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Heroes Have Been Vilified: Dr Vikram Sampath Hails Savarkar's Legacy Amid Kannur Univ Row

Dr Vikram Sampath spoke about the oft discussed mercy petition issue, Gandhi’s family’s criticism and lesser known heroics of Veer Savarkar.

Image: Republic


'In a democracy, all differences of opinion need to be heard,' said Dr Vikram Sampath, noted historian and author of 'Brave Hearts of Bharat, Vignettes from Indian History' responding to the row in Kerala’s Kannur university regarding the removal of Veer Savarkar's history from the syllabus.

Speaking exclusively to Republic TV’s Special Correspondent, Aswin Nandakumar, Dr Sampath, who is in Kerala to promote his book said, “Ever since Independence, the Leftist and the Marxist ideology has made History captive. There has been a certain narrative of history which has been perpetuated since then. Many heroes have either been vilified or forgotten. Veer Savarkar comes in the former category, where unnecessarily he has been vilified and demonised.”

‘People rediscovering facts via documentation, archives’

“Now when people are rediscovering the truth, facts based on documentation and what is there in the Archives, that a lot of establishmentarians are feeling threatened. Regarding the Kannur university, all forms, differences of opinions need to be platformed whereas the Left revels in cancel culture where anything that doesn’t suit them is not even given a space at the high table,” Dr Sampath said, and added that the young students from the Kannur university should read about Savarkar and then form an opinion on him.

When asked about why the left wing gets threatened by the Hindu ideologue, Dr Vikram Sampath said Savarkar’s philosophy will upset a lot of people who have peddled their propaganda for all these years, “A lot of things that he (Savarkar) said and prophesied about the country - about national security, about what direction this country needs to take, a lot of that has come true and so if one starts actually reading Savarkar and understanding him for what he is, then a lot of established facts which have been dinned down our heads for so long will get upset.”

On the the constant bashing of Veer Savarkar by the Gandhi family, Dr Sampath elaborated on the various events former PM Indira Gandhi launched in the memory of Savarkar. “Indira Gandhi said his (Savarkar’s) name is the byword of patriotism, courage and sacrifice. His role was very unique and special in the annals of struggle against the british. She also got a stamp issued in his honour. She got a film made on his life and also gave personal money as a grant for the Savarkar Memorial in Mumbai,” Dr Sampath said.

Lesser known facts about Savarkar

Dr Sampath, listing down the various heroics of Veer Savarkar, said here was a man “who started India’s first ever organised secret society in the revolutionary camp, which was known as the ‘Mitra Mela’, which later became ‘Abhinav Bharat’.

Dr Vikram Sampath said, "Savarkar is someone who organised the first ever bonfire of foreign clothes in 1905 as a student in the Fergusson College. We normally associate bonfire of foreign clothes with Mahatma Gandhi. Five years in London, when he was a law student, the entire revolutionary movement literally shifted outside India to Europe. He got one of the harshest punishments of 2 life transportations - 25 years +25 years, 50 long years in that dreaded Cellular jail of kala pani in the Andamans.” 

On the oft repeated issue of Hindutva ideologue Savarkar’s mercy petition before the british, the author of ‘Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883–1924’ Dr Sampath stated, “These were not mercy petitions but it was a very legitimate legal recourse that a lot of political prisoners (particularly who were lodged at the cellular jail) were given. It was a normal, legal recourse that all political prisoners had. In my previous book, i have put all the petitions and also cited a british official Reginald Craddock, who has mentioned in his official records, 'I met Mr Savarkar and he expresses no remorse or regret for what he has done'.”

Image: Republic

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