Skip to main content

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

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, VD Savarkar, MS Golwalkar
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.
On the eve of 77th anniversary of the glorious Quit India Movement (QIM) we must evaluate the role of the above Hindutva flag-bearers in India's anti-colonial freedom struggle. QIM, also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. 
It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to Do or Die in his Quit India speech delivered in Mumbai at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.
The British swiftly responded with mass detentions on August 8 itself. Over 100,000 arrests were made which included the total top leadership of Congress including Gandhi, mass fines were levied and demonstrators were subjected to public flogging. Hundreds of civilians were killed in violence, many shot by the police and army.
Many national leaders went underground and continued their struggle by broadcasting messages over clandestine radio stations, distributing pamphlets and establishing parallel governments. Innumerable patriotic Indians were shot dead for the crime that they were holding Tricolour publicly. 
Even before that a terrible massacre took place in Mysore, where the armed forces of Mysore Raja who was very close to Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) shot dead 22 Congress activists for saluting Tricolour.
It is to be noted that after declaring Congress an anti-national and unlawful organization, the British masters allowed only the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League to function.
Most of us know that the then Communist Party of India (CPI) opposed the QIM, thus betraying a great phase of mass upsurge in the history of the freedom struggle. But it is well documented that, despite CPI’s call for keeping aloof from QIM large number of Communist activists participated in it. 
However, what role the then Hindutva camp – consisting of the Hindu Mahasabha and RSS – played in the QIM is under wraps for reasons unknown. The Hindutva camp not only opposed QIM but also provided multi-faceted and multi-dimensional support to the British rulers in suppressing this historic mass upsurge. In this connection, shocking documents are available; these should be read to be believed.

Savarkar-led Hindu Mahasabha joined hand with the British

While addressing the 24th session of the Hindu Mahasabha at Cawnpore (now Kanpur) in 1942, Savarkar outlined the strategy of the Hindu Mahasabha of co-operating with the rulers in the following words:
“The Hindu Mahasabha holds that the leading principle of all practical politics is the policy of Responsive Co-operation. And in virtue of it, it believes that all those Hindu Sangathanists who are working as councillors, ministers, legislators and conducting any municipal or any public bodies with a view to utilize those centres of government power to safeguard and even promote the legitimate interests of the Hindus without, of course, encroaching on the legitimate interests of others are rendering a highly patriotic service to our nation.
“Knowing the limitations under which they work, the Mahasabha only expects them to do whatever good they can under the circumstances and if they do not fail to do that much it would thank them for having acquitted themselves well. The limitations are bound to get themselves limited step by step till they get altogether eliminated. The policy of responsive co-operation which covers the whole gamut of patriotic activities from unconditional co-operation right up to active and even armed resistance, will also keep adapting itself to the exigencies of the time, resources at our disposal and dictates of our national interest.” (
Cited in VD Savarkar, "Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan", vol 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindu Sabha, Poona, 1963, p 474.)
This ‘Responsive Cooperation’ with the British masters was not only a theoretical commitment. It soon got concretized in the ganging up of Hindu Mahasabha with the Muslim League. Hindu Mahasabha led by ‘Veer’ Savarkar ran coalition governments with Muslim League in 1942. Savarkar defended this nexus in his presidential speech in the same session of Hindu Mahasabha at Kanpur, in the following words:
“In practical politics also the Mahasabha knows that we must advance through reasonable compromises. Witness the fact that only recently in Sind, the Sind-Hindu-Sabha on invitation had taken the responsibility of joining hands with the League itself in running coalition Government. The case of Bengal is well known.
“Wild Leaguers whom even the Congress with all its submissive-ness could not placate grew quite reasonably compromising and socialable as soon as they came in contact with the HM and the Coalition Government, under the premiership of Mr Fazlul Huq and the able lead of our esteemed Mahasabha leader Dr Syama Prasad Mookerji, functioned successfully for a year or so to the benefit of both the communities.” ("
Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya", vol 6, p 479-80.)
The Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League, besides Bengal and Sind, ran coalition government in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) also during this period.

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, deputy CM in Bengal Muslim League Ministry, took up the responsibility to crush QIM in Bengal

Following the Hindu Mahasabha directive to co-operate with the British, the Hindutva icon, Dr Mukherjee assured the British masters through a letter dated July 26, 1942. Shockingly, it read:
“Let me now refer to the situation that may be created in the province as a result of any widespread movement launched by the Congress. Anybody, who during the war, plans to stir up mass feeling, resulting internal disturbances or insecurity, must be resisted by any Government that may function for the time being.” (Mookherjee, Shyama Prasad, "Leaves from a Dairy", Oxford University Press, p 179.) 
The second-in-command of the Hindu Mahasabha, Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, also the deputy chief minister in the Bengal Muslim league Ministry, in a letter to Bengal governor on behalf of Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League made it clear that both these parties looked at the British rulers as saviours of Bengal against Quit India Movement launched by Congress. In this letter, he mentioned item wise the steps to be taken for dealing with the situation. It read:
“The question is how to combat this movement (Quit India) in Bengal? The administration of the province should be carried on in such a manner that in spite of the best efforts of the Congress, this movement will fail to take root in the province. 
"It should be possible for us, especially responsible Ministers, to be able to tell the public that the freedom for which the Congress has started the movement, already belongs to the representatives of the people. In some spheres it might be limited during the emergency. Indian have to trust the British, not for the sake for Britain, not for any advantage that the British might gain, but for the maintenance of the defence and freedom of the province itself." (Cited in AG Noorani, "The RSS and the BJP: A Division of Labour", LeftWord Books, p 56–57.)

RSS followed Savarkar in opposing QIM

The other flag-bearer of Hindutva, the RSS, was not different in its attitude towards the QIM. It openly sided with its mentor ‘Veer’ Savarkar against this great revolt. The RSS’ attitude towards the QIM becomes clear from the following utterances of its second chief and most prominent ideologue till date, MS Golwalkar. While talking about the outcome of the Non-Cooperation Movement and QIM he said:
“Definitely there are bound to be bad results of struggle. The boys became unruly after the 1920-21 movement. It is not an attempt to throw mud at the leaders. But these are inevitable products after the struggle. The matter is that we could not properly control these results. After 1942, people often started thinking that there was no need to think of the law.” (MS Golwalkar, "Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan" [Collected Works of Golwalkar in Hindi], vol IV, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, p 41.) 
Thus, the prophet of Hindutva, Golwalkar, wanted the Indians to respect the draconian and repressive laws of the inhuman British rulers! He admitted that this kind of negative attitude towards the QIM did not go well even with the RSS cadres:
“In 1942 also there was a strong sentiment in the hearts of many. At that time, too the routine work of Sangh continued. Sangh vowed not to do anything directly. However, upheaval (uthal-puthal) in the minds of Sangh volunteers continued. Sangh is an organisation of inactive persons, their talks are useless, not only outsiders but also many of our volunteers did talk like this. They were greatly disgusted too.” (MS Golwalkar, "Shri Guruji Samagra Darshan" [Collected Works of Golwalkar in Hindi], vol IV, Bhartiya Vichar Sadhna, Nagpur, p 40.) 
It would be interesting to note what Golwalkar meant by ‘routine work of Sangh’. It surely meant working overtime to widen the divide between Hindus and Muslims thus serving the strategic goal of the British rulers and Muslim League.
In fact, the contemporary reports of the British intelligence agencies on the QIM were straight forward in describing the fact that RSS kept aloof from the QIM. According to one such report, “The Sangh has scrupulously kept itself within the law, and in particular, has refrained from taking part in the disturbances that broke out in August 1942”. (Cited in Andersen, Walter K & Damle, Shridhar D "The Brotherhood in Saffron: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Hindu Revivalism", Westview Press, 1987, p 44.)
These historical documented facts make it clear that Hindutva gang led by the RSS not only betrayed QIM but also rendered great service to the British masters by aligning with the Muslim League when the foreign rulers were faced with the nation-wide popular revolt by the Indians. They in collusion mounted one of the fiercest repressions of the freedom fighters. 
The RSS/BJP rulers know that betrayal of the QIM by their Hindutva parents cannot be covered up. It is crystal clear that RSS including its top leaders like Golwalkar (head of the RSS), Deendayal Upadhyaya, Balraj Madhok, LK Advani and KR Malkani who were RSS whole timers during QIM did not participate in this Movement. Thus if the betrayal of the QIM cannot be covered up then rake up polarizing issues with communal motives so that Indians remain at war with each other.
---
Veteran political scientist, formerly with the Delhi University. Link for some of Prof Islam's writings in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and video interviews/debates can be accessed here: http://du-in.academia.edu/ShamsulIslam. Blog: http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/. Contact: notoinjustice@gmail.com

Comments

Unknown said…
Truth must be told , retold and told again , lest untruth takes its place .

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.