Malgonkar's book on Gandhi's killers evokes renewed interest

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (UNI) Sixty years after Mahatma Gandhi fell to an assassin's bullets, a book that seeks to shed light on his killers who executed the daring plot that shook a newly-independent nation and their subsequent trial is generating renewed interest.

"The Men Who Killed Gandhi", published by Roli Books, unveils Nathuram Vinayak Godse, Narayan Apte, Vishnu Karkare, Gopal Godse, and Madanlal Pahwa, who hatched the plot to eliminate the Father of the Nation. Its release coincides with the 60th anniversary of the assassination.

Written in the manner of a racy thriller, the account is based on the information provided by four of the six charged -- Karkare, Gopal Godse, Pahwa as also Digambar Badge, who turned approver -- to author Manohar Malgonkar, who carried out lengthy conversations with them, particularly with Karkare and Badge who were most comfortable conversing in Marathi.

While Nathuram Godse and Apte were hanged for their involvement in Gandhi's murder, Gopal Godse, Karkare and Pahwa each served life sentences. Badge, the approver, was pardoned. But each one of them gave an account of his part of their story freely, perhaps spicing it with many more details that may not have figured in the trial.

Now in its 11th edition, the book initially came out in 1978 with a limited print run of a thousand-odd copies. The book concentrates on the killers and fleshes them out as believable everyday characters, abounding in minutiae and trivia about them to embellish the account of their deed to avenge the loss of Pakistan.

Though based on extensive research and trial proceedings the book draws on vignettes of the interaction that makes for a gripping account.

Despite being in print for nearly three decades now, the publishers in the latest imprint have added previously unseen photographs of the killers culled from mainly Gopal Godse's home where they were hung proudly.

The book draws the readers willy-nilly into the lives of the accomplices, their loves and family members acquainted throwing light on intriguing details of the Bombay-Delhi air tickets used by Godse and Apte and hotel bills of Godse.

Rare and unpublished photographs such as the smiling and relaxed Godse brothers, Apte and Karkare in the courtroom and extensive documentst help the reader to re-construct the dramatic murder trial.

What compelled the publishers to return to the Mahatma's assassin trial after such a long hiatus? "It was last published in English thirty years ago and due to the small print run and time lapse, we felt that there was a generation of Indians who would be unaware of the book," says Mr Pramod Kapoor, Roli publisher.

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