Jingoism is at its highest form in present India. Whoever is daring to question the ruling class is tagged as ‘anti-national’. Full-fledged support is provided by the ruling party in distorting and fabricating the history of India. As an effect, figures like Savarkar, Godse, Golwalker have suddenly become the revolutionaries in this new ‘Modi’-fied history. Their parental organizations, collectively known as Sangh Parivar, have become the sole authority to approve the patriotism of general mass. In this light, it is a necessity to dig into the buried history and expose their real face.
Sangh Parivar campaigns that Savarkar was a great revolutionary throughout his life. What else we can expect from them? However, the real problem is many liberals also believe that Savarkar was a great revolutionary in his earlier years of activism, and somehow there was a drastic change in his views during his days in Cellular Jail. Both of these views are nothing but blatant lies. If we look deeply into the early-year activities of Savarkar, we will find a pattern in his conduct. Apart from some fiery speeches, in all other severe cases he used another person to fire a gun. These persons, such as Madanlal Dhingra, acted like real revolutionaries and sacrificed their lives under the influence of Savarkar. On contrary, ‘veer’ Savarkar provided undertakings and apologies to escape the consequences. Savarkar was arrested and transported to the Cellular Jail (Andaman) on 4th July, 1911, and within just six months he submitted his first mercy petition to the British authority. The text of this petition is not available. However, he referred to this petition in his another mercy petition dated 14th November, 1913. This second letter definitely throws challenges to the false claims of Sangh Parivar, and shows that how ‘veer’ he was. Throughout the letter Savarkar addressed the colonial oppressor as “His Majesty” or “your honour” or “the Mighty”. He lauded the contemporary “conciliating policies of the Government”, and promised to be “the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English Government”. He rose to the height of shamelessness when he even mentioned explicitly that his release “would bring back all those young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide”, and thus, he is “ready to serve the Government in any capacity they like”. He clearly expressed his sorrow regarding the revolutionary activities in the turbulent times of 1906-07, which according to him “beguiled” the revolutionaries “from the path of peace and progress”.
We must look into the year in which this mercy petition was submitted. It was November 1913, when the famous Ghadar movement was taking its shape (the first issue of the Ghadar weekly, dated November 1, 1913, described itself as “the enemy of the English Raj”), when the activities of different underground revolutionary groups like Anusilan Samiti were in their high peaks. It is an irony that between the submissions of two mercy petitions of Savarkar, two bombs were already thrown by the revolutionaries; the first one on Viceroy Lord Hardinge in Delhi and the second one on the former Sub-Divisional Officer of Sylhet Mr. Gordon in Lahore. Such was the intensity of armed anti-British movement in the mainland, when our ‘veer’ Savarkar was busy in drafting his second mercy petition and praising constitutional reforms of the colonial oppressors. Many other revolutionaries tortured in the Cellular Jail could not dream of seeking similar mercy.
Government did not change its mind immediately; rather it was testing Savarkar’s faithfulness. Savarkar was also trying his best to prove himself in front of his master. In the First World War, when Turkey supported Germany against England, Savarkar tried vehemently to satisfy his master by realizing this particular event as Pan-Islamism. He sent a letter to the Government of India summarizing his offer in helping “to bring recruits to the Indian Army in large numbers” and “to serve in that army in defense of India and for the victory of England”. Even in 1918, when the revolutionaries of India were severely protesting against Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, Savarkar lauded it. In his own words – “I as one humble soldier in Her rank would honestly try my best to make the reform successful.” Therefore, even if we ignore the mercy petitions, we will find ample evidences of his support to the British Raj. As a prize, first he was freed from solitary confinement and then he was appointed a foreman of an oil-depot. After this, he started communal propaganda inside the jail, and clearly indicated that if he was released or at least shifted to a jail in India’s mainland he will continue to do the same in large scale to help the Raj in its ‘divide-and-rule’ policy.
In May 1921, he was shifted to the mainland, in Ratnagiri Jail, where he completed writing his infamous book ‘Hindutva’. Finally, Savarkar was released conditionally from Yeraveda Jail (from Ratnagiri Jail he was moved to this jail in Pune) on 6th January, 1924. He signed the condition that “he will not engage publicly or privately in any manner of political activities without the consent of the Government”. The stories afterwards, be it a story of Savarkar, or a story of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was created in 1925 by Dr. K. B. Hedgewar after his long discussion with Savarkar, or a story of Hindu Mahasabha, they are quite at par with this humble submission of Savarkar. This is the reality of ‘veer’ Savarkar. Neither did he die fighting the British like some of the veer revolutionaries who led the Chittagong Uprising nor did he opt defiant martyrdom like Bhagat Singh and Khudiram; rather he acted like a trustworthy companion of His Majesty in colonial India, masterminded the murder of M. K. Gandhi in 1948, and continued spreading communal hatred till his last breath to strengthen the exploitation of the ruling class by diverting the attention of people from real issues.