SHORTLY BEFORE HIS EXECUTION, in the early hours of 15 November 1949, Nathuram Vinayak Godse, the Hindu-supremacist fanatic who killed Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 30 January 1948, recited a prayer:
Namaste Sada Vatsale Matrubhume
Twaya Hindubhume Sukham Vardhitoham
Mahanmangale Punyabhume Twadarthe
Patatvesh Kayo Namaste, Namaste!
O affectionate motherland, I eternally bow to you
O land of Hindus, you have reared me in comfort
O sacred and holy land,
May this body of mine be dedicated to you and I bow before you again and again!
These four Sanskrit sentences constitute the first of the three stanzas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s official prayer, which continues to be sung to this day at its shakhas—regular assemblies meant for physical and ideological training.