Skip to main content

This film argues India got Independence not through non-violence but through violence

By Ram Puniyani* 

Films have been a powerful medium which create a social understanding in various ways. We had films which reflected social realities and promoted progressive values. Films like ‘Mother India’, ‘Do Bigha Jameen’ and ‘Naya Daur’ are just a few of these. Some biopic films have also contributed a lot in disseminating social common sense, which are close to reality and promote inclusive values. Attenborough’s 'Gandhi' and 'Bhagat Singh' were greatly inspiring. Many of these were based on immaculate research and brought out the true spirit of the people on whose life they were based.
With the ascendance of the majoritarian politics, identity politics related divisive issue and the ideology of Hindu nationalism, many in the film world have been coming out with films which promote a particular narrative, a divisive one, which is based on sectarian views of politics and history. 
The common theme among these is a tilting of truth and in most cases glorification of Hindu nationalist icons. The clever undermining of truth and building up of ‘fiction as fact’ is the underlying theme of most of these films. 
One of these was heavily promoted by the likes of Prime Minister Modi and RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, ‘Kashmir Files’. The affluent BJP supporters bought the tickets of this film in bulk and distributed these in their areas to encourage people to watch this. The worthies who promoted these claimed that finally the truth of these events is being brought to fore.
Another one was 'Kerala Story', where the figures of those being converted to Islam and recruited for IS were exaggerated to the sky. Many other such fiction like films flopped at the box office like 72 Hoorain, which tried to present ‘Islamic Terrorism’, presenting the political problem as a religious one. This film suppressed the social understanding that similar allurements of Apsaras in Swarg and Fairies in Heaven are also there in the mythologies of other religions.
These films were mainly to promote Islamophobia. On another level, the film on Godse (2022) was an attempt to glorify Godse by putting together many falsehoods that Gandhi did not try to save Bhagat Singh from hanging and he opposed the Congress resolution mourning Bhagat Singh’s death. And now comes the film ‘Swatantaraveer Savarkar’ starring Randeep Hooda. 
This one takes the fictions as truth at a higher level. It claims that Bhagat Singh went to meet Savarkar and told him that he wants to translate his book, ‘First War of Independence’ from Marathi to English!
What is the truth? Many revolutionaries read this book and appreciated it. The fact is the book was written in Marathi around 1908 or so and was translated into English a year later. Bhagat Singh was born in 1907 and as a matter of fact never met Savarkar in his life!
The film shows Savarkar stating that we shall win Independence by 1912, i.e. 35 years before we actually got Independence. The fact is that Savarkar was in Andmans from 1910 and had started writing mercy petitions, and by 1912 had written three of them. 
In these petitions he had sought apology from the British for his earlier actions and committed to serve the British loyally if he is released. And that’s what he did after his release by the British. Our freedom struggle picked steam in 1920 when due to the Non Cooperation movement, most of the people started associating with the freedom struggle.
Film goes on to question why no Congressman was sent to Andmans and most of them were sent to Indian jails alone. This may not be factually true. As such after 1920 the anti-British movement took the path of non-violence led by Gandhi-Indian National Congress.
The sentences given to them were of different types like imprisonment in jails. Andman or hanging (Like for Bhagat Singh, Sukhdevand Rajguru) were for involvement in acts of violence. As non violence was the basic credo of the movement led by Gandhi they were neither sentenced to death nor sent to Andmans.
The film argues that the country got Independence not through non-violence but through violence. The major revolutionaries operating in India belonged to the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. After Bhagat Singh and his comrades were killed or hanged there was no major violent movement. 
Ot is yet another film based on distorting truth to strengthen Hindu nationalist politics, with an eye on  forthcoming elections
Savarkar’s Abhinav Bharat had abandoned anti-British stance with Savarkar’s mercy petitions. Subhash Bose, who formed Azad Hind Fauz, was killed in 1945 and the soldiers of Azad Hind Fauz were imprisoned and kept in Red Fort as prisoners. It was the INC which formed a committee to defend these soldiers. In this Nehru had taken the lead to form the committee for release of these prisoners of war.
There are claims in the film that it was Savarkar who advised Bose to form the army and to fight the British. This is totally in contrast to what are the real facts. Bose after leaving Congress had made up his mind to fight the British through armed might with the help of Germany and Japan. When Bose was fighting against British, Savarkar was urging Hindu Mahasabha to get the Hindus recruited to British army, to help British.
Addressing the Mahasabha’s Calcutta session, Savarkar urged all universities, colleges and schools to 'secure entry into military forces for youths in any and every way'. When Gandhi had launched his individual satyagraha the following year, Savarkar, at the Mahasabha session held in December 1940 in Madura, encouraged Hindu men to enlist in "various branches of British armed forces en masse.”
 About Savarkar, Subhash Chandra Bose wrote: "Savarkar seemed to be oblivious of the international situation and was only thinking how Hindus could secure military training by entering Britain's army in India." Bose concluded that "...nothing could be expected from either the Muslim League or the Hindu Mahasabha."
Bose in an address to Indians via Azad Hind Radio said, "I would request Mr. Jinnah, Mr. Savarkar & to all those who still think of a compromise with the British to realize once for all that in the world of tomorrow there will be no British Empire".
As far as associating Savarkar with Subhash Bose in the film, Chandra Kumar Bose, grand nephew of Netaji after seeing the trailer, told Hooda, “Please refrain from linking Netaji with Savarkar. Netaji was an inclusive secular leader and patriot of patriots.”
The film is yet another one based on distorting the truth to strengthen the Hindu nationalist politics, with an eye on the forthcoming elections. 
*Political commentator. YoutubeFacebookInstagramTwitterPinterestMy Website,My App



What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site The article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.