|And the Mahatma said...
Monday February 6 2006 14:17 IST
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CHANDIGARH: A collector's item - a first information report (FIR) registered 58 years ago - is likely to set at rest the controversy over the last words uttered by Mahatma Gandhi when he was assassinated.
On Gandhi's 58th death anniversary on January 30 this year, his former personal assistant Venkita Kalyanam, 83, said the Mahatma died without uttering a single word when Nathu Ram Godse's bullets hit him.
Pulling out the FIR copy from his records, Chandigarh-based lawyer Guneet Chaudhary said it mentioned the names of Gandhi's associates, sisters and a couple of employees who were present at the time of the incident.
There was no mention of Kalyanam.
Guneet, who has a collection of copies of FIRs relating to prominent personalities, said that the FIR clearly stated: "The Mahatma fell down saying Ram-Ram."
The FIR registered at the time (January 30, 1948, at 9.45 PM) at New Delhi's Tughlak Road police station by assistant sub-inspector Dhalu Ram on the statement of Gandhi's close associate Nand Lal Mehta said: "...suddenly a man, who was later identified as Nathu Ram Godse took steps out of the crowd and fired three shots at Mahatmaji. Bullets hit him on the stomach and chest. The Mahatma fell down saying Ram-Ram..."
"Why would Nand Lal Mehta record a wrong statement over what the Mahatma said? It would be uncharitable to attribute a motive of manipulation to Mehta, a staunch Gandhian," said Guneet.
He said Kalyanam's presence at the scene was doubtful, as he was not even made a prosecution witness by the investigating agencies.
Another controversy around Gandhi's assassination was why he was not rushed to hospital and was instead taken to the Birla House where he died later.
There is no mention in the FIR that any doctor was called.
Guneet, along with his brother Neeraj, has also copies of FIRs related to former prime ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi and her sons Rajiv Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi.