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Concerted campaign going on for years to misrepresent Savarkar: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Claiming that a concerted campaign has been going on for years to “spread lies” about Hindutva thinker VD Savarkar, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said that Savarkar was a “mahanayak” (great icon) of Indian history, a freedom fighter who inspired many and a social revolutionary who fought untouchability.

Speaking at the launch of the book, Veer Savarkar: the man who could have prevented partition,” written by information commissioner and author Uday Mahurkar and researcher Chirayu Pandit, Singh said Savarkar was the first to come up with a “robust defence doctrine” for the country.

“Savarkar believed in dialogue, but there are people who only view him from a prism of hate which is not right…there can always be disagreements, but lies have been spread about Savarkar. Till now, books on Savarkar have only been written by those who didn’t understand him. But now I am glad more well-researched books on him are coming up. Till a lion tells his story, the hunter will always be glorified.”

Asserting that Savarkar was not just a “vyakti” (person) but a “vichaar” (ideology), Singh said that there has been a particular controversy around him writing mercy petitions to the British. “They spread lies that he wrote apologies…but Gandhi had urged him to appeal for that. It was the process then. The British were so threatened by Savarkar that they felt the need to sentence him to solitary confinement, not once but twice.”

Singh said that in 2003 when a portrait of Savarkar had to be unveiled in the parliament, major political parties stayed away but former PM Chandrasekhar participated, and that even development projects started by the NDA government in the Andaman jail were undone by successive opposition governments. “Savarkar is a reflection of our pride, restraint and sanatana dharma. Those who insulted and undermined him will never be forgiven,” he said.

RSS sarsangachalak Mohan Bhagwat said a campaign to defame Savarkar and it has gone on for years, and claimed that predictions made by Savarkar many years ago have come true in the subsequent years.

“The same people have also attacked Swami Vivekanand, Swami Dayanand, Swami Aurobindo who have been instrumental in awakening the Hindu consciousness. It has become a fashion these days to say Vivekananda’s hindutva was different from Savarkar’s or things like that..But hindutva is the same. It is sanatana (eternal). . Savarkar felt the need to pronounce it loud and clear. If everyone in the hindu samaj had said the same then and asked Muslims to ask for equality then, partition could have been prevented.”

Bhagwat said it was part of Indian ethos to protect the motherland from divisions and safeguard ideals of the society. “Ram went all the way to Lanka to fight when there was no threat to his kingdom. Chanakya trained Chandrgupta not for his self interest..Even Shivaji, a ruler in Maharashtra wrote to Aurangzeb when he vandalised Kashi temple. Because it is deemed as our duty to protect our motherland and our culture.. Savarkar did that. After partition at an event where Guruji (MS Golwalkar) was also present, he had lamented how one could live without Hindu- Sindhu.”

Bhagwat also said Savarkar and Gandhiji felt mutual respect for each other, and that even Ambedkar appreciated his efforts to fight caste discrimination in Ratnagiri.

Savarkar had to use stern language because the circumstances in the country then were being fuelled by Islamic fundamentalists, he said. “Savarkar had the skill of dealing with both good and bad people and putting on appropriate conduct. But he met more bad people than good which is why he used a language that was a reaction to everything wrong that was happening then.”

Mahurkar said Savarkar’s hindutva has been misunderstood by many, and that the “demonisation” of Savarkar has done a lot of damage as he had foreseen many calamities that befell the nation.

“When someone in Lahore asked him if his policies were similar to Jinnah’s, he stated it clearly that while Jinnah wanted concessions for Muslims, he wanted equal treatment for all…When Lucknow’s Shia Muslims passed a resolution against cow slaughter, he wrote them a letter welcoming it,” he said. “Savarkar repeatedly kept warning the Congress that their policies, particularly of Muslim appeasement will hurt Hindus, and that the communities will also grow apart.”

Referring to Savarkar as the “Father of India’s national security,” and a unifier and a savant, Mahurkar said he had predicted the China war and the influx of refugees into Bangladesh.

Mahurkar suggested that instead of naming roads after “invaders” one must rename them with those of patriotic muslims. “And we have many of them. Akbar is one of them. Moderate muslims need role models.”

Mahurkar also said he has also explored Savarkar’s relationship with Gandhi. “Savarkar’s economic policies were similar to Nehru’s while Gandhi’s were more practical and contextual.” EOM

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