Saturday, October 14, 2017
SAVARKAR STORY REVISITED
The Wire, a media venture supposed to be a “joint venture in the public sphere between journalists, readers and a concerned citizenry” relying principally on contributions from readers and concerned citizens. For me it is a Leftist scumbag producing and circulating nasty things about Hindus, India ruled by the NDA, Narendra Modi, BJP RSS, and the so-called Sangh Parivar.
So when the wo/men holding poison pens published an article “How Did Savarkar, a Staunch Supporter of British Colonialism, Come to Be Known as ‘Veer’?”I was not worried. What got my goat was a respectable media person I thought had good reading and some sense of proportion in spite of being a “millionaire Marxist” type, forwarded the piece to me. I wrote a reply which I reproduce here as it is important to know how certain associations can destroy anybody’s credibility. I quote:
I hope you know there is a portrait Of Veer Savarkar (just V D Savarkar if you wish) a Hindu Mahasabha leader, in the Central Hall of the Parliament House, right across the alcove which bears the picture of Mahatma Gandhi unveiled by President Abdul Kalam in February, 2003. Pranab Mukherjee and Shivraj Patil, were part of the panel that had cleared the portrait proposal along with former CPM veteran Somnath Chatterjee.
The man was arrested in London in 1910 on charges of sedition for writing a book called The First War of Independence, 1857, shipped to India, sentenced to life imprisonment and transported to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where he spent 11 years in solitary confinement. In 1937, he was elected president of the Hindu Mahasabha and remained so till his death in 1966. Although not a member of the RSS, the Sangh and later the BJP adopted Savarkar as an ideological icon. I should remind you that in 1966 when Savarkar passed away, Indira Gandhi and Zakir Hussain, then the Vice-President, had eulogised him as a “classic and inspirational revolutionary” in separate tributes.
Some of the observations in the Wire article are absolute lies. For example, while Savarkar believed that the original system of the four varnas was based on the qualities (guna) and actions (karma) of individuals, the categories were not supposed to be hereditary. He therefore propagated that the then existing caste system was a mockery of the original system of four varnas (chaturvarnya) and should be abolished. It is therefore said that while many freedom fighters had invited only the wrath of the British, Savarkar had to face hostility of the society as well as that of the Government. Those who have read Savrkar’s social philosophy, know that he had identified that the Hindu society was bound by seven shackles ( bandi ): 1) Restrictions on touch (sparshabandi) of certain castes.2) Restrictions on inter-dining. (rotibandi) 3) Restrictions on inter-marriages (betibandi) 4) Restrictions on pursuing certain occupations (vyavasayabandi) 5) Restrictions on crossing the sea (sindhubandi) 6) Restrictions on rites sanctioned by the Vedas (vedoktabandi) 7) Restrictions on re-conversion (shuddhibandi)! The last would pinch “secular” people who support conversions and oppose “ghar vaapasi”!
Savarkar who founded the Free India Society to organise Indian students studying in England to fight for independence, and maintained that “Our movement must not be limited to being against any particular law, but it must be for acquiring the authority to make laws itself. In other words, we want absolute independence”! The article mentions “Savarkar helped the colonial government recruit lakhs of Indians into its armed forces” an unpardonable inversion of truth. In an earlier post to you, I had mentioned that while Hedgewar agreed with Gandhiji that Indians should not cooperate with British in their recruitment to Brtish army, Savarkar proposed that the Hindu nationalist youth stood to gain by the military training to fight the British in the evnet they wnet back on their promise to free India after the war!
Even assuming that Savarkar pleaded for mercy to be removed from the Cellular Prison in Andamans (I would have pleaded every day, had I been in one of those cells in solitary confinement and other tortures!) Savarkar was sentenced in 1911 to Transportaton for Life twice and confiscation of property. He was released from the Yerawada Jail, Pune in 1924, on the following conditions: 1) He should live within the Ratnagiri District and 2) He should not participate in political activities. The restrictions initially stipulated for five years were extended from time to time to 13 years. In 1937, the Congress won the elections to the Bombay Legislative Assembly but declined to form a government. To resolve this constitutional deadlock, Governor Sir George Lloyd, invited Sir Dhanjishah Cooper, to form the ministry. Barrister Jamnadas Mehta, of Lokashahi Swarajya Paksha, a Tilakite Party, too had been elected as member of the Bombay legislative Assembly. He agreed to join the Cooper Ministry, provided all restrictions on Savarkar were revoked. The Governor accepted this proposal and hence Savarkar was freed from all restrictions in May 1937.
The article agrees that he was more against Christianity (obviously because the British came here with “a Bible in pocket and a gun in the other”) and wanted Hindus and Muslims to join the fight against the British. The founding of the All India Muslim League in 1906 and the British India government's creation of separate Muslim electorate under the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909 was a catalyst for Hindu leaders coming together to create an organisation to protect the rights of the Hindu community members to form a political entity called the Hindu Mahasabha. It is true that the Hindu Mahasabha didn’t participate in the Quit India Movement, so did the Communist Party of India!
The Hindu Mahasabha joined hands with the Muslim League and other parties to form governments, in certain provinces after the 1937 elections. Such coalition governments were formed in Sindh, NWFP, and Bengal. He was dissuaded from trying to continue this alliance because the Muslim League started showing its fangs by then. They went closer to the British, unlike sections of the Hindu Community. Gandhiji tried to forge a Hindu-Muslim alliance against the British later, even supporting the Khilafat movement and failed! Though the Hindu Mahasabha identified India as "Hindu Rashtra" (Hindu Nation), it broadly supported the Indian National Congress in its efforts to attain national independence. But HM criticised the Congress commitment to non-violence and secularism, as well as its efforts to integrate Muslims and engage in dialogue with the separatist All India Muslim League,(having tried it earlier and failed!) which the Mahasabha thought as appeasement. So, as a Hindu Mahasabha leader, Savarkar was in politics, and Somnath Chatterjee’s father Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, a jurist served as president of the All-India Hindu Mahasabha and was Burdwan MP of the party which Somnath won when his father expired in 1971! As I mentioned in the case of RSS, Hindu Mahasabha was not a watertight compartment in India politics; many of its leaders joined Congress. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee started the Jan Sangh!
Savarkar wrote an autobiography as a biography? I really don’t know. I suppose that is a level higher than Nehru writing article using a pen-name, sometimes criticising himself! However, I don't believe it because a Communist author wrote so in a book. They are capable of writing anything to buttress their views and such observations only reveal what is called "confirmation bias"!