Martyrs’ Day: The Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi


Ravi Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

January 30 1948 was a momentous day for India. This was the day when Gandhiji was assassinated by a Hindu bigot by shooting him at point blank range. Me Nehru the first Prime Minister of the newly independent country said ‘ The light has gone out of our lives’.

Indeed the whole country felt sad and orphaned. It was like an infant of six months who loses his father.

The country had gained independence from 200 years of British rule on August 15 1947 with Gandhi at the forefront of the struggle. Gandhi relied on Truth, Nonviolence and Satyagraha for the country’s freedom.

But although Gandhi practiced nonviolence, the country was torn into two nations with millions of people killed in the aftermath of this freedom from colonial rule.

Although Gandhi preached and practiced NV (Nonviolence) his death was brought about by violence. Does that minimize or negate the concept of NV?

No it only strengthens and fortifies this unique means of presenting one’s beliefs and protesting peacefully for their implementation. These means were adopted by several nations of Africa and Asia to get independence from colonial yoke after India achieved freedom.

The example of South Africa stands out clearly to free itself from bondage, racial discrimination, injustice by the long struggle and imprisonment of its leader Nelson Mandela and other stalwarts who followed Gandhi’s path of Satyagraha and NV.

In the contemporary world, full of bloodshed, brutality, violence and killings, the gospel of NV is equally valid to achieve Peace, Harmony, Justice for the millions of people all over the world. Gandhi is no more but his legacy of Non-violence, Truth and religious Amity still is relevant and indispensable. Gandhi would have been happy, if he was alive, to note that his struggles were not in vain. They are as important and relevant today as they were in his time.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, an educationist, Gandhian scholar and peace researcher. Retired professor, Delhi University. His new book, A Garland of Ideas—Gandhian, Religious, Educational, Environmental was published recently in Delhi.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 3 Feb 2020.

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