New Delhi: A special magazine devoted to VD Savarkar published by the Gandhi Memorial and Museum has sparked a debate with historians and politicians weighing in on the “controversial” decision.
The June issue of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti’s Hindi Magazine Antim Jan Features VD Savarkar on its cover, and contains excerpts from Savarkar’s Hindutvaas well as articles with titles such as “Veer Savarkar and Mahatma Gandhi”.
Long opposed to Gandhi, the Hindutva ideologue was accused of conspiring in Gandhi’s assassination, but was acquitted by the court. This is one of the many reasons why the magazine’s content has drawn a strong reaction from historians and commentators who have worried about placing Savarkar on a par with Gandhi.
Savarkar has returned to the public eye in recent years, even with RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat to declare that the “era of Savarkar” came to India after 2014.
“Whether it’s Gandhiji or Savarkar, both fought for the freedom struggle and both are respected leaders in our country,” said BJP leader Vijay Goel, who is also Gandhi Smriti’s deputy chairman and Darshan Samiti (GSDS).
The GSDS is a government body chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He oversees the administration of the Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat and Gandhi Smriti – the former Birla House where Gandhi was assassinated in 1948 – on Tees January Marg in New Delhi.
Goel said the issue was to commemorate Savarkar’s birthday on May 28, and added that Savarkar “made a great sacrifice, so the whole country admires him.” He also said that there was a picture of Savarkar in Parliament.
“So, as vice president of Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, I think there is no harm in remembering other freedom fighters as well,” Goel said.
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Gandhi and Savarkar
“Savarkar was one of Gandhi’s co-conspirators i‘s kills, so it’s disturbing to worship someone who was involved in the planning of this,” said Varsha Das, former director of the National Gandhi Museum. “It’s very disturbing,” she added.
However, others do not see Gandhi and Savarkar at odds with each other.
“Savarkar was also a freedom fighter, and Gandhi and Savarkar respected each other. There were occasions when they also congratulated each other,” said Information Commissioner Uday Mahurkar, who is also the author of ‘Veer Savarkar: the man who could have prevented partition‘.
“I don’t see a dichotomy, although there is no doubt that they are ideologically poles apart,” he added.
Savarkar is also known to have influenced Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse. The prevailing narrative is that Godse was no longer a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the time of Gandhi’s assassination, but a new work by journalist Dhirendra K. Jha repels against this notion.
Calling it the sanitization of Gandhi’s assassination, Jha’s book claims that not only was Godse Savarkar’s protege, but he was also a member of the Sangh when he killed Gandhi.
“Bapu would have forgiven his murderers”
“I think this is where Gandhian institutions need to be insulated from direct government control,” said Tushar Gandhi, Gandhi’s great-grandson and author of several books on MK Gandhi and Kasturba Gandhi.
Gandhi said he was not surprised to see someone involved in the “cold-blooded murder” of his great-grandfather on the cover of a Gandhian magazine, adding that he “expects “that such things happen more often because “the whole administration is influenced by the current”. government ideology.
“In the true spirit of Gandhi’s forgiveness, we must not forget that Bapu would have forgiven his murderers had he survived,” he said, adding, “but in the present circumstances, all criticism is not enough. “.
(Editing by Amrtansh Arora)
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