Tag Archives: Savarkar

Don’t Use Savarkar In Your Agenda To Vilify Gau-Rakshaks; He Was An Advocate Of Cow Protection

By Arihant Pawariya for Swarajya

Snapshot
  • The narrative the media are trying to build — that Savarkar was somehow against cow protection itself and would’ve admonished gau-rakshaks — will fall flat because nothing can be farther from the truth. He was a vocal advocate of gau-raksha. ___________________________________________________________________________________________

Last month witnessed the release of two back-to-back biographies of Savarkar by Vikram Sampath and Vaibhav Purandare.

The fact that it took almost half a century for an English biography of a nationalistic icon to come out speaks volumes about our national apathy towards revolutionary anti-colonial heroes.

Perhaps it is a manifestation of the changing times that we are finally ready to stop demonising them and regurgitating the colonial propaganda, and stop insulting our martyrs by calling them misguided patriots or terrorists.

Both the works of Sampath and Purandare provide ample ammunition in helping understand the Savarkar phenomenon.

There is a lot to be learnt and celebrated about him — the difficult but inspiring childhood of a precocious boy, his role in the revolutionary movement for independence, him enduring inhuman incarceration in the Andamans with great fortitude, his Himalayan contribution to Indian political philosophy, his works as a social reformer and what not.

However, the usual suspects in the media, the intellectual heirs of those who have ignored or demonised Savarkar for decades, are not interested in highlighting any of these aspects.

Most of them are instead publishing excerpts from the books where Savarkar makes a case to not treat the bovine as divine. In the interviews with authors, leading questions about his views on cow worship are asked so that Savarkar can be used to run down present day gau-rakshaks.

The narrative they are trying to build — that Savarkar was somehow against cow protection itself and would’ve admonished gau-rakshaks — will fall flat because nothing can be farther from the truth. He was a vocal advocate of gau-raksha.

In fact, Savarkar’s first brush with communal riots as a 11-year old boy in his hometown Bhagur, was also precipitated by cow-related violence among other things. As Sampath writes, ‘these experiences taught him how poorly organized and disunited the Hindu community was’ and ‘this made Hindus doubly vulnerable to attacks.’

Yes, Savarkar didn’t want Hindu society to treat the cow as a divine creature. “The cow eats at one end and expels urine and dung at the other end. When it is tired it lies down in its own filth. Then it uses its tail (which we call beautiful) to spread this filth all over its body. How can a creature which does not understand cleanliness be considered divine?,” he reasoned.

“Why are cow’s urine and dung purifying while even the shadow of a man like Ambedkar is defiling?” Savarkar raised a pertinent question to Hindu society.

When it came to cows, his approach was utilitarian. He believed the cow was meant for the man and not the other way around, hence, it must be looked after well to maximise her usefulness. After all, the Hindus treated the cow as holy only because she was so useful to them.

Today, some vested interests are quoting aforementioned arguments of Savarkar to run down gau-rakshaks but his intention was exactly the opposite. “I criticized the false notions involved in cow worship with the aim of removing the chaff and preserving the essence so that cow protection may be better achieved,” he said.

Clearly he was making a case that worshiping the cow was of no use if it is prioritized over its protection. He said,

A worshipful attitude is necessary for protection. But it is improper to forget the duty of cow protection and indulging only in worship. The word ‘only’ used here is important. First protect the cow and then worship it if you so desire.

This is a far cry from what the trigger-happy Hindutva-baiters want us to believe by quoting Savarkar out of context, exactly the same modus operandi they have employed in painting him as a British stooge based on the mercy petitions written by him during his incarceration in the Andamans.

In any case, Savarkar’s appeal to Hindus to not consider the bovine as divine was in no way a nod for non-Hindus to go ahead with killing cows as if it was their religious duty.

As Purandare writes, “Savarkar wrote that Hindus might be naive but they weren’t cruel” unlike those who kill the cow as part of their “dharma”’ and thus had “no right to ridicule cow worshippers for their beliefs”.

Savarkar charged cow killers with possessing an ‘asuric instinct’ and urged all non-Hindus to “discard their religious cow hatred and consider cow protection done for economic reasons to be their duty.”

Some too-clever-by-half agenda-peddlers have even said that Savarkar advocated eating beef, conveniently throwing the context again in the dustbin. He was talking of extreme situations.

If a fortified city of the Hindu nation was under siege and was running out of rations, then rather than dying of starvation and surrendering, he believes it would be better to slaughter cows, use their flesh as food, to fight and defeat the enemy.

According to Savarkar, sacrificing the cow was acceptable in national interest. He cited examples of Indians kings who would capitulate in front of foreign invaders whenever the latter threatened to harm the cows, temples or Brahmins.

“Foolishness led to the sacrifice of the nation for the sake of a few cows and Brahmins and temples,” he said.

Savarkar was forthright and unwavering in his views. It will serve us all well if we attempt to understand why he said the things that are being gleefully misused by the media. Quoting him without context is a disservice to his memory and will not work in this day of social media awareness.

Arihant Pawariya is Senior Editor, Swarajya.

Veer Savarkar: The unsung Hero of our Freedom struggle

By: Shambu Nashipudi

The 30th President of America Calvin Coolidge once said, “A nation that forgets its heroes will itself soon be forgotten.” and our nation is guilty of this crime. Indian History is perhaps more about the missing pages about Nationalist Heroes, whose lives should have been a must read for all Indian. Yes, bulk of the blame lies with Marxist propagandist, sorry historians, but can we completely absolve ourselves for remaining inert?

Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Subhash Chandra Bose and Veer Savarkar were the few prominent ones whom the British dreaded for their revolutionary thoughts and armed struggle. Unfortunately, the same narrative continued even after Independence under the dispensation of Nehru and ecosystem of Left-Liberals.

Albeit propaganda has its own limitations. Savarkar’s thoughts and ideas have again started capturing imagination of thinking class but in popular memory and discourse, Savarkar still remains either maligned or ignored. A new generation of scholars, writers are now attempting a course-correction in their own humble ways.

The story of Savarkar and his nationalism goes back to his childhood days, when the hanging of Chapekar brothers by British govt in 1890’s traumatized the young Savarkar, who would vow before Goddess Durga that he would strive to ensure Bharat is independent from the clutches of foreign occupation.

The seeds of patriotism sown in childhood days were blossoming into a plant that would grow up into a giant banyan tree. Savarkar traveled to England to study Law on a scholarship and his revolutionary activities started to take shape. He was arrested in London in 1910 on charges of inciting revolt and violence against the British and was deported back to India. What followed was 50 years of imprisonment and transportation for Life to the dreaded Cellular jail in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Apart from being a true Nationalist, Savarkar was a historian par excellence. In 1908, at the young age of 26, Savarkar wrote the magnum opus ‘The First War of Independence – 1857’. The book remains the most detailed account of the uprising of Indians against the ruthless British rulers. He successfully established the fact that the uprising was a ‘War of Independence’ and not a mere ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ as recorded by the British historains. 

Savarkar wrote “The history of the tremendous Revolution that was enacted in the year 1857 has never been written in this scientific spirit by an author, Indian or foreign.” The book became the inspiration for Indian revolutionaries.

‘My Transportation for Life’ by Savarkar was published in the weekly “Kesari” of the venerated Late Lokmanya Tilak in a series during 1925-26. Savarkar writes about Hindu Muslim relationship in his book Hindu Pad Padshahi, that while the historic enmity between Islamist aggression and Hindu resistance should not be projected into current normal Hindu-Muslim relations but the lessons from history, however, should not be forgotten.

Savarkar was also emphatic and critical about the existing fault lines in Hindu society. He was a fierce rationalist and rejected the birth based varna system. He worked to build places of worship for people from all sections of society.  As a Social reformer, he worked to eradicate many issues ailing the Hindu society like accountability, cast based divisions among Hindus, and proselytization of Hindus to Islam. The fact that there were no ways for Hindu brethren to return back to Dharmic fold agitated him immensely.

Savarkar gave the country the political philosophy of Hindutva and coinage of the term ‘Hindutva’ in his book ‘Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu?’ (1923). He said those who regard this land of Bharat, spread between the river Sindhu in the north and the ocean Sindhu Sagar, Indian Ocean in the south, as their Pitrubhumi (fatherland) and Punyabhumi (holy land) are Hindus.

In the age of political correctness, the fact remains that it was Savarkar who gave Hindutva a definitive shape and without a shred if doubt he remains the philosophical and intellectual fountainhead of Hindu political renaissance.

In the later years Savarkar wrote ‘Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History’ to counter the then accepted view that India’s history was a saga of continuous slavery and defeats by external powers and regimes inimical to culture of the land.

The name ‘Savarkar’ is synonymous with courage, bravery, might and patriotism. True to his name, he was an inspiration to many revolutionaries of Indian’s freedom struggle, starting from Bhagat Singh, RSS founder Dr Hedgewar, Subhash Chandra Bose, among others.

In spite of being a self-proclaimed atheist, Savarkar was a true karma yogi who followed the principles of the Gita in his life.

Britishers confined Savarkar’s spirit to the cells of Cellular jail for over a decade but there is no bigger ignominy to patriots like Savarkar when the nation forgets or ignores the sacrifices of people who laid down their lives for the nation’s greater good.

Veer Savarkar led the country through troubled times. He unapologetically united the Hindus under one flag and gave them an ideology for ages to come. Savarkar said, for a nation to survive it has to reclaim its past. “The nation that has no consciousness of its past has no future.”

The only fitting tribute for Savarkar in the 21st century would be realisation of the nation about the reality of Bharat being a Hindu Rashtra and the emphatic declaration of the same.

Partitioned Freedom – 6

(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 1” from this link – 1)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 2” from this link – 2)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 3” from this link – 3)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 4” from this link – 4)
(Read “Partitioned Freedom – 5” from this link – 5)

Part 6

When strategy became policy at Lucknow in 1916, and the Khilafat and Moplah lay bare the slide of the Congress, many leaders were genuinely worried. They realised that the appeasement policies of the Congress were helping the League in furthering its separatist agenda. Despite his best efforts at placating the League and striving for Hindu-Muslim unity, Gandhi could not achieve much. When attempts were made to pacify the Moplahs in the name of Gandhi’s non-violence, they bluntly replied that Gandhi was a Kafir, and he could never be their leader. In 1924, Maulana Mohammed Ali, to whom Gandhi gave more importance than he did to Jinnah, declared: “However pure Mr. Gandhi’s character may be, he must appear to me, from the point of religion, inferior to any Mussalman even though he be without character.” In 1925, he reiterated it saying, “Yes, according to my religion and creed, I do hold an adulterous and a fallen Mussalman to be better than Mr. Gandhi”.

Savarkar was one of the leaders who felt that Congress was making a colossal mistake by appeasing the fundamentalist Leaguers. Savarkar asked the Congress leadership to stop in the downward spiral of appeasement and be firm with the Muslim League leadership. “If you come, with you; if you do not, without you; if you oppose in spite of you” – this was the message he wanted the Congress to convey to the League. Yet the Congress leadership lacked that courage.

Shraddhananda’s Murder:
Swami Shraddhanand was a renowned Arya Samajist and a senior leader of the Congress. As a disciplined soldier of the movement, he had participated actively in the Khilafat movement too. Shraddhananda was a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, and used to play an active role in reconversion activities. This angered some fanatical Muslims. One such young man called Abdul Rasheed visited Shraddhananda’s residence at Naya Bazar in Delhi on December 23, 1926, on the pretext of discussing “some problems of the Islamic religion”. Shraddhananda was unwell and lying on his bed. According to the Arya Samaj website: “
The visitor then asked for a glass of water, and while Dharm Singh (Shraddhanand’s attendant) was taking his glass away, he rushed up to the Swamiji and fired two bullets point-blank into his chest.

The annual session of the Congress was taking place from December 25, 1926, at Guwahati. All the senior leaders, including Gandhi, were present at the session when the news of the gruesome murder of Swami Shraddhananda came in. Gandhi called Abdul Rashid his own brother, but moved a condolence motion himself. “If you hold dear the memory of Swami Shraddhanandji, you would help in purging the atmosphere of mutual hatred and calumny. Now you will perhaps understand why I have called Abdul Rashid a brother and I repeat it. I do not even regard him as guilty of Swamiji’s murder. Guilty indeed are all those who excited feelings of hatred against one another”, Gandhi said to the shock of many in the audience. At the very same session, funds were collected for the legal defence of Rashid in the courts. When he was sentenced to capital punishment by the British, there were over fifty thousand people in his funeral procession at Kolkata. That was where the appeasement policy of the leaders had led the country.

National Flag – (National symbols compromised):

Gandhi had proposed in 1921 that Congress should design a national flag. Several models were presented to him, and the one with three colours – orange, white and green –proved to be popular However, its interpretation as orange for the Hindus, white for the Christians, and green for the Muslims did not go down well with the people. A flag committee was then appointed in 1931 to look into the controversy and recommend a national flag for India. Among others, the 7-member committee included Nehru, Patel, and Azad. The committee submitted its report to the Karachi Congress session in December 1931.

“Opinion has been unanimous that our National Flag should be of a single colour except for the colour of the device. If there is one colour that is more acceptable to the Indians as a whole, one that is associated with this ancient country by long tradition, it is the Kesari or saffron colour. Accordingly, it is felt that the flag should be of the Kesari colour except for the colour of the device. That the device should be the Charkha is unanimously agreed to. The Committee have come to the conclusion that the charka should be in blue. Accordingly we recommend that the National Flag should be of Kesari or saffron colour having on it at the left top quarter the Charkha in blue with the wheel towards the flagstaff, the proportions of the flag being fly to hoist as three to two”, the report, signed by all the seven members stated.

However, the Congress session at Karachi rejected it, saying that the saffron colour represented only Hindus. The tricolour flag designed by Pingali Venkayya was adopted. It featured three horizontal stripes of saffron, white and green, with a Charkha in the centre. The colours were given a new interpretation thus: saffron for courage; white for truth and peace; and green for faith and prosperity. After the national song came the compromise with the national flag.

Language (concessions were made):

The Hindu Bhajans were modified. ‘Raghupati Raghava Rajaram – Patita Pavan Sitaram’ saw ‘Isvar Allah Tere Naam’ added to it. Even the national language was not spared. There were concerted efforts to discourage Muslims from learning Hindi right from the time of Syed Ahmad Khan. Syed Ahmad asked Muslims to prefer English to Hindi. Aligarh Muslim University taught only in English and Urdu. An effort was made to project Hindi as the language of the Hindus, and Urdu, that of the Muslims. In its eagerness to please the fundamentalists in the Muslim League, the Congress leadership decided at its 1925 Karachi session that Hindustania hybrid product from the mixture of Hindi and Urdu – should be the lingua franca of independent India. It even suggested that the script could either be Devnagari or Arabic.

Texts were rewritten. Special language classes were held for the Congress volunteers to familiarise them with the new hybrid language. Phrases like Badshah Ram, Begum Sita, and Maulvi Vasistha were promoted. Nevertheless, this one compromise did not go down well with the Congress and the nation. The protagonists of Hindi could succeed only after several years in making it the official language of the nation.

The Congress leadership continued to make these one-sided compromises without any reciprocal gestures being made by the League.

Cow slaughter was given free hand:

Even on a question as important to him as cow-slaughter, Gandhi was willing to compromise. “How can I force anyone not to slaughter cows unless he is himself so disposed? It is not as if there were only Hindus in the Indian Union. There are Muslims, Parsis, Christians, and other religious groups here”, he argued.

None of these concessions could move the League leadership. Instead, they only led to establishing the League and Jinnah, now its leader, as the ‘sole spokesmen’ for the Muslims, as Ayesha Jalal puts it. Emboldened, Jinnah went ahead ruthlessly, unmaking everything the Congress made, including, in the end, the geographical unity of the country.

(Final part to follow)


(Courtesy: The article was originally published in Chintan, India Foundation on August 18, 2020).

Veer Savarkar and the Two-Nation Theory

-Dr. Shreerang Godbole

Congress leader Digvijay Singh recently stated (26 Jan) that Savarkar had the original idea of the two-nation theory which was later adopted by Jinnah. This is not the first (and one may safely assume not the last) time that Veer Savarkar has been blamed for putting forth the two-nation theory. Notwithstanding Digvijay Singh’s political compulsions in spreading this piece of disinformation, a factual rebuttal is in order.

The entire case of the Savarkar-baiters rests on a solitary sentence culled out from his nearly 6000-page literature. Fortunately, Savarkar has himself answered the charge that he had put forth the two-nation theory. The sentence in question can be found in Savarkar’s Presidential address to the 19th session of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha at Karnavati (Ahmedabad) in 1937. Savarkar stated, “India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Moslems, in India. If the critics bother to read the entire speech (available at http://www.savarkar.org/content/pdfs/en/hindu-rashtra-darshan-env002.pdf), it shall be evident to them that Savarkar had not advocated the two-nation theory.

It may be noted that Savarkar was one of the few Hindu leaders who had made a deep study of Islam from its scriptures. He had read a translation of the Quran even while he was a student in England. In the Andamans, Savarkar had read the Quran first in its English and subsequently Bengali and Marathi translations. Responding to the opinion of his Muslim friends that the real beauty of the Quran lies in its original, Savarkar asked them to read each page from the original and then had them translate it for his benefit into Hindi. As Savarkar describes, he heard them recite the Quran with great concentration and after keeping his mind clean and pure as a devout Muslim. In later life, Savarkar read several books written by Western authorities on the Quran.  Savarkar’s deep study of Islam is evident from his numerous articles such as those on Kemal Pasha, Khilafat movement and various Islamic sects. Savarkar had learnt to read and write Urdu. Thus, Savarkar’s views on Islam and Muslims are not those of an ignorant bigot.

The context
Savarkar’s Presidential address is not a run-of -the-mill political speech. After dwelling on the definition and significance of the word ‘Hindu’, the status of the Hindus as a nation unto themselves, the mission of the Hindu Mahasabha, unified Indian State and the cooperation of the minorities, Savarkar turned his attention to the attitude of the Muslims, He stated. “As it is, there are two antagonistic nations living side by side in India, several infantile politicians commit the serious mistake in supposing that India is already welded into a harmonious nation, or that it could be welded thus for the mere wish to do so. Our well-meaning but unthinking friends take their dreams for realities…The solid fact is that the so-called communal questions are but a legacy handed down to us by centuries of a cultural, religious and national antagonism between the Hindus and the Moslems. When time is ripe you can solve them but you cannot suppress them by merely refusing recognition of them.” It is in that context that he made that statement. The Islamscholar, historian and hard-headed realist in Savarkar was simply stating a bland fact and not endorsing it. This is further confirmed two sentences later when he referred to the options before the Hindus under the circumstances. He stated, “…to form an Indian State in which none is allowed any special weightage of representation and none is paid an extra price to buy his loyalty to the State. Mercenaries are paid and bought off, not sons of the Motherland to fight in her defence. The Hindus as a nation are willing to discharge
their duty to a common Indian State on an equal footing.” It is noteworthy that the President of the Hindu Mahasabha was not seeking any rights for the Hindus that he was not willing to grant to the Muslims! Throughout his life, Savarkar advocated equal rights for all citizens in a unified Indian State.

Savarkar’s defence
Misunderstanding was created after Savarkar made the above utterances. Hence, Savarkar clarified his statement to journalists on 15 August 1943 in the office of the Marathi weekly Aadesh in Nagpur. He also clarified his position in an interview given in Mumbai on 23 August 1943. The interview was published in the Aadesh dated 28 August 1943. Given below is an English translation of Savarkar’s clarification as published in the Marathi weekly Aadesh dated 23 August 1943.

“I had clarified this (mystatement that there are two nations in Hindusthan) in my Nagpur interview. But instead of reporting this, journalists simply reported that I accept the two-nation theory. This has resulted in the whole misunderstanding. I am surprised that a storm has been raised now on this issue. Because I have always been referring to the two-nation theory right from my Ahmedabad speech. It is a historic truth that the Mussulmans are a .nation.. I had clarified the historical and racial background of this theory in Nagpur. Islam is a theocratic nation based on the Koran right from its inception.

This nation never had geographical boundaries. Wherever the Mussulmans went, they went as a nation. They also came to Hindusthan as a .nation.. Wherever they go,Mussulmans shall either remain foreigners or rulers. As per the Koran, those who are not Mussulmans are kafirs, enemies of Islam. Even today, after praying in the mosque,Mussulmans ask for atonement for committing the sin of living in a kafir-ruled state. As per the principle of Mussulmans, the earth is divided into two nations: Dar-ul Islam (land of Islam) and Dar-ul Harb where Islam does not rule (enemy land). As per their religious command, their campaign on Hindusthan was as a separate nation. They conquered the Hindu Nation as a enemy nation, not as One Nation.

The Hindu Nation arose again and having defeated the Mussulmans at various places, saved the whole of Hindusthan to establish Hindu Padpadshahi also as a separate Hindu Nation opposed to the Muslim nations. This history certainly cannot be denied. In the recent past, the educated class among the Hindus mostly through the vehicle of the Congress tried its utmost to champion territorial nationalism by saying that at least in Hindusthan, Hindus and Mussulmans are one nation because they reside in one country. Though the effort was well-intentioned, the Mussulmans never gave up their principle of theocratic or scriptural nationalism and the feeling of being a nation separate from the Hindu Nation. And they never shrank from stating this right. Seizing the right opportunity and taking advantage of the Congress. policy of surrender, the Muslim League once again emphatically put forth that same old theory of the Mussulman nation being a separate nation. If one turns a blind eye to this reality, the Hindu Nation is bound to be divided. So we do not care if you consider yourself to be a separate nation. The effort towards Hindu consolidation is to emphatically state that the Hindu Nation is a self-evident and unified Nation. The Mahasabha came forward as a separate and mighty national organization of the Hindu Nation. Hindu Nationalism gave a cutting edge to the effort of consolidation.

People still do not understand the important thing that stating the fact of Mussulman and Hindu nations being present in Hindusthan is not to accept the Pakistani adamancy of carving a country of the Mussalmans. If I call someone a grihasta (householder), it does not make him a resident of my griha (house). Whether the Mussulmans consider themselves a separate nation or not, at least as far as Hindusthan is concerned, they are a minority compared to Hindus. Like the English, they have come here as foreigners and if they want to stay in Hindusthan, they should do so only as a minority community. An independent, unified, indivisible and single State should be established in Hindusthan. Hindusthan is the Fatherland and the Holyland of Hindus and even today they are an overwhelming majority in this their country. Hence, even if there are in this country, by force or tyranny, the English, Portuguese, French or those invaders such as the Americans or Japanese who call themselves a nation., Hindusthan should be considered politically a nation of the Hindus as per the principle of peoples’ power. If they want, minorities may stay here merely as minority communities. This is the objective; this is the oath of Hindu consolidation. This objective should be achieved through consensus if possible. Else, by strength and should opportunity arise, by force, this or the next generation of Hindus shall achieve this objective. While two or two hundred nations that consider themselves separate from the Hindus have presently entered Hindusthan by force and are demanding Partition of Hindusthan, it is not by a woolly-headed and cowardly denial of this fact but rather by understanding, facing and changing it shall an independent, undivided and indivisible Hindu nation alone shall without doubt, remain in Hindusthan. But as in our history when the Hindu Nation successfully rallied under the Hindu Flag, the Hindus should come forward and rise unitedly.”

Savarkar was then asked that if Hindus and Mussulmans are two nations, how will they form a single nation?. He answered, “ We should not confuse between Nation. And State.. Even if the State goes, the Nation remains. When the Mussulmans were ruling over us, the government (State) was theirs. But the existence of the Hindus was most certainly intact. Even so, there is no problem in a common State of Hindus and Mussulmans. In the past, we had nations (rashtra) such as Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Devrashtra (near Berar). Where are these nations? They mingled with each other. The Shakas and Huns came to Hindusthan as nations. But what is the evidence of their existence today? We digested them. So if the Mussulmans want, they could amicably stay with Hindus as a minority community. In the past, nations such as Prussia, Bavaria etc. existed in Germany. But today, they have all together formed the German nation. By law, no one in Germany may call himself Prussian or Bavarian but German only.

“Regarding the Mussulmans in Hindusthan, it may be said that you (Hindus) are trying to rope them with you but do the Mussulmans so desire? In the end, .desire. is the most influential and important factor for a .nation.. If they consider themselves separate, what is achieved merely by saying that you consider them your own? And hence, we need not worry whether they come with us or not. And there is no reason why we should sacrifice Hindu interests and plead with them to perforce say that they are not a separate nation. Hindus are a nation unto themselves. Considering this, the Hindus should continue the freedom struggle by consolidating themselves irrespective of whether the Mussulmans come with them or not. If they so desire, they may stay here, else they shall go where it pleases them.”

Savarkar’s consistent view on this subject was best summarized by him in his Presidential address in Nagpur in 1938. He said, ““It is absurd to call us (Hindus) a community in India. The Germans are the Nation in Germany ad the Jews a Community. The Turks are a Nation in Turkey and the Arab or the Armenian minority a Community. Even so the Hindus are a Nation in India-in Hindusthan and the Moslem minority a Community.”

It is undeniable that Muslims consider themselves as a nation or Ummah. It was not Savarkar’s invention nor did he ever endorse this Islamic concept. It is noteworthy that the Afro-American religious movement started by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in Detroit, Michigan in 1930 was named ‘Nation of Islam’.

Jinnah’s inspiration

To say that Jinnah adopted Savarkar’s idea is arrant nonsense! Can Digvijay Singh or his ilk quote a single sentence from Jinnah’s speeches or writings where he has named Savarkar as his source of inspiration? In a letter to newly elected Congress President

Badruddin Tyabji (1888), Sir Syed Ahmed wrote, “Is it supposed that that the different castes and creeds living in India belong to one nation, or can become nation, and that their aims and aspirations be one and same? I think it is quite impossible.” The answer given by Tayyabji, the former President of Digvijay Singh’s Grand Old Party is even more revealing. Tayyabji writes, “Now I am not aware of anyone regarding the whole of India as one Nation and if you read my Inaugural address, you will find it distinctly stated that there are numerous communities or nations in India…”(Source Material for a History of the Freedom Movement in India, Vol.2, pp70-73). The idea of an independent, sovereign Islamic State carved out of India was first publicly stated by Sir Muhammad Iqbal in his Presidential address to the Muslim league in 1930. Iqbal said, “I would like to see the Punjab, the North West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State. Self-Government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to be to me the final of the Muslims at least of the North-Western India.”

Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto accurately observed that “the starting point of Pakistan goes back a thousand years to when Muhammad-bin-Qasim set foot on the soil of Sind and introduced Islam in the sub-continent”

It is a travesty that Congressmen who accepted the Islamic demand of a separate State on the basis of religion and Leftists who fervently believe India to be a hotchpotch of multiple nationalities should hurl the charge of advocacy of the two-nation theory on Savarkar, a lifelong champion of a unified India.

(The writer is a Pune-based specialist in diabetes and hormone disorders. He has
authored books on Islam, contemporary Buddhist-Muslim relations and played a major role in developing http://www.savarkar.org)

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