Baskar Seshadri

It was an ordinary day for Mohandas. It was Friday and the life was usual for everyone. Mohandas got up at sharp 3.30am in Birla house and he has been staying there since september of 1947. The peacemaking ceremony had happened in this place among many persons. Attendant Brij Krishna was ready as usual with his nieces Manu and Abha. The prayer started at sharp 3.45 am on the dot. He had a simple massage and corrected the draft proposal he already made. He had his lemon juice. Later little honey and orange juice since he underwent a long fast only a month ago which had deteriorated his health. The completed document was almost his last will and testament in a way. He recollected about the Noakhali issue and the crisis of Rice in Madras to his secretary Pyarelal and then went to take a short nap. There were some heated speech by shyam prasad Mukherjee only few days ago and he had threatened to kill congress men on this. Mohandas was upset at this hate speech. He met as a normal practice his visitors which included blind refugees. A delegation from Punjab and Sikh came to invite and he suggested Babu Rajendra Prasad to be the President. He also had a meeting with Nehru and Patel since he did his peace making process between them.

On the other hand it was Nathuram Godse who was staying in the retiring room Number six decided that he had a mission on his hand and he was among a big team who were in various points to execute in case of any failure from his end. Many may not be aware that there was an attempt on Jan 10 was later treated as a dry Run Mohandas love to be punctual and sadly on this day he was late by ten minutes since his secretaries decided not to intervene a discussion which was going on already .His famous Ingersoll was not worn by him and that could be another reason for his being late that day.

To make it quick he chose a short cut and was moving to the prayer hall in the first floor There were normally twenty policemen to protect him which was arranged only few months ago after an attempt was made months ago Well before five Pm Godse reached Birla Temple and Apte and Karkare was there following him. He was in Khaki and engaged a tonga .The mission was on and they were all travelling towards the Birla House. Normally people used to form a passage track and on that fateful day it was not to be. Godse was getting ready with his Italian made Beretta pistol. Godse Pushed Manu aside and moved his way towards Mohandas. In the melee when the flower plates fell down she bent down to pick it. It was at this moment Godse picked his gun and shot Mohandas thrice one at the chest and two on the abdomen. It was a point blank range .Mohandas stood till third bullet was pumped on him and fell on the ground.

The man who fought against the violence fell prey to his teaching and the prime age of close to eighty. All were over at 5.17 Sharp on the evening of January 30, 1948. The fragrance of flowers vanished and it became a smokey Gun Powder smell that filled the air.

When Mohandas fell to the bullets he chanted just two times He Ram He ram and had his last breathe. That was his last prayer.

There are versions to say that he did not say He Ram at all. His personal assistant Sri Kalyanam (still alive and resides in teynampet) says he fell and died and it was Manu and Abha who lifted him and kept his head on their laps.

The whole world grieved. It was this man who preached nonviolence and it was the same who fell to the Beretta Bullets. Its shame on us that we killed him. Who also can be fondly called Bapu and its our own Mahatma.

Our salutes forever to this Messiah.

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