Skip to main content

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

BJP leaders paying tribute to Savarkar in Mysuru
By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.
Since renaming ceremony was taking time the RSS outfit Bajrang Dal strung a banner reading “Veera Savarkar Melsethuve (flyover)” in Kannada on the flyover at Mangalore. They also wrote “Bajrang Dal” in saffron paint on the divider of the flyover.
It would be a sad day not only for Karnataka but the whole country if a seasoned collaborator of the British rulers and the Jinnah-led Muslim League is glorified in any way. Let's hear from the horse's mouth what Savarkar did as a collaborator of the enemies of India.

Savarkar and Tricolour

Savarkar, like the RSS, abhorred every symbol of the Indian people’s united struggle against the British rule. He refused to accept the Tricolour (at that time there used to be a charkha or spinning wheel in the middle of it) as national flag or flag of the freedom struggle. In a statement issued on September 22, 1941 for the benefit of Hindu Mahasabha cadres, he declared:
"So far as the flag question is concerned, the Hindus know no flag representing Hindudom as a whole than the ‘Kundalini Kripanankit’ Mahasabha flag with the ‘Om and the Swastik’ the most ancient symbols of the Hindu race and policy coming down from age to age and honoured throughout Hindusthan. It is actually sanctioned and owned by millions on millions of Hindus today from Hardwar to Rameshwaram and flies aloft on every Hindusabha branch office at thousands of centres.
“Therefore, any place or function where this Pan-Hindu flag is not honoured should be boycotted by the Hindu sanghatanists at any rate…The Charkha-Flag [before the present national flag it used to be the one] in particular may very well represent a Khadi-Bhandar, but the Charkha can never symbolize and represent the spirit of the proud and ancient nation like the Hindus."
[Bhide, A. S. (ed.), “Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President’s Diary of his Propagandist Tours Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941”, na, Bombay, 1940, p. 470-73.]
What Hindu Mahasabha and RSS cadres did to the freedom fighters who dared to carry Tricolour would be clear from the following words of a well-known socialist leader NG Goray who was witness to an incident in 1938 when the Hindutva cadres tore up the Tricolour and attacked those who were carrying it:
"Who attacked the May Day procession? Who assaulted men like Senapati Bapat and [Gajanan] Kanitkar? Who tore up the national flag? The Hindu Mahasabhaites and the Hedgewar boys did it all… They have been taught to hate the Muslims in general as Public Enemy Number 1, to hate the Congress and its flag…"
It is to be remembered here that the British rulers were persecuting the freedom fighters who publically carried the Tricolour in the same manner.

Savarkar and Netaji  

When Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose after escaping from India (January 16, 1941) 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 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 [British] army, navy, the aerial forces and the different war-craft manufactories.” [Savarkar, V. D., “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 [British] 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.] 
Documents with Hindu Mahasabha archives make it clear that Savarkar, like Muslim League, believed that India is not one nation
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.]
Opposing flyover naming: Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah 
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.

India not one nation?

Documents available in the Hindu Mahasabha archives make it clear that Savarkar, like the Muslim League, believed that India is not one nation but consisted of two nations as claimed by Jinnah and the Muslim League. While delivering presidential address to 19th Hindu Mahasabha session at Ahmedabad in 1937, Savarkar declared:
“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… 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.” [“Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya: Hindu Rashtra Darshan” (Collected works of Savarkar in English), Hindu Mahasabha, Pune, 1963, p. 296.]

Savarkar and Quit India Movement

Savarkar not only kept aloof from the freedom struggle but also helped the British rulers in suppressing any challenge to their interests. During 1942’s Quit India Movement when whole country was facing brutal repression of the colonial masters Savarkar declared:
“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 Sanghatanists who are working as Councillors, Ministers, Legislators and conducting any municipal or any public bodies with a view to utilize those centers 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.
(Emphasis in the original) [V. D. Savarkar, “Hindu Rashtra Darshan”, vol. 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, p. 112.]

Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League

The Hindu Mahasabha under his sole leadership ran coalition governments with the Muslim League in 1940s. Publicly defending this collusion with the Muslim League, Savarkar in his presidential speech to the 24th session of Hindu Mahasabha at Kanpur in 1942 declared:
“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 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:Hindu Rashtra Darshan” (Collected works of Savarkar in English), Hindu Mahasabha, Pune, 1963, pp. 479-80.]

Savarkar 'favoured' Nepal king if British left

Savarkar even preached that it was legitimate to have the King of Nepal as ‘Free Hindusthan’s Future Emperor’ if the British leave India. His advice to the British rulers was very clear:
"If an academical [sic] probability is at all to be indulged in of all factors that count today, His Majesty the King of Nepal, the scion of the Shisodias[sic], alone has the best chance of winning the Imperial crown of India. Strange as it may seem, the English know it better than we Hindus do… It is not impossible that Nepal may even be called upon to control the destiny of India itself. Even Britain will feel it more graceful that the Sceptre [sic]of Indian Empire, if it ever slips out of her grip, should be handed over to an equal and independent ally of Britain like His Majesty the King of Nepal than to one who is but a vassal and a vanquished potentate of Britain like the Nizam." (Emphasis in the original) [Bhide, AS, (ed.), “Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President’s Diary of his Propagandist Tours Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941”, na, Bombay, 1940, pp. 256-57.]
Savarkar may be a 'Veer' or brave for the Hindutva camp but fact is that he wrote more than six mercy petitions and got remission of almost 40 years out of 50 years' conviction. If RSS-BJP is so sure of Savarkar's patriotic credentials, let them make these writings of Savarkar public so that people of Karnataka and rest of the country can reach an objective conclusion.
---
*Formerly with Delhi University, click here for some of Prof Islam's writings and video interviews/debates. Twitter: @shamsforjustice. Blog: http://shamsforpeace.blogspot.com/

Comments

Unknown said…
Savarkar was a Prince among the revolutionaries fighting for the liberation of Mother India. Some intelligent people with their hidden agendas will NEVER get this.

TRENDING

Arrest of Fr Stan Swamy: UN makes public letter seeking explanation from Govt of India

Counterview Desk In a letter to the Government of India (GoI), three senior United Nations (UN) officials – Elina Steinerte, vice-chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and Fernand de Varennes, special rapporteur on minority issues – have said that the arrest of veteran activist Father Stan Swamy in October 2020 marks “the escalation of harassment the human rights defender has been subjected to since 2018.”

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

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.

Farm laws 'precursor' to free trade deal envisaged by US corporates to allow GMO

By Rajiv Shah Did the Government of India come up with the three farm laws, first rushed by promulgating ordinances in June 2020, to not just open the country’s agricultural sector to the corporate sector but also as a precursor to comply with the requirements of the United States for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as envisaged by the outgoing US president Donald Trump?

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Fr Stan's arrest figures in UK Parliament: Govt says, Indian authorities were 'alerted'

London protest for release of Stan Swamy  By Rajiv Shah Will Father Stan Swamy’s arrest, especially the fact that he is a Christian and a priest, turn out to be major international embarrassment for the Government of India? It may well happen, if a recent debate on a resolution titled “India: Persecution of Minority Groups” in the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament is any indication. While Jesuits have protested Fr Stan's arrest in UK and US, the resolution, adopted in the Parliament, said, “This House has considered the matter of persecution of Muslims, Christians and minority groups in India”.

Differing from Ambedkar, Kancha Ilaiah holds a 'different' theory of caste system

By Banavath Aravind* I was introduced to Kancha Ilaiah’s work when I was about 20 years old. He was then in the midst of a controversy for a chapter in his book "Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan, Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution", which termed the Baniya community as social smugglers. During many of his debates, I had come to notice his undeterred fighting spirit in trying to bring up certain fundamental social issues that were hitherto undiscussed. I eventually came across some of his works and started reading them silently. I’m deliberately stressing upon the word ‘silently’ here, as this was the kind of silence particularly associated with sensitive social issues like caste, religion, etc. But, as I write this essay, I feel silences on sensitive issues should be broken. Ilaiah opened up an entirely new debate that had the vigour and strength to counter the systemic Brahmanism. His methods of research were also novel in terms of going back to the roo

New trend? Riots 'expanded' to new rural areas post-2002 Gujarat carnage: Report

A VHP poster declaring a Gujarat village part of Hindu Rashtra  By Rajiv Shah  Buniyaad, a Gujarat-based civil society organization, engaged in monitoring of communal violence in the state, in a new report, “Peaceful Gujarat: An Illusion or Truth?” has said that a “new trend” has come about in communal violence in the state, where the parts of Gujarat which didn't see communal riots in 2002 are experiencing “regular bouts” of communal violence.

More than 5,200 Gujarat schools to be closed down, merged, says govt document

RTE Forum, Gujarat, releasing fact-sheet on education By Our Representative A Gujarat government document has revealed that it is planning to close down 5,223 schools in the name of school merger. The document, dated July 20, 201 was released by the Right to Education (RTE) Forum, Gujarat. It shows that the worst-affected districts because of this merger are those which are populated by marginalized communities – especially tribals, Dalits and minorities, said RTE Forum’s Gujarat convener Mujahid Nafees.

Consumption pattern, not economic shock behind 'poor' child health indicators

By Neeraj Kumar, Arup Mitra* The findings of the latest round of National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) conducted in 2019-20 covering 22 States/UTs under Phase-I  present a somewhat disappointing picture of children’s health in India. Majority of the experts, based on prima facie evidence, just highlighted the deteriorating sign of child health in terms of increase in proportion of stunted and underweight children in most of the phase-I states/UTs over last two rounds of NFHS (2015-16 to 2019-20).