This week in crime history...
Jan 30, 1948:
Gandhi assassinatedMohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic.
He was born in 1869, his mother was deeply religious and early on exposed her son to Jainism. Gandhi was an unremarkable student but in 1888 was given an opportunity to study law in England. In 1891, he returned to India, but failing to find regular legal work he accepted in 1893 a one-year contract in South Africa where he fought for the rights of Indians.
In 1914, Gandhi returned to India. He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a protest of Britain's mandatory military draft of Indians. By 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. He reorganized the Indian National Congress as a political force and launched a massive boycott of British goods, services, and institutions in India. In 1922 he was arrested by the British authorities for sedition, found guilty, and imprisoned.
He was released in 1924. In 1928, he returned to national politics when he demanded dominion status for India and in 1930 launched a mass protest against the British salt tax, which hurt India's poor. The march, which resulted in the arrest of Gandhi and 60,000 others, earned new international respect and support for the leader and his movement.
With the outbreak of World War II, Gandhi returned to politics and called for Indian cooperation with the British war effort in exchange for independence. Britain refused and sought to divide India by supporting conservative Hindu and Muslim groups. In response, Gandhi launched the "Quit India" movement it 1942, which called for a total British withdrawal. Gandhi and other nationalist leaders were imprisoned until 1944.
In 1945, a new government came to power in Britain, and negotiations for India's independence began. Gandhi sought a unified India, but the Muslim League, which had grown in influence during the war, disagreed. After protracted talks, Britain agreed to create the two new independent states of India and Pakistan on August 15, 1947.
In an effort to end India's religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi's tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him