Monday, March 3
'Savarkar cannot be a role model'
Rediff.com, Tara Shankar Sahay, March 3, 2003
Historian Professor Bipan Chandra is not amused at the government's installation of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's portrait in the Central Hall of Parliament.
"My first major objection is installing his portrait in Parliament at all. Its very sight is vulgar. Why should Savarkar's portrait be put up? The act of putting up a statue or portrait in Parliament is not simply to honour a person. They are supposed to be role models for citizens.
"In every country, including ours, young people come in busloads to be shown around Parliament. The purpose is that they should emulate a, b, c, d as their role model. It is wrong to put Savarkar's portrait in Parliament. Young people should not be told to emulate him as their role model."
"In 1937, he even adduced the theory of two nations. The interesting thing is, very few people knew about his Hindutva part.
Once Gandhiji became aware of this, he said his politics and that of Savarkar were totally different.
Neither his Hindutva aspect nor his apology aspect were known largely, people knew about his involvement in the assassination of Gandhiji for which the court said Savarkar was not guilty.
"People did not realise it was not important who Gandhiji's assassin was. It was Savarkar and Golwarkar who declared Gandhi as anti-Hindu. They carried out a campaign that Gandhi was anti-national and anti-Hindu and that he was a lover of Islam and wanted India Islamised, his non-violence meant disarming the Hindus."
What happened after that?
"The hatred against Gandhiji was spread by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Savarkar who was an important leader of the Hindu Mahasabha. The important point is not whether Savarkar organised the conspiracy to assassinate Gandhiji. What is important is Savarkar was the theoretician of Hindutva, its ideology. [...]
What exactly does Hindutva mean?
"Hindutva is nothing but Hindu communalism." [...]
How do you explain Savarkar supporting Nazism and Fascism?
"That is because of his anti-Muslim stand. He felt Hindus were in majority and, therefore, they should rule the Muslims like what Hitler was doing to the Jews."