Vinayak Damodar Savarkar | Savarkar.org
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar | Savarkar.org
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In redrawing the borders of India and scrapping the discriminatory Article 370, the Narendra Modi government has realised a long-cherished dream of Savarkar, in addition to fulfilling S.P. Mookerjee’s dying wish.

Savarkar, Mookerjee, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have all been led by their unwavering belief in the unitary nature of Indian polity.

This idea of a strong, united ‘Akhand Bharat’ naturally made its way into the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The idea has remained consistent right from the time Savarkar propounded it in the 1920s.


Also read: Sardar Patel was adamant, give Kashmir to Pakistan, take Hyderabad. Nehru saved it: Soz


One god, one country, one goal

After 11 years of incarceration in the Cellular Jail in the Andamans, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was shifted to mainland India to the Ratnagiri prison in 1921. After spending close to three years there, he was finally let off on a conditional release in January 1924.

The reforms that Savarkar had ushered in the prisons and his own magnetic personality inspired several fellow political prisoners. When he was being released in 1924, he urged prison inmates to commit themselves to one guiding mantra: “One God, One Country, One Goal, One Caste, One Life, One Language.” (My Transportation for Life, Savarkar)

Irrespective of the omissions that one might criticise the Indian political Right-wing for, this foundational idea of Savarkar has been the cornerstone of its philosophy.

The idea of a united India has been a constant feature in all the manifestos of the Jana Sangh and the BJP. So, it’s no surprise that the BJP has implemented it when it has majority in Parliament. The contours of ‘how’ it would be implemented was debated, never the ‘if’.


Also read: What Nehru wrote to Sardar Patel on Kashmir & its ‘oblivious’ Hindu Maharaja


Savarkar’s national principle

In the Hindu Mahsaabha’s 19th Annual Session held at Karnavati (Ahmedabad) in 1937, Savarkar delivered his Presidential address. He reiterated that “Hindusthan must remain one and indivisible.” The Independent India of his dreams was one that was not only “united”, but also a “Unitarian nation” – from Kashmir to Rameshwaram, from Sindh to Assam. (Hindu Rashtra Darshan, Savarkar)

In a statement released on 31 July 1942, Savarkar recounted his tour of Kashmir and the entreaties that came to him from both the Hindu as well as the Muslim population of the princely state.

Savarkar mentioned, with a sense of alarm, the views of Mahatma Gandhi that if the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir could not appease and secure the confidence of his Muslim citizens, he had no right to rule and should rather go to Kashi and perform penance. The same Gandhi, wondered Savarkar, never admonished the Nizam of Hyderabad for not securing the confidence of the majority Hindu population there, nor did he ask the Nizam to relinquish power and proceed to Mecca to perform tauba, each time communal decisions of the administration or riots rocked that princely state.

The President of the Jammu and Kashmir Conference had called on Savarkar and demanded the support of the Hindu Mahasabha for the Muslim majority of Kashmir for their doctrine that population strength be the basis of any democracy. In his reply, Savarkar emphasised that the principle that bound him and the Hindu Mahasabha was this:

“The National principle which forms the political creed of the Mahasabha lays it down that all citizens who owe undivided loyalty and allegiance to the Indian nation and to the Indian state shall be treated with perfect equality and shall share duties and obligations equally in common, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, and the representation also shall either be on the basis of one man one vote or in proportion to the population in case of separate electorates and public services shall go by merit alone.”

The indispensable criterion according to Savarkar in this prescription was that it applied only to those persons who were both Indian citizens and owed an undivided loyalty to India.

How could these organisations “in Kashmir or outside who contribute to the Pakistani creed, declare that they want to secede from the Indian state and can therefore owe no loyalty to the Central Indian Government” lay claims to any benefits or rights, he questioned. They were “incipient enemies of…the Indian nation, like any suspected aliens who reside in the country,” he argued. (Historic Statements by Savarkar, Karnatak Printing Press)

According to Savarkar, the first duty of a state and a nation is, and ought to be, self-preservation and self-defence. No self-respecting and responsible country in the world could allow that section which openly aims to create “a State within a state,” to dominate it.

And handing over vitals arms of the state such as military and police to such a secessionist section was little short of suicide, in his view.

The doctrine of due representation by population would need to be uniformly applied across India, even in states such as Hyderabad or Bhopal where the Hindus were in a majority and were ruled by a Muslim ruler. Savarkar called upon the Muslim population of Kashmir to give up its “airy ambitions of a Pakistani federation” or any nefarious plans to annex the Hindu state and instead work by building mutual trust and goodwill with the government of India in order to secure the rights they were due.


Also read: Read this before deciding whether Savarkar was a British stooge or strategic nationalist


A warning to Nehru

Although muted in his political opinions after Independence and in the wake of his trial in the Mahatma Gandhi assassination case, Savarkar reiterated his resolve of the whole of Jammu and Kashmir being an “integral part of India” in his statement on 23 June 1953.

This was issued after the mysterious death of his “respected comrade and a friend” Syama Prasad Mookerjee in a jail in Kashmir. “May his martyrdom,” said Savarkar in his eulogy, “seal the cause of the inseparable and total integration of the whole of Kashmir, with Hindusthan Republic. Ek Vidhan (one constitution) Ek Pradhan (one Prime Minister), Ek Nishan (one Flag) was the motto for which he fought and laid down his life on the field. Let us take up the flag and carry on the fight to success. That alone can be the real monument to commemorate the great leader.” (Hindu Rashtra Darshan, Savarkar)

On 28 December 1962, about three years before his death, Savarkar had cautioned the Jawaharlal Nehru government not to stretch its policy of appeasement with regard to the Muslims of Kashmir to the point where it becomes dangerous for the whole of India.

“Pakistan will not be pleased even if you give it the whole of Kashmir,” he warned, “They will continue to make further demands raising the slogan ‘Haske liya Pakistan, marke lenge Hindustan’. All political problems, permanent as well as temporary, should be solved by judging what is most beneficial to our country.”

It is noteworthy that it took more than half a century and an ideological inheritor of the same political philosophy to weld Kashmir politically and constitutionally into the Indian polity.

The economic, social, cultural and more importantly, emotional integration is what is more important and needs to be followed now with utmost caution and care.

The author is a Senior Research Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and has an upcoming biography — ‘Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past’. The information mentioned in this article is part of the author’s archival research in India and the UK for his book. Views are personal.

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9 Comments Share Your Views

9 COMMENTS

  1. The coward Savakar played a major part in the spread of hatred that resulted in Jinnah demanding a separate nation Pakistan.
    If the RSS/Hindu Mahasabha did not exist, Pakistan would never have existed.
    The Coward Savakar divided the nation along with Golwalker. Read their writings of these two poison spreaders to understand why the idea of Pakistan was mooted in the first place.
    It was the RSS also which organised the communal riots in Jummu,
    which was then under Maharajah Hari Singh. Over 200,000 Muslims died in these riots, a good starting point is to google jummu riots/Hari Singh.
    The present RSS/BJP government instead of uniting India has spread hatred and division, the full consequences of the abolition of 370 is yet to be seen. Changing the law does not change the thinking of populations.
    The particular law in Kashmir which denied the right of Indians to buy land there, was the doing of the Dogra Mahrajah Hari Singh following the demands of the Kashmiri pundit. The author with his RSS leanings should learn from history, the division between Hindus and Muslims during partition were caused by the activities of organisations like the RSS.
    The poisonous ideology of the coward Savakar’s legacy will create a second partition if India does not follow an inclusive and secular part. Remember at present we share this country with 170 million Muslims , the BJP has won these elections not on an agenda of economic development but hate.
    In large diverse populations the politics of hate to garner the vote leads to division, Yugoslavia was strong under the secular leader Tito who was a Croat, look what happened to that country when the majority Serbs tried to dominate after his death.
    Israel has tried to rule by force and occupation, look what a constantly bleeding wound that conflict has caused, the author of this article triumphant but ignorant.

  2. Author is a defacto RSS cadre ? she forgot to highlight that savarkar had apologized 37 times to Britishers so that they let him go free.

    • Shaheed Bhagat Singh didn’t apologize. He got hanged. See where Communism in India is now? Very dead like Singh.
      Savarkar made pease with Brith – lived to fight another day – see where his ideology is now? From President to PM.

      Being pragmatic is a virtue in Political life. Being bold but brainless is committing harakiri.

  3. Gandhi and Nehru played their game in appeasement of muslims. They had one rule for majority and another rule minority and in spite of the splitting of the country, they went on play their uncontrolled dirty games resulting serious mess. So many lives were lost and many families separated due to partition. These two people having gained a leadership position did not do justice to the important task they have taken in asking British to withdraw from India. Majority of minorities are not bad and they wanted a peaceful living as much as majority Hindus. Unfortunately, the dirty political games of one against another, ego driven statements and committing blunders lead to India losing territories to China and Pakistan. Even after losing territories these neighbors are not satisfied and they wanted more. The caption says all “Haske life Pakistan; Marke lenge Hindustan”. We need to handle these with iron hand and I am sure the current govt is doing the right thing.

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