Latest Indian politics is divided on hate and trying to temper the history according to their ideology. Social Media witnesses the same heated argument and debate on Veer Savarkar’s 50th Death Anniversary on Sunday.
Nowadays, political parties are hell bent on changing the history, whereas BJP and right wing supporters are blamed for tarnishing the image of Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, the pseudo-seculars are maligning the image of Savarkar. Yesterday was Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s golden jubilee death anniversary, i.e. he died on 26 February 1966. He is popularly also known as Swatantra Veer Savarkar and was a freedom fighter. Savarkar was an atheist and a staunch rationalist who disapproved of orthodox Hindu belief, dismissing cow worship as superstitious. On his 50th death anniversary; the social media is divided on calling him a brave leader, while some questioning his contribution to the Independence movement of India.
In a latest speech delivered by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, he said to BJP, “Gandhiji is ours and Savarkar yours”. Congress didn’t let Savarkar live in peace even after independence. He was falsely accused of role in Gandhi’s assassination and arrested under preventive detention even when there wasn’t any evidence to even speculate about his role. He was acquitted by the court, as the allegations of his involvement were baseless. Then Nehru government even refused to accept Savarkar as a freedom fighter. After Nehru’s death, it was Lal Bahadur Shastri who started paying him pension, which freedom fighters are supposed to receive.
During UPA reign senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had erased the verses written by Savarkar in his Andaman Cell which is seen as an insult to the Savarkar. Indira Gandhi was a bit fair towards Veer Savarkar, as compared to other Congress leaders. She said “Savarkar’s defiance of the British government has its own place in the freedom struggle.” But today’s leaders and their supporters are very unkind to the history and the contribution that they made in freedom struggle.
We spoke to netizens who are active on social network about Savarkar, Nehru and Gandhiji, and politics behind these names. We received various opinions from netizens and their political parties stand on these personalities.
Devendra Sharma, Chancellor of Hindu Institute of Political Research and Former National Vice-President of Majdoor Morcha, which is affiliated to BJP said, “For this we have to understand the idea of secularism in Indian context. Secularism in India or rather secularisation of India means disconnecting the traditional idea of India where Dharma is integrated element of Indian identity, commonly known as Hindu Dharm or Hindutva. By secularizing India means de-associating India with Dharm, Savarkar defined Indian identity in terms of Hindutva, and this conceptual framework of Hindutva is the anti-thesis of secularism. As secularism is intolerant concept in idea and practice thus, there is no other option before the secularists but to hate Savarkar.”
Suresh Nakhua a BJP supporter said, “Savarkar’s book on 1857 War of Independence was an inspiration to many revolutionary freedom fighters, including Subhash Chandra Bose, Rajguru and Bhagat Singh. Bhagat Singh even published the 3rd edition of that book. He is the one who coined the word ‘Hindutva’ and defined the Hindutva ideology, which is followed by many Hindu nationalist organizations like RSS, the opponents of Congress. Since they are against Hindutva ideology, they hate Savarkar.”
Husain Abidi a (student) said, “Savarkar not only pleaded for mercy, but went on to add in his petition, ”Moreover, my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail, nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and, therefore, where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government.” How come such a timid and slavish mentality person had been/is being considered as a patriot and freedom fighter? Be it Savarkar during British rule or the RSS during emergency why are all Hindutva proponents such cowards?
Preeti Sharma Menon, Aam Aadmi Party leader said, “Savarkar is hated because Kapur Commission in 1967 found that he was involved with the conspirators and assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.”
Hemant Darji a History student said, “While I am yet to find the so called self-centered shame that many are mentioning about, I have never seen such an irrational hatred on Hindus and blind support on pseudo-secularism anywhere from East to West except in India, still couldn’t be convinced with a single rationale for such self-hatred. While in jail, Savarkar wrote the work describing Hindutva, openly espousing Hindu nationalism. In 1921, under restrictions after signing a plea for clemency, he was released on the condition that he renounces revolutionary activities. Travelling widely, Savarkar became a forceful orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity. Serving as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar endorsed the ideal of India as a Hindu Rashtra and opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942, calling it a “Quit India but keeps your army” movement. He became a fierce critic of the Indian National Congress and its acceptance of India’s partition. He was one of those accused in the assassination of Indian leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and was acquitted in the trial.”
Abdulla Madumoole wrote from his twitter handle (@AMadumoole): “Savarkar is the “Father of Hatred” – who sowed, cultivated and distributed seeds of hatred freely in India.”
Sandeep Rauzi a facebook user posted, “What is Savarkar’s single contribution in National Movement? Do you know? But nation knows his treason activity well.It is well known fact that Savarkar wrote at least three letters to British India apologizing for his conduct and pledged to not indulge in anti-British movement on any form. It is documented. He was not ‘veer’ but most ‘bhiru’ of his time. Later he joined RSS, who stage managed to kill our beloved leader Mahatma Gandhi. After releasing from jail, what kind of activity he indulged in?”
Vibhuti Bharati said, “Those who hate Savarkar are Congress supporters the most, and because either they haven’t seen cellular jail or blinded by loyalty to Congress as none of the party members have spent even a day there. No wonder…for them life is just too easy and they are no ashamed in abusing the secularism.”
Amandeep Singh a radio jockey argued saying, “Udham Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha could have done same to come out of jail and escape from death sentence. But they chose NOT to BEG. Savarkar was not mentally strong like other freedom fighters. When someone admits that whatever he has done should not be blamed on him, he discredits himself of all the deeds.”
RTI activist Anil Galgali said, “In those times Savarkar was known as a staunch Hindutva supporter, whose rise amidst Gandhi and Nehru was not liked by some. His brand of hindutva was not less terrorising than that of the English. The writers, journalists and the intellectuals of that time brought down his stature. His identity is more defined by the people of Andaman and Nicobar as the airport and cellular jail is named after him. Most details about him are available in Marathi and have not been translated. This has marred his image. According to me, Gandhi and Nehru also were not undisputed leaders of their times so why is Savarkar put in the dock to marginalize his work and achievements which is totally wrong.”
Vikas Kumar Gunjan, a well-known BJP supporter on social media wrote, “It is true that Veer Savarkar once apologized to the British Government, with words full of prostration. But before apologizing he had convinced the political prisoners in Andaman that cheating the enemy is the real truth, and to achieve that truth one may speak lies many times. He cited examples of Shivaji the Great, Guru Gobind Singh and Lord Krishna. Krishna had accepted defeat before Jarasandha and Kala Yavan temporarily, to get full success at the final stage. Guru Gobind Singh did the same. Shivaji the Great wrote letters to Mirza Raja Jai Singh, Afzal Khan, Aurangzeb and Adil Shah, apologizing them with full prostration and promising them to remain loyal till the very last. However, when the situation changed, Shivaji also changed, and he won the race.”
After release from the Andaman, Savarkar was kept under House arrest in Ratnagiri. He was under constant watch of C.I.D. and Police. Whenever any fire broke out anywhere in India, Savarkar’s residence was raided. Could this be the effect of Savarkar’s surrender to British, as is held by the opponents and critics?
In 1934 Savarkar was arrested again in connection with the shots fired at some Military Officer by Shri Wamanrao Chavan. The British Government went on increasing the period of Savarkar’s internment from 1929 to 1937, considering him dangerous to the peace in India. The District Magistrate Mr. D. Simington, when asked by the British Govt. to report whether Savarkar’s restrictions be withdrawn partly or wholly, Simington reported that in the then state of politics Savarkar should not be released. Was this the effect of his apology?
In 1934, Mr. R. M. Maxwell, Secretary to the Govt. of Bombay declined Savarkar’s request to go to Bombay. Whenever he was allowed to go out of Ratnagiri, wires were sent to all police head quarters. Every District Magistrate tried his utmost to avoid Savarkar’s presence in his district by complaining to the Home Department that Savarkar’s presence would tremendously increase the work of police. Do all these facts suggest that Savarkar really wanted to prostrate before the British?
Kiran KS a staunch BJP supporter said, “Savarkar is disliked maybe because unlike his harsh prison sentence, Congress members were living in luxury prisons under the British reign. British certainly hated those who were a threat for them much more than those who were friendly to them.”
Omprakash ‘Naman’ Writer / Poet / Social and Political Activist said, “From 1925 till independence Savarker received pension of approximately Rs 56 per month from British rulers which was equivalent to District Collector’s salary. Savarkar and his family wrote nine apology letters to British and promised that in future they will not participate in freedom movement. At Hindu Mahasabha’s Ahmedabad convention Savarkar propagated that in Independent India, Muslims will have no right to vote and have no ownership to any property. In short Muslims will not be treated as Indian nationals. All this propaganda helped Muslims league in their demand for separate Muslims country for them.”