Left-Islamist conglomerate often spreads a misconception that Veer Savarkar, who was, in fact, a sympathiser of the Zionist movement, was Nazi-Hitler sympathiser and advocated holocaust.
Savarkar’s speech in Pune in front of an audience of 20000, on August 1, 1938 was quoted by Marzia Casolari in article “Hindutva’s Foreign Tie-up in the 1930s Archival Evidence” to show that Savarkar was Nazi sympathiser- “He observed India’s foreign policy must not depend on ‘isms’. Germany has every right to resort to Nazism and Italy to Fascism and events have justified that those ‘isms’ and forms of governments were imperative and beneficial to them under the conditions that obtained there. Bolshevism might have suited Russia and Democracy as it obtained in Britain to the British people.” “…..who are we to dictate to Germany and Japan or Italy or Russia to choose a particular form of policy of government simply because we woo it out of academically attraction? Surely Hitler knows better that Pandit Nehru does what suits Germany best. The very fact that Germany or Italy has so wonderfully recovered and grown so powerful as never before at the touch of Nazi or Fascist magical wand is enough to prove that those political ‘isms’ were the most congenial tonics their health demanded. India may choose or reject a particular form of government, in accordance with her political requirements. But Pandit went out of his way when he took sides in the name of all Indians against Germany or Italy. Pandit Nehru might claim to express the Congress section in India at the most. But it should be made clear to the German, Italian or Japanese public that crores of Hindu Sanghatanists in India whom neither Pandit Nehru nor the Congress represents, cherish no ill-will towards Germany or Italy or Japan or any other country in the world simply because they had chosen a form of government or constitutional policy which they though suited best and contributed most to their national solidarity and strength.”
Savarkar said it may be suitable for them under the conditions there but nowhere had he praised Nazi or Hitler. It should be noted that at the same time he also quoted Bolshevism and Democracy because these four governance systems (Nazi, Fascism, Bolshevism and Democracy) were famous and existed in some countries of the world at that time, and so he merely quoted all of them while speaking on India’s foreign policy. It should be remembered that it was a speech on India’s foreign policy and not on which policy India should adopt. He never advocated Nazism or Fascism. There is a huge difference between stating facts and advocating them.
Since Independence, India has had very good relations with Communist Russia, Democratic USA/UK, some monarch or dictatorship Arab countries and Myanmar too, which was under military regime till few years ago and accused of Rohingya Muslims massacre but it doesn’t affect governance systems of India viz., of a democratic and secular nation. India’s stand is of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. Same principle was put forth by Savarkar in same speech: “The sound principle in politics lays down that no form of Government or political ‘isms’ is absolutely good or bad under all circumstances to all people alike.” Above speech is already mentioned in book ‘Veer Savarkar’s Whirl-Wind Propaganda’. But Marzia quoted from ‘Savarkar Papers’, a microfilm of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. I am uncertain of whether the above statements are missing in the concerned document or Marzia has skipped them intentionally or unintentionally. Savarkar also said: “India may choose or reject particular form of government, in accordance with her political requirements.” India’s relation with foreign countries depends upon our own national interest and security policies instead of the choice of government of foreign countries. The following statement of Savarkar clears all these doubts: “The sanest policy for us which practical politics demand is to befriend those who are likely to serve our country’s interest in spite of any ‘ism’ they follow for themselves and to befriend only so long as it serves our purpose.” He says further, “No academic and empty slogans of democracy or Nazism or Fascism can be the guiding principle of our foreign policy. Hindu interests alone will be our test.”
It was VD Savarkar who coined the slogan “Hinduise all politics, Militarise Hindudom’’ and asked Hindus to get enlisted in British Army. But opponents blamed Savarkar as a ‘recruiting officer’. If we consider Savarkar as an admirer of Nazi Hitler then why did he support Britishers during World War-2 instead of Nazi Hitler? As Dr. Koenraad Elst rightly said, “It is not unreasonable to suggest that Savarkar’s collaboration with the British against the Axis was opportunistic. He was not in favour of any foreign power, be it Britain, the US, the Soviet Union, Japan or Germany. He simply chose the course of action that seemed the most useful for the Hindu nation.”
Most importantly Savarkar never ever supported racism and racial purity. To the contrary, he wrote articles against racism and racial purity. He explicitly said: “After all there is throughout this world so far as man is concerned but a single race- the human race, kept alive by one common blood, the human blood. All other talk is at best provisional, a makeshift and only relatively true. Nature is constantly trying to overthrow the artificial barriers you raise between race and race. To try to prevent the commingling of blood is to build on sand. Sexual attraction has proved more powerful than all the commands of all the prophets put together. Even as it is, not even the aborigines of the Andamans are without some sprinkling of the so-called Aryan blood in their veins and vice-versa. Truly speaking all that one can claim is that one has the blood of all mankind in one’s veins. The fundamental unity of man from pole to pole is true, all else only relatively so.” This is exactly opposite of pure race or race superiority theory of Nazi Hitler.
Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, president of the Bengal Hindu Mahasabha and vice president of the All India Hindu Mahasabha declared in February 1941: “Our passionate adherence to democracy and freedom is based on the spiritual recognition of the Divinity of man. We are not only non-communal but we are nationalists and democrats. The Anti-Fascist Front must extend from the English Channel to the Bay of Bengal.” (Hindu Politics, Calcutta 1945, p.13)
In March 1942 he declared: “We hate Nazism and Fascism. We are the enemies of Hitler and Mussolini. We are longing and struggling for our own emancipation and we want to repel any dictator who would try to reduce sections of humanity to slavery to serve the whims of his own megalomania.” (Hindu Politics, p.26) and in December 1943: “We are wholeheartedly anti-Fascist. Every anti-Imperialist must be anti-Fascist.” (Hindu Politics, p. 68)… “The Hindu Mahasabha was, after all, in favour of undiluted democracy: “Our main plank is Veer Savarkar’s message which he preached at the Calcutta session: ‘Equal rights for all citizens and protection of the culture and religion of every minority’.” (Hindu Politics, p.74)
In November 1943 Chatterjee said: “The Hindus in this supreme crisis of humanity never wanted to shirk the responsibility to fight the Axis powers. Our leaders took a realistic view of the political situation. Veer Savarkar’s clarion call to the Hindus had met with a ready response and the Hindu boys had rushed forward and joined up in thousands. On every front, our boys have demonstrated their valor and discipline, and the African Campaign, if faithfully recorded, will put the Indian in the forefront of the noble heroes who decimated the Fascist [hordes].” (Hindu Politics, p.55-56)
Moreover, in November 1944, he stated: “Due to Veer Savarkar’s call thousands of young men joined the Army and Navy and Air Force and shed their blood for resisting Nazi tyranny and for real friendship with China and Russia.” (Hindu Politics, p.103) This series of statements of Chatterjee shows that Savarkar and Hindu Mahasabha’s support to anti-Nazi and anti-Fascist war was not only tactical but also ideological.
Savarkar and Jews
Savarkar always admired Indian Jews for their loyalty towards India. “The Jews are few in number and not antagonistic to our national aspirations. All these minorities of our countrymen are sure to behave as honest and patriotic citizens in an Indian State.” “As to the Jews in India, they are too few, have given us no political or cultural troubles and are not in the main a proselytising people, they will to be friendly towards Hindus who have sheltered them when homeless and can be easily assimilated in a common Indian State.’’ Savarkar is the first Indian who explicitly supported Zionist movement in his famous book ‘Hindutva’. He says, “If the Zionists’ dreams are ever realized—if Palestine becomes a Jewish State and it will gladden us almost as much as our Jewish friends.”
Savarkar even supported the formation of Jewish nation ‘Israel’ and congratulated them- “I am glad to note that the overwhelming majority of the leading nations in the world should have recognised the claim of the Jewish People to establish an independent Jewish state, in Palestine and should have promised armed assistance to get it realized. After centuries of sufferings, sacrifices and struggle the Jews will soon recover their national home in Palestine which has undoubtedly been their Fatherland and Holy land. Well may they compare this event to that glorious day in their history when Moses led them out of The Egyptian bondage and wilderness? and the promised land flowing with milk and honey came well within sight.” “…In justice, therefore, the whole of Palestine ought to have been restored to the Jews” “…The Jewish minority in Hindusthan too had given us no cause to suspect them” “…Hindu Sanghatanists at any rate cherish goodwill towards and extend their moral support to the establishment of the independent Jewish State in Palestine on moral as well as political grounds.”
On contrary, Congress Government voted against the creation of the Jewish State in UNO but prior to Indian Independence, same Congress had proposed to invite non-Indian Jews from Europe to colonise Cochin and some other parts of India which was strongly opposed by Savarkar. Not only Savarkar but also US, British and all other democratic governments refused Jewish refugees at same point or other in late 1930’s. At the same time Savarkar also denounced “The statement of Gandhiji and others that Palestine belongs to the Arabs in justice and the Jews are aliens there is due either to an amazing ignorance of history or to a deliberate and cowardly misrepresentation of facts with a view to placate the Indian Moslem.” Savarkar said, “I have every sympathy with the Jewish community in Europe and elsewhere in their distress and assert that the best solution of Jewish question can only be found in an unrestricted recolonization of Palestine by the Jewish people to whom alone it belongs of right as their Mother Land as well as their Holy Land, the land of Moses and David and Soloman from time immemorial…. I call upon the British Government to continue their policy of re-establishing the European Jews and enabling them to raise a strong Jewish Nation once again in Palestine—their real Motherland and Holy Land.”
It is crystal clear that Swatyantraveer Savarkar supported Zionist movement and encouraged them to create strong Jewish Nation in Palestine. Savarkar did not oppose giving Jews what they wanted, he opposed giving them what their enemies wanted to give them viz., anything except Palestine.
“Indian Moslems are on the whole more inclined to identify themselves and their interests with Moslems outside India than Hindus who lived next door, like the Jews in Germany.” This statement of his is merely a comparison of (some) Muslim questions prevalent at that in India and (some) Jews in Germany. He never advocated genocide or expulsion of Muslims or Jews.
“But if we Hindus in India grow stronger in time these Moslem friends of the league type will have to play the part of German-Jews instead.” Savarkar opponents always quoted this half sentence because it’s suited them to show Savarkar as Nazi admirer and anti-Jewish, however the fact is different. Savarkar immediately said that- “We Hindus have taught the Shakas and the Huns already to play that part pretty well.” What Hindus taught Shakas and the Huns? Genocide or expulsion? No, never. In due course of time, Hindus assimilated them into Hindu culture. So is the assimilation of Muslims advocated by Savarkar.
When Veer Savarkar said: “A Nation is formed by a majority living therein. What did the Jews do in Germany? They being in minority were driven out from Germany.” He was quoting what was happening in Germany with Jews at that time. It doesn’t mean that he was advocating of same treatment be given to Indian Jews. On contrary he said, “Jews will be friendly towards Hindus who have sheltered them when homeless and can be easily assimilated in a common Indian State.”
A nation, in general, is recognised by the majority of its population. On this basis, Savarkar stated: “A Nation is formed by a majority living therein.” He never promoted majoritarianism to be imposed on minority. Savarkar says, “If the non-Hindu minorities are to be protected then surely the Hindu majority also must be protected against any aggressive minority in India.” Further says he: “Moslem minority in India will have the right to be treated as equal citizens, enjoying equal protection and civic rights in proportion to their population. The Hindu majority will not encroach on the legitimate rights of any non-Hindu minority.” These are purely democratic thoughts.
“In Germany, the movement of the Germans is the national movement but that of the Jews is a communal one….. Nationality did not depend so much on a common geographical area as on the unity of thought, religion, language and culture. For this reason, the Germans and the Jews could not be regarded as a nation,” states VD Savarkar. Modern Zionism emerged in 19th century as a reaction to the growing anti-Semitism in Europe. It’s a dream of Zionism of re-establishment Jews in their homeland viz., Palestine which proves indirectly that it’s not mandatory that Nationality should depend so much on a common geographical area. Even some Indian Jews who were living in India peacefully also migrated to Israel after 1948, and further in some recent years too. Hence, Savarkar’s statements indirectly imply that he was in favour of the Zionist movement. VD Savarkar himself was cherishing affectionate thoughts: “Indian Jews who have been citizens of India for centuries in the past and who have already developed an intimate linguistic, cultural and civic affinities with the Hindus in India.”
Sir William Rothenstein
Savarkar’s Jewish friend Sir William Rothenstein was one of Savarkar’s British friend who was sympathiser of India’s freedom struggle like David Garnett and Guy Aldred. Sir William Rothenstein (29 January 1872 to 14 February 1945) was born into a German-Jewish family and an English painter famous for war portraits, printmaker, lecturer and writer on art. He helped David Garnett for writing letters in support of Savarkar and raising funds to resist the extradition of Savarkar.
It is rather saddening than surprising that how a person who has Jewish friend, supported Zionism, congratulated formation of Israel and admired Indian Jews’ loyalty towards India could be accused of anti-Jewish or advocacy of holocaust!
(The writer is a columnist and Savarkar researcher)