On 30 January, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Nathuram Godse in Delhi. His assassination just after the deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in the subcontinent sent shivers among the Muslims and other peace loving Indians. People were anxious that if the killer was some Muslim it might lead to renewed violence against the whole community.

My grandmother, 95 years old Mrs. Maimuna Khatoon, was in Patna on that day. She recounts the day and those anxious times.

95 years old Mrs. Maimuna Khatoon,
95 years old Mrs. Maimuna Khatoon,

“The news of Mahatma Gandhi’s murder was talk of the town in Patna. People were hopeless as well as frightened. Rumours were ripe that Mahatma Gandhi had been killed by this community/group or that. Amidst all this, one community was totally frightened and scared. The community which has lost everything in the feud between Congress and Muslim League, viz. Muslims. Muslims had lost everything during the riots of 1946 and the partition in 1947 left them orphans. To top it all, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. One cannot imagine the situation of Muslims. Communal people were looking for any pretext to kill Muslims at the time.

I still remember a Maulana (Islamic Cleric), who was an acquaintance, came running from Kashmiri Kothi and said that it is not the time for prayers just wish that the killer of Mahatma Gandhi was not a Muslim otherwise get ready to be killed. In the meanwhile a Muslim man of repute from the locality gathered Hindus and Muslims. He asked people that there was a rumour that killer of Mahatma Gandhi is a Muslim and the news was unconfirmed, what if it led to some violent happening in the locality. It was decided that until decided that the killer is a Hindu or a Muslim no group will indulge in provocative speeches.

People gathered at the house of an Aggarwal (Marwari) who had a radio. As soon as the news was broadcasted that the killer of Mahatma Gandhi had been identified as Nathuram Godse Muslims prostrated in their mosques to thank Allah that it was not a Muslim. After that people told the Gandhians to calm down their anger towards the Muslim.”