The man who turned Forbes into a great read, is dead. Nice obit in the Economist, which refers to his greatest scoop: he witnessed the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Here’s his report:
‘Bapu (father) is finished’
New Delhi, January 30, 1948: Mohandas K. Gandhi was assassinated today by a Hindu extremist whose act plunged India into sorrow and fear.
Rioting broke out immediately in Bombay.
The seventy-eight-year-old leader whose people had christened him the Great Soul of India died at 5:45 p.m. (7:15 a.m. EST) with his head cradled in the lap of his sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Mani.
Just half an hour before, a Hindu fanatic, Ram Naturam, had pumped three bullets from a revolver into Gandhi’s frail body, emaciated by years of fasting and asceticism.
Gandhi was shot in the luxurious gardens of Birla House in the presence of one thousand of his followers, whom he was leading to the little summer pagoda where it was his habit to make his evening devotions.
Dressed as always in his homespun sacklike dhoti, and leaning heavily on a staff of stout wood, Gandhi was only a few feet from the pagoda when the shots were fired.
Gandhi crumpled instantly, putting his hand to his forehead in the Hindu gesture of forgiveness to his assassin. Three bullets penetrated his body at close range, one in the upper right thigh, one in the abdomen, and one in the chest.
He spoke no word before he died. A moment before he was shot he said–some witnesses believed he was speaking to the assassin–”You are late.”
The assassin had been standing beside the garden path, his hands folded, palms together, before him in the Hindu gesture of greeting. But between his palms he had concealed a small-caliber revolver. After pumping three bullets into Gandhi at a range of a few feet, he fired a fourth shot in an attempt at suicide, but the bullet merely creased his scalp.
From A treasury of great reporting: literature under pressure from the sixteenth century to our own time, edited by Louis L. Snyder, Simon & Schuster, 1949.