KENDRAPARA: Family members of Raghu Nayak, the man who caught Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, have sought financial assistance for treatment of his ailing 92-year-old widow.
Mandodari Nayak of Jaguleipada village in Kendrapara district is suffering from age-related ailments including serious respiratory problems. She had suffered a stroke last year which left her paralysed.
“After the stroke, the left side of my mother’s body has been paralysed. She is now undergoing treatment at our house in Cuttack. We urge financial help from the Government for her proper treatment,” said Mandodari’s daughter Jayanti.
Mandodari’s husband Raghu had captured Godse after he shot at Gandhiji at Birla House in New Delhi on January 30, 1948. While Raghu used to work as a gardener in Birla House, Mandodari served goat milk to Gandhiji.
Mandodari and Raghu spent two decades in Birla House from 1947 to 1967. They returned to their village in 1967 after Raghu’s retirement. Raghu died in 1983 leaving behind son Bidyadhar and daughters Shanti, Basanti and Jayanti. Bidyadhar, who worked as a driver in Odisha Police, died in a road accident 18 years back.
History lecturer of Kendrapara college Tapan Pati said many biographers of Gandhiji and historians including Pyarelal, the personal secretary of the father of the nation, mentioned the heroic deed of Raghu in his book ‘The Last Phase of Mahatma Gandhi’. “He stated that Raghu grappled with Godse and pinned him down after he fired at Gandhiji,” said Pati.
The much-acclaimed book ‘Let Us Kill Gandhi - A Chronicle of His Last Days, The Conspiracy, Murder, Investigation And Trial’ written by Gandhiji’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi also documents Raghu’s deed. “Gardener Raghu rushed up to the gunman and hit him on the back of his head with the blunt side of his sickle and then grabbed him from behind. A shoulder flap of the killer’s shirt was torn off,” mentions Tushar Gandhi on page 6 of the book.
Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, had felicitated Raghu in the Rashtrapati Bhawan on February 2, 1955 and awarded him with Rs 500 cash and a letter of praise. In 2016, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had felicitated Mandodari and provided her `5 lakh.