Beyond Doubt: A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination
Book: Beyond Doubt: A Dossier on Gandhi’s Assassination
Compiled and introduced by Teesta Setalvad
Pages: x + 278 pages p/b
Publisher: Tulika Books, New Delhi
The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi on 30 January 1948 was a declaration of war and a statement of intent. For the forces which conspired in the killing, the act was a declaration of war against the secular, democratic Indian state and all those who stood to affirm those principles, as well as an announcement of a lasting commitment to India as a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. It was also an act to signal the elimination of all that India’s national movement against imperialism stood for.
Beyond Doubt is a dossier of historical and critical documents that aims to contextualize the politics, motivations and circumstances behind the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Attempts to legitimise the act of killing and to celebrate the killers have re-doubled since May 2014, following the coming to power of the new regime in New Delhi. The time is right, therefore, to set the record straight.
The visceral hatred directed against Gandhi and the denigration of everything he stood for need to be recounted if we are to understand the political nature of that dastardly act. This book attempts to weave together archival documents from Government of India records relating to developments after the assassination, with translation of works in Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi de-constructing the ideology responsible for the political killing of the Father of the Nation. While several of the documents have appeared before in issues of Communalism Combat, this compilation presents new material on the subject. The first English translation of Jagan Phadnis’s book, Mahatmyache Akher, forms part of the dossier, as do Y.D. Phadke’s analysis of attempts to legitimise Gandhi’s killing and Chunibhai Vaidya’s analysis of Pradeep Dalvi’s play on Godse. It also covers the recent controversy over the destruction of files relating to Gandhi’s assassination by Government of India.
Teesta Setalvad is a senior journalist, educationist and activist. She is co-editor of the monthly Communalism Combat, along with Javed Anand. Setalvad is involved with broadening the boundaries of history and social studies teaching through KHOJ, a programme for secular education, and has worked extensively on exclusion and communalisation in school curricula and textbooks. She has analysed and documented the communalisation of India’s law and order machinery, and the building up of communal conflict in Gujarat, since the early 1990s. Trained also in law, Setalvad was convenor of the Concerned Citizens Tribunal - Crimes Against Humanity, Gujarat 2002, headed by Justices V.R. Krishna Iyer, P.B. Sawant and Hosbet Suresh. She is secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), a civil rights group set up by her and other concerned citizens of Mumbai in April 2002.