Epic Escape and Trials Chapter 5
On 01/07/1910, the steamer S S Morea carrying S to India had some engine trouble and required report in the port of Marseilles in France. The British govt requested their French counterparts to keep an eye on the ship since S was travelling on it. S was inwardly thinking of the idea of escape. Had his message to the comrades on the Continent reached them through Aiyar? Would they come to his rescue? Mother India seemed to whisper to her son, Flee! Flee! This time is not gone! Since he was tied to a post how would he run away? He asked Parkar, a Scotland Yard Inspector, if he could use the cloak. After getting in he jumped up, squeezed himself out of the porthole at the top of the water closet and jumped into the Sea. He swam ashore amidst firing bullets. The pursuers were in hot chase. S ran away from the harbor but with no money! Eventually they caught up with him and dragged him to the steamer. It was a breach of International Law since the British guards had arrested him on foreign land. It was destiny that S’s colleagues, Madame Cama and Aiyar who had planned his rescue, should be late by a few hours.
The news of S’s thrilling escape crossed the oceans. Hindu manhood glowed in resplendent glory and opened the eyes of foreigners who doubted the virility and valor of India. The entire European press praised S. Now he was huddled into a tiny cabin, only four feet was allowed to him to stand, move and walk! Sunlight became a luxury for him. Handcuffed and closely tied on each side, stiffiled by excessive heat S felt like giving up his life. But he overcame the feelings and survived.
S reached Mumbai on July 22, 1910 and was sent to Nasik jail. Amidst protest by honest Englishmen that the purpose of shifting S to India was to deny him a fair trial, the Secretary of State granted permission to open the trial and added that would restore S to France after judgement if the international situation demanded it. Three trials were to be heard by the Tribunal. Amidst tight security when S entered the Court there were claps not from empty galleries but from fellow prisoners. S’s thrilling escape from Marseilles had riveted world attention of the Nasik Conspiracy Trial. After the prosecution spoke S said that he did not recognize the jurisdiction of the Indian govt to try him as he was entitled to the Right of Asylum and thus to the protection of French Law. He would not take part in the trial. Majority of the accused complained to the Court that they had given their statements before the Magistrate under torture or duress.
The second charge was withdrawn before the case started. All through the trial he provided moral support to the broken hearted. After 68 days of trial on 23/12/1910 the judge pronounced judgement “Transportation for life and forfeiture of all property”. The Special Tribunal had passed judgement on a man whose case was sub judice in the International Court at Hague. So much for the great English tradition. The judgement in S’s trial deals exclusively with various political and secret activities of the Abhinava Bharat, its inflaming pamphlets, books, plans and aims. It says there is evidence in the shape of certain documents found in the possession of the accused Kashikar, which indicates that the association aimed at creating an organization founded upon the model of Revolutionaries Societies of Russia. The suggested methods of preparation of war are the purchase and storage of weapons in neighboring countries to be used at the right time. This was a true assessment of Abhinava Bharata. The Society had storehouses of bombs at Bassein, bomb factories in Mumbai & in Maharashtra.
Not content with this the Indian govt charged S with the murder of the Collector of Nasik, Mr Jackson referred to above. Despite lacking evidence, on 30/01/1911, S was sentenced to transportation for life. Two transportation’s for one man!
The Indian govt prosecuted S hastily. As a matter of fact, the proceedings should have been stayed since the Brit govt Foreign Secretary had signed an agreement with the French Ambassador to refer the S case to the International Court at Hague. A number of well known Frenchmen supported S’s return to France. Embassies all over the world were stirred. As the English tried to hush up the matter, S through his friends in Yeravada jail smuggled out a statement of the authentic account of his escape and re-arrest at Marseilles and gave the issue a new lease of life. Circulated throughout the world, it added to the British discomfort.
The S trial now opened at Hague on 6/2/1911. They gave a judgement in favor of the British govt, annulled S’s right of asylum. It was possible because the French PM, M Briand voluntarily betrayed the sovergeiniy of France. Most of the world press condemned the judgement. Such was the anger of the people that Briand had to reign three days later rather than face questions in the Chamber of Deputies.
Thus S’s was the greatest historical trial the world had ever seen. It brought India onto the front pages of the world press. It struck a blow to the prestige of the British Empire. Double transportation meant imprisonment for fifty years; he would be released in 1960. To cope with the epic of two transportations, he decided to pay the debt of the Motherland and render service to humanity by writing in the canvas of his mind. So S started in the right earnest to compose poems.
The first poem was on Guru Govind Singh. He composed another poem on the crucified Christ. An officer-taunted S that he would set free in 1960 to which S said “But is the British Rule itself going to last for fifty years more?
The days of S’s final departure for the Andamans soon dawned. On June 27, 1911 S was lodged in the steamer S S Maharajah. As he reached Andamans, on his way to the jail, the great patriot was engrossed in assessing the importance of Andamans. Given proper opportunities of development, he murmured to himself, that these islands could be the outposts of Free Hindustan replacing Singapore, which was so by accident. If a strong naval base were built there, he thought, no enemy could strike at the eastern coast of India. How prophetic! The Indian Bastille Chapter 6
With a blanket on his head and a platter in one hand, S stood in chains before the ferocious lofty gates decorated with all kinds of chains, handcuffs, fetters, guns and bayonets. The gate creaked! Mr Barrie was coming. A voice roared, Leave him, he is not a tiger! Barrie tried to convince S on the futility of being a revolutionary, having been an Irish one himself. Barrie as the jailer of Andamans, had gained a marvelous notoriety among the criminals and political prisoners of India.
S fearlessly entered the ferocious jaws of Deathland. The most wicked and vicious Pathans drilled in the methods of torturous jail administration were posted to guard his cell. It had been the policy of the Brits to use the Muslim mind against Hindu forces and fighters.At every possible instance, they gave vent to their anti-Hindu bent of mind.
It is characteristic of a great life that it is ever full of duties and sacrifices. S’s arrival deeply stirred the whole of the Andamans. Ocean-going ships would sojourn to give leisure to their men of authority or fame to have a talk with the great Veer Savarkar. Barrie tried to incite S by condemning rebels like Nana and Tatya Tope as being self-centered. S told him that he was a prisoner and could not freely express his views. To which Barrie said go ahead.
For Nana wanted to be king and Tatya wanted to attain glory. But is not true that Victor Emmanuel wanted to be king, Washington had an eye to the Presidentship. The fact is that they all fought for national independence. As for the massacres at Cawanpore, what about the atrocities and burning of villages by British troops while approaching Cawanpore. Barrrie was silenced. It was difficult for anyone to argue with a man as knowledgeable as S. He would throw an argument back at you by quoting an example from your part of the world.
The coming of S brought about better days for political prisoners in particular and convicts in general. Barrie hated revolutionaries and treated them severely. He violently abused prisoners and wickedly harassed them. Their condition was miserable. The revolutionaries were yoked to the oil-mill. And its working demanded such hard labor that it squeezed life out of even hardened, seasoned convicts. The oil-mill was regarded as the route to suicide. Educated persons were used as beasts of burden while illiterate persons were given clerical work. Pathans, warders gulped down the share of prisoner’s food and milk. What more, the doctor followed the diagnose of the jailer!
S wrote from the Cellur Jail. Early in the morning and late in the evening, I try a bit of Pranayan and then pass into sweet sound sleep. Solitary monotony for twelve years in a cell! This is a clue to the introversion that clung to S in his later life and made him disinclined to mix freely with people. He was isolated from his colleagues and the current of national life.
For the first fortnight, S was given the work of chopping the barks of coconuts with a heavy wooden mallet. His hands bled, dwelled. Barrie tried his best to overpower, overawe S but his personality, frame, courage were too much for Barrie to handle. Barrie wanted to prove that S was a criminal and not a political prisoner. The others were treated badly. S cheered them up and breathed life into them. Indeed 32 years later, Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the flag of the Indian National Army over Port Blair and renamed the Andamans as Shaheed Island.
As S lived with the cruelties of working on the oil-mill he was informed that his B.A. degree had been withdrawn by the Mumbai University. Disgusted to dying a slow, painful death, his mind drove him to the thought of suicide. However, the brave S came back to life again, therefore if you want to die, do not die a cowardly death by suicide, but die valiantly”.
There were rumors afloat that all political prisoners were to be released in memory of the Delhi Durbar held in December 1911. Except S and a Bengali political prisoner all were given remission of a month per year. He was happy to know that the partition of Bengal had been annulled. The capital was to be transferred to Delhi as foretold by S, but he said from the standpoint of history, culture, politics and geography Ujjain should be the proper place for capital of Bharat.
In December 1912, a terrific bomb greeted Lord Hardinge at Chandni Chowk. The man responsible Rash Behari Bose had fled to Japan. The Brits tried to have him extradited but failed. S’s younger brother Narayanrao arrested in connection with the Bomb case and brought to Nasik. Besides Surendranath Banerjee of Bengal another patriot on whose mind S had left an indelible impression was Lala Lajpat Rai of Punjab. Another tribute came from the Great Russian literary figure, Maxim Gorky.
S resolved to resort to agitation within the four corners of law in Andamans to secure the privileges of political prisoners for his comrades and to compel the jail authorities to give physical and cultural amenities to political prisoners. To get there S realized that education of these prisoners was the first step. So he decided to drill them in those fundamentals which gave them a solid base of knowledge of Political science, economics and Constitutional law. This movement needed books, but prisoners got books only on Sundays, that too, they could not be exchanged.
There was resistance from the prisoners, why must be learn? S impressed upon them that to run a govt efficiently they must have the Gokhales, Dutts being masters in constitutional law, economics etc. In their present state they could do no better than equip themselves with knowledge for future work. It was S’s belief that knowledge without action was lame and action without knowledge was blind. S got the Suptd’s approval to store books. The idea of a library appealed to European officers. Some prisoners were entrusted with the work of maintaining the library. The impact was visible. Many completed some course and were appointed Munshi – clerks. Criminals became sober.
With the growth of the literary movement the library began to grow. But the books that appealed to S most were Yogavashistha and the Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempts. S taught the criminals and his colleagues with the endurance, insistence and patience of a teacher. But none of his moves aroused so vigorous an opposition, as did his efforts for investing Hindu with the importance of the Lingua Franca of India. South Indians and Bengalis opposed it but what S said was, know both, your state and national language. The British officers knew Urdu and thus opposed the introduction of Hindi and Nagari. In this cause the Arya Samajis helped S. Swami Dayanand Saraswati was the foremost leader to champion the use of Hindi with Nagari script. After a long struggle S persuaded the prisoners to write their letters in Hindi, some Punjabis composed their poems in Hindi. S held that if the importance & future of Andamans was to be increased, the safety and predominance of Hindi and Indian culture should be made compulsory in Andamans.
To alleviate the tortures and to blunt the edges of the cruel administration, S began to think, realized that their condition must be known in India. At last Hotilal Varma dared and did it. His secret letter to S Banerjee giving details of jail life reached the Bengal leader through secret channels was then published in his Bengali under the signature of Hotilalji with the number of his cell and chawl. It was through S’s efforts that Andamans wireless system was introduced in Nagari.
Among the heroic sufferers was Indu Bhushan Roy, Ullaskar Dutt of Alipore case (tortured with electric shocks), Nani Gopla a Bengali revolutionary. Meanwhile these stories appeared in the Indian Press alarming the Brit officers. Protests in the press, questions in the Imperial Council, growing volume of public opinion forced the Govt of India to send a Home Member, Sir R Craddock, to visit Andamans in 1913. Things hardly changed. Some political prisoners went on a sympathetic fast since Nani Gopal had not taken food for 45 days. So the third strike began. S joined the strike and went on fast too. Nani and S were allowed to meet, and then Nani broke his fast.
Years rolled by and at last came the news that the Govt of India had decided to bring back the termed convicts to Indian jails, only for those convicts whose conduct was satisfactory. Thus pressure from within and outside slackened the rules of Deathland!
Genius Thrives in Jail Chapter 7
S was frustrated with his life but a truly ascetic and action man as he was, decided to make the most of his life as it existed. Ever since his childhood S wanted to compose an epic on Panipat, a dream he almost achieved. Many others wrote immortal works in prison like Tilak, Nehru. The difference was that they were supplied with reading and writing facilities but S had none. S was the only eminent political prisoner of world fame who composed some 10,000 odd lines of poetry of great imagination, thought and wrote them on the prison walls with thorns and pebbles, learnt them by heart, and astounded the world, giving a convincing proof of how the Vedas were handed down since the dawn of civilization! One of the jail mates Ram Hari from Prayag was in S’s cell where he learnt by heart S’s Marathi poems which he had written on the wall of his cell.
His ballads and poems are full of our glorious past, patriotism, have inspired thousands of people. No Bhartiya except Valmikhi, Vyas, Chand and Bhushan have sung of the glories of the Hindus, their culture so immensely and epically as S has done. G.T.Madkholkar, an eminent Marathi critic describes S as a poet who rivals Kalidas in the use of similis. S combines the luster of the spear of Maratha warriors and the sweetness of the Maratha saint-poets like non-other during his times. S’s magnum opus in poetry, Kamala rivals in delineation and delicacy with Kalidasa’s Shakuntla. S’s creative imagination is powerful, to his lofty imagination the whole universe is the image of the Lord Shiva. The limitless sky is its hair and in it are the Moon and Milky Way.
Hence it is clear that S’s outlook on life was that of an ascetic moving in great events. Love of action and not renunciation of action was the predominant and positive note of his life and literature. His views on Vedanta philosophy are to be remembered. To him life on this earth was like a three petaled flower. One is colored with pleasure, the second with the color of pain, the third mixed or colorless. Pain and pleasure were part of life. S was not a bloodthirsty man but was guided by the noble precept laid down by Lord Krishna. “Do to others as thou wouldst be done by”.
Death had no horrors for S. He said that he had paid the debt he owed to his Motherland by facing the furious fire, getting himself consumed bone by bone and flesh by flesh, he had paid the debt of God by fighting under His Banner and that he had adopted the Abhinava Bharat to continue the line of his family. If he died in despair he would not feel sad since there was no end to a man’s desires. S was confident that his good Karmas would take care of his next birth. There is one more remarkable point about S, the poet. He introduced blank verse metre called Vinayak into Marathi poetry. The romanticism in S’s poetry was properly bridled by a sense of realism, a love of sacrifice and a goal of universalism. Doyens of Marathi literature, Kelkar, P K Atre paid tributes to his genius.
In Andamans S had ample time to philosophize his political theories and theorize his political philosophy. His thoughts, reading and experience evolved into a definite ideology. The decrease in Hindu population and the consequent danger to Hinduism by rival, proselytizing faiths absorbed his mind. The danger S scented was clear, straight and real unlike the hypocrisy that goes on today. When ever he heard about the conversion of a Hindu his mind turned restless. Almost all-Indian jails had a majority of Hindu prisoners. The authorities would invariably appoint Muslims to the post of petty officers, havaldars esp the Pathans. They turned this into an opportunity to harass Hindus and force Hindu convicts to Islam. Prisoners were so demoralized by the conditions in the jail that some of them succumbed to the invite to convert for small favors.
S decided to put a stop to the conversion activities of the Muslims. S tried to instill some pride in the minds of the Hindu there. One day he heard about a prisoner about to convert. He spoke to the Suptd about it who asked why he is cribbing, why not Hindus convert. To this S replied that Hinduism does not believe in conversions and was based on noble principles. The Hindus never look on religion as a means to wordily religion and social solidarity. The Suptd understood, the prisoner was not converted but he was not allowed by the other prisoners to sit in their file for meals. Ultimately S prevailed upon them to discard their suicidal attitude. It was great news that all over Andamans that S had stopped the conversion of Hindus. He reconverted some Muslims to their original faith. Muslims complained but Hindus realized they that could make reconversions too happen. Hindus there realized that no man lost his faith because he had food, shelter outside his faith.
Despite threats of murder from Barrie, S succeeded in infusing an organic feeling among the Hindu prisoners and even catching the imagination of Hindus in the colony. Just then the census hour struck. S persuaded the Arya Samajis and the Sikhs to record their religion as Hindu or Arya-Sikh Hindu. Definition of a Hindu by Savarkar: “A Hindu is a person who regards his land as Bharat-Varsha from the Indus to the Seas as his fatherland as well as his Holyland that is the cradle land of his religion”.
S supported Reconversion, did not hate Muslims but abhorred the aggressive unjust and wild designs of the Muslims and Missionaries. Except for these points, S fought for all prisoners, be it Hindus or Muslims.
As forecast by S in London days, World War I broke out in August 1914. He was happy to hear that Indian troops were allowed to go to Europe to fight against the best military in the world. He was happier to see them acquaint themselves with such splendor. Seeing an opportunity for India’s progress Tilak strategically supported the militarization policy of the Indian govt. But strangely enough, Gandhi, the apostle of non-violence panted for recruiting unconditionally soldiers for the British govt. He had helped the British govt during the Boer War and received an award for his loyal services to the Empire.
The Indian revolutionaries in Europe and America decided to throw their weight into the direction of a revolt. Leaders like Lala Hardayal, V Chattopadhyaya of Abhinava Bharat were discussing plans and negotiations with Germany. With the full support of the German War Cabinet they set up in Germany the Indian Independence League called the Berlin Committee. They made global plans to smuggle lakhs of rifles and ammunition through Muslims countries and Tibet for the Ghadr Party in Punjab, Bengal and attack the eastern frontiers of India. One of the plans was to raid Port Blair and pick up S. The leaders recruited Indians abroad to fight for the independence of their motherland.
Hardayal Singh was arrested in America at the instance of the Brits, but he was released on bail and fled to Europe. As planned the German war machine began to operate. The German submarine Emden, moved into the Bay of Bengal raiding British cargo ships. Now S was strictly watched. Unfortunately on 14/11/1914, the Emden was destroyed. Thus, attempts by the French and Germans to rescue S failed.
But the revolutionaries succeeded in other plans. About 8,000 Sikh revolutionaries arrived in India from America, Canada and Far East in 1915 and situation in Punjab became tense and menacing. The 1857 War of Independence had been suppressed with the help of the Sikhs. These men wanted to wash out the stigma from history by fighting for India’s independence. They buzzed to undermine the loyalty of the Indian troops. Vishnu Ganesh Pingle was arrested with ten loaded bombs inside the line of the 12th Cavalry at Meerut and was hanged. In Bengal too leaders like M.N Roy tried hard to achieve their goal. Money received from Germany was used by revolutionaries of Bengal to have a training camp but the camp was discovered, the plot collapsed. Another plan of the Ghadr Party was to enter Burma through Thailand and then proceed to India.
Armed with extensive powers and the help of 6,000 troops from Nepal, the Brit govt suppressed the uprising. Some 5,000 men were put on trial for treason in Punjab alone. Rivers of blood flowed. Yet the leaders and historians of Gandhian persuasion keep saying that they won Independence without shedding blood. 500 men were sent to Andamans.
During the War S made efforts for his release. He made petitions and appeals to the Indian Govt that he should released with or without conditions. His wife too petitioned the Indian govt. Suprisingly none from the Indian National Congress said a word about the release of political prisoners. He wrote to the Viceroy that while they were considering the question of Reforms in India they should release all political prisoners.
The Indian govt wanted to know the views of the revolutionaries on the proposed reforms. S sent a petition to the Indian govt depicting his ideal of Human Govt. Viewed from the angle of truth, sympathy, justice, impartiality the letter revealed why Guy Aldred of Britain claimed for S a place in the line of prophets and humanists of the world. Whenever S turned introvert the philosopher in him dominated the politician and he breathed such great thoughts.
Out of Grave Chapter 8
After World War I in 1918, there was a systematic demand for release of all political prisoners. In December 1919, all provincial govts opened their prisons. Many political and ordinary prisoners were set free from provincial and the Cellular Jail too. But the Govt of India held S’s release incompatible with public safety. S had passed through a critical illness in 1919. He was in the jail hospital on deathbed. But he had improved. Another woman S admired was Madame Cama.
S bore all the pain silently. But it was too much to handle. He often fell into dead faints, body burnt with constant fever. Now death began to hover over his head. Yet with a peaceful mind and composed feelings S invoked death. The jail life of any other Indian leader pales into insignificance compared to S’s horrible life at Andamans. Yet he faced jail life with great fortitude. The permanent effect of this jail life was seen later in S’s health, lonely disposition and his aloofness from society.
Years passed by. The death of Tilak in 1920 shocked all, the prisoners observed a day’s fast in the memory of the Father of Indian Unrest. Tilak’s disappearance saw the sudden appearance of Gandhi. Writing on the Movement, Shri J C Ker, a member of the ICS observed “The death of Tilak in 1920 removed Gandhi’s strongest rival for the Hindu leadership and early in 1921 the campaign of Gandhi & Ali Brothers was in full swing”. S attacked the queer definition of non-violence and truth and said that Khilafat would be an affat – calamity. And so it was the first time that religion and politics were mixed in India, in the opinion of many, was the first step towards the creation of Pakistan.
In March 1921, K V Rangaswamy, member of the Council of State moved a resolution to extend amnesty to S. He offered to stand security to assure the govt of his good intentions and honest motives. S soon left for India. The Savarkars were taken to Alipore Jail. Then S was taken to the Ratnagiri jail via Mumbai. In August 1921, the Khilafat movement ended in the Moplah rebellion in which thousands of Hindus were raped, butchered, converted. Yet Gandhi regarded these butchers as god fearing Muslims. Now the khilafat pathans rioted in the Ratnagiri jail and the Hindu prisoners were saved as they had been forewarned by S.
It was here that S wrote his immortal Hinduvta, was published under the pen name Mahratta. The whole movement for Hindu nation and Hindu polity is based on this book which defines the principles of Hindu nationalism. The book was both a result of S’s deep reflection and an intense reaction to Gandhism, which had surrendered to the anti-national demands of the Muslim reactionaries and had helped, feed Muslim fanaticism.
Said noted Arya Samaji leader and leading light of the Shuddhi Movement, Swami Shraddhananda “It must have been one of those Vedic dawns indeed which inspired our seers with new truths that revealed to the author of Hinduvta this Mantra, this definition of Hinduvta”.
In 1923 at the 3rd Ratnagiri District Political Conference, S unconditional release was demanded. Things began to change. The government agreed to release S conditionally. S accepted the conditions and signed the terms on 27/12/1923. Thus S was released on 06/01/1924, the terms read – 1) that S shall reside in Ratnagiri district and shall not go beyond its limits without govt permission. 2) He will not engage privately or publicly in any political activities without the consent of the govt for a period of five years.
The political situation in India was getting complicated since 1915. The Liberals had seceded away from the Congress while the Left Wing was growing powerful. On the eve of the Lucknow session the shrewd elements in the Muslim League adopted the Congress idea of self-government. To win over the Muslims, the Congress made a pact with the league agreeing to communal read separate electorates for Muslims. After Tilak’s death things got complicated. The pact reduced the political problem to a simple equation. If the Muslim League represented the Muslims, whom did the Congress represent? The Montagu-Chemlsford Reforms were declared in Aug 1917. The Congress was disappointed, the Brits yielded to Muslim demands fearing a Muslim rising. The Rowlatt Act passed n 1919 gave the govt the power to arrest and imprison any individual without trial. Martial law reigned in Punjab followed by the Jallianwalla Baug massacre and Gandhi’s failed non-cooperation and Khilafat movement. After its failure Sarojini Naidu declared that Gandhi should not needlessly interfere in politics. He is saint and he should be satisfied with the homage people paid to him.
Social Revolution Chapter 9
In January 1924, through Babarao Savarkar’s influence and attempts, the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha was established with the blessings of S. The main purpose of the Sabha was to organize, consolidate and unite the Hindus into one organic whole and enable them to oppose effectively any unjust aggression, thus while protecting their own cultural, religious and economic rights, the Hindus were to strive for the general welfare of mankind, universal compassion being the basic urge of Hinduism.
The first event that took place in the history of the party was the visit to Ratnagiri of Shankaracharya in May 24, during the Shivaji festival. But plague broke out around this time forcing S to shift to Nasik, a city with which he had old associations. He received a warm welcome and was presented a purse by the people there. Here he worked for the uplift of Hindu society, saved Mahar Hindus from the snare of Afghani Muslims, had tea in the house of an untouchable. The rousing reception accorded to S made the govt suspicious so they shifted him back to Ratnagiri.
On his way to Ratnagiri, he stopped over at Mumbai where he met Shaukat Ali. While admiring S’s sacrifice Shaukat Ali said he disliked S Hindu ideology and wished it be stopped. To this S asked the Muslim leader to stop his Khilafat Movement first. Shaukat Ali said that Khilafat was the breath of his nostrils. S told him that as long as there were separate organizations for Muslims and they converted Hindus, the Hindu Sanghatan movement would go on unabated. Then Shaukat Ali asked S to mend his ways or be left to his fate. Then Shaukat told S that Muslims would leave India. O quite freely said S. Unable to accept a loss Shaukat Ali said that he was a giant and S a dwarf. S said “I am not disinclined to accept your challenge. You know Shivaji was also a dwarf before the giant Afzulkhan. Everybody knows what happened at the meeting”. S’s stay at Ratnagiri attracted several known personalities. One of them was the founder of the RSS, Dr K B Hedgewar.
Gradually S began to initiate the people into his new ideology through the Hindu Sabha. Afire with this strength Hindus of Ratnagiri began to worship strength, consolidation and unity. This upset the Gandhian pro-Muslim followers. For the defence of their national and natural rights, they would use the lathi and if necessary, fire power too. In 1927 the question of playing music against a mosque came up. Music is played before mosque in Muslim countries without any objection. Islam does not insist on the slaughter of the cow yet it is done to humiliate the Hindus. Anyway amidst great tension and excitement, the Hindus took out their procession through the mosque. The authorities refused to support the Muslims. Soon thereafter the Muslims carried placards declaring their opposition to Swaraj. On the occasion of Dasarha, S distributed gold leaves to Muslims, Christians but these feelings were never reciprocated.
Congress leaders never understood the difference between settlement and appeasement. Said Dr Ambedkar “Appeasement means to buy off the aggressor by conniving at or collaborating with him in the rape, murder and arson of innocent Hindus who happen for the moment to be the victims of pleasure. Settlement lays down the limit which no party to it can transgress”. Gandhi’s support to the Khilafat Movement and its impact on Hindu-Muslim relations, India is referred to in detail in the essay on The Khilafat Movement found under the History Section of the site.
Gandhi visited Ratnagiri that time and met S amongst others. Although they disagreed on a number of issues they continued to respect each other. Like they disagreed on the issue of Shuddhi or reconversion of Muslims to Hindus. While taking leave of S Gandhi said, “It is clear that we disagree on some problems. But I hope you have no objection to my making experiments. S replied “You know the story of the boys and frogs. You will be making an experiment at the cost of the nation”. This is was the last meeting between the two. Gandhi was now doubly sure that the faith and fire in S was unaffected by the tortures and tribulations of jail life in Andamans.
S’s first and foremost battle on the homefront was with the Hindu orthodoxy over the question of mixed caste schools. After a great deal of action including writing to the District Magistrate about it, the Magistrate said that it was due to S’ efforts that untouchable boys have been allowed to sit mixed and without distinction of caste.
The Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha converted from the middle of 1926 several persons with prescribed religious ceremonials. Later, some 200 hundred persons were saved from the clutches of non-Hindu missions. Muslims and Christians protested but none could match S’s arguments. Did not Yakub Hassan, while presenting an address to G at Madras, openly enjoin upon the Muslims to convert all the Untouchables in India to Islam?
The question of temple entry for the Untouchables cropped up in 1925. Orthodoxy made noise but they began to collapse under the weight of S’s ruthless arguments. To pull down the steel walls of orthodoxy, S started Pan Hindu Ganesh festivals in 1925. The untouchables were brought into the hall of the Vithoba temple in Ratnagiri district. Just then Dr Ambedkar started the movement for liberation of Untouchables i.e. 1924. S supported Dr’s movement completely. A Pan-Hindu band was trained. Women of Ratnagiri performed to the shock of others their Hali-Kumkum ceremony on a Pan-Hindu basis. In 1931, a magnificent Pan-Hindu temple called as Patit Pavan temple was made where all Hindus could assemble for prayers. Prohibition of one caste from dining with another was the keystone upon which the caste system rested. Not easy he organized the first dinner known as Sahabhojan. To all those who opposed he threw at their faces extracts from scriptures that sang that Lord Krishna dined with Vidura, a son born of a maiden servant.
During the year 1931, Senapati Bapat visited Ratnagiri and paid his respects to S. Another visit was that of Thakur Chandansingh, the President of the All India Gurkha League along with Hemchandra Samsher Jung, a representative of the Royal Family of Nepal. It was the first contact with Nepal. It is significant that it was the Maharashtrian leadership that viewed the importance of Nepal on the political and physical map of India. It is something that we Indians should have learnt from S.
The Thakur Gurkha leader was now deeply impressed by S. He said “I have now come to realize what Napolean must have been”. S aimed at molding the different castes of the Hindus into a classless Hindu society in which all Hindus would be equal. Another tribute was paid by Dr Ambedkar’s Janata to the effect that S’s service to the cause of the Untouchables was as decisive and great as that of Gautama Buddha himself.
Thus S had the vitality of Buddha, who fearlessly initiated the Untouchables into his fold, the virility of Shivaji, who purposefully hammered its corners that lay in his way, the vigor of Swami Dayananda, who strove to bury it, are all crystallized in the revolutionary philosophy of S whose approach to the problem was political and equitably social.
It was the Ratnagiri Hindu Sabha that remembered and sent its grateful message to Nepal which was then the only independent Hindu kingdom in the world, and it appealed to her to make her stronger for sake of Hindudom. It was this Sabha that declared Nagari script and Sanskritized Hindi to be the national script and lingua franca of Hindustan.
The Sabha did lots of work in the cause of Swadeshi too. The most vociferous and effective movement was launched for the purification of Marathi language. Dictionaries of pure Marathi words to substitute Urdu and Persian words were compiled and published. The movement for purification of the language scored its triumph when Hindi with Devanagari script was adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as the lingua franca of India.
Rationalists and Author Chapter 10
Modern science is the outcome of scientific research and progress. Science and Democracy are two great forces of the modern world. Possessions and resources are brought within the reach of man by science, which controls the laws and forces of nature and bends them to the services of man. While bringing about this change it emancipates the mind of man from superstition and ignorance. S holds that the greater the domination of superstition the lesser is the tendency of people towards science. S showed the fallacy and hollowness of timeworn and scripture bore arguments.
In S’s view what ever contributes to human good is good, what is derogatory to the progress of humanity is bad. S asks: Why does God make the wicked so powerful as to be in the position to harass the good? If God is omniscient and most kind, does he not know the innocence and purity of that good man beforehand? S asked Hindus to follow the cause and effect theory that is never disturbed by the thought of Divine pleasure or displeasure. He said that astrology cannot save what science has doomed and where safety is assured by science, astrology cannot endanger it? S tells the people to realize that sacrifice will not bring rains nor can it avert a famine. He suggests that corpses be burnt in the electric crematorium and be taken thereby car.
Such a lover of science was bound to condemn the anti-machine attitude and anti-intellectual trends of Gandhism and its charkha fads. To S science by itself was not responsible for the evils of Capitalism or the destructive orgy of modern war technique. It is faulty distribution, lust for domination and greed for exploitation that are. He observes that welfare of mankind; not warfare should be the ultimate goal of science. He asks Hindus to test the knowledge in their ancient books on the touchstone of science and to do what is good for the nation.
To S no animal is sacred. Even the cow is meant for man. Not cow-worship but cow-protection since it is our national asset. He denounces Hindu kings of the past who, for saving some cows, lost their kingdom, human rights etc. The prosperity of a nation does not depend upon its capacity for penance, yoga, and love of justice or sense of virtue. Discipline, dry gunpowder, range of guns, swords and an unflinching will is what protects the nation. But this worship of strength, power and discipline should not be used for aggressive and greedy aims.
These rational views impressed many persons and leaders with socialist, communist leanings. As a man of letters S has few equals in Maharashtra. He was a volcanic writer, dramatist, a renaissance scholar, historian in action, dramatist, novelists and an epic poet. His literature filled the reader with courage and hope. In the domain of propaganda by literature no Indian writer excelled S. Madholkar wrote “S’s idealism in both respects – complete independence of India and resurrection of the Hindus is to be called uncommon for the simple reason that nobody has so comprehensively preached for the resurrection of the Hindu race. S wrote like a rationalists and warrior prophet. S was master of thought & word; he overwhelmed readers with a battery of arguments, exposed treachery, superstition and hypocrisy.
During his stay at Ratnagiri, he wrote his famous book Hindu Pad-Padashahi, a history of the rise and fall of the Maratha empire. Both Nehru and S wrote history. Nehru wrote for the fame and glory of Gandhi, Indian Freedom. S wrote for promoting the cause of the nation. S wrote with astounding originality while N wrote with a philosophical bent of mind. Nehry lavished praise on his heroes while S inspired the nation and hammered out false gods. Nehru’s Discovery of India does not mention Chitor. Can of you think of Indian history without Chitor? Another great book by S was My Transportation for Life on his days in Andamans. It is supposed to be amongst the five best Marathi books, others being Tilak’s Gita Rahasya, Dyneshwari, Tukaram’s Gatha and Apte’s novel.
As a dramatist S did not care much for the plot. The first play Usshap, was staged in April 1927, paves the way and struggles for the well being of the depressed classes and strives to bury Untouchability. His second play Sanyasta Khadga, the Forsaken Sword, written against the background of the life of Buddha, is a devastating commentary on the doctrine of non-violence and preaches that relative non-violence is a virtue. Uttarakriya, the third play deals with post Panipat period of Maratha history was produced in 1934. S wrote two novels Moplah Rebellion and Transportation.
On the role of women he believes that there is a fundamental and natural difference between man and woman. He feels that women’s education is essential, not in a degree sense but in a manner that is congenial to the temperament of women. Women’s education should enable her to enrich the nation with a generation stronger, more beautiful and patriotic than the past.
Back to Freedom Chapter 11
Although his heroic struggle in the direction of social and mental revolution continued through the period of his internment at Ratnagiri, S was doing his utmost to break his shackles. Whenever there was fire in any part of India, S’s house was shadowed. One morning the police surrounded S’s house to search for his proscribed book The Indian War of Independence of 1857. They searched his house but found nothing. Yet they did not come to his house without reason. Sardar Bhagat Singh had printed 2,000 copies of the famous book to raise funds for his revolutionary society and as a mark of respect sent S the first two copies to him. For a man who had dodged Scotland Yard for four years, what was the Indian police?
Gandhi had just begun to come out of virtual retirement. The Madras Resolution of the Congress passed a resolution in December 1927 demanding absolute independence. Gandhi dubbed it as childish; S supported it but wanted complete independence to include Goa and Pondicherry too. His biting articles in the Mahratta and his weekly Sharaddhananda in which he criticized Motilal Nehru and Gandhi for their pro-Muslim policy did more harm than good to the cause which S championed. Both the weeklies were would up.
There was a failed move to elect him as the President of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1927. The govt prevented him from presiding over the Depressed Classes Congress in Nov 1927. Bhai Parmanand Jain, a prominent Sabha leader wanted S to represent the Hindus at the Round Table Conference but alas!
The govt went on extending the period of S’s internment from time to time-1929 to 1937 as they considered him a danger to the peace of India. Leaders in the Council and people from outside were doing their utmost for the release of S, but the Govt was not yielding to the pressure. In the meantime a Committee called Savarkar Restrictions Removal Committee was set up under the chairmanship of Dr M.B.Velkar in July 1935. Lakhs of signatures were collected and the petition was submitted to the govt. But India of those days was dominated by Gandhi who literally threw into the waste paper basket the appeal for S’s release. Nehru was reported to have torn the memorandum to pieces. This was before S had joined the Hindu Mahasabha as a political party, opposed to the Congress.
Meanwhile provincial elections were held, the Congress was victorious. The Brits were keen that the Congress accepts office. Due to a deadlock Bahadur D Cooper agreed with the help of Jamanadas Mehta to form an interim govt on one condition, that S would be released precedent to accepting the office. The Governor agreed subject to S’s good behavior. S was released unconditionally on 10/05/1937. The tiger was free.
Several functions were held at Ratnagiri in honor of S’s release. A purse was presented to him too. Shri Mehta by securing the release of S had done yeoman’s service to the nation.
Whirlwind Propaganda Chapter 12
Rajagopalchari, Bose, Bhai Pramananda, Kelkar, Nehru welcomed S back but Gandhi was silent. S’s appearance did not excite the Gandhians. Some hoped that he would join the Congress but they his conquering personality, matchless oratory and his militant political ideology. After paying respects to the Gadi of Shivaji at Kolhapur he burst into the Indian political scene. At Pandharpur he paid respects to the great saints of Maharashtra. It was Miraj that he attacked the Congress for their Muslim appeasement policy. S reached Pune, the city came alive. With S came up the historic Hindu flag. Next he reached Mumbai where the three Savarkar brothers met for the first time since 1908. S now made Mumbai his permanent residence.
The first appeal S made to the youth was to start rifle classes. During his visit to Pune he joined the Hindu Mahasabha. S expressed the fear that the Congress would one-day throttle the Bande Mataram. And within years the Congress did just that to appease the Muslims. His political mission was three fold. 1) Absolute political independence of Bharat. 2) Its achievement by any means. 3) Regeneration of Hindus.
At Sholapur and Nasik S received a hero’s welcome. In the last week of October, 1937 S unfurled the flag of Abhinava Bharat, first unfurled by Madame Cama in Germany. At the Berar Hindu Conference he said that the Hindus had sacrificed the maximum for the liberation of Bharat, in Bengal the sacrificial fire was kept alive by the Hindus alone, the buried bones in Andamans was Hindu alone. At the request of Dr Hegdewar, he visited the R.S.S branch at Wardha. Next he visited Nagpur.
Here he said that Hindus must be prepared to flout the Pakistan scheme. Referring to the political happenings in Kashmir, he foretold that the existence of Kashmiri Hindus would soon be in danger, if the anti-Hindu forces were not checked. He denounced Gandhi’s ill-advice to the Maharaja of Kashmir to abdicate in favor of Muslims and go to Kashi, because the Muslims were in majority were in Kashmir. I wonder why Gandhi never asked the Nizam of Hyderabad to step down? He was elected as the President of the Hindu Mahasabha in December 1937.
The slogan, no freedom without Hindu Muslim unity was the breath of life of the pseudo-secularists and this slogan was held right by the Brits as a loaded gun against the national demand for freedom. A soldier was cursed as a sinner, and a spinner in the Congress was nursed as a savior. The principle of one vote for three Hindus and three votes for one Muslim in the form of the communal award was accepted as democratic and national. The cause of Muslim religion had become a national call and that of Hindu religion was a reactionary. S marched from state to state exposing the territorial nationalism of the Congress and expounding his own stand on political nationalism and historical realism.
S was seen as the savior of Hindus all over. The people of Delhi gave him an enviable welcome in Feb 1938. Flowers were showered upon him, sweets distributed, public squares in Delhi decorated. S asked the volunteers to change the Urdu slogan Zindabad to Amar rahe! At Bhopal, Lucknow he got warm welcomes. At Cawanpore he delivered an inspiring speech on 1857. He paid a visit to the Sanskrit Pathashala and Gurukul at Faizabad. At the Agra fort S showed how and where Shivaji encountered the trembling Aurangzeb. Then he spoke of the importance of military education and urged the youth to join the army. At the Marathi Literary Conference in Mumbai he said excerpts “If literature is a part of national life, its primary aim ought to be the security of national life. Did you forget the fate of Nalanda and Takshashila, the seats of learning and other great libraries were turned into smoldering ruins. It was the sword of Shivaji that made Maharashtra safer for poets and philosophers. My heart brakes with anguish when I see the vapid emasculated young faces engrossed in love prattles. So my message to you, literary men, is that you should abandon your pens in favor of guns, for literature can never flourish in a slave country”. This speech echoed for several months throughout Maharashtra, which was being stripped off Gandhism. For the Gandhians it was a bitter pill to swallow.
Then the Land of the Vedas and Five Rivers gave a splendid reception to S. In May 1938 he visited Lahore. Amidst deafening applause he garlanded the statue of Lala Lajpat Rai. He also visited the Shahid Ganj of the Sardars. He said that Jinnah and he were different since Jinnah kept on asking for more concessions while S stood for equality. Thereafter S was accorded an imposing reception by a waiting public on the outskirts of Amritsar. Thousands of Punjabi Sardars welcomed S at the famous Golden Temple. Master Tara Singh cancelled his tour and came to receive S. There he asked people to follow Guru Govind Singh. On his way back at Ajmer, he appreciated the services of Gandhi and the Congress for creating a spirit of awakening in the country but criticized it for its policy of appeasement. At Gwalior a big procession was taken out to the memorial of Rani Laxmi.
On his return to Mumbai, S came to reside at his own small house called Savarkar Sadan in Mumbai’s Shivaji Park. It was built from money given by his admirers.
Next he visited Sindh. Long before his internment, S had sounded a grave warning to the Sind Hindus against the separation of Sind from the Bombay Province. The reception he received here was imposing. In Karachi his procession took five hours to reach its destination. The Sikhs gave him a kripan. S urged the students of the Arya Samaj College to take to military training. The Sind Hindu Conference which was then held under the lead of S, sounded a timely warning to the Sind Hindus and asked them to boycott the Congress to save themselves. They ignored his words!
S attended the Aryan Conference at Sholapur in December 1938, at the pressing request of the Arya Samaj leaders for his guidance and lead in connection with the Hyderabad struggle. In the same week came off the annual session of the Hindu Mahasahba where Buddhist representatives from Japan were present. Then he visited Bengal in Feb 1939 where he was welcomed by all. He sounded a timely warning to the Congress to be on their guard and dissuade themselves from placating the unholy demands of the Muslim League. Dr Shyama Prasad Mukhejee was the discovery of S’s tour and an asset to the Mahasabha.
He visited Bihar and Bidar where he gave tremendous support to the Hyderabad struggle. During this struggle there was complete co-operation between the Hindu Mahasabha and the Arya Samaj inspite of the wily hindrances caused by topmost leaders of the Congress. On April 5, S successfully foiled in a fighting speech the plans of Gandhi at the Sholapur Aryan Conference, which was on the verge of withdrawing the Civil Resistance Movement in pursuance of Gandhi’s draft resolution. Gandhi was so sure of the withdrawal of the movement of the Arya Samaj but S had other plans.
After a prolonged struggle with the Nizam brought to his knees, the Nizam declared in 19/06-1939 reforms wherein he offerred to the Hindus atleast 50 % of the seats in elected legislatures wherein Hindus had zero representation earlier. S who smelt the coming sweep of World War II withdrew the movement after this partial success, the Arya Samajis followed suit. This successful struggle for the rights of the Hindus and Punjabi Sardars was a new feather in S’s cap. It proved that S could independently and inspite of Gandhi’s opposition lead and guide a struggle. Another characteristic noticed of S was that he knew when to stop a movement. The spirit of Shivaji and Tilak was still alive.
Because of the growing popularity of the Hindu Mahasabha, the Congress decided to boycott it. In September 1939, S visited Karnataka. From there he went to Meerut where his procession was attacked by the Muslims. After his return to Mumbai a statement was issued by Sir Cowasji Jehangir, Chimanlal Setalvad, V N Chandravarkar, N C Kelkar, Jamnadas Mehta and Dr Ambedkar. It read –
“The Congress and the Congress govts believe in annihaliting all parties and making the Congress party the only party in the land, as is the case with fascists and nazi regimes- a result which would be a death-blow to democracy”. This timely warning against the developing fascism had its effect. The Congress attacked S, saying that S had no choice but to join the Liberals. Surrendering national interests at Jinnah’s feet was patriotic aah!
War and Militarization Chapter 13
S’s insight perceived the growing danger from the designs of the awakened Muslim mind. According to him there was a fundamental difference in the outlook to life between Hindus and Muslims. Thus what S did was to strive to bring into operation the Federal part of the 1935 Act and frustrate Muslim designs. The Congress unsure, of whether it would dominate the Federation and afraid of the opposition by Bose, it did not accept the Federation. Jinnah feared that a federation would wield India into a unified state under which the separatist designs of the Muslims would be crushed.
About this time the World War II broke out. The Congress gave up power in seven states, went into wilderness demanding the war and peace aims of the Brit govt and launched an Individual Civil Disobedience Movement. (For details refer to the essay on Sardar Patel in the section Great Men of India). Jinnah was very happy with the developments. When the Congress Ministries resigned the Muslim League members hardly had any representatives in the five Muslim majority provinces. But thks to the Congress, soon he established Ministries in these five provinces. Jinnah said “A parliamentary system, based on the majority principle must inevitably mean the rule of the major nation. Western Democracy was totally unsuited for India and its imposition would be resisted by all Muslims”.
Britain declared war on Germany on 1/9/1939. Gandhi broke down before the Viceroy as he pictured before himself the possible destruction of the House of Parliament. Nehru said that India had no desire to take advantage of Britain’s difficulties. Dr Ambedkar said that India had no voice in her foreign policy, appealed to the govt to take steps to prepare Indians for defending their country. The Muslim League offered conditional support and urged the Brits to satisfy Arab national demands. S declared that Britain’s claim that she entered war to safeguard the vital principles of human freedom was a stunt as long as India was help in political bondage. 27 years after being exiled by the British, they thought it fit to interview S and know his views and policy about World War II. He said that he was prepared to cooperate with the policy of militarization and suggested that the Govt keeps the Gurkha and Sikh battalions on the North West Frontiers. But S feared an attack on the eastern side. Viceroy Lord Linlithgow was impressed with S’s lucid discourse on the current problems, was surprised to find S’s mind alert, clear in thinking inspite of great sufferings.
S believed that national interest was paramount period. S wanted Bharat to maintain a policy of neutrality towards all the nations of the world in respect of their internal affairs or mutual relations with each other. S appealed to the govt to make an unambiguous declaration of granting Bharat the status of a self-governing Dominion as an immediate step leading to the final goal of complete independence and to introduce immediately responsible govt at the Centre based on the principle of one man one vote. He urged the Viceroy to introduce compulsory military training in schools, not to use Indian forces outside India proper amongst other things. S called upon capital and labor to maximize supplies to the West and take this opportunity to promote Swadeshi. S’s object was to make Hindus re-animated and re-born into a martial race – militarization of the Hindus.
The Calcutta session of the Hindu Mahasabha in 1939 proved to be a landmark. Over 2 lakh people participated. Armed Sikh horsemen led the procession. Rose water and scents were sprinkled on S. In his presidential address S reiterated the basic tenets of Hindu nationalism, reviewed the problem of the minorities and propounded his doctrine of national coordination of class interests. S’s dynamic personality, clear-cut thinking and his fearlessness made a lasting impression on the thinking minds of Bharat. The Tribune, Amrita Bazaar Patrika, Hindustan Standard praised S totally. Also the Maharaja of Nepal honored S and was given a garden party at the session.
He left for West Khandesh in March 1940 to meet the Bhils. Next he went to Salem to attend the Salem Hindu Conference where he spoke of the importance of military training. At Madras he was given a warm welcome by the Arya Samajis, Marwaris, Sindhis, Gujaratis, he spoke on the politics of Shivaji, the need to oppose the scheme of partition sponsored by the Muslim League. At Travancore and Madurai unprecedented crowds greeted him. In August 1940 he attended the death anniversary of Tilak where he averred that absolute non-violence is absolutely sinful.
During all these tours he stressed the need for Hindu militarization. Talking in Calcutta he said “Since the Mutiny of 1857, it has been the policy of the Brits to keep the army out of politics. Our policy should be to carry politics into the Indian army by all possible means, then the battle of freedom would we won”. Till the time of S’s campaign for Hindu militarization, military career was the monopoly career of the Muslims, who formed 3/4th of the Indian Army. He knew the danger of a Muslim army in case on internal anarchy or external pressures hence the call to Hindus. Gradually the % of Hindus in the army went up to the alarm of the Muslims.
Writing in January 1943, Sir Alfred Watson, former editor of the Statesman, Calcutta “S claims domination on the democratic basis of counting heads. For that he is prepared to fight and demands that the army employ a majority of Hindus so that he may have an instrument of force when the British rule is finally abandoned. If it ever comes to a tussle between Nehru and S, there is little doubt who will win”. Subhash Chandra Bose, a devotee of Shivaji, had discussed the political, international situation during World War II with S in June 1940, six months before his dramatic disappearance from India. S inspired Bose with the idea of an armed revolution from outside to intensify the struggle for freedom.
Hindu Manifesto Chapter 14
The ideal and ideology, which S laid down, is called Hindu nationalism or Savarkarism. Although a natural development, an outgrowth and manifestation of several nationalists, the ideology was finally formulated and codified into an integral doctrine of social and political outlook on life by S. Vivekananda was a great philosopher, changed the way the world perceived India, gave Hindus pride in their religion but his ideal for India was an Islamic Body with a Vedantic heart. Aware of the separatist’s tendencies of the Muslims, Lala Lajpat Rai held that Hindus were a nation by themselves, because they had a civilization of their own. Hardaya wrote in 1925, “I declare that the future of the Hindu race rests of four pillars. 1) Hindu Sanghatan. 2) Hindu Raj. 3) Shuddhi of Muslims. 4) Conquest and Shuddhi of Afghanistan and Frontiers. So long as we do not accomplish these, the future of our children will ever in danger”. Looking at current events, how true were his forecasts. The only seer, who was conscious of this ideology in a certain way, was Swami Dayanand Saraswati but he was more of a social reformer than a politician. But S was a social reformer, politician, writer, and historian all in one.
What is Hinduvta? Who is a Hindu? “A Hindu is a person who regards his land as Bharat-Varsha from the Indus to the Seas as his fatherland as well as his Holyland, that is the cradle land of his religion”. Thus it includes those followers of Vedism; Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism and all the hill tribes are Hindus. Around this life-center moves Hinduvta where Hinduism in only a derivative, a fraction, a part of Hinduvta. It is not a theocratic state but embraces all thoughts and activity of the whole being of the Hindu race. The principal elements instrumental in the formation of a nation are a common past, common tradition and a will to live together.
A nation is a group of mankind who is bound together by some or all of these common ties such as common religion, culture, history, tradition, literature and consciousness of rights and wrongs, occupying a territory of geographical unity, and aspiring to form a political unit. When a nation realizes this ambition, it becomes a State. The principal elements in the formation of nation are a common past, tradition and a will to live together.
Various people have defined a nation more or less on the above lines. G.P.Gooch, an eminent historian in his nationalism observes, “But the strongest of all is the identity of political antecendents, the possession of national history and consequent community of recollections, collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret, connected with same incidents in the past”
S observes “The ancient and modern history of Hindus is common in friends & enemies. They have faced common dangers and won victories in common. One in national despair and one in national hope, the Hindus by an admirable process through assimilation, elimination and consolidation are welded together during the aeons of a common life and habitat”. Above all they have a common motherland and fatherland. The Hindus stated S is different from other people in the world. Their festivals and cultural forms are common. The Vedic Rishis are their common pride, their Grammarians Panini and Patanjali, their poets Bhavabhuti and Kalidas, their heroes Ram, Krishna, Rana Pratap, and Guru Govind Singh are a source of common inspiration. Like their ancient language Sanskrit, their scripts too are fashioned on the same basis and the Nagari script has been the common vehicle of the sacred writings since centuries in the past.
India has been and is dear to us, because it has been and is the home of our Hindu race, the land that has been the cradle of our heroes and Gods. Whoever came to India, the Arabs, Jews, Russians, Germans, Greeks they formed a nation together with the Hindus because these new comers also lived in India. Prior to the Muslim invasion there was only one religion in India i.e. Sanathan Dharam. S found nothing objectionable in the ideal of Hindu nationalism. The idea of territorial nationality alone was envisaged by the Congressites, who preferred to be totally ignorant of Muslim history, psychology and political trend of mind.
S observed that “Muslims in general and Indian Muslims in particular have not grown out of the historical stage, of intense religiosity and the theological concepts of state. The Khilafat Movement started by Gandhi united Indian Muslims like never before, made them realize that their future was linked to events outside Bharat rather than within it. Muslim mind divides the human world into two groups – the Muslim land and the enemy land. Muslims cannot live in peace where they are the dominant majority; elsewhere they are perpetually at loggerheads with the Christians and Hindus. Their Holy Land is Saudia, their godmen different. Compare this with other country. After Khilafat the Muslims migrated to Muslim lands like Poland, Greece, China. Yet the country of the Poles continues to be Poland, of the Grecians Greece. Go to section of Wars and Foreign affairs section of the site and read an article, Why Pakistan will never allow Bharat to live in Peace? It gives you an insight into the Muslim mind.
Gokhale had realized that the 70 million Muslims were more or less hostile to national aspirations and warned Sarojini Naidu that Hindu-Muslim unity would never come in his lifetime. Pherozshah Mehta, Annie Besant, Lala Lajpat Rai made similar statements. Said Dr Ambedkar as late as 1941, “Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his Motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin”. So to a Hindu Bharat was always his motherland. Said S “A Hindu patriot worth the name cannot but be an Indian patriot as well. We Hindus must have a country of our own in the solar system and must continue to flourish there as Hindus-descendants of a mighty people”.
S believed in the resurrection of Hindus, there was a virility and staying power inherent in the Hindu race as could find few parallels in the annals of the world.
Nationalism said S when it is aggressive is as immoral in human relations as is communalism when it tries to suppress the equitable rights of other communities and tries to usurp all to itself. But when communalism is defensive, it is as justifiable and human as an equitable nationalism itself. S was all for Hindu-Muslim unity. He held that it was suicidal to borrow hostilities and combats of the past to fight them out in the present, because Shivaji and Aurangzeb had done it. But he justified the struggle of the Rajputs, Sikhs and Marathas to overthrow the Mughal rule as long as the Muslims lived in India in their capacity as alien rulers.
S said that Muslims cherished secret designs to disintegrate the Indian state and to create a state within a state and brand non-Muslim sections with the stamp of humiliation and Muslim domination. How true was Veer Savarkar. Rafiq Zakaria’s book echoes similar sentiments if not directly, subtly. The Pakistan General Musharraf said that in a recent interview to M J Akbar too. It is the same reason why Pakistanis in London or Pakistan took to riots when it appeared that the Indian cricket team was going to win. S was not against minorities who had no evil designs on Bharat. On the theory of Relative non-violence S believed that every nation, community must be armed to protect itself against invaders, people out to destroy its culture. He was completely against the doctrine of non-violence as propagated by the Gandhians. It had resulted in the weakening of the Hindu mind and their massacre e.g. Moplah, Noakali.
Revolution: Why and How
“A revolution is evolution in leaps. Revolutions are not regulated by fixed laws. They have their own way of marching. It has only watchword – Dashon! All sorts of new and unthought of circumstances might arise during its progress but one must stop, one must overcome them and press forward. There is no other life-killing poison to a revolution than indecision. If a delay is made after starting, the enemy gets time to guard himself, those who rise prematurely loose confidence. Therefore, to give the enemy time between the first rising and spreading of a revolution is always harmful to the revolution.
That revolution which destroys injustice is unholy. But when a revolution roots out one kind of injustice and oppression and plants, at the same moment, the seeds of another kind, it becomes unholy and the seeds of destruction accompanying that sin put an end to its life. The rule should be revolution outside and constitution within, chaos outside and cosmos within, sword outside and law within”.