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Did you know: Christian Missionaries attempted to convert Nathuram Godse while he was in prison, sent communication just two months before his execution

"I have received several letters from some prominent "Christian Missions", and according to their faith and the teaching of the 'Holy Bible', they have tried to give me some message. Their stand is quite intelligible. But yours is the first letter that I have received which resembles to some extent to the well-known or more known teachings of your revered father.."Godse had replied to Ramdas Gandhi.

When Nathuram Godse was jailed during his trial for the assassination of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (MK Gandhi), Christian Missionaries regularly sent him letters urging him to convert to Christianity. On December 16, advocate, TV presenter and journalist TG Mohandas shared this information on Twitter.

In a tweet, TG Mohandas mentioned that he accessed over 11,000 documents related to MK Gandhi’s assassination, and a particular document caught his eye. In that document, there was communication between the Indian Government’s officers talking about the letters received from the UK containing exhortations to convert to Christianity.

OpIndia accessed documents from the National Archives to confirm the existence of the letter. We found the said letter and associated documents to it and other proof that Godse was regularly getting letters from Christian Missionaries.

The communications between Godse and Ramdas Gandhi

Ramdas Gandhi, son of MK Gandhi, had written a letter to Nathuram Godse on May 17, 1949, in which he claimed that once Godse was “free from misunderstanding, then no doubt that he would repent and realise his blunder”.

Excerpt from Ramdas Gandhi’s letter to Nathuram Godse. Source: National Archives.
Footnote from Ramdas Gandhi’s letter to Nathuram Godse mentioning he sought mercy for Godse. Source: National Archives.

On June 3, 1949, Nathuram Godse replied to a letter by Ramdas M Gandhi, who was trying to meet Godse. In his reply, Godse said that being open-minded, he was always a subject for correction but “what is the way to remove my misunderstanding, if any and to make me repent”.

Excerpt from the letter by Nathuram Godse to Ramdas Gandhi. Source: National Archives.

Pointing out the footnote where Ramdas Gandhi had mentioned he addressed the governor and gave him reasons why Godse should not be made to suffer the penalty awarded, Godse said, “Certainly neither the gallows nor any big show of mercy and to commute my punishment. The only way is to see me and make me realise. Uptilnow, I have come across nothing which will make me repent.”

Excerpt from the letter by Nathuram Godse to Ramdas Gandhi where Godse mentioned he received letters from Christian Missions. Source: National Archives.

In his letter, Godse mentioned he was receiving regular communications from “prominent Christian Missions”. He said, “I have received several letters from some prominent “Christian Missions”, and according to their faith and the teaching of the ‘Holy Bible’, they have tried to give me some message. Their stand is quite intelligible. But yours is the first letter that I have received which resembles to some extent to the well-known or more known teachings of your revered father. Really this is surprising! I have received letters full of abuses. I do not consider they were a disciple of your father.”

The letters between Deputy High Commissioner for India in Pakistan and MoEA

On September 14, 1949, Deputy High Commissioner for India in Pakistan YK Puri wrote to Deputy Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs Prem Krishnan, informing him about the letters he had received from the UK for Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, who were lodged in Ambala Jail. In his letter, Puri mentioned that the letters contained exhortations to Christianity.

Communication between Deputy High Commissioner of India in Pakistan and Deputy Secretary, GoI, MoEA, about letters received for Godse and Apte containing exhortations to Christianity. Source: National Archives.

Further communications within the MoEA and Ministry of Home Affairs showed that a ‘No Objection’ was issued to deliver the letters to the prisoners. On October 17, 1949, the letters were forwarded to the Superintendent of Central Jail, Ambala. Notably, the letters were to be delivered to Godse and Apte only if the Superintendent of Central Jail had no objection. So far, OpIndia did not find the letters to Nathuram Godse sent by Christian Missions.

No Objection was issued for the letters to be delivered to Godse and Apte. Source: National Archives.

OpIndia is looking into more documents to determine the extent to which Christian missionaries were trying to convert Godse and if conversions of prisoners were going on at that time.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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