Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education has revised the history syllabus and for the first time after independence, the complete truth has been spoken. The Congress supporters and the secular brigade is crying foul, because for the first time the history books have not turned out to be the one they wanted to. For years, the Congress government regulated the syllabus and filled young impressionable minds (mine included) with the story of Independence that they saw fit. We read tons about the Congress leaders, titled “Moderates” who did nothing of significance for Freedom struggle, about Nehru and his successful Non Aligned Movement (which in all practicality was a failure), about Gandhi (there are 5 chapters focused on him in ICSE Xth History), about Indira Gandhi, about Rajiv Gandhi and every fact that could showcase how good the Congress party did for this country in its reign.
History is written by victors, and in this case it was Nehru and Congress. Anyone who went against Congress or could make the party look bad was deleted or compressed. Among the few notable are Subhash Chandra Bose, Lal Bahadur Shastri (two Congress leaders), Bhagat Singh and his associates of Hindustan Republican Association (were termed ‘terrorists’), Lala Lajpat Rai and Swatantryaveer Savarkar etc. Just like roads, chowks and Yojnas—the entire Indian Freedom movement is painted with Nehru-Gandhi. But now the tables have turned. It’s time to paint them saffron. I’m not undermining Gandhi’s abilities or contributions, in fact I myself dream of a nonviolent world. But Indian history books have made us believe that Gandhi was the sole reason why we got independence.
Enough have we been spoon-fed half truths. Only after a close and minute study of every event during the course of freedom struggle, do we realize that some events and people were purposely left out from the history books. However, the BJP led Rajasthan government has vowed to add those missing links once again, but because of our indoctrination from childhood about the Nehru Gandhi story and principles, we cannot digest the change, we hate it, we cling to what we’ve been told because finding out that we’ve been lied to, is painful. One of those people that was left out was Savarkar. Veer Savarkar.
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, more commonly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar, coined the word Hindutva, but did not stop at just that. He was a revolutionary freedom fighter of the highest order first. He founded Free India Society, wrote the famous book ‘The History of the War of Indian Independence’, propagated revolutionary ideas abroad through writings and speeches. He did not agree with the moderate’s way of begging from the British and envisioned Poorna Swaraj through Guerilla warfare.
Unfortunately his plans failed when he was caught and imprisoned for two life terms, during which the only contact to the outside world was a letter he could write once a year. He agreed to exchange his revolutionary ideals for freedom, for he wanted to let his thoughts onto the world more than anything and dying in a dark wet cell would not benefit anyone.
Congress calls him a traitor to the freedom struggle for pleading mercy(Which we have rebutted in this piece). But his restraint was only for a short period, as he loved country more than anything. But by that time Gandhi had assumed the supreme authority of the struggle. He was sidelined in the struggle for he dreamt of a unified India under the saffron colour.
Savarkar once warned that Jinnah was moving towards partitioning India to create a Muslim country but the Congress’s response to it was very weak. It was as if they wanted the partition to take place. By 1940 all power of struggle had shifted onto the hands of Gandhi and Nehru. Savarkar, in an emotional speech said, “It is better to stand in the last row of patriots than in the first row of betrayers (referring to the weak response to two nation theory of Gandhi and Nehru)”, for he was happy that this great nation would see him as a faithful son who tried his best to prevent its partition. Later on, when it was too late, Gandhi declared that Pakistan will be created on his dead body (which didn’t happen, of course).
Savarkar went on to predict Indo-China war too. Savarkar also predicted that “Till a nation which is based on religious fanaticism keeps existing beside India, India shall never be able to live in peace.” Gandhi and Savarkar had different ideas, different paths and different goals. One had to be sidelined. How can Gandhi’s path of struggle be argued to be completely successful when India’s map isn’t the same anymore?
The country became independent, with the collective contribution of several leaders, including revolutionaries and the people themselves. After World War II, the economy of Britain was in ruins, but they had no plan on leaving India, however the funds were low and it was difficult to keep the foot strong. When S. C. Bose’s INA soldiers were being tried, the British suspected that because of the trials the Indian army could not be trusted anymore. Without Army, there could be no forced governance. It was the last nail on the coffins of British Raj.
Gandhi, wholeheartedly supported Nehru’s ambitions, and went as low as to plead Sardar Patel to withdraw his name from the election of Interim Prime Minister which Patel had won. There are several writings and evidences on Gandhi’s mistakes, his ambitions and his complete dislike for other freedom fighters, including Swatantryaveer Savarkar. Similarly, Gandhi and his supporters did not let Bose to function, and forced him to resign from the Congress Presidency forcing him to create INA, which was a factor in the independence.
Savarkar’s revolutionary presence in the freedom struggle cannot be ignored, but it has been done so for half a century, to make sure that no one on the off chance see that Nehru and Gandhi were not the only leaders. Beyond freedom struggle, Savarkar condemned the caste system, which Gandhi actually supported, and fought for ways to get the followers of Sanatan Dharma united. He wrote several articles, ranging from politics to religious customs, from reforms to rationality, which became immensely popular among the youth of that time, but is even more relevant today. He comforted all who lived in this nation as Hindus, for everyone who lives here has become a part of this ancient saffron culture, which I’ll discuss at length in this article. His philosophy consisted of several widely accepted elements such as rationalism, utilitarianism, pragmatism, humanism and realism. He was surprisingly an atheist, with a complete disbelief in any supernatural. He was a popular rationalist, who called for an end to the wrongdoings in the Hindu society. His idea for one Hindu nation included the practice of unity and peace between all faiths, despite the modern day left leaning writers finding it divisive, for it did not include Muslims.
However, Savarkar did not view this idea of a Hindu nation on the basis of who you worship, but on the basis of healthy culture, the saffron culture which we all share whether we want it or not, which included people of all faith — Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam. One must remember that the Muslims of India have less in common to the Muslims of Saudi Arabia, and more in common to other Indians. Similarly with the Tribal Christians of Jharkhand have more in common with Indians than the Western Christians. It’s not religious faith that is important here. However, if one chooses his faith over this great nation, he does not have a right to be a part of this culture, this society, which has been tolerant for centuries and will continue to be, as long as people identify themselves to be a part of this culture first, then religious faith.
People of several faiths have joined in the ancient saffron culture and enriched it furthermore. Dr. A. P. J. Kalam used to visit the famous Shiva temple of Rameshwaram which was only 10 minutes of walk from his home. His father and the priest of the temple were very close. A devout Muslim, Kalam was a Hindu too, for he identified himself to be a part of this land and culture, the same idea that was given by Veer Savarkar, that Hindu identity is inseparable from Indian identity. Before, all of you seculars shout ‘intolerance’ at me for other faiths, I will explain in detail why Savarkar considered the idea of a Hindu Rashtra, and why everyone living in India shall be called a Hindu.
The land of the oldest civilization of the world, India, whose culture is so rich, and so ancient, that even evidence to its true origin is hard to find. This was the land of the first Urban Civilization—Indus Valley, the Vedic Civilization, the land which foresaw the development of one of the world’s first languages — Sanskrit, the land of the richest philosophy and spirituality, the Bhagavad Gita, and most importantly, HINDUISM. In all its cultural, traditional and spiritual belief systems: the world’s oldest non- extinct religion—the Sanatan Dharma is still practiced today, popularly known as Hinduism—a name which was much later given to the people living on the other side of the Sindhu (Indus) River, by the Persian invaders. This great nation, has but one identity: Hindutva. This cannot be denied. One cannot ignore the glorious past of this nation to separate himself from its Sanatan roots.
Hinduism is the only Pagan religion (offensive term used by the British which means non Abrahamic religion) that collided head on two Abrahamic faiths and survived. As Abrahamic faiths reached around the world, it wiped out almost all culture, traditions, languages, faith, beliefs and even food of the native society. Sanatan Dharma is one exception. The reason behind this, which I feel to be true, is the tolerance of the Hindus. Hindus welcomed people of all faith with open arms, accepted their cultural norms and made it a part of oneself. In the second century AD, we welcomed the Christians, who are known as St. Thomas Christians. When Portuguese reached Kerala they were astonished to see Christians in India who had no idea about the Catholic Church. The intolerant Portuguese Christians burned and wiped them out.
Then later on we welcomed the people of Parsi faith—Zoroastrianism, people who worshipped fire in Persia. These people were being converted or killed during the Islamization of Persia. Had it not for the Hindus who welcomed them and made them a part of this great ancient society, they would have been wiped out by Islam. Today their culture, traditions and cuisines have been intertwined with us, also making them a part of the same culture. These are just a few examples. The people native to this great land let Islamic invaders to rule this land for a thousand years and yet, Hinduism continues to see days. It incorporated parts of Islam too, both good and bad, like it did with every faith, some called the mixing, Hindustani culture. Who doesn’t love Biryani?
The reason behind the saffron culture’s successful existence is its soul—universal tolerance and acceptability. Everyone living in this land, has CHOSEN to be a part of this society, and is therefore, a Hindu. From the Indus Valley to Vedic, Puranic to Hindustani, there have always been one identity and one identity only—Hindu. This has nothing to do with if you worshipped Waheguru, Jesus, or Mohammad or fire. This is what Savarkar dared to dream, a Hindu Rashtra which recognizes its ancient Hinduism culture, is tolerant enough to accept just anyone who is ready to recognize himself of this culture, but is rational enough to move towards science and progress. For instance, he advocated the care of the cows, rejected the slaughter of the cows, but also rejected its worship.
After 1000 years of mutual coexistence of Islam and Sanatan Dharma, even though one oppressed the other and destroyed its places of worship, the coexistence came to an end in 1947 because for Nehru, holding power in his hands was more important than keeping the country united. The country was divided on the basis of religion—a word foreign to this land for we knew only one word, Dharma, meaning duty. Each one of us were Hindus, irrespective of faith. But the nation was split into three parts.
Akhand Bharat, as envisioned by the great Veer Savarkar, would be forever lost. Yes, I am talking about the man who coined the word Hindutva— the idea of being a Hindu, and of being a part of this vast diverse culture of Hindu Rashtra. He will be taught in the schools of Rajasthan for the great rationalist human being he was, a person whose ideologies were presented to be bad for years. I dare to dream like he did.