The photographs that I am presenting today are neither really famous nor are they iconic. However, they are historic, rare and important. Today is the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi; the pioneer of Satyagraha, a philosophy of resistance based on civil disobedience and non-violence. The Mahatma who had total faith in non-violence was assassinated by Nathuram Vinayak Godse on 30 January 1948. Godse shot Gandhi three times at point-blank range with a .38 Beretta semi-automatic pistol.
As per my experience, nowadays, people don’t understand Gandhi the Person. It is fashionable and popular to denounce Gandhi and his views. People who have not read anything seriously written about Gandhi -even they do not think twice before abusing the name of the Father of Nation. “Majboori ka naam Mahatma Gandhi” (Gandhi is the second name of helplessness) is an often heard phrase that just flies out of people’s mouth who do not think before they speak. I don’t mind people criticizing Gandhi because everyone has a right to keep an opinion. But I should like people to study Gandhi before making an opinion about him.
Today I am presenting the photographs of the Mahatma’s funeral. These photographs were originally published by the Life magazine. The photographs show how much the people of India loved their Bapu. During the funeral procession, a huge number of people had gathered in Delhi to get a last glimpse of Gandhi. One could only see a sea of men, women, children, old and young all around. As the photos show, people did not leave any stone unturned in order to see the funeral procession.
At 4:45 p.m., Ramdas, the third son of the Mahatma, set fire to the funeral pyre. The logs burst into flames. The vast assemblage groaned. Women wailed; men wept. The wood crackled and seethed and the flames united into a single fire. Now there was silence. Gandhi’s body was being reduced to ashes and cinders. A nation’s father was dead.
Did you know?
- The serial number of Godse’s pistol was 606824
- The last wish of Nathuram Godse still remains unfulfilled. He wished that India and Pakistan should reunite and to have his ashes immersed in the Indus river—now in Pakistan—when it became part of India again.
- Since 1934, there had been five unsuccessful attempts to kill Gandhi
- The FIR of Gandhi’s murder was filed by Nand Lal Mehta on 30 January 1948, at 9.45 p.m.