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Five questions for author Vivek Shukla

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Vivek Shukla, a former journalist with Hindustan Times, is a treasure trove of interesting stories about Delhi and its famous citizens. I discovered this while working on the DNA edit page and later as his Facebook friend where he shared clippings from his articles. On coming to know that he had just published a book “Gandhi’s Delhi” I thought it would make for an interesting Q&A for my blog.

What are the sources for your book on Gandhi? Have you come across any new sources?

With all humility, I can say that my book is not only based on already known sources (read books published earlier) but also based on my interviews with dozens of people over the years and decades. I will give a couple of examples here.

For my chapter on ‘Tughlaq Road Police station’, I had interviewed Gurdayal Singh, whose father Jaswant Singh, had nabbed Nathu Ram Godse at Birla House on January 30, 1948. Jaswant Singh was the DSP of the Parliament house PS. I also met Avani Parekh, the niece of Nand Lal Mehta, the eye-witness of gory murder of Bapu. Mehta was the resident of M-96 Connaught Place. He used to attend all prayer meetings of Bapu daily. FIR number 48 was written on the basis of his eye-witness account.

Then I also met and interviewed KD Madan umpteen numbers of times, now the only surviving eye-witness of Gandhi murder case. As a sound engineer of All India Radio, he used to record Bapu’s prayer meetings. He was also there when Bapu fell to senseless bullets. Now around 94, he lives at Vasant Vihar.

There is also a chapter on ‘Gandhi vs Gandhi.’ Here I have discussed Gandhi’s acrimonious ties with his first son Harilal Gandhi. You would know that Harilal embraced Islam in the then Bombay and became Abdullah. Later he rejoined the fold of Hinduism in Arya Samaj Mandir, Chandni Chowk. For this chapter, I interviewed Ravi Sharma, the head of Arya Samaj, Delhi, and Tara Gandhi Bhattacharya,........

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