“If I’m to die by the bullet of a mad man, I must do so smiling. God must be in my heart and on my lips. And if anything happens, you are not to shed a single tear.” – Gandhiji, January 28, 1948
Upon a bed of dewy flowers:
A smile upon his lips did play,
His eyes were closed, as one should say
It was a sleep of dreamless hours.
The anguish and the pain were gone;
The light of peace upon him shone.
And some did sigh and some did
And there were some who stood apart;
There is a grief for words too deep –
A sorrow that can only creep
In silence of a broken heart.
And then some men and maidens sang;
In solemn tones echoes rang:
O Lord of Raghus, Raja Ram!
Savior of sinners, Sita Ram!
Ishvara, Allah are thy names
Chanted in many a holy psalm.
As he walked up the four steps leading to the prayer mandap, a young man, aged about 35, came before Gandhiji and, bending his body forward at a distance of less than two yards, offered pranam. Gandhiji returned the salute, when the young man remarked “You are late to-day for the prayer”. Gandhiji smiled and replied, “Yes, I am”; but just at that moment, the young man pulled out his revolver and rang out three shots from point-blank range, the bullets piercing the frail body of the great leader just below the heart and stomach. Immediately, Gandhiji collapsed; but Ava Gandhi and Manu Gandhi stuck to their place by his side and held him firmly. But that was the last of the Nation’s Father. It was then 5.12 p.m.
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