Questions and Answers
This section deals with various aspects of Savarkar.s life, thought, actions and relevance in a question and answer format. Questions are raised regarding Savarkar and his place in Indian history. Some of these questions stem from genuine curiosity and willingness to understand. Some questions take the form of accusations born out of outright ignorance or sheer malice. This section aims to address some of these questions.
What is the contribution of Savarkar in the sphere of Hindutva?
While several stalwarts have developed the philosophy of Hindutva, the credit for making a fundamental, systematic, detailed and lucid exposition of Hindutva goes to Savarkar. Savarkar is the philosopher par excellence of Hindutva. However, Savarkar was no arm-chair philosopher. He hated sterile discussions. Writing notices and minutes of Hindu Sabha meetings, keeping records and receipts, drawing a hand-cart of swadeshi goods on the streets of Ratnagiri, running a pan-Hindu café, teaching ex-untouchable children to read and write, bringing up an ex-untouchable girl in his own house in spite of meager personal means were some of Savarkar's contributions as a field-worker of Hindutva. Savarkar was a born leader. Savarkar's associate in revolution Niranjan Pal illustrates this aspect thus, "He was the sun; we were his satellites". But Savarkar was not only a leader; he was a leader of leaders. His seminal writings on Hindutva have influenced some of the tallest Hindu leaders. Little wonder then that even a Tilakite like Dr. Moonje who was Savarkar's senior was moved to exclaim, "In Maharashtra, Savarkar's place is next only to that of Shivaji!" Thus, Savarkar's contribution to Hindutva is that of a philosopher, field-worker, leader and leader of leaders.
Where can one read Savarkar's views on Hindutva?
Savarkar's views on Hindutva are largely available in three books from his Collected Works: Essentials of Hindutva, Hindu Rashtra Darshan (his six Presidential addresses to the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha sessions) and Hindutvache panchapran (a collection of his articles on Hindutva written in Marathi). The last book substantially contains all the points covered in the first two books. It would hence suffice to refer to the first two books to understand Savarkar.s views on Hindutva. Originally written in English, the two books are available in their original, in several translations and online on http://www.savarkar.org/content/pdfs/en/essentials_of_hindutva.v001.pdf and http://www.savarkar.org/content/pdfs/en/hindu-rashtra-darshan-en-v002.pdf
Where and when did Savarkar write Essentials of Hindutva? What effect did the book have on the Hindu leaders of that time?
Savarkar landed on the Indian mainland from the Andamans on 06 May 1921. After being kept in Alipore Jail for a week, he was shifted to Mumbai and thereafter lodged in Ratnagiri Jail. Savarkar remained in Ratnagiri Jail for under two years. Contrary to the disinformation campaign, Savarkar's release from the Andamans was not an act of mercy on part of the British. Conditions in Ratnagiri jail were so bad that Savarkar confesses that he thought of committing suicide there. It was in such trying conditions that he wrote Essentials of Hindutva under the pen name 'Mahratta'. The book was smuggled out of jail. From the viewpoint of the Hindutva movement, it is fortuitous that Savarkar's Essentials of Hindutva was smuggled to, of all places, Nagpur. Savarkar's close associate in Abhinav Bharat Advocate Vishwanath Vinayak Kelkar who also happened to be Savarkar's distant relative and Sangh founder Dr. Hedgewar's close friend was the first to receive this book. It was Kelkar who published the book.
One of the first persons who must have set his eyes on this book was Dr. Hedgewar. A great churning was going on in Hedgewar's mind at that time. This is how Narayan Hari (Nana) Palkar, writer of Hedgewar's authoritative Marathi biography describes the effect the book had on Hedgewar. Palkar says, "There is not the slightest doubt that the similarity between the ideas on Hindutva and Hindu nationhood in Doctor's mind and the logical, lucid and firm exposition of Hindutva in that book must have strengthened Doctor's self-confidence. Doctor liked that book immensely and in those days and even later he started publicizing the book everywhere." (Palkar, Narayan Hari: Dr. Hedgewar (Marathi): Bharatiya Vichar Sadhana, Pune, pp 121).
Expressing his admiration for Savarkar's definition of 'Hindu', Swami Shraddhananda exclaimed, "It must have been one of those Vedic dawns indeed which inspired our seers with new truths that revealed to the author of Hindutva this mantra, this definition of Hindutva."
The eminent Constitutional expert C Vijayaraghavachariar, who was at different times President of the Indian National Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha expressed his admiration for Savarkar's book thus, "Especially this last chapter is inimitably eloquent and patriotic. I am afraid I am unable to find suitable words to describe my ideas regarding the book, especially the last chapter."
Speaking on 16 May 1963 at a public meeting in Mumbai to mark the 80th birthday celebrations of Savarkar, Golwalkar Guruji said, "...I found that the principles of pure nationalism were explained in a scientific manner in Savarkar's great book Hindutva. In my view, it a pāthya granth; a shāstra grantha."
Savarkar's Essentials of Hindutva may be described as the intellectual bedrock of the present Hindutva movement.
What is Savarkar's definition of a 'Hindu'?
Savarkar defines a 'Hindu' thus:
आसिंधु सिंधु पर्यन्ता यस्य भारतभूमिका ।
पितृभू: पुण्यभूश्चैव स वै हिंदुरिति स्मृत: ॥ 11
"Everyone who regards and claims this Bharatbhumi from the Indus to the Seas as his Fatherland and Holyland is a Hindu"
In his definition of a 'Hindu', Savarkar used the word 'pitrubhu' or Fatherland. Is this word not reminiscent of Hitler's Fatherland?
Acording to Savarkar, every person is a Hindu who regards and owns this Bharat Bhumi, this land from the river Sindhu to the Seas, as his Fatherland (pitrubhu) as well as his Holyland (punyabhu). The term 'Fatherland' refers to the land of his patriarchs and forefathers; his first discernible source must be the land of the Saptasindhu. The term 'Holyland' refers to the land of his prophets and seers, holy men and heroes, piety and pilgrimage. To some, Savarkar's use of the term 'Fatherland' is reminiscent of Hitler's Fatherland. This is of course, arrant nonsense. The term 'pitr' refers to ancestors; it is customary to describe ancestral land as being one that belongs to one's forefathers (not foremothers). Perhaps the alliterative effect of 'pitrubhu' and 'punyabhu' may have influenced the poet in Savarkar. Savarkar wrote his book in 1923 when Hitler was not even on the horizon. The same Savarkar has composed heart-rending poems addressed to his 'matrubhu' (incidentally, the word 'motherland' has been associated with Stalinist Mother Russia; it seems one can attribute negative qualities to perfectly harmless words!). Though the word 'Fatherland' is nowadays used to in association with Nazi Germany, fact is that the word 'Vaterland' simply means 'homeland' in German and prior to Nazism, the word was used extensively in Germanic language countries without any negative connotation.
What organizational work did Savarkar do among Hindu convicts in the Cellular Jail, Andamans ?
When Savarkar landed in the Cellular jail in 1911, the condition of Hindu convicts was as follows:
Thus, there was a de facto Islamic rule in the Cellular Jail.
Through incessant efforts at Hindu consolidation, Savarkar turned around this state of affairs. He did the following organizational work among Hindu convicts:
The work done by Savarkar in the most trying circumstances is a testimony to his indomitable spirit and organizational skills. He overturned Islamic rule and established Hindu rule in the Cellular Jail.
Jinnah's two-nation theory is not only implicit in Savarkar's concept of 'Hindutva'; Savarkar also stated it explicitly. Speaking at the Hindu Mahasabha session at Ahmedabad in 1937 he said," India cannot be assumed to be an unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main, the Hindus and the Muslims in India". Critics of Savarkar have gone so far as to call him the father of the two-nation theory! Comment.
The two-nation theory long antedated Savarkar's 1937 Hindu Mahasabha presidential speech. In 1930, Sir Muhammad Iqbal became Muslim League President and for the first time publicly demanded an independent, sovereign Muslim state. "I would like to see the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan amalgamate into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State appears to me the final destiny of the Muslims at least of North-Western India," declared Iqbal. Indeed, the roots of Pakistan may be traced to Islamic theology that considers Muslims to be an ummah that is distinct and indeed at constant war with infidels. Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto bluntly wrote, .The starting point of Pakistan goes back a thousand years to when Muhammad-bin-Qasim set foot on the soil of Sind and introduced Islam in the sub-continent" (quoted in 'The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India', KS Lal, Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi, 1992, p 327). Savarkar was a keen student of Islam and being a hard realist, he merely stated the obvious.
Savarkar's concept of the Indian state was truly secular. In his 1937 speech, he clearly says," Let the Indian State be purely Indian. Let it not recognize any invidious distinctions whatsoever as regards the franchise, public services, offices, taxation on the grounds of religion and race. Let no cognizance be taken whatsoever of man being Hindu or Mohammedan, Christian or Jew. Let all citizens of that Indian State be treated according to their individual worth irrespective of their religious or racial percentage in the general population.. If such an Indian State is kept in view, the Hindu Sanghatanists will, in the interest of Hindu Sangathan itself, be the first to offer their whole-hearted loyalty to it. I for one and thousands of the Mahasabhaites like me have set this ideal of an Indian State as our political goal ever since the beginning of our political career and shall continue to work for its consummation to the end of our life.. Can any attitude towards an Indian State be more .secular. than that?" Comment is superfluous.
In his Presidential address to the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha in Karnavati (Ahmedabad) in 1937, Savarkar said, .India cannot be assumed today to be a unitarian and homogenous nation, but on the contrary there are two nations in the main; the Hindus and the Moslems, in India.. What did he exactly mean by this statement?
Misunderstanding was created after Savarkar made the above utterances. Hence, Savarkar clarified his statement to journalists on 15 August 1943 in the office of the Marathi weekly Aadesh published from Nagpur. He also clarified his position in an interview given in Mumbai on 23 August 1943. The interview was published in the Aadesh dated 28 August 1943. Given below is an English translation of Savarkar.s clarification as published in the Marathi weekly Aadesh dated 23 August 1943. The clarification includes questions asked by the journalist:
.I have denied that I stated that there are two nations in Hindusthan. I said that journalists conveniently published a brief and out-of-context report; this they did so as per their convenience. But I had to issue a clarification in an interview to newspaper correspondents at the Aadesh office on 15 August 1943 so that my opinion does not create misunderstanding..
Mahasabha President Veer Savarkar gave the above clarification when asked about the statement issued by some journalists in Nagpur.
.You always say that in Hindusthan, Hindus are a nation and that the Mussalmans and others are communities. How does one reconcile this statement and the statement that there are two nations in Hindusthan?. When asked this question, Veer Savarkar replied, .I had clarified this in my Nagpur interview. But instead of reporting this, journalists simply reported that I accept the two-nation theory. This has resulted in the whole misunderstanding. I am surprised that a storm has been raised now on this issue. Because I have always been referring to the two-nation theory right from my Ahmedabad speech.
It is a historic truth that the Mussulmans are a .nation.. I had clarified the historical and racial background of this theory in Nagpur. Islam is a theocratic nation based on the Koran right from its inception. This nation never had geographical boundaries. Wherever the Mussulmans went, they went as a nation. They also came to Hindusthan as a .nation.. Wherever they go, Mussulmans shall either remain foreigners or rulers. As per the Koran, those who are not Mussulmans are kafirs, enemies of Islam. Even today, after praying in the mosque, Mussulmans ask for atonement for committing the sin of living in a kafir-ruled state. As per the principle of Mussulmans, the earth is divided into two nations . Dar-ul Islam (land of Islam) and Dar-ul Harb where Islam does not rule (enemy land). As per their religious command, their campaign on Hindusthan was as a separate nation. They conquered the Hindu Nation as a enemy nation, not as One Nation. The Hindu Nation arose again and having defeated the Mussulmans at various places, saved the whole of Hindusthan to establish Hindu Padpadshahi also as a separate Hindu Nation opposed to the Muslim nations. This history certainly cannot be denied. In the recent past, the educated class among the Hindus mostly through the vehicle of the Congress tried its utmost to champion territorial nationalism by saying that at least in Hindusthan, Hindus and Mussulmans are one nation because they reside in one country. Though the effort was well-intentioned, the Mussulmans never gave up their principle of theocratic or scriptural nationalism and the feeling of being a nation separate from the Hindu Nation. And they never shrank from stating this right. Seizing the right opportunity and taking advantage of the Congress. policy of surrender, the Muslim League once again emphatically put forth that same old theory of the Mussulman nation being a separate nation. If one turns a blind eye to this reality, the Hindu Nation is bound to be divided. So we do not care if you consider yourself to be a separate nation. The effort towards Hindu consolidation is to emphatically state that the Hindu Nation is a self-evident and unified Nation. The Mahasabha came forward as a separate and mighty national organization of the Hindu Nation. Hindu Nationalism gave a cutting edge to the effort of consolidation.
People still do not understand the important thing that stating the fact of Mussulman and Hindu nations being present in Hindusthan is not to accept the Pakistani adamancy of carving a country of the Mussalmans. If I call someone a grihasta (householder), it does not make him a resident of my griha (house). Whether the Mussulmans consider themselves a separate nation or not, at least as far as Hindusthan is concerned, they are a minority compared to Hindus. Like the English, they have come here as foreigners and if they want to stay in Hindusthan, they should do so only as a minority community. An independent, unified, indivisible and single State should be established in Hindusthan. Hindusthan is the Fatherland and the Holyland of Hindus and even today they are an overwhelming majority in this their country. Hence, even if there are in this country, by force or tyranny, the English, Portuguese, French or those invaders such as the Americans or Japanese who call themselves a .nation., Hindusthan should be considered politically a nation of the Hindus as per the principle of peoples. power. If they want, minorities may stay here merely as minority communities. This is the objective; this is the oath of Hindu consolidation. This objective should be achieved through consensus if possible. Else, by strength and should opportunity arise, by force, this or the next generation of Hindus shall achieve this objective. While two or two hundred nations that consider themselves separate from the Hindus have presently entered Hindusthan by force and are demanding Partition of Hindusthan, it is not by a woolly-headed and cowardly denial of this fact but rather by understanding, facing and changing it shall an independent, undivided and indivisible Hindu nation alone shall without doubt, remain in Hindusthan. But as in our history when the Hindu Nation successfully rallied under the Hindu Flag, the Hindus should come forward and rise unitedly..
Q: .If Hindus and Mussulmans are two nations, how will they form a single nation?.
A: .We should not confuse between .nation. and .state.. Even if the state goes, the nation remains. When the Mussulmans were ruling over us, the government (state) was theirs. But the existence of the Hindus was most certainly intact. Even so, there is no problem in a common state of Hindus and Mussulmans. In the past, we had nations (rashtra) such as Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Devrashtra (near Berar). Where are these nations? They mingled with each other. The Shakas and Huns came to Hindusthan as nations. But what is the evidence of their existence today? We digested them. So if the Mussulmans want, they could amicably stay with Hindus as a minority community. In the past, nations such as Prussia, Bavaria etc. existed in Germany. But today, they have all together formed the German nation. By law, no one in Germany may call himself Prussian or Bavarian but German only.
Regarding the Mussulmans in Hindusthan, it may be said that you (Hindus) are trying to rope them with you but do the Mussulmans so desire? In the end, .desire. is the most influential and important factor for a .nation.. If they consider themselves separate, what is achieved merely by saying that you consider them your own? And hence, we need not worry whether they come with us or not. And there is no reason why we should sacrifice Hindu interests and plead with them to perforce say that they are not a separate nation. Hindus are a nation unto themselves. Considering this, the Hindus should continue the freedom struggle by consolidating themselves irrespective of whether the Mussulmans come with them or not. If they so desire, they may stay here, else they shall go where it pleases them..
Is it true that the Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar shared power with the Muslim League? If so, why?
It is true that the Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar's leadership shared power with the Muslim League in certain provinces. This was in tune with Savarkar's policy of 'responsive cooperation' or saadhyaanukul sahakaarya (Earlier, Lokmanya Tilak had espoused the same policy) In 1943, the Muslim League adopted a confrontationist policy towards the British. As part of this policy, then Chief Minister Fazlul Haq of the Muslim League tendered his resignation. On 11 December 1943, Fazlul Haq approached the Governor and apprised him of his intention to form a new ministry. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee of the Hindu Mahasabha accepted a cabinet post in the said. In a statement issued in this regard, Dr. Mookerjee said that communal amity and unity was the need of the hour in Bengal. To ensure this, a strong and representative Government having the support of Hindus and Muslims was necessary. Everybody should support the Ministry leaving caste and religious hatred aside, stated Mookerjee. A similar statement was issued by Fazlul Haq. It was Savarkar's consistent policy to occupy Governmental posts to safeguard Hindu interests. The soundness of this policy was proved on the very next day. Sarat Chandra Bose, younger brother of Subhas Chandra Bose was placed under house arrest by the British for his suspected links with the Japanese. When this issue was raised in the Assembly the next day, Dr. Mookerjee in his maiden speech as Minister gave an assurance that he would make all efforts to secure Bose's release. In his Presidential speech to the Madhya Pradesh Hindu Parishad on 13 December 1943, Savarkar gave an account of how Fazlul Haq was forced to include Dr. Mookerjee in his Ministry. In pursuance of the same policy, the Hindu mahasabha participated in the Muslim League Ministry in Sind. When the League Ministry in Sind passed a resolution in favour of formation of Pakistan, the lone dissenting voice was that of the Hindu Mahasabha minister (It is noteworthy that the so-called nationalist Muslim Allah Bux who was a Congress member abstained when this resolution was introduced in the Sind Assembly). To summarize, the Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar occupied positions of power whenever possible not to enjoy power per se but to safeguard Hindu interests. It is noteworthy that Savarkar himself never occupied a position of power. If he had wished, he could have joined the Congress and led a cushy life. He chose to stand up to the dominant line of thinking in the country at the time and speak what was in the best interests of the Hindus.
What were the relations of Savarkar with the Sikhs?
Savarkar celebrated Guru Govind Singh.s birth anniversary in London. Savarkar and Dr. Gokulchand Narang, the celebrated author of The Transformation of Sikhism, addressed the gathering. .Even a Sikh scholar would not have been able to give such a scholarly speech. was Dr. Narang.s comment on Savarkar.s speech.
The eminent Akali leader Master Tara Singh would be pleasantly surprised to hear Savarkar quoting profusely from the Sikh scriptures. Guru Govind Singh was one of Savarkar.s heroes. Savarkar was honoured at the Golden Temple (Hari Mandir) in Amritsar during his tour of Punjab.
Why did Savarkar appeal to Hindu youth to enlist in the British army? Did he not realize that this would help the British war effort?
Savarkar supported the British Government.s campaign for war effort and pleaded with Hindu youth to join in the armed forces in huge numbers. His move looked like supporting the enemy (British rulers). There were two main reasons for his appeal.
British had been predominantly recruiting Muslims from Punjab and North West Frontier Province into the Indian Army. Their percentage had risen to 70%. This posed a grave threat to Indian freedom.
Moreover, Gandhi.s policy of constant capitulation to Muslim demands had also created a sense of superiority among Muslims and inferiority among Hindus. Military training of Hindus was the only answer. If not, Muslims would have joined in the armed forces in large numbers again and be trained in warfare.
Savarkar founded the Hindu Mahasabha, after a detailed study of the Nazis. (Letter, Asian Age, 29 Aug 2004). Comment.
This allegation is totally false. Muslim League was founded in Dacca in December 1906. Alarmed by this development, the Punjab Hindu Sabha was founded in 1907. At that time, Savarkar was in England. The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha was formed in 1915. Swami Shraddhanand, Pandit Malaviya, Sir Tejbahadur Sapru and Gandhi attended its Subjects Committee meeting. Savarkar was incarcerated at that time in the Cellular Jail in the Andamans. Savarkar thus was not a founder of the Hindu Mahasabha. The Nazi Party came into being in 1923. How could the Hindu Mahasabha be formed in 1915 after a detailed study of the Nazi Party which was formed in 1923 ?
How were the relations between Savarkar and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh founder Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar? (*For details of the extremely close relations between Savarkar's elder brother Babarao and Dr. Hedgewar, see Babarao's biography given elsewhere in this website)
Both Savarkar and Dr. Hedgewar (01 April 1889 to 21 June 1940) had the highest regard for each other. They were both revolutionaries and organizers of Hindus.
Verily, Savarkar and Dr. Hedgewar could be described as "two bodies but one heart".
Was Savarkar communal?
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English defines communal as .of or for a community, for the common use; of a commune, esp.that of Paris.. A community means a body of people having religion, profession etc. in common. 'Commune' is a group of persons not of same family, smallest division for an administrative purpose Communalism is the principle of communal organization of society.
In his address as the President of the Nagpur session of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha in 1938, Savarkar clarified the difference between communalism and nationalism. "Nationalism and Communalism are in themselves either equally justifiable and human or not. When nationalism becomes aggressive or when it tries to suppress the equitable rights of other communities and tries to usher all to itself , it is as immoral in human relations as is communalism.. But when communalism is only defensive, it is as justifiable and human or equitable as nationalism itself. The Hindu nationalists do not aim to usurp what belongs to others. Therefore even if they be called Hindu communalists, they are justifiably so and are about the only real Indian Nationalists for, a real and justifiable Indian Nationalism must be equitable to all communities that compose the Indian Nation. But for the same reason the Moslems alone are the communalists, in an anti-national and treacherous sense of the term. For, it is they who want to usurp to themselves all that belongs to others. The Indian National Congress only condemns itself as an anti-national body when it calls in the same breath the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League as bodies equally communal in the reprehensible and treacherous sense of that term. Consequently, if to defend the just and the equitable rights of the Hindus in their own land is communalism then we are communalists par excellence and glory in being the most devoted Hindu Communalists, which to us means being the truest and the most equitable Indian Nationalists! Savarkar never asked for special rights or privileges for the Hindus. Hence he was not communal, as the term is understood today. The Muslim League, with its unending, aggressive demands was communal. But its communalism was natural. The Congress, who acquiesced to every Muslim demand, while running after the mirage of Hindu-Muslim was also perversely communal.
Had Savarkar studied Islam?
Savarkar was among the few Hindu leaders who had studied Islam. While still in the Cellular Jail, Andamans, Savarkar had read the Quran first in its English and subsequently Bengali and Marathi translations. Responding to the opinion of his Muslim friends that the real beauty of the Quran lies in its original, Savarkar asked them to read each page from the original and then translate it for his benefit into Hindi. As Savarkar describes, he heard them recite the Quran with great concentration and after keeping his mind clean and pure as a devout Muslim. In later life, Savarkar read several books written by Western authorities on the Quran. Savarkar's deep study of Islam is evident from his numerous articles such as those on Kemal Pasha, Khilafat movement and various Islamic sects. Savarkar had learnt to read and write Urdu.
What were Savarkar's views on Hindu-Muslim relations?
Savarkar's views on Hindu-Muslim relations are a result of his study of Islamic scriptures, a deep insight into historical events, assessment of ground realities and an uncanny ability to visualize the future. These views may be summarized as follows:
Was Savarkar in favour of a theocratic state?
In his 1937 Presidential address to the Karnavati (Ahmedabad) session of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar declared: "Let the Indian State be purely Indian. Let it not recognise any invidious distinctions whatsoever as regards the franchise, public services, offices, taxation on the grounds of religion and race. Let no cognizance be taken whatsoever of man's being Hindu, Muhammedan, Christian or Jew. Let all citizens of that Indian State be treated according to their individual worth irrespective of their religious or racial percentage in the general population". Again in 1938, he declared, "On stepping into the post independence Indian Parliament, not a trace should remain of distinctions of being a Hindu, Mussalman or a Parsee".
Did Savarkar hate Christians or Muslims?
Savarkar believed in universal brotherhood of man. In the first part of his autobiography he stated, " I never myself hated nor did I allow others to hate English as Englishmen only as oppressors. Once India achieves its freedom we must forget any hatred for England. We are all creations of the same god."
In his book describing harsh prison life - My Transportation for Life, Savarkar stated in 1923, " I have no hatred in my heart for Muslim or Christian brothers or even for those living in tribes in primitive state. I do not even despise any of them. I oppose only that section of it vehemently which is oppressive and violent towards others."
In the letter of 6 July 1920 he wrote to his brother from jail, " We believe in an universal state embracing all mankind and wherein all men and women would be citizens working for and enjoying equally the fruits of this earth and this sun, this land and this light, which constitute the real Motherland and Fatherland of man. All other divisions are artificial though indispensable."
What is Savarkar’s contribution to the shuddhi movement?
The word shuddhi means purity or purification. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the term came to acquire a more particular meaning, namely the incorporation into Hindu Dharma of non-Hindu persons or groups by means of ceremonial action. The contribution of Savarkar to the shuddhi movement is that of a philosopher, worker, leader and leader of leaders.
Savarkar stated a profound truth in his maxim "Change of religion is tantamount to change of nationality". While Savarkar was not against voluntary acceptance of any religion after due thought, he was certainly against unethical methods employed by predatory religions to increase their flock. Savarkar lamented that Hindu rulers did not realize the grave consequences of mass conversions by Islamic rulers and failed to carry out shuddhi even when they had the opportunity and strength to do so.
Along with his elder brother Babarao, Savarkar carried out a unique shuddhi movement in the hell-hole of the Andamans. Savarkar has written extensively on his shuddhi campaign in his My Transportation for Life. The Pathan warders would coerce or lure susceptible Hindu prisoners to convert to Islam. The Savarkar brothers carried out this shuddhi campaign in the face of violent assaults and an attempt on their life. In the absence of a formal shuddhi ceremony, Savarkar would ask the reclaimed prisoners to eat the tulsi leaf and chant from the Ramcharitmanasor the Gita. Savarkar's shuddhi campaign inside the four walls of the Cellular Jail had a salutary effect on the free Hindu residents of the Andamans. They started getting themselves enumerated as Hindus in the census. During his internment in Ratnagiri, Savarkar continued hisshuddhi campaign. Through speeches and writings, he mobilized public opinion in favour of shuddhi. In memory of Swami Shraddhanand who was martyred (27 December 1926) in the cause of shuddhi, Savarkar started the Shraddhanand weekly. He personally brought back several Christian and Muslims into the Hindu fold. The reversion of the Dhakras family (25 May 1926) who had converted to Christianity 15 years earlier was performed with much enthusiasm by Savarkar. In 1928, he made efforts to get their daughter married and performed her kanyadan. He traveled from Ratnagiri to Kharepatan to attend the thread ceremony of their two sons.
It was during Savarkar's stay in Ratnagiri that he met Vinayak Maharaj Masurkar of the Ramdasi tradition. Masurkar had started theBrahmacharyashram at Masur in Satara district (hence popularly known as Masurashram). It was Savarkar who told Masurkar Maharaj to bring back to the Hindu fold the hundreds of Rambhakts who had crossed over to alien religions. As a result, the Masurashram embarked on a shuddhi campaign in Portuguese-ruled Goa and brought back to the Hindu fold 7815 Gavdas who had been converted to Christianity. Coincidentally, it was on 26 February 1928 that the first batch of 1150 converted Gavdas underwent shuddhi in Tiswadi, Goa. Savarkar collected funds in Ratnagiri to assist Masurkar Maharaj in his endeavour. Savarkar was one of the very few individuals who was privy to Masurkar's plans to carry out shuddhi of the Gavdas.
As leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar relentlessly championed the cause of shuddhi, saying that shuddhi and sangathan went hand in hand. On 21 August 1955, 40 fishermen who had been converted to Christianity were brought back to Hindu Dharma by Shankaracharya Yogeshwaranandji at Dadar, Mumbai. So overjoyed was Savarkar, that he exclaimed, "May I be reborn to carry out shuddhi work, such is its importance!" In his will, Savarkar had instructed that a sum of money be given six monthly to organizations engaged in shuddhi work.
What were Savarkar.s economic views; in fact did he have any economic views or was he a person only concerned with history?
Many people have an impression that Savarkar was occupied with ancient or medieval history and was not concerned with economics. This notion is unfounded. While organizing and leading the Indian Revolutionary movement in England, Savarkar used to emphasize the importance of expertise in Political Science, Economics and Administration. Without knowledge of these subjects, he used to remark to his revolutionary coworkers, it was not possible to do even destructive, leave aside a constructive work. He never saw eye to eye with moderate leaders like Hon.G.K.Gokhale but he admired the scholarship of moderate stalwarts like Gokhale, and Ramesh Chandra Dutt. In the Cellular Jail in the Andamans, young political convicts were deprived of education owing to their incarceration. Writing material was denied to the convicts Savarkar devised an ingenious method of continuing their education. The cells of the convicts were changed at regular intervals. So with the help of a smuggled nail or a thorn, Savarkar used to jot down definitions of topics from Economics and Political Sciences on the walls of his cell, in the hope that the incumbent to his cell will read them. There have been numerous teachers who taught Economics in a classroom. Savarkar was the only Economics teacher who used thorns and prison walls to teach his students.
Did Savarkar have any economic programme?
Savarkar advocated a sound and pragmatic economic programme. He elaborated his economic policy in his 1939 Presidential address to the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha session held at Calcutta (now Kolkata).
Savarkar's economic policy may be summarized as follows: