Millions of Indians throughout the world last night were mourning Mahatma Gandhi, the man of peace, who died by violence while on his way to his prayer meeting.
Three shots were fired at him by an assassin while his hand was raised to impart a blessing. He had just left his quarters in the palatial Birla House, in New Delhi.
Today, when his body is borne to the brown banks of the holy River Jumna for the cremation, Indians of every class, from the poverty-stricken Untouchable to the Rajah, will fast and pray.
Tributes were paid to Gandhi last night in all corners of the world. In India, Moslems and Hindus joined in praise of his work for his country, and in appealing for peace. The assassination aroused fears of mob violence, but an outbreak in Bombay was quickly quelled, and strict security measures were enforced throughout India.
An official state of mourning will be observed in India for 30 days. No public entertainment will be held during that period.
Gandhi was killed as he walked to his prayer meeting to appeal again for an end to communal violence.
His assassin, a young Hundu variously named Athuran Vinayak Gode, Nathu Ram and Ramanath, who had displayed no unusual nervousness or anything else to attract attention, drew a pistol when Gandhi was not more than eight feet away and fired three bullets rapidly into his body.
There was a wild rush by most of the crowd. Several ran to Gandhi and several seized the man.
Dr Qamara, Gandhi’s physician, said: “On an impulse I ran not to Gandhi but to the man and struck him twice with my fist. But then I realised my duty and ran to Gandhi.”
Doctors were called after the Mahatma had been carried into Birla House but 40 minutes later came the announcement, “Bapu (father) is dead”.