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Eyewitness Account: The Man Who Saw the Mahatma Die

Twenty-five-year-old KD Madan, an engineer with AIR, was at Birla House at 5, Tees January Marg on the fateful day.

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It was a cold winter evening on 30 January 1948. Twenty-five-year-old KD Madan, an engineer with the All India Radio, was at Birla House at 5, Tees January Marg, Delhi. This was his daily duty – to record the prayer meeting of Mahatma Gandhi ever since he started the evening prayers sessions on 9 September 1947. The prayers were normally followed by a brief address by Gandhi. The prayers were held between 5 pm and 6pm, broadcast on All India Radio the same evening at 8.30 pm.


Madan, now 95 years old, recalled that on that particular evening, Gandhi was late for the prayer, as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had come to meet him.

Gandhiji came out for the prayer meeting around 5.10 pm. The prayers were over and he was to deliver his daily address. As he walked towards the place where he normally sat for the prayer, many people were trying to come forward and meet him.
KD Madan, eyewitness to Gandhi’s assassination

One of these men was Nathuram Godse.

Gandhiji was about to commence his speech when somebody from the crowd came out with a gun and extended his hands, as if to greet him. However, he had a gun in his hand. He shot Gandhiji point blank. He shot him thrice. Gandhiji staggered on the second shot, when the third shot was fired, he fell down. He tried to stand with the help of his granddaughter and granddaughter-in-law.
KD Madan, eyewitness to Gandhi’s assassination

There were no cops around as Gandhiji had instructed the police to stay away from the prayer venue. A person with grey hair carried Gandhijji inside Birla House, where he was declared dead, Madan recalled. The rest, as they say, is history.

Cameraman: Abhishek Ranjan
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra

(This video was first published on 30 January 2018 and has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.)

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