The Charlotte News

Friday, January 30, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in New Delhi, Mohandas K. Gandhi, 78, was assassinated this date at around 5:15 p.m., local time, by three shots fired at close range as he walked to a prayer meeting at the prayer grounds at Birla mansion to appeal again for an end to the violence in India between Hindus on the one side and Sikhs and Moslems on the other. The violence had stemmed from partition of India the previous summer, creating the Moslem dominion of Pakistan and the dominion of India. One of the bullets struck the Indian spiritual leader in the heart, another in the stomach. Gandhi died within minutes after being shot. Gandhi's grandniece, Manu, was described in the report as having cradled Gandhi's head in her lap, leaning over him as he died, her eyes "bright with grief".

Tens of thousands of mourners came to the Birla mansion to view the body, placed on a hastily formed bier. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wept as he came to tell the crowd gathered outside of the news and that they would have a chance to pass before the bier to see the body of Bapuji or "Little Father".

A civilian Hindu from Poona wearing military garb was taken into custody for the assassination and held incommunicado. Witnesses stated that the assassin's approach was without unusual nervousness or any gesture or speech to attract unusual attention. Not yet identified, the assassin's name was Nathur Ram Godse. His first two names meant "ram with a nose ring", and, not reported, some witnesses claimed that Gandhi uttered either the words, "Hai, Ram," meaning in Hindi, "Oh, God," or "Ram, Ram," meaning "God, God," as he was shot.

Still weak from the fast, Gandhi was leaning at the time on the shoulders of his two grandnieces as he was walking between them. Godse shot from a distance of about eight feet. Several in the crowd then seized the assassin while others went to Gandhi. The doctor attending Gandhi stated that he first went to the fallen leader and then struck the assassin twice with his fists before returning to Gandhi. The doctor saw only two wounds, one in the heart and one in the stomach, though he thought that there might be a third wound possibly obscured by blood.

On January 18, Gandhi had ended a five-day fast for peace and cessation of violence, following appeals from Moslems, Hindus, and Sikhs to do so, on assurances by leaders of all three sects that they would establish a community of peace. On January 20, a bomb had exploded near Gandhi as he gave a public talk on the fast and his reasons for concluding it.

Gandhi had considered the partition of India and the ensuing violence a defeat to his long-held vision of independence from Britain, notwithstanding the fact that the latter goal had been achieved by the partition.

During the fast, a few of the more militant members of the crowd who maintained vigil outside Gandhi's quarters had shouted, "Let Gandhi die." Many of the Hindus, including Nathuram Godse and his primary co-conspirator, Narayan Apte, bitterly resented the call by Gandhi for peace with the Moslems.

Gandhi, a lawyer in his earlier life, had organized his first civil disobedience campaign among the caste of untouchables in South Africa early in the century. He returned to India in 1915 and began to work for independence, still working to eliminate the caste system, though he had been born into an upper Hindu caste. Such work provoked animosity among Hindus who believed in the divine ordination of the caste system, based on belief in the karmic cycle, a convenient excuse to the privileged classes to maintain the principle that what is is what is because the gods so ordain and thus should not be disturbed, that those who seek to do so, to improve the lot of those oppressed and impoverished in the temporal world, violate the spiritual order of things. Godse appeared to perceive himself as a heavenly messenger transacting the punitive sanction for violation of the principle.

At least one of Gandhi's political opponents stated in 1955 that he regarded Gandhi as an hypocrite for supposedly issuing one set of statements for the Western press and another for local consumption by Hindus, claiming that they were quite different, that the statements in Hindi actually favored maintenance of the caste system and a dependent status to Britain. He also stated that Gandhi's efforts were unnecessary as India would have eventually achieved independence without his crusades and without the attendant bloodshed which followed too quick attainment of dominion status and finally independence—obviously an unprovable thesis, among his other assertions offered entirely without proof, residing in the hypothetical and contradicting his contention that Gandhi was against independence and favored maintenance of the caste system.

Some have also sought to detract from Gandhi's spiritual leadership by contending that he had worldly interests. But Gandhi, himself, never claimed to be anything but a man. And a man he was, an extraordinary man who dedicated his life to achieving peace and freedom for his people, when he could have had a quite comfortable microcosmic career as a lawyer, ignoring the larger realities of the world around him. Nothing more can be asked of him by anyone unless they may step forward and show themselves spotless and without any worldly interests of their own. His political opponents could hardly do so.

The inspiration which Gandhi provided to his followers and to the world at a time when peace was at a premium, while often controversial—especially in spring, 1942 when the British placed Gandhi under house arrest for 21 months to try to quell the riots ensuing his first declaration of satyagraha after the British delayed until after the war the move for Indian independence—, was and remains salutary to both India and the world. Martin Luther King, Jr., 19 years old when Gandhi died, patterned his non-violent resistance in the Southern United States in the 1950's and 1960's after Gandhi's example, an example which, through Dr. King and many people of good will, black and white, Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern, transformed the United States from a nation divided by bitter and often violent apartheid in the form of Jim Crow laws imposing segregation, to a country which, while obviously far from perfect and far from completely harmonious at every turn, continues nevertheless to grow toward a land much closer to its ideals of providing equal opportunity and justice for all. Some, at times, are left out of that equation, some misunderstanding its guiding principle, that to achieve freedom for all requires some level of responsibility accepted by all toward effecting that goal.

But in the end, without Gandhi, without Dr. King, without other men and women who have been and will continue to be inspired by their examples all over the world, it is far more likely that the world would be a far worse place in which to live, if, indeed, it remained extant at all in any recognizable form today.

It does not matter that Gandhi was a man with some of the human foibles which plague all of mankind. To take out a microscope and try to use it to magnify perceived flaws of such a person so as to denigrate his or her work is to engage in rationalization for not engaging in any worthwhile effort to effect those worthy goals for which Gandhi fought and for which he died. He fought with the staff of peace in his hand, not a weapon. And he won the battle, even if the war of peace for peace continues.

Jack Bell and Edwin Haakinson tell of Democratic leaders not being worried over increasing signs of a Southern revolt in the Democratic Party. Harsh words calling for a "second secession" had come out of Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. Forty-nine members of the South Carolina Legislature the previous day had proclaimed that they were reconsidering their position in the national party. They stated that they were not urging withdrawal from the national party organization, but that they should take control of their destiny to assure that the party no longer overlooked their interests and did not kowtow to "minority groups" who advocated policies "flagrantly repugnant" to South Carolina's views.

The President had dismissed the previous day the announced favorite-son candidacy of Governor Jim Folsom of Alabama, who had run for Governor as a progressive in 1946—though the piece asserts that the move was a protest against the President's call for the Congress to set up a commission to prevent racial discrimination and violence.

Mississippi Governor Fielding Wright had recently suggested that a separate slate of electors might be formed to contest those who would be chosen for President Truman.

Of course, South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, during the July Democratic convention in Philadelphia, would lead a walk-out of Southern delegates pledging themselves to his Dixiecrat ticket, eschewing the approved civil rights plank of the platform introduced by Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis. Despite the fanfare, however, the Dixiecrats, with Governor Wright on the ticket as vice-presidential candidate, would poll only about 1.2 million votes, slightly more than the Progressive Party ticket of Henry Wallace.

The State Department received a second note from Russia, which, according to the Russians, protested the presence of U.S. warships anchored off Italian ports as violative of the Italian peace treaty, in that all armed forces were supposed to be withdrawn from Italy by December 15, an accurate statement. The U.S. Government claimed that the ships were part of the Mediterranean fleet and not in Italian waters. An earlier note had protested the re-establishment near Tripoli of an American airbase, also claimed to violate the Italian treaty, as Libya was formerly an Italian satrapy.

Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman asked the steel-producers' advisory committee to consider voluntary allocation of steel to businesses. The Administration was trying to obtain from Congress legal authorization to direct allocation.

Near Ogallala, Neb., a Union Pacific streamliner, the City of San Francisco, derailed on its way to Chicago, injuring 18 persons, though none seriously.

In Mitchellville, Tennessee, 14 persons were injured when a Hummingbird passenger train of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad collided with a freight train on a siding. The Hummingbird was en route from New Orleans to Cincinnati. Both trains had moved onto the siding to allow a third train to pass.

In Dayton, O., aviation pioneer Orville Wright, 76, was reported near death after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday. He would die later this date.

Former Congressman and future Senator Sam J. Ervin, formerly a Judge of Superior Court, was named by Governor Gregg Cherry to the North Carolina Supreme Court, succeeding Justice Michael Schenck who retired for health problems. Mr. Ervin had recently successfully represented R. L. Fritz in both his criminal prosecution for misappropriation of funds in connection with the Hudson school in Lenoir, of which he had been principal, and the reinstatement of his teaching certificate, withdrawn the previous summer by the State Board of Education. He also represented the South Piedmont Teachers Association which had campaigned for higher teacher salaries. Mr. Fritz was president of the North Carolina Education Association. Justice Ervin would remain on the Court until his appointment by Governor William B. Umstead in 1954 to fill the unexpired term of Senator Clyde Hoey of Shelby, who would die in May, 1954. He would remain in the Senate for the ensuing 20 years.

Whether, incidentally, someone may have misread the news of the train wreck near Ogallala, Neb., juxtaposed to the story of the appointment of Sam Ervin, thought that Ogallala had something to do with the Oglala Sioux, who fought in the Battle of the Little Bighorn—which upon some diligent research, one might actually discover—and so subsequently decided that Senator Ervin was perfectly positioned, within the augury determined by the stars, to make the case perfectly clear against President Nixon for a host of abuses of power in office, ostensibly prime among which was the cover-up of the break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters in June, 1972 at the Watergate, in corollary to Tecumseh's curse, we cannot say. But there it is, commended to you for your contemplation via the unlocked door to the realm of mysticism and imagination.

In Santa Monica, Calif., actress Shirley Temple, 18, gave birth to her first child, a daughter. The birth took place in the same hospital in which Ms. Temple had been born in 1929. (We note that other sources have Ms. Temple's birth date as exactly one year prior to that printed in the press release of this date. Whether that was by error in the press release of her publicist at the time or because, subsequently, giggles started surfacing among young people regarding Ms. Temple appearing a little eager to enter the track, and so, to dispel the notion, her birth date was backed up a year by her publicist, we cannot say. If, however, the latter, 'twould have been the better part of valor to have left it alone and ride through the little rain shower of titters, rather than draw attention to the problem in perpetuity to those in the know. Honi soit qui mal y pense.)

In Hollywood, actor David Niven arrived home with his new bride of two weeks, a Swedish woman, a former mannequin. Mr. Niven's first wife had died from a fall in 1946.

Perhaps unwittingly apropos to the lead news of the day, Frank Morgan says: "As the great French essayist, De la Rochefoucauld, wrote, 'True love is like a ghost; everybody has heard about it, but few have seen it.' In truth, true love is not a ghost, but a condition—a condition of perpetual emotion due to softening of the hearteries."

On the editorial page, "Another Mark by Dr. Graham" tells of UNC president Dr. Frank Porter Graham returning on the coming Sunday from his participation since the fall on the U.N. Good Offices Commission, charged with the mission of resolving the armed dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands Government. A truce had been signed two weeks earlier, effected by the U.N. Commission. The state of war had existed since July 20, 1947. By the terms of the truce the Indonesian Republic agreed to enter the Dutch-sponsored United States of Indonesia.

Dr. Graham had suffered criticism since during the war, when he served on the War Labor Board, for being away too much from his duties at the University, with critics demanding that he resign the post or give up such outside work. The object had been to find a means to get rid of the liberal Dr. Graham as he could not be ousted for lack of competence.

The piece defends his continuing work for the nation and indicates that he left the administrative duties of the Greater University in competent hands when away.

"VA Must Serve Veterans First" questions the move of the V.A. sub-regional office from Charlotte to Winston-Salem, having been approved based on service to two principles, economy and service to the veterans. The move was said by the V.A. deputy administrator to save $150,000 per year, a figure the piece questions, given the lower rental price for office space in Charlotte. Moreover, Charlotte offered a better locus for service to the veterans.

Congressman Hamilton C. Jones, accordingly, was seeking reconsideration from the V.A. on the decision to move the facility.

"Hysteria on Rationing Issue" tells of the secretary of the National Cooperative of Milk Producers Federation having stated the previous day to the Senate Banking Committee that those who wanted price controls and rationing were hysterical. He nevertheless agreed with rationing in Europe.

It posits that the secretary, Mr. Holman, was seeing only half the picture, that America was already effectively rationed by the fact of inflated prices, and that imposition of rationing with price controls would only bring about parity between the economic classes and enable America to produce more efficiently for European relief.

A piece from the Philadelphia Bulletin, titled "Defense, the Hard Choice", finds astounding the fact that the country had to spend 79 percent of its 40 billion dollar proposed budget on defense-related matters. Since 1915, as much 85 percent of the annual budgets had been so spent.

The amount was fixed by necessity and there appeared no way around it while maintaining adequate security for the nation.

Drew Pearson again looks at the conflict between the U.S. and Russia and explains how war could be avoided. The "cold war", a term coined by Herbert Bayard Swope for Bernard Baruch, meant a fight to preserve the peace. The problem with the concept was that there was no fanfare or parade to urge it along. The road to peace was rocky and costly, but not so costly as war and, more importantly, would not cost lives. War could be avoided with Russia if America could be smarter and work harder than the Russians, a tall order.

He favors four things: the Marshall Plan; a United States of Europe; avoidance of depression at home by refraining from immediate tax cuts and allowing for control of inflation; and an American "army for peace". An AFL representative abroad was already familiarizing himself with European labor leaders and convincing them of the benefits of the U.S. economic system. The Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune and the Rome Daily American were doing a superb job of extending friendship from America to Europe, the latter established by a group of American veterans remaining in Italy after the war.

There were also other individuals and groups, some of whom he identifies, working to foster such friendship.

Marquis Childs tells of spirits among Democrats being buoyed by the withdrawal by General Eisenhower from consideration for the Republican presidential nomination, leaving the President's primary opponents as Governor Dewey and Senator Taft. The polls showed that he would beat the latter handily but would have a close race against Governor Dewey.

Underneath the optimism, however, lay an increasing divide within the party between the New Deal wing and the conservative wing. The divide was not based entirely on region as some of the most articulate liberals of the party were from the South. In California, the divide was brought into high relief with Edwin Pauley on the right, supportive of the oil companies, and James Roosevelt on the left. Recently, a group from the DNC had visited the state and as a result, Mr. Pauley was to step down as state national committeeman, providing a victory for James Roosevelt, who, along with two others, would approve the delegates from California to the Democratic national convention. But liberals also distrusted Mr. Roosevelt.

In the center was former California Attorney General Robert Kenny, who was supporting Henry Wallace in the California primary on June 2. Mr. Kenny hoped that a victory in the primary would cause the Democrats to shift their attention toward possible nomination of Mr. Wallace, however unlikely that prospect.

Samuel Grafton finds the fiscal conservatives in Congress against restoration of authority to implement inflation control measures tacitly to be working in concert with the Communists.

The Communist line was that the capitalist system fell into depression periodically, about every twenty years, causing more and more people each time to fall into the working class, until only a few controlled the capital wealth, leading finally to revolution by the proletariat. Recently, Eugene Varga, formerly a leading economist in Russia, had been given the boot by Moscow for espousing the idea that the Western capitalist economies had learned, through the use of planning during the war, to impose controls on the economy to avoid the cycles of depression and postpone their demise for at least a decade. Pravda found the idea laughable, proving the level of brainwashing to which the Russian people were subjected, so much so that Pravda could not admit even of the possibility of such a change in Western economic theory.

Mr. Grafton suggests that the country could defeat such Soviet skepticism by passing an inflation control package to go along with the Marshall Plan and assure a stable economy at home while producing adequately to make the Plan a success.

A letter writer from Toledo, O., Leonard Nippe, provides a rather intricate explanation of his flight through Charlotte in mid-January on the way north from Havana to Cleveland, as determined by the prediction by the Weather Bureau of the frontal systems which were expected to be encountered below 16,000 feet.

Not being skilled in the art of meteorology, we are not quite clear on the whys and wherefores of his analysis, but, in the end, he was impressed enough to praise the Charlotte weathermen for their forecast, enabling clear sailing.

He concludes by saying that the people "should be helped to realize that it is assuming too much to expect that a weather forecaster should be able to say that it will not rain at 3:15 P M on Saturday in Mrs. McGrady's back yard."

He does not explain, however, why he was flying in Mrs. McGrady's back yard in the first place. Perhaps someone ought investigate Mr. Nippe's flying habits, regardless of weather patterns existing below 16,000 feet.

A letter writer from Chester, S.C., begins by saying: "Crumbling internally is based largely on greed for power and wealth, with its gigantic rollers crushing beneath its terrific weight every vestige of the growth of democracy made possible by years of privation and the accumulations of generations blazing a path through the trackless wilderness that we might enjoy freedom, religious rights and privileges."

After some interim material, he concludes: "If [the "laboring man"] allows himself to become the victim of propaganda, foreign or domestic, and of vices that destroy his efficiency, patriotism, loyalty and usefulness, our internal troubles will soon multiply, submerging us so that, like Rome, we will soon be overcome."

He may also be discussing the weather between Havana and Cleveland as determined in Charlotte, or, perhaps, in Venice. We simply cannot say. It remains a part of the recondite mystery of life. But Atlas and Hercules make some appearance, having to do apparently with an analogy drawn between ancient Rome and modern Communism and the prospect for the fall of America to the intruder's dust, as Rome, should it too much troubleth its own house.

If their bee nothing new, but that which is,
Hath beene before, how are our braines beguild,
Which, laboring for invention, beare amiss
The second burthen of a former child?
Oh that record could with a back-ward looke,
Even of five hundreth courses of the Sunne,
Show me your image in some antique booke,
Since minde at first in carrecter was done.
That I might see what the old world could say
To this composed wonder of your frame,
Whether we are mended, or where better they,
Or whether revolution be the same.
Oh sure I am, the wits of former daies
To subjects worse have given admiring praise.

Like as the waves make towards the pibled shore,
So do our minuites hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toile all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the maine of light,
Crawles to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses gainst his glory fight,
And time that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfixe the florish set on youth,
And delves the paralels in beauties brow,
Feedes on the rarities of natures truth,
And nothing stands but for his sieth to mow.
And yet to times in hope, my verse shall stand
Praising thy worth, dispight his cruell hand.

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