What would’ve happened if M.K. Gandhi was assassinated by the British?

By Sunil Kumar

What makes you think the British didn’t have some indirect role to play in his assassination? Winston Churchill openly favoured Jinnah and the Muslims, disliked Gandhi who he had once dismissed as a ‘half-naked’ fakir visiting the King Emperor.

Then there’s the mystery of the fourth bullet

Tracking the fourth bullet that has given new life to Mahatma Gandhi murder case

After the war, the British were bankrupt. Creating enmity between India and Pakistan, Hindus and Muslims would be the final nail in the colonial divide and rule project that had already led to the creation of two(later three) nations on the subcontinent. To the present day, there is no substantial direct trade between the two countries.

Pakistan has morphed into a theocratic Islamic republic that crushes minorities and every big leader has homes either in Dubai or London. India, on the other hand is a fractious democracy that has an outer veneer of secularism due to the inherent tolerant nature of Indic religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism etc.

In the Crown, a famous Netflix series on the British Monarchy, Edward VIII, the abdicated King of England cracks a joke on the last viceroy Mountbatten’s expense about the cuckolding of Edwina with our first Prime Minister, J.L Nehru. Many historians have remarked on the rather open bedroom policy, trysts and flings of the Mountbatten couple long before India ever got independent.

When you have a viceroy who’s willing to send his wife in to seduce a ‘willing’ paramour Nehru, it’s not that hard to imagine what other devious tricks the British could have pulled.

Even in Kashmir, a famous turncoat high-ranking military officer changed loyalties to Pakistan at the last minute giving them advantage and helping them take PoK with relative ease. It was in Britain and the larger Western world’s interest that India did not graduate into a great power overnight.

Now, if we take your alternate-history at face value i.e the British were proved to be behind the assassination of Gandhi, it may have led to many different outcomes.

Indians would remember this deception, even though they have moved on and forgotten the U.K. for its massive crimes and human rights violations in the subcontinent. If on the other hand, the U.K. would have been ruled by India, I’m sure that the British would have never forgiven their colonizers or even forgotten them.

Big Maybe, relations between India and Pakistan would have been better. The RSS would definitely not be dragged into every debate by the Congress and other groups that don’t debate on any substantive issues. But, as I said, the circumstances around the assassination are another mystery. Nothing is set in stone. So, it’s not black and white, but shades of grey.

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