Collaborator Savarkar versus Freedom Fighter Bose

Written by Shamsul Islam | Published on: January 26, 2016
government must necessarily be an act of surrender, anti-national, of playing into the British hands and that co-operation with the British government in any case and under all circumstances is unpatriotic and condemnable.”10
 
If on the one hand, Bose was working on the military strategies to enlist the help of the German and Japanese forces to liberate India, on the other hand, Savarkar was busy in directly assisting the British colonial masters. This amounted to the betrayal of the cause espoused by Netaji. Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha openly stood with the British government which later was able to kill and maim thousands of soldiers who formed the brave cadres of the Indian National Army (INA). While eulogising the British masters, Savarkar told his followers at Madura that due to the ever-advancing forces of Japan with a declared objective of freeing Asia from European influence, the British government needed Indians in large numbers in its armed forces which must be helped. While praising the British war strategy, he said:
“The British statesmanship, far sighted as it usually is, realised this also that if ever war broke out with Japan, India itself must be the centre of gravity of all war preparations…chances are that an army with the strength of a couple of millions shall have to be raised, manned by Indians under Indian officers as rapidly as Japan succeeds in advancing near our Frontiers.”11


Coming close on the heels of prime minister, Narendra Modi’s move to de-classify 100 files related to Netaji Bose’s life and struggle, these revelations could pose a severe embarrassment to the government. The history of the Hindutvawaadi rightwing is replete with documents establishing its collaborations with British rule.
 


Savarkar spent the next few years in organizing recruitment camps for the British armed forces. History records how these same recruitment camps were the instruments through which a large number of brave soldiers of the Indian National Army (INA) were killed and maimed in different parts of North-East later. The Madura conference of Hindu Mahasabha concluded with the adoption of an ‘immediate programme’ which stressed that, “to secure entry for as many Hindus recruits as possible into army, navy and the air forces”.12 He also informed them that through the efforts of Hindu Mahasabha  alone, one lakh  Hindu’s were recruited in the British armed  forces in one year. 
 
Astonishingly, despite all these distinctly anti-national ideas and practices of Savarkar, there are people who continue declaring him as a great patriot. How clearly Savarkar and the Hindu Mahasabha rode the British bandwagon can be established by a glance into a pre-Independence publication of the Hindu Mahasabha. This book published in 1941, had rather a longish title Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President’s Diary of his Propagandist Tours Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941 and was edited by A. S. Bhide, a close confidant of Savarkar himself. This book, as stated in the preface,
“was primarily meant to serve as an authoritative text and faithful guide to the propagandists, workers and leaders of the Hindu Mahasabha movement in particular and the Hindu public in general, enlightening the lines of practical application of the fundamental ideology of the Hindu Sangathan Movement to the various detailed questions and problems which the Hindus face today.”
 
It was mandatory for every unit of the Hindu Mahasabha to keep it as a help guide. This book is not only aimed at the political education of the cadres but also for articulating stands on different issues. This crucial fact should not be overlooked here. This ‘Hindutva Guide’ contained material written and spoken exclusively by Savarkar. The excerpts from the book show the real face of Hindutva which stood as a stooge of the British under the leadership of Savarkar. Savarkarites have often complained that ‘pseudo-secularists’ after independence conspired to sideline Savarkar, who in the Hindutva brigade’s opinion was a great thinker and nationalist.  The contents of this book establish the contrary. According to documents available in this book, Savarkar, while emphasising the need to join the British war efforts, gave the following directions to the Hindu Mahasabha cadres:
“Turn this inevitable co-operation with the