Skip to main content

Recalling his role in 2002 riots, Economist says Modi is follower of Savarkar, an "immensely divisive" figure

By Our Representative
In a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a gap of about six months, top British journal, The Economist’s latest issue (December 20) has once again reminded its readers that Modi remains a controversial leader for his “failure” in 2002, when as chief minister of Gujarat, he failed to “avert a massacre of Muslims.” Insisting that the hostility is born of the ideology that militant freedom fighter Vinayak Savarkar "spawned”, the influential British journal says, Modi “has never apologised for the massacre.” Taking a dig at Modi, the journal recalls how he sought to “regret” the riots once – telling a news agency interviewer that he is as sorry for the killings as he is while “seeing a puppy run over in the street”.
Pointing out that Modi is inspired by Savarkar, the journal suggests, after Modi came to power, RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat has become more aggressive by increasingly referring to Savarkar for inspiration. Like Savarkar, Bhagwat now says that “all who live in Hindustan are in fact Hindus, whatever Muslims, Christians or secular Hindus might say”, the journal says, underlining, “The group has become an enthusiastic and effective actor within (the BJP). The RSS’s millions of members and volunteers played a big role in electing the BJP by a landslide in 2014. At least 19 ministers in government, including Modi, have a background in the RSS.”
Even as saying that Modi is “India’s strongest leader since Indira Gandhi”, the journal contends, the Prime Minister has made no attempt to “distance himself from the RSS”. It adds, “Those who promote Hindutva and echo Savarkar whip up stories of ‘love jihad’, alleging, Muslim men convert large numbers of Hindu women by seducing them.” Pointing out how earlier this month “a BJP parliamentarian praised Godse as a ‘patriot’ equal to Gandhi”, it says, things have gone so far now that “members of the increasingly influential RSS feel emboldened” and are promoting “majoritarian politics” in order to “absorb or flatten a minority” in “utterly destructive” way.
Pointing out that “India’s tolerance and moderation” may be “at risk”, the journal notes, this is clear the way Modi has been promoting Savarkar. “In 2008 Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, inaugurated a website (savarkar.org) that promotes a man ‘largely unknown to the masses because of the vicious propaganda against him and misunderstanding around him that has been created over several decades’.” While a “previous BJP-led government put Savarkar’s portrait in parliament… on Savarkar’s birthday this year, May 28, the Prime Minister paid homage to him there. Modi tweeted about Savarkar’s ‘tireless efforts towards the regeneration of our motherland’.”
While calling Modi a firm follower of Savarkar, the journal refers to how Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi differed from each other ever since they met for a meal in England in 19065. “Savarkar offered Gandhi some of his meal; Gandhi, a vegetarian, refused. Savarkar allegedly retorted that only a fool would attempt to resist the British without being fortified by animal protein”, The Economist says, adding, “The meeting is said to have begun hostilities between the two young Indian nationalists. Gandhi was a pacifist with an inclusive attitude towards Muslims and Christians. Savarkar, who would lead the Hindu Mahasabha, was a right-wing majoritarian who spawned the idea of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness...”
Pointing towards how “Savarkar remains immensely divisive”, the journal recalls how he called Gandhi a weak, a “sissy”, and far too willing to collaborate with Britain. “Gandhian talk of man’s common humanity he regarded as utopian to the point of naivety. In articles from the 1920s to the 1940s Savarkar lambasted Gandhi as a ‘crazy lunatic’ who ‘happens to babble...[about] compassion, forgiveness’, yet ‘notwithstanding his sublime and broad heart, the Mahatma has a very narrow and immature head’. Gandhi promoted ahimsa, a Buddhist rejection of violence which Savarkar called “mealy-mouthed”.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Are you a fool, no - no need to ask.

If 1857 was not a fight of independence then the stealing, thieveing British were natural owners of the world.

You should rot in hell for reproducing the so called "top" biased newspapers views on 1857.
Rajendra Barve said…
Who is this ediot spreading unnecessary rumors ....don't waste your time sir ..do u work...ppl of India will never believe in this rumors
Anonymous said…
Savarkar was right about Gandhi. Britain and other allies should have sat for fast until death when hitler invaded their countries and thats how you would have followed Gandhi's path.
Raghu said…
Reconversions are pinching your heart,Savakar is hero as much as Churchill
Anonymous said…
Sorry but the Economist is not an influential journal. I am not very familiar with the internal politics of India, but the article wreaks of a political agenda.
Savarkar was not a militant, he was freedom fighter, Britishers tortured him in jail. What is your view about the Jaliavala genocide. England never say sorry on the atrocities on Indians. Britishers murdered more then one million Indians- please say some thing on this aspect also. Do not blame Modi.Pakistan is your's brain child and see what he is doing, he is exporting terrorism
Jag Jivan said…
While what Economist says is a typical influential British viewpoint, what shouldn't forget the type of animosity which Savarkar displayed for Gandhi calling him weak, sissy and so on. And, unfortunately our India's No 1 is a follower of Savarkar, even as paying lipservice to Gandhiji.

TRENDING

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

RSS 'demonizing' Muslim demographics: Hindus' growth rate decline 2.5% lower

By Mohan Guruswamy*
The RSS is riding its old hobbyhorse again. Addressing the Yuva Dampati Sammelan attended by reportedly 2000 young couples organized by the RSS’ Kutumb Prabhodan in Agra on August 21, the RSS Sarsanghchalak, Mohan Bhagwat, apparently concerned about the “declining Hindu population” exhorted young Hindu couples to have more children.

River interlinking to transfer tribals' drinking, irrigation water to Maharashtra industries

Counterview Desk
Top advocacy group, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), recently submitted its comments on the Damanganga–Vaitarna-Godavari Intrastate Link project to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), a project sought to be packaged by the Maharashtra chief minister as diversion of water from allegedly water surplus Konkan region to the drought-affected Marathwada region.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

Govt of India 'has no plan' to reduce energy, fossil fuel consumption, emissions

Counterview Desk
In his representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India on draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP), 2019, top power policy analyst Shankar Sharma has insisted that there is imminent need to consider the economic activities at the national/international level very carefully from the perspective of climate change.

Here's proof: Manual scavenging is rampant, Ahmedabad isn't open defecation free

By Parsottam Vaghela*
Authorities of Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat, may have gone into full swing in its cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat mission after the city was awarded the open defecation free plus (ODF+) certificate by the Union government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. However, my visit to some of the areas of the walled city of Ahmedabad on August 7 in order to ascertain whether it has become open defecation free suggested that the claim is a total humbug.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.