Remembering Veer Savarkar

When I was about 15 years of age, I recall stumbling upon Dhananjay Keer’s peerless work, “Veer Savarkar” in Bengaluru’s Central Library. I was so fascinated by Savarkar’s life that I tore away entire chapters from the library’s copy just so that I can keep them. Those were the pre-internet days of my penury.

Prior to this time, I used to come across references to Savarkar in my shakha and a few of his exploits at the Sangh’s annual OTC. It never occured to me then that Savarkar was being viewed at a very superficial-intellectual level as is common when recounting great exploits of heroism and courage in the face of extreme pain and hopelessness. Somehow, the Sangh did not discuss his political views except as a resister of Gandhian politics. This I found strange and only with the development of my own political maturity. Nevertheless, this was my foundational introduction to Veer Savarkar.

As years went by and I read more, the only critiques or observations about Savarkarian political thought I came across was in Leftist publications from commentators such as AG Noorani and Vinay Lal. The so called Rightists in the Sangh, whenever they refered to Savarkarian thought, were superficially hagiographical and refused to question or investigate its premises and impact on national life or the future of Hindu politics such as it is, from any traditional Hindu perspective. To conduct such excercises is to my mind very important for the following reasons.

1. Was Savarkar a success?

2. Did he fail against Gandhi (that anti-thesis to any numbers of named and unnamed heroes) or did he win?

3. If Savarkar won, how is it manifested today? If he lost, why did he lose?

4. Is Savarkarian thought really very different from Nehru or any other X secular-liberal thought? Was Savarkar’s emphasis on Hindutva substantial or was it merely nominal?

5. Why indeed are the anti-Savarkarite Leftists angry with him? Is it because he dared retain a Hindu tinge to an agenda that was essentially theirs? Can we investigate the touchstones of their differences with Savarkar?

For a stimulating mental spark, let us see what Savarkar wrote on the dawn of freedom –

“Let the Indian State be purely Indian. Let it not recognise any invidious distinction whatsoever as regards the franchise, public services, offices, taxation on the grounds of religion and race. Let no cognisance be taken whatsoever of a man being Hindu or Mohammedan, Christian or Jew. Let all citizens of that Indian state be treated according to their worth irrespective of their religion or racial percentage in the general population.”

How then Shriman, are you different from the secular-liberal yoke that grinds Hindu nationhood to this day?

Questions asked, shall we attempt answers?

– Namaste

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