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Answers to the So-called Clemency Letter by Veer Savarkar to the British

Savarkar send clemency letters to British to rescue himself, he not only ask for pardon but also surrendered by acknowledging that “I had a fair trial and just sentence and I will never take part in politics” & these evidences are available in ‘National Archives’ in New Delhi.  (See:  Far from heroism – The tale of ‘Veer Savarkar by Krishnan Dubey and Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, 7 Apr 1996, Frontline)
Any one who reads Savarkar’s biography or his autobiography ‘My Transportation for life’ will immediately know the hollowness in these charges. Savarkar writes, “It was my duty as a follower of responsive cooperation, to accept such conditions as would enable me to do better and larger work for my country than I was able to do during the years of imprisonment. I would be free thus to serve my mother country, and I would regard it as a social duty.” (My Transportation for Life by V D Savarkar, page 301) also “Whatever good I could do in the Andamans or whatever awakening I might bring about among its people was nothing in comparison with what I could do in India as a free man. On the other hand, in order to win my freedom, I would not stoop low or lend myself to anything mean or treacherous such as would bring disgrace on my country or be a blot on her fair name. Freedom thus obtained would have harmed the cause and would have been, as I regarded it, an immoral act.” (ibid, p.245). Such was Savarkar’s motive behind his struggle for release.
Savarkar was a true disciple of Chattrapati Shivaji. Shivaji too had sent similar letters and petitions to deceive the enemy as before the killing of Afzal Khan, during Siddi Johar’s siege and during his imprisonment at Agra. He had also accepted some humiliating conditions during the treaty made at the time of the siege of Purandar fort.  However, Shivaji bid his time and avenged all insults when he became powerful enough.  This is clever political stratagem.  Vietnam’s Communist leader ‘Ho Chi Minh’ rescued himself from Kuomintang prison by sending similar kind of petition and assuring cooperation. He expressed his desire to Marshal Chang to work for ‘Dong Minh Hoi’ which was formed in Indochina with the help of Kuomintang government (‘Dong Minh Hoi’ was formed to oppose Ho Chi Minh’s ‘Viet Minh’ party).
When World War I broke out, Savarkar sent petition to the Government of India in 1914.  He averred that were the British to grant Colonial Self-Government to Hindusthan and majority in Central Legislative Council, revolutionaries would help Britain in the War. He gave instances of European Governments setting their political prisoners free and even those of the liberation of  political prisoners in Ireland to prove his point.   Also, he added “I offered to do without any release for myself personally. Let them release all the political prisoners in the country leaving me alone in my own cell in the Andamans. I shall rejoice in their freedom as if it was my own.” (ibid, p.187).  This proves that his demands were selfless and made on behalf of all political prisoners in Andamans, without regard to personal welfare.
Fully aware that the British would not release him fearing the role he would play in Indian politics, Savarkar stated before the Jail Commission in 1920, “If you forbid me from entering into politics, I shall do social and literary work in India. I shall try to serve mankind in many other ways and if I break any condition that you may impose upon me you are free to send me back to this prison on Transportation for Life.” (ibid, p246) He conveyed the same message during his discussion with Governor which is summarized as follows:
“Still, for a stipulated period, I agreed to take no part in politics, that is, in active, day-to-day, politics. In prison, I could not, of course, do any Politics at all. But when outside I could do other kind of work, educational, religious and literary and serve my country in diverse fields. Generals, as prisoners of war, cannot conduct the war and come on the battlefield. They are let off on parole after signing the pledge, like Lord Krishna, who agreed that he would not wield any arms during the continuance of the war. And it is considered no humiliation on their part to do so, and they consider it their duty to do so, in order that, later on, their services might be available to their nation by way of leading and guidance in other work.” (ibid, p.302).

Savarkar did indeed pursue a vigorous campaign of social reform, reform in language and script, Shuddhi (purification or reversion to Hindu fold), scientific outlook as per the conditions of his release.In 1920, most of political prisoners in the Andamans accepted and signed such terms of agreement. “They would abstain from politics and revolutionary activity for a certain number of years and if again they were tried and found guilty of treason, they would come back to the Andamans to serve the remainder of their life-sentence.” (ibid, p.254).

 One need not go to New Delhi’s ‘National Archives’ to see Savarkar’s letter which has been presented as a ‘Clemency Letter’. Savarkar himself published the said letter in his book “Letters From Andaman” (letters which he send to his younger brother Dr.Narayan Savarkar from Andaman) as letter no.8 dated 06-07-1920 (original application which he send to British has date 02-4-1920).  A significant excerpt of it is as follows: 

”As to the question so often put to me and others by officers no less exalted than the members of the Indian Cabinet ‘what if you had rebelled against the ancient kings of India? They used to trample rebels under the feet of Elephants’. I answer that not only in India but even in England and all other parts of the world such would have at times been the fate of rebels. But then why did the British people fill the whole world with a howl that the Germans had ill treated their captives and did not allow them fresh bread and butter! There was a time when captives were flayed alive and offered as victims to Moloch and Thor and such other Gods of war!’ The thing is this that this advanced stage in civilization attained by man is the resultant of the efforts of all men and therefore their common inheritance and benefits all.
Speaking relatively to Barbarian times it is true that I had a fair trial and a just sentence and the Government is at liberty to derive whatever satisfaction they can from the compliment that they give a fairer trial and a juster sentence to their captives than the cannibals used to do. But it should not be forgotten that if in olden days the rulers flayed their rebels alive then the rebels too when they got the upper hand flayed alive the rulers as well. And if the British people treated me or other rebels more justly i.e. less barbarously then they may rest assured that they too would be as leniently treated by the Indian rebels if ever the tables are turned”
When the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms were introduced in 1919, Savarkar wrote to Montagu and Governor General,  “I have further told them that if they granted real self-government to India with substantial elected majority in the Central Legislature and With no incubus of the Council of State upon it; and if they further granted full amnesty to Indian political prisoners in the country and outside, in India and in the Andamans. and to exiles in Europe and America, myself and many more like me will accept the new dispensation and, if elected to the Legislature, will exert to make the reforms a success. The Legislature that had all along treated me with scorn and indifference, and that excited an equal contempt in our hearts for it. Will, thenceforward, be our scene of action where we shall be proud to work and co-operate for the fulfillment of our aim.” (ibid, p.220)
All this clearly indicates that Savarkar was trying to deceive the British.  Instead, some Indians are willing to be deceived.  It is necessary to read ‘between the lines’ while reading political resolutions, letters and applications. Those who accuse Savarkar of cowardice or treason are either not capable or not willing to read ‘between the lines’. Savarkar never hid these letters or petitions.  Instead, he detailed the political strategy behind the letters in his ‘My Transportation for Life’.  Let no one make a song and dance that they have unearthed some State secret!
  • Is it true that Savarkar apologized for his deeds to seek release from jail in Andaman Islands?

No. He did not apologize for his deeds.

Savarkar was sentenced to Transportation for Life, TWICE and sent to Andaman Islands to serve that sentence. IT DID NOT MEAN 50 years in jail. After serving a few years (usually 3 to 4) the inmates were allowed to go to work outside the jail and eventually settle on the islands. Savarkar was denied this even after serving 11 years. That was utter barbarity.

At the time of the First World War Savarkar did write to Montague, then Secretary of State for India. He said that –

Britain should set up colonial self Government for India
In return Indian revolutionaries would cease all hostilities and help Britain in war effort.

The Governor General eventually replied, ” In the present circumstances it is impossible to give effect to your suggestion.”
NO PLEA FOR CLEMENCY HERE.

Due to outcry about prison conditions on the Andaman Islands the British Authorities decided to close the jail on the islands. Concessions were being made to prisoners who wanted to settle on the islands. But these were denied to Savarkar. He did want to settle on the islands. He was forcibly sent back to mainland India and kept in various prisons for further 3 years.

Is it true that Savarkar’s health deteriorated in the Andamans and hence the Government was compelled to transfer him to Indian prisons in 1921?

In Andaman no medical aid was ever given to political prisoners. British Authorities were absolutely callous in this respect. Savarkar’s elder brother Babarao suffered terribly. The Savarkar brothers were sent back to mainland India not because of failing health but because Government had decided to close down the prison settlement in Andaman, after several years of mounting public pressure in India.

Courtesy : http://www.savarkar.org 

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Sangh work advancing rapidly among youth – Sri Dattatreya Hosabale

The work of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is progressing relentlessly. Last year, the places where the Shakhas is held grew by nearly 550. Now, shakhas are held daily in more than 34,000 places and weekly milans are being organised in more than 15,000 places. That is, the work of the Sangh in society is being carried on in nearly 49,493 places through shakhas and milans. Along with this, there has been an increase in the numbers of 1600 shakhas and 1700 weekly milans. Sah Sarkaryavaha Shri Dattatreya Hosbaleji conveyed this information to journalists after the formal inauguration of the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal of Sangh in Sharda Vihar in Bhopal.

The session of the Karyakari Mandal was inaugurated by the Sarsanghachalak Dr. Mohan Bhagavat ji and Sarkaryavaha Shri Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi in the Guru Govind Sinha conference hall, by worshipping the image of Bharat Mata with flowers. About 350 workers of the Sangh drawn from all parts of the country were present. For the coming three days, the All India officebearers, Sanghachalaks of areas and states, karyavahas and pracharaks will deliberate on the working plan for three years, expansion of activities and their consolidation.

SahaSarkaryavaha Shri Dattatreya Hosbale said that the Sangh work within the society has increased. The youth has a big role in the expansion of Sangh’s activities. Through the feature of ‘Join RSS’ in the website, techno-savvy youth are joining the Sangh in large numbers. The number of youth joining the Sangh through this web feature grew by 48% in 2016 and 52% in 2017 over 2015. All these figures are from January to June. The largest number come from the age group 20-35. The Sangh is organising activities like village development, family education and social harmony. The efforts of the workers of the Sangh have brought about commendable change in about 450 villages.

Shri Hosbale pointed out that the Sangh believes that when families prosper and become stronger, the nation will also be empowered meaningfully.  With this idea, workers of the Sangh began the experiment of “Kutumb Prabodhan” (family education)in Karnataka 15 years back. Today this experiment is being conducted all over the country and is yielding positive results. In order to understand the importance of “ Kutumb Prabodhan “, everyone should read a book by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam which is based upon on his conversation on family education with  Jain Saint, Acharya Mahaprajna. This book is a good guide to family values and nation building.

Shri Hosbale said that this session of the All India Karyakari Mandal will prepare a working plan for the coming three years.  A Karyakari Mandal is operational for three years and this term will be completed in March 2018. He observed that an assessment of the expansion of the work of the Sangh, its current activities, the benefits flowing from them will be presented at this session. The work of the last six months will be reviewed. The session will also discuss matters related to Sangh training camps (Karyakarta Prashikshan Varga).

Sah Sarkaryavaha Shri Dattatreya Hosbale said that the work of the Sangh in Madhya Pradesh is good from the beginning. The Sangh from Madhya Pradesh has produced many proven workers. It was after a long time that the All India Karyakari Mandal was meeting in Bhopal. He said that the speech of the Sarsanghachalak on Vijayadasami threw light on the policy of the Sangh. The intelligentsia has also expressed its agreement with and support to the opinions of the Sarsanghachalak on different matters. Shri Hosbale said that every section should be firm over his opinion, but a healthy dialogue should be conducted between communities. He said that the number of murderous attacks on Sangh workers have increased in Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Karnataka and a few other places. The attacks on Sangh workers demonstrate the ideological defeat of the assailants. In order to protect the existence of a particular ideology, its workers are attacking the swayamsevaks of the Sangh.

Inauguration of ‘Dharahor’ Exhibition – The Sah Sarkaryavaha Shri Sureshji Soni inaugurated the exhibition ‘Dharohar’ centred on the Life and Philosophy of Great Men at 8.15 in the morning. The exhibition illustrates the life and philosophy of Kushok Bakul Rinpoche. This is his centenary year. He did yeoman work for spreading education and social reform in Jammu & Kashmir.  Along with this the exhibition also highlights the life and philosophy of Guru Govind Singh whose 350 centenary and Sister Nivedita whose 150th centenary are being observed this year. Some of the pictures that were exhibited also relate to the founder of the Sangh, Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar.

Sangh will speed up work on Village Development and Family Education : Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi.

” Two thirds of the shakhas of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are in villages and one third are in the towns. This is because about 60% of the population of India lives in the villages. In today’s world, there are many challenges in the preservation of villages. The Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Mandal resolved that much more work needs to be done in the villages through the RSS Shakhas. The question of social integration is a major and immediate challenge. Inspite of the vast expansion of information media there is still a large gap in communication of appropriate and accurate information to the villages. Much work needs to be done to carry correct information and perspectives to villages. At the end of a three day meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Mandal , Sarkaryavah,  Shri Suresh Bhayyaji Joshi addressed a press conference. Dr. Manmohan Vaidya, the Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh also was present at the conference.

Shri Bhayyaji Joshi said, that the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Mandal has considered the issues of village development and family education and upon these deliberations a program for addressing these issues has been developed. For a long time now farmers and villagers have been grappling with very pressing problems. The Sangh believes that farmers have to be made self reliant. The government must closely consider and intimately understand the issues that face the  farming community and frame policies that closely match the priorities of the farming community. He said that farmers must be made prosperous and economically autonomous. So the government policy must ensure that farmers will receive a fair, appropriate and full price for their produce. He also said that to work for village development the Sangh will actively involve volunteers in the 30 – 35 years age group.

The Sangh has resolved to strengthen the family through an active policy of family education. The family is very important in the forming of individual character. Character development in children is most effective when the proper samskaras are received from the family. Swayamsevaks work to ensure that families become the source of social enlightenment. Through social work, the Sangh has reached about 20 lakh families. Through this work about 1.25 crores of people have come into contact of Sangh. To bring good samskaras into the country, family education is the most important work. These issues have been considered in the Akhil Bharatiya Karyakarini Mandal and a final program will be formed in the Pratinidhi Sabha to be held in March.

Sarkaryavah Shri Bhayyaji Joshi, responding to a question, said that the question of the Rohingyas is a most important one. We have to understand why they are being expelled from Myanmar. There are other countries too that border Myanmar. Why did not those countries allow the entry of Myanmar Muslim refugees. We also have to identify the areas where these Rohingya Muslims have already settled in India. They have chosen Jammu and Kashmir and the city of Hyderabad to stay. From their behaviour it is clear that they have not come here to seek refuge. The government must have a clear and coherent policy on how to deal with refugees. The policy must have clarity about the conditions of the refuge, their location and the period of such refuge. We must have a policy for the return of these refugees to their home countries at an appropriate time. Bharat has always welcomed and treated refugees very generously. But before we welcome these refugees, we must check their antecedents. There are limits to the argument for human compassion. He emphasised that, the advocates of the rights of Rohingya Muslim refugees must closely consider the antecedents of these groups.

In response to a question on the Ram Mandir, Shri Bhayyaji Joshi said, that the Sangh desires that all the obstacles with regard to the mandir must first end. The Mandir can then be built. The government must work towards clearing all such obstacles. At the moment a lot of work towards the construction of the Ram Mandir is going on at Karseva Puram. As soon as the obstacles end, the construction of the Ram Mandir will start. Talking about the question of reservations, he said that, reservations must continue until the objectives for the program as set down by Babasaheb Amdedkar are fulfilled. It is for the the beneficiaries of the reservation system (the disadvantaged sections of the society) to decide for how long they need reservations to continue.

Note : Above is a Translation of Hindi Press Release of RSS ABKM2017 Press meet proceedings.