recorded.

1. In 1934, while Gandhi was on his way to attend the reception held in his honour by Poona Municipality, a bomb was hurled at him. But it hit the car ahead, and Gandhi was saved. The Chief Municipal Officer, a couple of police constables, and four others were injured then.

2. At Panchgani in 1944: A man with a dagger in his hand rushed toward him. According to Manishankar Purohit, the proprietor of Poona Surati Lodge, the assailant was none else but Nathuram Godse. It has been a recorded evidence that B.D. Bhisare Guruji, the ex-Congress MLA from Mahabaleshwar and Chief of Satara District Central Bank had snatched away the dagger from Godse. Gandhiji soon sent for Godse, but he did not turn up!

3. In September 1944, Gandhi was scheduled to go from Wardha to Bombay to meet Mahomed Ali Jinnah. A group from Poona went to Wardha, to attack Gandhi and sabotage the program. When Gandhi came to know about this, he insisted that he would walk along with the demonstrators and not board the car until they allowed. But before his departure, the police had apprehended the group. One of them, G.L. Thatte, was detected to be carrying a dagger, but he told the police that he had only intended to tear off the tyre of the car by which Gandhi was to travel!

4. In June 1946. Gandhi was traveling to Poona by a special train. They had hatched a plot to derail the train in that dark night between Neral and Karjat by putting huge stones on the rail tracks. Thanks to the engine driver's vigilance and skill the tragedy was averted although the engine was damaged.

Later on, mentioning this incident in a prayer meeting Gandhi said: "So far I have been saved from seven attempts on my life. But I am not going to end up that way. I hope to live for 125 years." Nathuram Godse responded with a retorting notion in his journal "Agrani": "But, who will let you live?"

5. On January 20, 1948 one fanatic, Madanlal Pahwa, had hurled a bomb at Gandhi at the prayer meeting. It missed him, and Gandhi continued his prayers unperturbed.

6. At last, on January 30, ten days later, Godse assassinated Gandhi on the prayer ground.

Source: Spitting at the Sun, published 1998

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