Image: Republic TV
One of the key icons of the freedom struggle, Veer Savarkar remains etched in the imagination of Indians even as the country is set to complete 75 years of Independence. Sentenced to a 50-year jail term for his revolutionary activities against British rule, he was released in 1921 after spending 10 years in the dreaded Cellular Jail at Andaman and Nicobar Islands. He was also known for his crusade against caste discrimination and his articulation of 'Hindutva'. Though Savarkar's patriotism and sacrifice was recognised across the political spectrum, he has come under intense scrutiny as a result of the polarization today.
Speaking exclusively to Republic Media Network's Senior Executive Editor Abhishek Kapoor on Tuesday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat explained Savarkar's relevance on the eve of the release of the book- Veer Savarkar - The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition. Written by Uday Mahurkar, journalist and Information Commissioner in the government of India, the book analyses the falsity of the charges levelled against the freedom fighter and the manner in which the NDA government has implemented his vision amongst other things. Lauding Mahurkar's book for which he has written the foreword, Bhagwat delved into many aspects such as Savarkar's relationship with RSS and his line of thinking.
#MohanBhagwatOnRepublic | Savarkar ji was very particular about the nation's integrity and unity. It was a conspiracy to break down his reputation, with an intent that he should not become the icon for the young generation: @UdayMahurkar on his bookhttps://t.co/jghcajZuXf pic.twitter.com/z8joTBfETa— Republic (@republic) October 13, 2021
"I'd say there is a serious relevance. Because the knowledge that he gave on national unity, is used in our constitution in different words. Its importance is being realized in today's time more than ever before. All the signals he gave for national security, being true, are the most relevant in today's national security strategy. Even the knowledge he gave about social reforms, is relevant in today's time. So, in a way, it feels that it is an era of complete acceptance of Savarkar's knowledge."
"First thing that I remember is, I know Uday for a long time, he is a follower of Veer Savarkar. But in this book, he has used a critical eye and has not used the spectacle of a follower. He has given all the conclusions on the basis of data. And he has researched very thoroughly in this book."
"The genesis of the partition of India is based on the notion- to be different is to be separate. India's tradition, its culture, its nationality, is based on the fact opposite to it, which is, one doesn't have to be the same to be united. Originally, we are one, we don't have to be likewise to be united. We are one, so we have to stay united as one. If this fact would have been told to everyone plainly at that time, partition would not have happened. Savarkar Ji kept emphasising on this point that we are one and the basis of our unity is this."
#MohanBhagwatOnRepublic | We are one, we don't have to be likewise to be united. If this fact would've been said, partition wouldn't have happened. Savarkar ji kept emphasising this - that we're one and the basis of our unity is this: Mohan Bhagwathttps://t.co/jghcajZuXf pic.twitter.com/Qn1rlr7JvI— Republic (@republic) October 13, 2021
"This (the definition of Right and Left) arrived very late. This means this definition itself has arrived from the outside. So what is Right or Left? There, the Left used to have communists, that is why communists started being called leftists here. Otherwise what is Left or Right? This definition itself is from the aligned thought."
"Everyone has taken part in the freedom struggle. I know, there was a person in Sangli, he was assigned work from our provincial organiser to carry Vasant Dada Patil safely to Vishrambagh Station after he escaped from jail in 1942. So he carried him on his shoulder through the woods. I have met him 4 times."
"There would be a conflict of thoughts and opinion. However, these leaders would still respect opinions that conflicted them, they always respected the difference of opinion and the people. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has had food with our people, with people of our social class. He would respect the opinions laid down by Veer Savarkar Ji and Savarkar Ji too would respect his opinion."
"Despite being a Hindutva, he (Guruji) respected and understood Baba Saheb's (opinion). Even Gadge Maharaj who was a devotee did not go against his opinions. They all were against Hindutva, despite that they had good relations with each other and had no enmity against each other. There was solidarity despite differences in thoughts, unlike what we see today amongst political leaders."
"Savarkar Ji was in politics, RSS has always been out of politics. Savarkar's elder brother helped in the expansion of RSS so there cannot be any differences. It's just about the little differences here and there. Savarkar always wanted to remain in politics so he had to contest elections and maybe it appeared that way on the outside...What I do know is that for as long as I've been in the RSS, since my childhood, I've never uttered an unkind word against Savarkar Ji. In fact, we've written, recited poems and songs on him."
"Let us take this example of abrogation of Article 370, it has been removed in accordance with the law, the fact that we are experiencing its advantages can also be seen. Even on the issue of Ram Mandir, the Supreme Court on the basis of the law has provided its decision. Along with these things, people along with the government have to consider the policies. Savarkar's patriotism was worthy in this regard. It reflected that despite what the nation does for us, we must give our best to the nation. It is not based on a contract or a deal. We're collectively bound to our country. This was Savarkar's line of thinking and it is difficult to live with it."
"It meant that we will deal with it at any cost and we will sacrifice for our nation. We need to align our thinking with this and improve our thinking. The good news is that we're heading there and a lot of people have been making efforts towards infusing young minds, young generation with this sort of thinking. This inclination can be seen in the young generation."
#MohanBhagwatOnRepublic | It's a natural instinct to divide and rule. This was British policy which is being followed till now. Those who want a fragmented India, have followed an intellectual tactic to defame those who promote a united India: RSS Chiefhttps://t.co/jghcajZuXf pic.twitter.com/bZcik206Nn— Republic (@republic) October 13, 2021