This story can be read as a case study of a heartless killer sentenced to life imprisonment not for killing Muslims but for killing Gandhi because of his bias for the Muslims. Had Madanlal Pahwa not been part of the conspiracy, he would have gone scot-free. Yet that impunity was not conclusive. As he in his advanced years moved diffidently toward the vernacular tradition of religion he was reared on and toward its distinctive forms of openness and inclusivity, he was bound to become a bundle of contradictions and unwittingly tilt toward a worldview in which the Muslims and Islam had a place, as did Gandhi himself. The borderlines between faiths once again became porous for Pahwa. His unflinching loyalty to Hindutva, however, failed to defend him from the vernacular Hinduism and Islam of his ancestral village. He could disown neither his ideology nor Pakpattan.
Ashis Nandy; Coming Home: Religion, Mass Violence, and the Exiled and Secret Selves of a Citizen-Killer. Public Culture 1 January 2010; 22 (1): 127–147. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-2009-019
Download citation file: