Trial and an ‘error’


By: Satyakam Bharti

The Queen of Hills has a history, or rather is an important chapter in the history of a nation state called India. From being the summer capital of British India, to signing of the India-Pakistan agreement, every Shimalite for sure should be aware of the town’s prime past. But it is also not possible to carry unnecessary baggage from the past and thus interesting aspects of Shimla’s past are fast fading from public memory. Probably that explains why it becomes news on Mahatma Gandhi martyrdom day (or was it Godses’?) that his assassination trial was held at Hotel Peterhof (then East Punjab high court). But greater news was that the tourism department would now use part of the hotel to recreate the trial scene and also have a museum for that.

Just as the newspaper report on how Godse stood by his word all through the trial left me confused whether the article commemorated Gandhiji’s martyrdom or Godse’s, the hotel’s plans too set me thinking. Glorification of the martyr in context to our freedom struggle is natural, but glorification of someone like Godse certainly is a different matter, and in troubled times like these even dangerous. The question here is not about accepting Godse as a great patriot or denying Gandhi absolute sainthood, but glorification of extremism (read fanaticism), especially religious. Humanity is already suffering too much on that count, and therefore showcasing a part of history that raises questions about sacrificing a monumental icon at the altar of ultra-nationalism is medieval thinking.

Howsoever noble intentions there may have been in using this chapter of tragic history for tourism promotion, there would always remain apprehensions about how it would effect the imagination of people who visit such a ‘museum’. A hotel that housed at least seven viceroys and governor generals certainly must be having more to showcase than just trial proceedings of a certain assassination case that would anyway not be of help in drawing any conclusion.

The questions the Mahatma’s assassination raised would remain unanswered, therefore highlighting his assassin’s beliefs and actions may not even cause much damage to his philosophy of non-violence and tolerance, but glorification of radicalism in some quarters of our society in recent times raises certain doubts, especially when the state in which such a development is unfurling happens to be ruled by a Right-wing party. But, one should not rush at conclusions, and an exhibition of Gandhi’s photograph not far off from the Hotel Perterhof is testimony to that. Let’s hope the mahatma who lived in Gandhi would keep inspiring humanity for ever.

Previous articleRed Ribbon cricket match at Dharamsala
Next articleKufri: 15 reasons not to visit!

No posts to display


  1. “Parvatiya Jal Utsav”

    Mountain Water Festival

    March 20th to 22nd
    Hotel –Peter Hoff, Shimla.

    Water a life giving liquid, is becoming a cause of tension and worry, more specifically in Mountain areas. Water tanks are facing change not only in Quantity but also in Quality of Water. Elixir of Life needs to be saved and attempts are being carried out to do the same. On the whole, under the pressure of rapid population growth, the available resources of water are being depleted at a fast rate & the situation seriously underlines the need for taking up integrated plans for water conservation & utilization for every agro-ecological area to meet the increasing demands of irrigation, water harvesting, human & livestock consumption, expanding industry, hydro-electric power generation, recreation, navigation & other uses. In short,”no activity can be done without water”-A statement highlighting importance of water and need to conserve the same.
    Mountain Forum Himalayas is organizing “Parwatiya Jal Utsav” in the month of March which is an attempt of organization to sensitize the response towards water, water sources, water conservation and need for water purification.

    Objectives of Utsav:
    1. Natural Water Resources are almost at the verge of Extinction due to negligience.MFH aims to make people aware about the importance of these Resources and make efforts to re-juvinate these natural gifts.

    2. Water Conservation Techniques are to be harnessed and Water Purification needs to be analyzed.

    3. To revive the histories associated with Traditional Water Sources and provide them the stage of display through Photo- Gallery Exhibition.

    4.Women and Water form a close knit of relation. This knit is to be analyzed and the nature of relation to be studied. (Village Women go how far to fetch water, how women can be made active participants for water conservation or water re-cycling)

    5. Experts on Water are being requested to address the specific issues so that concepts are clear.

    6. Appreciation to people who did innovative work on Mountain Water to motivate others to do same.

    7. Problem of Declining Ground Water Level will be discussed through Seminar.

    8. Results of Experiments done to conserve some area in form of Spring Sanctuary will be discussed.

    Call for Participation:

    To gain from this Knowledge based festive, we would request you to be the part of it .We can assure you that participants will acquire inputs on Water Conservation, Water Sources etc. Besides they would also be provided Water kit. They will also have opportunity to see the exhibition displaying photographs of traditional water sources. Participation can be made by anyone with the soul to work for restoring the potentials of Himalayas. Contributions can be in form of sponsorships, Voluntary help.


    •Photo Gallery exhibiting water sources of different districts of Himachal and Uttrakhand.

    •Eminent personality and winner of Ramon Magsaysay Award 2001, Dr. Rajendra Singh inaugurating the Photo Gallery.

    •Seminars and Presentations on Case studies conducted.

    •A workshop on “Media & Water” to be held on 20th March,2010. In collaboration with India Water Portal.

    About MFH Mountain Forum Himalayas is an effective model of collective, collaborative and participatory action of different likeminded organization working on the developmental issues concerning the people in the Himalayan Region. Core areas of Concern that defines the work of MFH are –
    -Disaster Management (DMRC institute Kullu & Kaffota providing training to Disaster Youth Volunteer)
    -Climate Change (On going Project to study the change and adaptations made by people to Climate Change in Kullu, Kinnaur& Lahaul Spiti)
    -Mountain Water (Proposed activity Parvatiya Jal Utsav)
    -Mountain Livelihood (Proposals to carry out the project that help people to sustain livelihood.)
    -Gender Mainstreaming (almost all activities are carried with the help of Mahila Mandals associated with MFH)
    MFH is working for sustainability of mountains and is making efforts to make more dynamic the existing potentials of Mountains along with preservation of Natural Beauty.
    Contact Details:

    Talk to us E-mail


    Visit us
    Shubham Cottage, First-Floor,Near Block No.20
    B.C.S.Phase-3, New Shimla-171009
    Himachal Pradesh

  2. "Humanity is already suffering too much on that count, and therefore showcasing a part of history that raises questions about sacrificing a monumental icon at the altar of ultra-nationalism is medieval thinking." – This quote has set alarm bells ringing in my head because of the absurdity and the brazenness of the article. In part it saying truth should be suppressed and hidden from the public – what Godse said and how, should be hidden from the public and achievements of Gandhi should be trumpeted. Of course, all depending on if the person/event doesn't/does support your world view. This highly disingenous and misleading. Truth is considered subjective in communist thinking but i do not think we have arrived there yet. Nice try.

Comments are closed.