Monday, May 27, 2013

Savarkar: On this Savarkar Jayanti Day . . .


“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
― Walt Disney Company


I have a dream . . . a goal . . . a purpose: worldwide justice and recognition for Savarkar.

On this day of Savarkar’s birth anniversary, my mind flits back to the last week of December 2008 when it all began for me. Putting 3-4 stress-filled years of intense volunteering at my kids’ school behind me, I was all set for chasing research on my favorite subjects: the Great Pyramid of Giza, chasing theories arising (in my mind) from the Holy Blood Holy Grail—an absolutely fascinating book!—and the Coptic Gospels written before the birth of Christianity (and kept out of the bible.) I had drawerfuls of material collected and was raring to go, when out of the blue the thought popped in my head that I must read a biography on Savarkar. All I knew of Savarkar then was the haunting song Sagara Pran Talamalala and some nonsensical (and erroneous!!) tit-bit re his having “escaped from Andaman squeezing through a toilet pipe”—which but naturally, I found mystifying.

The urge to find out more was very, very strong. All my life, though I respected Savarkar a lot, I remained uncurious about him. Why it took this great age of 45 before I felt this urge, I don’t know. Anyway, now the bug had bitten me. As I live in the US, I crossed my fingers and hoped I would find a biography online. And sure enough www.bn.com had one written by Shri Joglekar. I immediately set about devouring that book—and life has not been the same since . . .

To say I was electrified is putting it mildly! A panorama of Savarkar’s incredible personality, deeds, thoughts, and actions mushroomed in my mind. “Oh, but he is a foremost Karmayogi!” was my uppermost thought—being a deep believer of the Bhagavad, that was the crowning glory for me.

After that, I was like one possessed to find and read everything connected to Savarkar. Day and night I thought only of Savarkar; by mid-February 2009, it had become crystal clear to me that not only was a great injustice done to Savarkar in his lifetime, but the injustice was continuing so many years after his death, too—what I like to call “an ongoing-conspiracy.” The amount of anti-Savarkar material—misrepresenting, misinterpreting, and maligning—filling the cyberspace was very, very disturbing. Why, I thought to myself, don’t people read the truth for themselves? Why don’t they read what Savarkar himself is saying? He is so clear and frank. Why is the twaddle written by Savarkar-bashers more believable than the truth? I haven’t any answers to that.

This gross injustice to Savarkar was unendurable. I was all churned up with the need to do something about it. But what could I really do?

Then one morning I just woke up with the determination to write, publish, and publicize a novel showcasing Savarkar as I saw him, putting the injustice done unto him in a story based on real, documented facts before an international audience. The dream was born . . .

It was the most preposterous idea! There I was: a widow with three young kids (aged 11, 9, and 5 at the time) with no real friends, connections, or a circle of influence, living a quiet, very quiet, life. Though living by standing up to my convictions, my natural inclination was to blend happily in the shadows. To top it all, I had never in my life written a word, other than schoolgirl-essays (donkey’s years ago!) While I was rather proud of my essay writing prowess then, it was a far cry from that to writing a novel—and one worthy of muscling in into the international market, no less!

Being very practical (despite dreaming what may be termed as an impractical dream!) I was very much aware that my novel would per force involve the exposing of Gandhi. In fact, to my mind, to understand the truth of Savarkar in its totality, it is necessary to understand the truth of Gandhi (and Nehru, and the Freedom Movement.) That was also to be a feature of my novel.

Fortunately, I had two things going for me—the only two, I believe, that are essential to chase dreams—an abiding belief in God and myself, and the self-knowledge that I can move mountains, given the right motivation.

And so I began my headlong march: all I could see was my goal and myself; nothing else mattered. My head was in the clouds, but my feet were planted firmly on the ground.

(I have captured the “growing pains” of my early days of writing Burning for Freedom in a series of posts:
Do read them; even if I say so myself, they are quite entertaining. I often used to think it was a good topic for a hilarious comedy!
I have also written posts on “Divine Intervention” which has been so necessary for the writing of my novel:

Now four-and-a-half years later, my novel Burning for Freedom is written, published, and publicized (ongoing)—but that I realize is just the tip of the iceberg! There is much more to be done: more books to be written, more research to be dug up, anti-Savarkar articles to be responded to, and answers to some very odd things that people say to be given.

One of these very odd things is “Savarkar is certainly not a Bhagat Singh,” said derogatorily—well, really…!! Why on earth should he be? By that same token, Gandhi is certainly not a Bhagat Singh, Nehru is certainly not a Bhagat Singh. Any number of freedom fighters are certainly not Bhagat Singh, surely!

Bhagat Singh himself respected Savarkar very much and visited him in Ratnagiri. He even published a translation of Savarkar’s Indian War of Independence, 1857 in Punjab to inspire patriotism in the people.

In any other country just the mere fact that a freedom fighter had selflessly sacrificed fifty years of the prime of his life to gain freedom would have made him worthy of undying devotion. But in India . . . never mind Savarkar’s incredible contributions in the freedom struggle and social revolution, mud is even slung on his patriotism!

It is a crying shame that so many Indians today can’t see Savarkar for what he was: an unswerving, unparalleled freedom fighter who dedicated his entire life for the freedom and service of his people and country.

And so, odd and ridiculous though I find the above statement, I have decided my next post will be on that topic. And odious though I find comparisons, I shall be making some—between Savarkar-Bhagat Singh, Savarkar-Gandhi—to show the fallacy in it. In fact, I shall end here with a comparison I made in one of my interviews which was also published in the Hindu Voice, November 2012 (http://www.readerviews.com/InterviewCinarAnurupaBurningForFreedom.html) :

Tyler: I understand from your book that Savarkar disagreed with Gandhi on some points about Indian independence. How were these two leaders different?
Anurupa: There isn’t any point of similarity between Savakar and Gandhi, except that they were both charismatic leaders, capable of holding a nation in thrall. I shall mention the three strongest differences that come to mind:
Savarkar lied and deceived the enemy, the British, but never ever the Indians—Gandhi, on the other hand, deceived the Indians time and time again and was friends with the British!*
Savarkar had political acumen. Gandhi had no political vision.
To Savarkar, the goal of freedom was paramount, the means were flexible. To Gandhi the goal of freedom was inessential, the means were paramount.”

Until next time . . .

Anurupa
Here is a link to my Author Video and Book Trailer:
* Those who doubt the veracity of my statement, do check out my post in the categories: Gandhi Facts, Gandhi Revealed and Unveiling of the FreedomMovement.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 20: The End




 
Released from Belgaum Jail
       February 10, 1949: Savarkar was acquitted, but not allowed to walk out free in Delhi. The Delhi Magistrate served an order prohibiting Savarkar from leaving the Red Fort area immediately. A few hours later by another order under Punjab Public Security Measures Act, Savarkar was expelled from Delhi and escorted by police straight to Savarkar Sadan, Mumbai. Additionally, he was prohibited from entering the Delhi area for a period of three months.

·       His honor was not reinstated.

·       Savarkar, the veteran of fifty years of service in the freedom movement of India, was imprisoned one more time in free India at age sixty-seven—on April 4, 1950, he was arrested on the eve of arrival of Pakistani Prime Minister Liaquat Ali in Delhi and detained in Belgaum jail for 100 days.

·       Nehru, who admitted to his friend and biographer Mosley, that perhaps they had conceded Pakistan from fear of going to jail in their old age, imprisoned Savarkar twice, on unjust charges, without any compunction whatsoever.

·       From here on till death and beyond Savarkar has been deliberately maligned, misrepresented, and misunderstood. History of the Congress—in its edited and doctored form—was represented as the history of the Indian freedom movement; Savarkar was all but deleted from it. Anyone daring to stand up for him had to suffer Governmental consequences.

·       Nevertheless, Savarkar continued to look out for India stoically.

·       He warned the Governments of the time about the dangers of China and Pakistan (including the Tashkent Agreement.)

·        He gave scholarly lectures on the Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History.

·        February 26, 1966: Savarkar gave up his life by giving up food and water in the highest traditions of Yoga satisfied that he had carried out all his duties in this life.

 

“अनादि मी अनंत मी, अवध्य मी भला,

मारिल रिपु जगतिं असा कवण जन्माला

Without  beginning nor end am I, inviolable am I.

Vanquish me? In this world no such enemy is born!”

 
  -   Anurupa

Friday, May 24, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 19: Gandhi-Murder





The violence continued unabated even after independence. There was an exodus of Hindus and Muslims to and from the two parts of Punjab. Hindu refugees in India were in dire straits.

        October 24, 1947: armed Pakistani tribesmen attacked Kashmir. The Maharaja of Kashmir acceded to India and the Indian army entered Kashmir.

·       The question of `55 Crores to be given to Pakistan came up at this time. Since the commitment was only verbal and not final, and conditional upon there being no outstanding issues, Government of India refused to pay up until Pakistan at least called off the attacks on Kashmir.

1948

·       January 13: Gandhi started a fast to force the Government into giving this money to Pakistan, to reinstate Muslims in their homes, and to return mosques taken over by Hindus in the city of Delhi. On this very day, a train carrying Hindu and Sikh refugees from Bannu was attacked at Gujarat railway station by Muslims. But Gandhi got his way.

·       January 20: Nathuram Godse and some associates conspired to set off a bomb 150 yards from Gandhi’s prayer meeting in a failed attempt at assassinating Gandhi. Madanlal Pahwa was apprehended red-handed. Upon torture, he revealed his co-conspirators as editors of Hindurashtra. Dr. Jain revealed this conspiracy to Morarji Desai, Home Minister of Bombay Presidency, mentioning Nathuram by name.

·       For some inexplicable reason, Government of India did not see fit to arrest Godse, nor was the most basic of precaution taken to protect the Mahatma.

·       January 30: Nathuram Godse fatally shot Gandhi—a separate act independent of the original conspiracy.

·       In contrast to the lackadaisical inaction in preventing the death of the Mahatma, the Government now went on a frenzied campaign to annihilate Savarkar and wipe out Hindutva-minded people. Almost 20,000 people were arrested, many of them tortured, and many more people came under fire of the Governmental wrath. Savarkar was stigmatized as a pariah in Indian society.

·       Savarkar was arrested as a measure of preventive detention under the Bombay Public Security Measures Act for “promoting hatred by inciting Hindus against Muslims” and “inciting persons to commit acts of violence against Muslims and persons who are endeavoring to bring about unity between Hindus and Muslims.” He was kept isolated and not allowed to even meet anyone, even his lawyer, until March 23rd.

·       March 11: Savarkar was charged with conspiracy to murder Gandhi on the basis of uncorroborated hearsay evidence given by the approver Badge upon being tortured.

 
  -   Anurupa

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 18: Independence





Birth of Free India
May 29, 1947: Savarkar urged the Congress leaders not to betray the electorates by accepting partition: they had promised a United India in their election campaign; therefore they should seek re-election on that basis. Naturally, the Congress did no such thing.
· Savarkar tried every which way to avoid the calamity of partition of his beloved India, but partition was declared on June 3, 1947, and Independence Day was to be August 15, 1947.
· Savarkar proposed that the Indian flag should have the Dharma Chakra and not the charkha. His proposal was voted in by the flag committee. This enraged Gandhi to the extent he ranted against the Indian flag in his Harijan, refused to show respect for the Indian flag, and stayed away from the celebrations.
·Savarkar gave his consent and blessing to Dr. Shyamaprasad Mookerjee to join the Cabinet.
·Savarkar predicted that Pakistan would attack India from Kashmir to Junagadh, and Hyderabad was an ever present threat.
·Savarkar declared that the Bhagwa flag could be hoisted as the State flag of India only after it was accepted by the whole nation in a democratic way. He refused to disrespect the flag of free India.

Lord Mountbatten giving Independence speech
August 15, 1947: at dawn, he hoisted both the flag of India and the flag of the Hindu Mahasabha on the dawn of Independence, disregarding the decision of the Hindu Mahasabha Committee.
- Anurupa




 
 
 




























Sunday, May 19, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 17: Towards Independence



·       The Cabinet Mission that came over to decide India’s fate declared India must remain a single sovereign country. Congress and the Muslim League agreed to honor the spirit of the Cabinet Mission proposals. Jinnah agreed to take the Pakistan demand off the table under those circumstances.

·       July 10, 1946: Nehru declared in a press conference that Congress was not bound by the terms of the Cabinet Mission proposal. Jinnah was roused into demanding Pakistan again.

·       July 27, 1946: the Muslim League declared Direct Action and embarked on a vicious campaign of violence against the Hindus to get their way. Wavell, Gandhi, and Nehru did nothing at all to protect the Hindus or to call off the Direct Action.

·       Gandhi and Nehru preached nonviolence to the Hindus and insisted that only the Government could retaliate against the rioting—only the Government was doing nothing effective. Savarkar encouraged the Hindus to pick up arms and defend themselves, and even made sure that arrangements were made for that and for protecting the Hindu areas wherever possible.

·        The whole of India was in a state of civil war, particularly Pakistan and Bengal.

·        Prime Minister Atlee recalled the ineffective Wavell and sent Lord Mountbatten instead. In a short time he had all the princes and Congress leaders eating out of his hand.
 
-   Anurupa

Friday, May 17, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 16: Elections

 

·        December 1945: elections were to be held. The victorious party would be handed over the reins of a free India. It was showdown time.

·        Savarkar’s health had completely incapacitated him by this time. He could barely get out of bed. His teeth were pulled out and dentures were yet to be fitted. He was simply unable to play a part in the campaigning. Without his brilliance and their limited financial means the Hindu Mahasabha backbone sagged.

·        On the other hand, with unlimited finances being poured into their coffers by the industrialists, the Congress bombarded the Hindus with false slogans of keeping India united. They did an about turn and now hailed the INA soldiers as patriots and came to their defense with much fanfare. They also squashed the Hindu Mahasabha opposition by bribing, threatening, or tricking their candidates from withdrawing from the elections. Even the Hindu Mahasabha President, Dr. Shyamaprasad Mookerjee, was maneuvered into withdrawing his candidacy.

·        The combined effect of this was that Hindu Mahasabha was routed in the elections. The victorious Congress—with their Muslim appeasement policy and penchant for Pakistan—was in charge of India’s fate.

·        Savarkar’s health was so shattered by this news he had to be removed to Walchandnagar in complete seclusion.
 
- Anurupa

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 15: Checking the Congress

 
       In 1939, Savarkar launched a successful civil disobedience movement against the Nizam of Hyderabad.

·       With WWII, the Government threw open for Indians the opportunities in industrialization and military, and Savarkar stepped up his campaign pushing Hindus into grabbing them.

·       In August of 1942 the Congress launched the unwise Quit India Movement. Even so, for the sake of national unity, Savarkar offered to join this movement on the condition that Congress declared the goal to be United India. But having already passed—in April 1942—the resolution to grant Pakistan to the Muslims the Congress declined. Therefore Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha did not participate in the movement.

·       Thanks to many unwise decisions on the Congress part, Jinnah and the Muslim League, too, had become powerful by this time. From here on Indian politics moved towards Pakistan on swift wings, with Jinnah proposing and Congress disposing. The particular landmarks are:

(1) The Rajaji case (1942-1944)

(2) Gandhi-Jinnah talk; Gandhi interviews in the newspapers (1944)

(3) Bhulabhai-Liaquat plan (1945)

(4) Simla Conference (1945)

·        In every case, under the leadership of Savarkar, the Hindu Mahasabha launched strong attacks to check the vivisection of India. He exposed the nefarious intentions of the Congress to the Hindus.

·        In addition, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army (INA,) though defeated, had made serious dents in the might of the Raj. Indians loved these patriots passionately.

·        The fate of Mother India—saving her integrity—looked like a strong possibility.

·        Politically there was a deadlock between all parties and Viceroy Wavell declared elections to be held in December 1945 to settle the issue.


  - Anurupa

Monday, May 13, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 14: Hindu Mahasabha Phase


Karnavati Session, 1937
The Constitution of India at this time was communal; Hindus could vote for Hindus only, Muslims for Muslims and so on. To save the integrity of India, an effective national party—one that Hindus could vote for instead of the Congress—was imperative. Hindu consolidation and a Hindu political party was the paramount need of the hour.


·        December 10, 1937: Savarkar was elected as President of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha at its 19th Session at Karnavati (Ahmedabad) and continued to be re-elected President for seven years. In spite of very poor health, he delivered memorable Presidential addresses.

·        In Indian politics, the Congress was alienating the Princely States, taking Muslim appeasement to the extreme, and holding back swaraj until Hindu-Muslim unity was achieved. Savarkar swooped upon the Indian political scene and started an immediate whirlwind campaign to countercheck the decay that this Congress ideology had created. His main points were:

(1)  Hinduising all politics and militarizing Hindudom (this far-sighted decision also helped Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in forming his army.)

(2)  forming an Indian Sovereign State on the foundation of Hindutva (Hindudom) where a Hindu is one who accepts Hindustan as his fatherland and holy land. The Constitution of free India would give equal rights to all, irrespective of caste (high or low) and religion.

·        By 1942, despite his failing health Savarkar had made the Hindu Mahasabha a force to be reckoned with. As one of the leaders whose opinions counted and whose cooperation was essential for the success of Sir Stafford Cripps Mission, he was featured in international newspapers. Savarkar rejected the proposal as it included a clause aimed at vivisection of India.

·        During this time Savarkar continued his social reform efforts and incorporated them in his busy schedule. He also revised the Devanagri script, coined new words in Marathi and Hindi language, and made sure that Hindi was recognized as the national language of India.




  
 
-  Anurupa

(Photo: Savarkar and Sir Stafford Cripps
Newspaper cuttings are from Australian newspaper archives.)
 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 13: Social Revolution in Ratnagiri, Part II


Savarkar with some co-workers
in the Social Reforms Movement at Ratnagiri

Savarkar’s zeal for social reform stemmed from his abiding faith in humanism. He considered his deeds in the social sphere to be even more important than his spectacular escape from the ship into the ocean. Here are some of his thoughts and words on the subject:



(1)  "Just as I feel that I should rebel against foreign rule over Hindustan, I feel I should rebel against caste discrimination and untouchability."

(2)  “He who wants to truly serve the nation should champion that which is in the interests of the people irrespective of whether it is popular or not.”

(3)  “working in the social field is like walking on a bed of thorns. It is not for the faint-hearted!”

(4)  “To regard our 70 million co-religionists as ‘untouchables’ and worse than animals is an insult not only to humanity but also to the sanctity of our soul. . . . eradication of untouchability is the foremost and absolute dharma."

·        As always, Savarkar advocated swadeshi in Ratnagiri too. He pushed a cart of swadeshi goods and ran an operation to see that swadeshi goods were being sold (and bought) in stores. A staunch advocate of dignity of all labor, he even fluffed mattresses.

·       He had extensive discussions with RSS founder Dr. Hedgewar regarding his proposed organization.

·        While in Ratnagiri Savarkar  carried out his work for the freedom struggle secretly. He also opposed the separation of Sind from the Bombay Presidency and exhorted Hindus to enroll themselves as Hindus in the successive Census.

·        The police had had a sharp eye on him; his house was frequently searched. On January 10, 1925, a new weekly Shraddhanand was started in which he voiced his views on the politics of India and social reforms with a pseudonym. Most people were unaware it was Savarkar.

·        May 10, 1937: by the efforts of Barrister Jamnalal Mehta, Savarkar was released unconditionally from his internment at Ratnagiri.


-        Anurupa


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Biography of Savarkar, Post 12: Social Revolution in Ratnagiri, Part I



Sacred thread ceremony of ex-untouchables
at Malvan, 1929, under the leadership of Veer Savarkar
Since childhood, Savarkar believed that all strata of Hindu society should treat each other with equality and respect. He had advocated widow (and not only child-widows) remarriage to members of his society.  Now for the first time in his life he could focus on these social issues. In Ratnagiri he went on a warpath for a social revolution:
 
 
 

·        toured towns in the District and made speeches decrying the practice of caste-based segregation; particularly ensured that schools in these places stopped this practice; roped in the Government to help his cause.

Savarkar in Ratnagiri
(with the inevitable umbrella!)
In 1932 in his presentation to Officer Lamington, Savarkar said, “Once the children are educated together, they will not observe caste hierarchy in later life.  They will not feel the need to observe caste division.  Therefore the Government regulation of 1923 must be strictly followed.  In addition, the Government should abandon the title ‘special schools for low caste children’. This very title creates a feeling of inferiority among children attending the school.”

·        insisted that children of the so-called low castes compulsorily attended school and distributed chalk and slates and giving monetary incentives to their parents; brought up an ex-untouchable girl in his own house despite having a very meager income.

·        organized inter-community dining, mass haldi-kumkums, and distributed sweets to all strata of society on festival days.

·        started the Akhil Hindu Restaurant open to all and employed ex-untouchables to run it.

·        had the Patit Pawan temple built—the trustees of which had to belong to all four ‘varnas’ and ex-untouchables, and it was accessible to all Hindus. Any Hindu who took a bath and wore clean clothes would have the right to perform puja here, provided he had knowledge of the priestly duties. Everyone visiting Savarkar was first required to eat at this restaurant and visit the temple.

·        had an ex-untouchable perform padya-pooja of the Shankaracharya; something unthinkable even today.

·        personally taught ex-untouchables to read and write and recite the Gayatri mantra, hitherto the preserve of ‘upper’ castes. He had an ex-untouchable perform ‘keertan’ and being accorded respect by Brahmins.

·        brought back into the Hindu fold several individuals and families who had been converted and personally arranged for their marriage and other rituals.

·        organized public lectures of women, something unprecedented.

·        composed poems and other literature advocating social reform and rationalism and wrote the Hindu Padpadshahi, one of the first books on history of Marathas to be written in English.

 
  Anurupa