ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Ravinder SinghSubscribe to Ravinder Singh

Of Gandhi, Godse and the Missing Files

This paper revisits Indian history when a Hollywood movie, Nine Hours to Rama (1963), claiming to be "a film on Gandhi" turned out to be--much to the Indian government's embarrassment--a biopic on Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse. The film, which had been provided sufficient facilities for its making by the government, triggered off a huge uproar in the public sphere and a subsequent ban on the film. It is argued that a peculiar desecration anxiety and the conjoined traumas of patricide and partition linked to the totemic figure of Gandhi engendered such an outcry in India. Similarly, apart from other political contingencies, the film and the evidence of the government's collusion in its making threatened to undermine the Nehruvian government's sovereignty by questioning the legitimacy of its claim to Gandhi's legacy and ultimately resulted in the files related to the film being untraceable in the government archival vaults.
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