An exclusive excerpt from Why They Killed Gandhi – Unmasking Ideology and the Conspiracy by Ashok Kumar Pandey (Speaking Tiger, 2022)
Chapter 3. Last Days: Delhi, Noakhali, Delhi
I have not convinced India. There is violence all around us. I am a spent bullet. —Gandhi to his biographer Louis Fischer, on 26 June 19461
The last days of Gandhi were ones of disquietude and loneliness. He repeatedly tried to lead an apolitical life. Attempting to provide equal facilities to the poor at a naturopathy centre in Poona, or migrating to an unknown village, he was constantly trying to adopt social work as an alternative to politics. He resigned from the primary membership of the Congress in 1934, but after being in politics all his life, politics was not ready to leave him in this period of turmoil.
Independence was round the corner and every political group was eager to snatch its pound of flesh. The transfer of power was almost certain after the Second World War, but the British were not going to relinquish their prized possession without securing their international interests in the post-colonial world. The growing communal animosity was bliss for them. Muriel Lester has quoted Gandhi in her memoir where he admits that the policy of divide and rule was only successful because communal and caste divisions are deep-rooted in Indian society. The British only widened those cracks and communal organizations like the RSS, Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League aided their effort. Churchill never wanted the existence of an undivided India and in Pakistan he was eying a future ally. History proved him right. Jinnah was adamant for Pakistan at any cost. Gandhi’s efforts to pacify him through friendly dialogue proved futile. Gandhi tried to establish nationalist leaders like Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, but amidst the communal frenzy of that time, the appeals of leaders like Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan or Maulana Azad could not produce the desired effect, and Jinnah’s clout only grew with time. Gandhi enjoyed massive support from Muslims during his Khilafat Movement. The Ali brothers were his close comrades in that movement. But the surviving Ali brother, Shaukat Ali, who was hailing Gandhi as ‘my chief’ in his absence during the First Round Table Conference, had changed his allegiance by the second conference.