MAHATMA GANDHI MEDIA AND RESEARCH SERVICE

MAHATMA - Life of Gandhi, 1869-1948

Chapter 14, Martyrdom, 30 January 1948, 17min 30sec, Reel 32, 33

The epic life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was ended. The film tells the story of the tragic but glorious day of Gandhi's martyrdom in the cause of unity and love - a day that turned the nations of the world into one mourning family. He had said, "If I am to die by the bullet of a mad man, I must do so smiling." He bowed to his assassin and died with the name of God on his lips. He was the Victorious One in death as in life.

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Commentary

Reel 32

 

Sequence 1 On Friday, January 30, Gandhi asked for pending letters, "I must reply to them today, for tomorrow I may never be. .. "

 

2 The day was a ceaseless round of interviews ... During his conversation with Sardar Patel at 4-30 Gandhi had his usual evening meal.. .

 

3 It was getting near prayer time. .. "I hate being late," Gandhi averred, and rose to go to the prayer ground...

 

4 At the sunset-hour, with thoughts of prayer in his mind, Gandhi walked along to seek communion with God who had illumined his path all through life till his progress was interrupted ...

 

5 The perverse assassin of the ages came with his unholy design and accomplished the foul deed. (three shots fired) Nathuram Godse lodged hot lead in the soft flesh of the man who had known no enemy.. .

 

6 Once again blood had flown for the salvation of mankind. That sin is not of one man but a sin which floods the whole human world from age to age...

 

7 Gandhiji's mind was concentrated on God and he merged in Him ...

 

8 He fell here with Ram's name on his lips ...A radiance hung over the spot. .. Men and women of all religions scooped up handfuls of the bloodstained earth to preserve ...

The three bullets that entered his body pierced the flesh of tens of millions and inflicted a wound in the vitals of the whole of humanity.. .

 

9 Choked with emotion, Jawaharlal Nehru said, (his voice) ...

... The light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. .. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the Father of the Nation, is no more ... The light has gone out, I said, and yet I was wrong. For the light that shone in this country was no ordinary light. The light that illumined this country for these many years, will illumine this country for many more years... '

 

10 The nation stood still and silent for the man who gave it her freedom and her flag.. .

 

11 A great wave of grief swept over the world. .         .

 

12 The world bowed in homage ...

The United Nations Organization lowered its flag.. . People of all races felt as one human-family in mourning ...

The U.N.O. paused to pay a tribute to the Mahatma. (Their voice) ...

United States' Warren Austin : "It is fitting that we who sit here charged with the grave responsibility of maintaining peace among nations should pay tribute to this great Indian leader... '

For Pakistan, Sir Mohamed Zafarullah Khan: "His tragic death constitutes as grievous a loss to Pakistan as it is to India."

Philip Noel-Baker of the United Kingdom: "He was the man who said that faith transcends reason, that God has his foot-stool where lives the poorest and the lowliest and the lost" ..."that our conviction that Gandhi has not lived and has not died in vain."

India's Gopalaswamy Iyengar: "We have lost our biggest man. If I may venture to say so, the world has lost its tallest man, judged by all moral standards."

 

13 He lies wrapped in repose ... Infinite peace and compassion are writ large on his face ... Amidst encircling gloom, surging waves of mourning humanity besieged the place for a last glimpse ...

 

14 A glory has departed ... Humanity may have to wait for centuries for such a one to walk again upon the earth. . .

He is one who is attached to no person and no place by ties of flesh. He is one with the Infinite ...

 

15 This man of divine mission laid down his life for the reconciliation of all men in brotherhood and love, became enshrined in millions and millions of hearts.. . and shone like a beacon for the whole world ...

He was perhaps the greatest symbol of the India of the past and of the India of the future... He stopped at the threshold of the huts of the dispossessed, dressed like one of their own ... and spoke to them in their own language ... He lived on this earth as love in the midst of hate, as forgiveness in the midst of vengeance ... He could fight the evil without because he had mastered the evil within.

He was the Victorious One in death as in life ... His legacy is courage, his banner truth, his weapon love...

We rejoice in the midst of our tears and our shame. We glory in his having walked on our land ...

The best prayer that can be offered is to obey the mandates of the Master and to follow the path for which he lived and died ...

We shall never see him again or hear his gentle voice; but his imperishable memory will ever remain with us. ..

On January 31, as the setting sun looked on with a red glance, Gandhi's body was laid on a sandal wood pyre at Rajghat.. .

Strong and dormant emotions rose in a flood of tears.. .

A tiny flame was kindling in each of those million hearts ... The logs burst in flames ... The flames leaped up towards the sky.. .

From the pyre comes the message ...

Lead me from the Unreal to the Real.. . From Darkness to Light... From Death to Immortality.

 

Reel 33

 

Sequence 1 His physical body dissolved in the cosmic elements, but not his soul. .. for the fire burns it not, the wind dries it not. It is unconsumable, incorruptible, eternal ...

After thirteen days of mourning, the urn containing the Mahatma's mortal remains was carried in a special train to his final resting place, the waters of the Jamuna and the Ganga - the equaliser of beggars and kings, of sinners and saints.. .

The Mahatma had walked all over the dusty and endless roads of India ...He no longer treads the silent planes and dales... Now the villagers move to him in their masses.. .

The lonesome and weary train steamed into the Allahabad Railway station ... In all solemnity, the urn was carried to the catafalque ...

Slowly, the catafalque moved towards the Sangam, the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Jamuna and the Saraswati: the three rivers whose names are interwoven in the web of Indian culture ...The Mahatma had kindled his torch at the central fires of the eternal Being and aspired to identity himself with the whole creation ... Who else but the elements can be the custodian of his physical remains? No place could be better as his final resting place than the bosom of India's lakes and mighty rivers.. .

(Bhajan "Vaishnav Jan")

In its immemorial flow, the sacred Triveni has mingled the ashes of nameless millions whose joys and sorrows, the Mahatma had made his very own ... The last journey ended ... What was left of his earthly remains was consigned to the sacred waters ... Mahatma Gandhi lives in all that is True and Good ... He now belongs to the ages ...

 

 - Vithalbhai K. Jhaveri