Collaborator Savarkar versus Freedom Fighter Bose

Written by Shamsul Islam | Published on: January 26, 2016
any alien power. The tribesmen and the Moslem forces throughout Punjab, Sindh etc. are very likely to betray the Hindus and rise en masse in pursuance of the pan-Islamic designs to carve out an independent Moslem State or Federation stretching out from Baluchisthan–to Kashmir–to Delhi. In view of the attitude of many a responsible Moslem Organisation in India as revealed by their resolutions passed in their open sessions betraying their extra territorial sympathies it would be nothing short of a suicidal and purblind step on the part of the Hindus to make light of this serious danger threatening them. Under such an emergency they will have to ally themselves with the British forces in the common objective to avert this National calamity.”18
 
A. S. Bhide’s book containing the authentic official Hindu Mahasabha position on different issues brings out a fact repeatedly that the British military recruitment agencies were in direct contact with Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha. Savarkar informed the Hindu Mahasabha cadres about this welcome development in the following words:
“The recruiting commissioners and officers for example in Bombay Presidency are actually establishing a contact with Hindu Militarization Boards started by the Hindu Mahasabha and trying to help to some extent at any rate to enable Hindu candidates to enter the navy, secure commissions and in training in the aerial, naval and land forces. The Bevin scheme is actually working and Hindu mechanics in larger proportion are getting into it.”19
 
His precise advice to Hindus in Sind (now in Pakistan) was to join the British armed forces. He also shared with them the information that he was in contact even with the Viceroy on this issue. Providing minute details he said:
“Let the Hindus in Sindh [sic] enter the army, the navy and the air forces in as large a number as they find practicable…If anyone wants any definite information regarding the rules or address, let him write to Dr. N. D. Savarkar, Hindu Militarization Board, Dadar Hindusabha office, Lady Jameshetji Road, Dadar Bombay, 14 Or to Syt. Shivrampant Damle, Secretary Maharashtra Mandal, Poona 2. These two centres have already succeeded in securing entry into the navy, air-forces and the army in cases of several patriotic Hindus youths and have also secured the Vice regal and the King’s Commissions for able and talented Hindus.20
 
Savarkar used the occasion of his 59th birthday also for promoting Hindu Mahasabha’s call for large-scale Hindu recruitment to the British military forces. In his birthday message, he called upon every,
“Hindu who is capable to put in military service, join the land forces and the air forces or secure entry into the ammunition factories and such other manufacturing workshops in connection with war crafts.”21
 
Bhide’s book also informs that a senior leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, Sir Jawala Prasad Shrivastav, on the instruction of Savarkar, met the Commander-in-Chief of the British armed forces in May, 1941. According to the records available in the Hindu Mahasabha archives, the press note released by the Hindu Mahasabha after this meeting was titled ‘His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief & Shri Jwala Prasad’ and read as follows:
“As announced previously, the interview between Sir Jwala Prasad Shrivastav and His Excellency the Commander-in-chief took place at Delhi Sir Jwala Prasad represented the view point of the Hindu Mahasabha under instructions of Veer Savarkarji, the president of the Hindu Mahasabha in connection with the general political and military policy and the special difficulties which confronted the Hindus in the army, the navy and the air-forces. His Excellency gave a very sympathetic hearing and promised to do all he could to remove Hindu grievances regarding military service and expressed his grateful appreciation of the lead given by Barrister Savarkar in exhorting the Hindus to join the forces of the land with a view to defend India from enemy attacks.”22
 
The British Government was in regular touch with Savarkar so far as the organisation of its highest war bodies was concerned. It included individuals whose names were proposed by Savarkar. This is made clear from the following thanksgiving telegram Savarkar sent to the British government. Bhide’s volume tells us that,
“The following Telegram was sent by Barrister V.D. Savarkar [sic], the President of the Hindu Mahasabha to (1) General Wavell, the Commander in-Chief; and (2) the Viceroy of India on the 18th instant (July 18, 1941).
YOUR EXCELLENCY’S ANNOUNCEMENT DEFENCE COMMITTEE WITH ITS PERSONNEL IS WELCOME. HINDUMAHASABHA VIEWS WITH SPECIAL SATISFACTION APPOINTMENT OF MESSERS KALIKAR AND JAMNADAS MEHTA.”23  [original text.]
 
It is important to note here that even Muslim League, sub-serving the interests of the British rulers, refused to align in these war efforts or join Defence Committees established by the government. Moreover, it is to be noted that the Congress had declared this War as an imperialist war like other patriotic Muslim organizations namely Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind, Momin Conference, Ahrars, Ahle Hadis and the Shia Political Conference. Their slogan ‘not a brother, not a penny’, against the War became a popular slogan.
 
That Savarkar was also involved in secret parleys with the British Government is made clear from the following passage in Bhide’s book which reports that he met the viceroy in Simla on July 5, 1940:
“(Viceregal Interview) Veer Savarkar, President of the Hindu Mahasabha after his return from H.E. the Viceroy was surrounded by group of Press representatives to know the details of his interview. Veer Savarkar informed them that he agreed with H.E. the Viceroy that the talk of the interview was to be kept absolutely confidential.”24
 
Savarkar was not willing to share information about whatever transpired in the meeting with anyone, not even with his followers. This also becomes clear from the following description in the book:
“After interviewing H.E. the Viceroy on Friday the 5th of July, 1940 Bar. V.D.Savarkar, the President of the Hindu Maha Sabha was pressed by Simla public reception programme.  But important political interviews left him no time. Only a programme of five minutes ‘Darshan’ was arranged on his way to station.”25 [As per the original text]
Bhide’s Diary also discloses the fact that Savarkar was often invited to many boudhik shivir (intellectual camps) of the RSS for “Advising the students to join Military forces [The British]”.26
 
The Modi government has recently put 100 hitherto secret Netaji files in in public domain. Those sections, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and other sections of the Sangh Parivar, who proudly see themselves as part of the Hindutva heritage and treat ‘Veer’ Savarkar as their hero, will not be happy with these revelations, well-documented as they are. The collaborative role played by the proponents of the Hindu Rashtra, who acted as stooges of the British, be it the Hindu Mahasabha or the RSS, is a critical part of Indian history, that sullies the history of India’s liberation struggle against British colonial rule. Contextualising their role is critical today especially as they target sections of Indians with the manipulated label of ‘nationalism.’ Indian nationalism, as demonstrated in the inclusive struggle against British repression and colonial rule, evolved as both pluralistic, syncretic and inclusive. The narrow and exclusivist definitions of the nation as propounded by the Sangh parivar has no root in the over century old struggle against colonial masters. This history needs to be recalled and remembered in the India of today.
 
1    Cited in Savarkar, V. D., Samagra Savarkar Wangmaya:Hindu Rashtra Darshan, vol. 6, Maharashtra Prantik Hindusabha, Poona, 1963, p. 460-461.
      Ibid, p. 460.
3    Ibid, p. 461.
4    Ibid.
5    Ibid, pp. 461-462.
6    Ibid., p. 419.
7    Ibid, p. 421
8    Ibid., p. 427.
9    Ibid., p. 428.
10  Ibid, pp. 428-429
11  Ibid., p. 435.
12  Ibid., p. 439.
13  Bhide, A. S. (ed.), Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President’s Diary of his Propagandist Tours Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941, na, Bombay, 1940, p. xxiv.
14  Ibid., p.xxvi.
15  Ibid, p. xxvii.
16  Ibid, p. xxviii.
17  Ibid., pp.153-154.
18  Ibid, pp. 149-50.
19  Ibid, p. 354.
20  Ibid, p. 398.
21  Ibid, p. 414.
22  Ibid, p. 418.
23  Ibid, p. 451.
24  Ibid, pp. 625-626.
25  Ibid, p. 626.
26. A. S. Bhide, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Whirlwind Propaganda: Extracts from the President’s Diary of his Propagandist Tours Interviews from December 1937 to October 1941, na, Bombay, 1940, pp. 219-20.
 
[For complete study of VD Savarkar’s pro-Casteism, pro-Imperialism, pro-Racism, pro-Totalitarianism & anti-Indian Freedom Movement views and deeds see HINDUTVA: SAVARKAR UNMASKED published by Media House. Email:[email protected]]
 
(The author taught political science at the University of Delhi. As an author, columnist and dramatist he has been writing against religious bigotry, dehumanization, totalitarianism, persecution of
women, Dalits and minorities.)