October 2, 2022

Gandhi Murder Case-11: Decision of the Court and the day of Godse’s Hanging

For better understanding, read this article-Gandhi Murder Case-10: Was there any problem between the judges?

The lawmatics Series- Gandhi Murder Case-Part 11

Court gave Dr. Parchure and Shankar the benefit of doubt and, accepting their appeal, acquitted them. The conviction and sentence of the remaining five appellants were confirmed.

The final chapter of this sad story takes us to the Central Gaol, Ambalal, where Nathuram Godse and Apte were executed on the morning of November 15, 1949. After the conclusion of the trial they had been sent there to await the decision of the appeal preferred by them. Apte began to write a treatise on some aspects of Indian philosophy which he completed a day or two before his execution. Godse contented himself with regarding a number of books.

The final chapter of this sad story takes us to the Central Gaol, Ambalal, where Nathuram Godse and Apte were executed on the morning of November 15, 1949. After the conclusion of the trial they had been sent there to await the decision of the appeal preferred by them. Apte began to write a treatise on some aspects of Indian philosophy which he completed a day or two before his execution. Godse contented himself with regarding a number of books.

The two condemned prisoners were led out of their cells with their hands pinioned behind them. Godse walked in front. His step occasionally faltered. His demeanour and general appearance evidenced a state ot nervousness and fear. He tried to fight against it and keep up a bold exterior by shouting every few seconds the slogan ‘Akhand Bharat’ (undivided India). But his voice had a slight croak in it and the vigour with which he had argued his case at the trial and in the High Court seemed to have been all but expanded. The desperate cry was taken up by Apte who shouted ‘Amar rahe’ (may stay forever). His loud and firm tone made an uncanny contrast to Godse’s at times, almost feeble utterance.

The Superintendent of the goal and the District Magistrate of Ambalal who had come to certify the due execution of the High Court’s order observed that, unlike Godse, Apte was completely self-possessed and displayed not the slightest sign of nervousness. He walked with a firm step with his shoulders thrown back and his head held high. Taller than Godse by several inches, he appeared to dominate over him. There was, on his face, a look not so much of defiance and justification of what he had done, as of an inner sense of fulfillment, of looking forward to a rightful end to the proceedings which had occasioned so much sound and fury.

It was said afterwards that Godse had, during his last days in gaol, repented of his deed and declared that were he to be given another chance he would spend the rest of his life in the promotion of peace and the service of his country. Apte, on the other hand, maintained an unrelenting attitude. Till the very end he refused to admit his guilt, nor did he plead his innocence in the cringing tones of a beaten adversary. The study of Bhagwadgita and his own experiment in writing a treatise on philosophy may have taught him the futility of protest or prayer, or it may be his naturally stoic temperament, but he walked to his doom with the self-assurance and confidence of a man who is about to receive no more and no less than the expected and deserved reward for doing his duty.

A single gallows had been prepared for the execution of both. Two ropes, each with a noose, hung from the high crossbar in parallel lines. Godse and Apte were made to stand side by side, the black cloth bags were drawn over their heads and tied at the necks. After adjusting the nooses, the executioner stepped off the platform and pulled the lever.

Apte died almost at once and his still body swung in a slow oscillating movement, but Godse, though unconscious and unfeeling, continued to wriggle and display signs of life in the shivering of his legs and the convulsing of his body for quite fifteen minutes. The dead bodies were cremated inside the gaol, the ground where the pyres had been erected was ploughed up and the earth and ashes taken to the Ghaggar river and secretly submerged at a secluded spot.

Reference

As mentioned in the book ‘The Murder of Mahatma’ by G.D.Khosla (Formerly Chief Justice of Punjab, who heard the appeal of Nathuram Godse & others and gave his most historic verdict in the case of assassination), First Published: 1965