Skip to main content

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.
In fact, contemporary documents are witness to the fact that while Bhagat Singh and Netaji fought against the repressive British rule and the two-nation theory, while Savarkar sided with the British rulers and the Muslim League in order to defeat the all-inclusive freedom struggle. And whereas Bhagat Singh and Netaji never subjected to the diktats of the colonial masters, never repented and never sought mercy this Hindutva 'Veer' submitted in all five mercy petitions in 1911, 1913, 1914, 1918 and 1920.
This 'Veer' though sentenced for 50 years (in 1910-11), was in the Cellular Jail for less than 10 years and was finally released in 1924 from Yerwada Jail in Maharashtra. Thus, he was able to secure remission of more than 35 years. There were hundreds of other revolutionaries who in the Cellular Jail and other jails remained incarcerated for full terms of their convictions.
There were, of course, martyrs like Bhagat Singh, Chandershekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Sukhdev, Rajguru and Roshan Singh who neither begged for mercy nor were shown any leniency. There was also a large number of Ghadarite revolutionaries and Bengal revolutionaries who refused "to plead with the British authorities for mercy. Nor did they agree to give up their struggle for India's liberty in exchange of their own personal liberty." (Manini Chatterjee, 'The Kala Pani story', "The Indian Express", September 21, 2004.)
When Netaji during World War II was trying to secure foreign support for the liberation of the country and trying to organise a military attack on the northeast of the country which finally culminated in the formation of ‘Azad Hind Fauj’ (Indian National Army), it was Savarkar who offered full military cooperation to the British masters.
While addressing 23rd session of Hindu Mahasabha at Bhagalpur in 1941, he said:
"The war which has now reached our shores directly constitutes at once a danger and an opportunity which both render it imperative that the militarization movement musts be intensified and every branch of the Hindu Mahasabha in every town and village must actively engage itself in rousing the Hindu people to join the army, navy, the aerial forces and the different war-craft manufactories." (Cited in Savarkar, VD, "Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan", vol 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, pp 460-61.)
To what extent Savarkar was willing to help the British would be clear by the following words of his:
"So far as India’s defence is concerned, Hindudom must ally unhesitatingly, in a spirit of responsive co-operation with the war effort of the Indian government in so far as it is consistent with the Hindu interests, by joining the Army, Navy and the Aerial forces in as large a number as possible and by securing an entry into all ordnance, ammunition and war craft factories…
“Again it must be noted that Japan’s entry into the war has exposed us directly and immediately to the attack by Britain’s enemies. Consequently, whether we like it or not, we shall have to defend our own hearth and home against the ravages of the war and this can only be done by intensifying the government’s war effort to defend India.
“Hindu Mahasabhaits must, therefore, rouse Hindus especially in the provinces of Bengal and Assam as effectively as possible to enter the military forces of all arms without losing a single minute."
(Ibid, p 460.) 
Savarkar’s total support to the British war efforts when leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose were trying to chalk out a strategy to throw out the British rule from India through armed struggle was the result of a well-thought-out Hindutva design. It was in Madura (22nd session of the Hindu Mahasabha, 1940) that he made his choice clear.
His support to the British rested on the logic that “it is altogether improbable that in this war England will be defeated so disastrously as to get compelled to hand over her Indian Empire, lock, stock and barrel into German hands” (Ibid, p 419) thus believing in the invincibility of the British Empire.
It was not as if Savarkar was unaware of the strong resentment which was brewing in the ranks of common Indians against such an approach. He brushed aside any criticism of Hindu Mahasabha’s decision of co-operating with the British in war efforts as...
"political folly into which the Indian public is accustomed to indulge in thinking that because Indian interests are opposed to the British interests in general, any step in which we join hands with the British government must necessarily be an act of surrender, anti-national, of playing into the British hands and that co-operation with the British government in any case and under all circumstances is unpatriotic and condemnable." (Ibid, p 428.) 
Savarkar spent the next few years in organizing recruitment camps for the British armed forces which were to slaughter the cadres of INA in different parts of North-East later. The Madura conference of Hindu Mahasabha concluded with the adoption of an ‘immediate programme’ which stressed “to secure entry for as many Hindus recruits as possible into army, navy and the air forces” (Ibid, p 439.)
He also informed them that through the efforts of Hindu Mahasabha alone, one lakh Hindu’s were recruited in the British armed forces in one year. It is to be noted that during this period RSS continued inviting Savarkar to address the RSS youth gatherings for motivating the latter to recruit into the British armed forces.
His call to the Hindus had no ambiguity: “Let the Hindus therefore come forward now and enter the army, the navy and the air-forces, the ordnance and other war-crafts factories in their thousands and millions.”(Ibid, p.xxvi.)
The Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar’s leadership organised high-level Boards in different regions of the country to help the Hindus seeking recruitment in the British armed forces. We come to know through the following words of Savarkar that these Boards were in direct contact with the British government. Savarkar informed the cadres:
"To deal with the difficulties and the grievances which the Hindu recruits to the Army find from time to time, a Central Northern Hindu Militarization Board has been formed by the Hindu Mahasabha at Delhi with Mr Ganpat Rai, BA, LLB Advocate, 51, Panchkuin Road, New Delhi, as convener. A Central Southern Hindu Militarization Board is also formed under the Chairmanship or Mr LB Bhopatkar, MA, LLB, President Maharashtra Provincial Hindusabha, Sadashiv Peth Poona. 
“All complaints or applications for information etc. should be addressed by those Hindus who want to enter the forces or have already enlisted themselves in them, to the above addresses. Sir Jwala Prasad Shrivastav; Barrister Jamnadasji Mehta, Bombay; Mr VV Kalikar, M.L.C., Nagpur and other members on the National Defence Council or the Advisory War Committee will certainly try their best to get these difficulties removed so far as possible when they are forwarded by these Militarization Boards on to them." (Ibid, p xxvii.)
This clearly shows that the British government had accommodated leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha on its official war committees. Those who declare Savarkar as a great patriot and freedom fighter must bow their heads in shame when they read the following instruction from Savarkar to those Hindus who were to join the British forces:
"One point however must be noted in this connection as emphatically as possible in our own interest that those Hindus who join the Indian [read the British] Forces should be perfectly amenable and obedient to the military discipline and order which may prevail there provided always that the latter do not deliberately aim to humiliate Hindu Honour." (Ibid, p xxviii.)
The British government was in regular touch with Savarkar so far as the organisation of its highest war bodies was concerned. It included individuals whose names were proposed by Savarkar. This is made clear from the following thanksgiving telegram Savarkar sent to the British government. Bhide’s volume tells us that,
"The following Telegram was sent by Barrister VD Savarker [sic], the President of the Hindu Mahasabha to (1) General Wavell, the Commander in-Chief; and (2) the Viceroy of India on the 18th instant (July 18, 1941): “YOUR EXCELLENCY’S ANNOUNCEMENT DEFENCE COMMITTEE WITH ITS PERSONNEL IS WELCOME. HINDUMAHASABHA VIEWS WITH SPECIAL SATISFACTION APPOINTMENT OF MESSERS KALIKAR AND JAMNADAS MEHTA." (Ibid, p 451, as per the original text.)
It is important to note here that even the Muslim League, sub-serving the interests of the British rulers, refused to join Defence Committees established by the government as done by Savarkar.
Savarkar believed in two-nation theory and formed coalition governments with the Muslim League. Savarkar openly opposed the dream of Bhagat Singh and Netaji of a free democratic-secular India.
With irrefutable facts from history, even available in Hindutva organizations' archives, the appearance of Savarkar bust with the great martyrs only means second killing of Bhagat Singh and Netaji
On the contrary, he demanded an exclusive Hindu nation and chalked out his Two-nation theory long before the Muslim League. While addressing the 19th Session of Hindu Mahasabha at Ahmedabad in 1937, he said:
"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. These our well-meaning but unthinking friends take their dreams for realities. That is why they are impatient of communal tangles and attribute them to communal organizations.
“But the solid fact is that the so-called communal questions are but a legacy handed down to us by centuries of cultural, religious and national antagonism between the Hindus and Moslems... Let us bravely face unpleasant facts as they are. 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." ("
Samagar Savarkar Wangmaya" [Collected Works of Savarkar], Hindu Mahasabha, Poona, 1963, p 296.)
The fact should not be missed that Muslim League passed its Pakistan resolution in 1940 only. Savarkar, the great philosopher and guide of RSS, not only propagated Two-Nation Theory long before but entered into alliances with Muslim League in order to break ‘Quit India Movement’. While delivering Presidential address to the 24th session of Hindu Mahasabha at Cawnpore (Kanpur) in 1942, he defended hobnobbing with the Muslim League 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 submissiveness could not placate grew quite reasonably compromising and socialable as soon as they came in contact with the Hindu Mahasabha 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.
“Moreover further events also proved demonstratively that the Hindu Mahasabhaits endeavoured to capture the centres of political power only in the public interests and not for the leaves and fishes of the office."
(Ibid, pp 479-480, Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League also ran a coalition government in North-Western Frontier Province.)
It is to be noted that in this coalition government Syama Prasad Mukherjee, second in command of the Hindu Mahasabha was Deputy Premier. Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League also formed a coalition government in NWFP also.
With these irrefutable facts from history, even available in the Hindutva organizations' archives, the appearance of Savarkar bust with the great martyrs only means second killing of Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
---
*Well-known political scientist, formerly with the Delhi University. Click HERE for some of Prof Islam's writings in English, Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati and video interviews/debates. Twitter: @shamsforjustice. Blog: http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/. Email: notoinjustice@gmail.com

Comments

Anonymous said…
Good article. Was always doubtful of Savarkar's role.
The Congress, Communists, Muslim League, and Hindu Mahasabha political leaders and their party members were not the freedom fighters of the Greater India at all. ONLY NETAJI and INA gave the freedom of the greater India. The above said political leaders reaped the fruits of sacrifice of Netaji and 87K INA lives. JAI HIND.
Anonymous said…
Article never given full truth about Savarkar on that time Savarker wanted hindu people need to learn War Tactics from Britisher because on that time if you beacome soften(Only through Morcha) britisher never given you freedom that why they told people to join Bristish Army....but i think writter never read whole history properly because if u read the history Savarker and Netaji both have same ideology and both are Connected each other in their Freedom Movement tactics......
Anonymous said…
Aah yes... how convenient.. Savarkar was a subservient stooge? Someone, who wanted Hindus to kill INA? Really?? That's how disingenuous you can be Mr. Islam? You know for a fact that Savarkar rewrote Sepoy Mutiny to 1st War of Independence. You know that he looked up to Young Italy & Mazzini & their strategy of filling ranks of the army with the push to mutineering & defection. You conveniently ignore that it was he, who inspired nearly all revolutionaries to fight back militarily via lit. and arms. He had a direct or indirect hand in most revolutionary activities pre-Khilafat, the movement that communalized the independence movement. You ignore the fact that Sir Syed, proposed the 2 nation theory almost 50 yrs before. You ignore that Md Iqbal radicalized his views for Pan-Islamism. Savarkar is brave & courageous. Your argument that he didn't die so he isn't brave. You ignore that petitions were a legal remedy. You ignore that the British could not execute Savarkar due to the international incident with France, so they did something equal or worse -- Kaalapani. Death & glory were not his goals -- nationalism was... independence was.. His was a strategist and you know it.. Taqqiya won't take you far..
Anonymous said…
Petitions to Britishers were not legal remedy, Rather they were surrender before the Britishers and backstabbing Freedom Fighters. That's why he was receiving Pension from the Britishers.
How can any Indian justify the acts of joining British Army (thereby weakening the ef and sacrifices of Freedom Fighters like Bose and Bhagat Singh) ??
RSS, BJP etc. don't have any contribution or icon who took part in Freedom Struggle against Britishers, so they are trying to take False Credit by showing their fake peoximity to Sarfar Patel, Bose and Bhagat Singh. Whereas the fact is that these icons were against the RSS ideology and have criticed it on numerous occassions.

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Govt of India 'compromising' on mandate to regulate gene technologies, protect nature

Counterview Desk  In a letter sent to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and other related ministries and departments, the Coalition for a GM-Free India has raised "serious concern" over the guidelines notified for Genome Edited Organisms, in which major exemptions from regulations have been offered to certain categories of Genome Edited Organisms/Plants and products. A letter signed by Sridhar Radhakrishnan and Kapil Shah, co-convenors of the NGO network, addressed to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhupender Yadav, said, the Office Memorandum, dated May 17, 2022 of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology about Safety Assessment Guidelines, which follows the Office Memorandum dated March 30, 2022 of the MoEFCC, said, the move "essentially amounts to entry of risky GMOs through the backdoor. Text : Coalition for a  GM-Free India is a national volunteer-driven platform of hundre

A Marxian trend that queries undemocratic customs and traditions of capitalism

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  A very well-meaning comrade called me a pluriversal Marxist with a wild smile full of English irony, while chairing my book release function in the Marx Memorial Library, London. I dedicate this piece to her… There is no other philosopher who is more abused and misunderstood like Marx. There is no other philosophy like Marxism which is more demonised on a regular basis. The mindless vilification campaign against Marx and Marxism continues without any form of reason. The propaganda and portrayal of Marxism as a devilish doctrine signify its importance as a philosophy of human emancipation from the very forces who demonise it. Marxism is a philosophy of praxis which helps us to understand the centrality of creative power of labour in producing socially meaningful value. It helps us to analyse the laws governing production, distribution, consumption, exchange, market, profit, pricing and private property in the development of class-based society. As a humanist p