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Why leftists hesitate to appropriate Veer Savarkar

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Bibilophile, introvert and sarcastic. Not necessarily in that order.

The fiction writers of the Left who wrote our history had a habit of appropriating various personalities. Appropriate, in this context means “take (something) for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission”. They ‘put’ such figures in ‘boxes’ they created to make it look like they were their descendants. It was a propaganda carried out posthumously (after death) making it more convenient. Another reason was that it became more acceptable to use the shoulder of someone else to fire from. Something which they realised as they knew they lacked relevance, themselves. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh were two such personalities who got ‘appropriated’ like that.

Netaji Bose and Bhagat Singh

Netaji Bose was mocked and taunted by Indian communists with jibes like ‘Tojo’s dog’, when he was alive. But, they admitted it was a mistake after almost half a century later, when they lost popularity. They found it more convincing to prop him up as a Communist like them and use that perception to counter the regime of today.

Indian Communists abusing SC Bose

Bhagat Singh, who has been ‘appropriated’ by the Communists, was not a part of the the Communist Party of India (CPI). He formed the HSRA (Hindustan Socialist Republican Association) and carried on his work. He did not name it as First/Second International. He fought and gave his life for Indian Independence.

Shehla Rahsid’s attempts to turn Bhagat Singh into a Communist

While the propagandists will emphasise that he read Lenin, they won’t tell you about his praise for Swami Vivekananda. Nor would they tell you that he published Veer Savarkar’s book, secretly in India. ‘The Indian War of Independence’ was Savarkar’s book which was banned by the British. Here’s a snippet from the book.

Snippet from Veer Savarkar’s The Indian War of Independence

Support for Savarkar

Veer Savarkar’s daring act of making an escape at the Marseilles port also won’t be known to many. It was not just a physical act of extreme courage but, a well thought out strategy too. He knew the legal and diplomatic implications on the British empire, even if they managed to catch him on French soil. Read this to know more about the attempt to escape at Marseilles and how he got betrayed.

Savarkar’s jump and subsequent recapture had taken the international community by storm. The French socialist press protested. There were two reasons for it – violating rights of Savarkar and the French sovereignty. The French Ambassador in London condemned the arrest of Savarkar. When this matter reached before the Hague Tribunal, it was the liberals and communists who supported him. It was Karl Marx’s grandson who represented him, there.

Why is he hated now?

Savarkar was a staunch Hindu nationalist though he was NOT the traditional gau sevak or a devotee. But, he was a reformer, who fought hard to abolish the evils of caste discrimination. His works called for unity of India and the emphasis of Hindutva (Hinduness), which have made him revered among the nationalists. RSS’s affinity towards Hindutva has made the leftists forget that he was not its founder. Savarkar’s Hindu Maha Sabha and RSS may have had overlapping goals but, they had differences and were not clones.

It was the Congress which continued to attack Savarkar the most, years after his death. They feared that once Indians got to know Savarkar fully, Nehru and the Congress would be washed away. The fear of Indian Independence movement being democratised would mean the end of Nehru dynasty’s divine right to rule. Savarkar’s life would open a can of worms for them since it would include his meeting with freedom fighters like Rash Behari Bose, Madanlal Dhingra etc. Many such freedom fighters were not given a deserving position in the History written by Marxists.

But, in states like Maharashtra where Savarkar is revered, the Congress usually prefers not to vilify him. They know that such a misadventure would call for backlash, even from their allies. For the Left, it’s appeasement which stands in the way of appropriating him and turning him into a “Communist”. They found it harder to appropriate him than Ambedkar, whose views on Islam and Communism were almost successfully concealed.

This mad tussle from those corners to disown and attack Savarkar has slowly seen a change. As some players in the Congress ecosystem are coming up with ‘neutral opinions’ on him, it signals various changes in the anti Savarkar ecosystem. It may either be an attempt to appropriate him, or use him as a stick to beat today’s regime.

A Congress supporter, on Savarkar

However, as long as the main plank of today’s opposition parties remains as ‘Anti Hindutva’ (acceptable version of Anti Hindu), Savarkar may not be appropriated in the near future. The only ‘use’ they can put him to is to blame today’s regime for a long extinct caste system. Or Gau Seva, which is very much a part of our Constitution. They would find more votes coming in by attacking Savarkar, than keeping quiet on him or endorsing him. Especially when India’s largest party’s chief has a Savarkar portrait at home. Today, on Veer Savarkar’s birthday, it’s just another opportunity for Congress to castigate him.

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Bibilophile, introvert and sarcastic. Not necessarily in that order.

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