The issue in the contention resonates with the formation of a two-member committee by Kannur University that has recommended omitting some texts in response to protests staged by Congress, Left and IUML backed student organizations upon the inclusion of Savarkar and Golwalkar in the academic syllabus citing saffronization of the academia.
Initially, the vice-chancellor denied allegations of saffronization and very aptly said that the syllabus should have representation from all ideologies to allow students to analyze them with a comparative inquiry critically. He also said that the syllabus is meant for post-graduate students and not for school children. India's best varsity's Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University included these texts in their syllabus. The VC later backtracked from his former stance, succumbing to political pressures. This is again a reminder of how colonial and communist forces are responsible for creating and fostering a tradition of intolerance within the nation.
The opposition of Veer Savarkar and Guru Golwalkar is the result of the ideological domination and superiority syndrome of leftist academics. It reflects their disconnection from the people and the ground reality, whereby they audaciously reject the nationalist ideology based on false and fictitious arguments and facts. To put an end to these alluring myths, misconceptions, and fallacies that has been propagated over the years, it is quite pertinent to suggest these anti-Hindutva and anti-India intellectuals, reading of the two-volume masterpiece research work "Savarkar: A Contested Legacy" by historian Vikram Sampath (Penguin Publication).
Just as including 'Das Kapital' in a course syllabus does not turn a university or its faculty and students into Marxists, it is absurd to equate the reading of Savarkar or Golwalkar with "Saffronisation". Actually, the leftist intellectuals assume Indianization to be equivalent to saffronization, a way of thought that is often debated. Over the years, it has become their tradition and the thing to oppose the idea of Indianization. Victor Hugo rightly observed that "No power on earth can stop the idea whose time has come". Similarly, none in the world can erase great historical figures like Veer Savarkar, Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Dr. Hedgewar, Guru Golwalkar from mankind's memory. Some Left-liberal academicians have time and again equate them with Hitler and Mussolini.
These aristocratic intellectuals compare Hindutva with anti-human and monstrous ideologies: Nazism and Fascism. Unspeakable cruelties became state policy under rulers like Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and Mao. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Mao were all tyrants and mass murders. These dictators suppressed opposition with brute force, controlling the media, the police and government machinery to become absolute rulers with total control of power in their hands. How bankrupt is the idea to compare Savarkar and Golwalkar with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin or Mao? Drawing a comparison of Veer Savarkar or Guru Golwalkar to these mass murderers is totally bizarre and an attempt to deny their role and contribution to the Idea of India.
Those who advocate the removal of texts or excerpts on Savarkar or Golwalkar from Indian books on the pretext of glorification of extremist Hindutva, how come they don't object to the reading of Marx or Lenin? As the intellectual fountainhead of the ideology of Hindutva, both Savarkar and Golwalkar are undoubtedly among the most contentious political thinkers and modern leaders who inspired the masses greatly. They have been the most vocal voice for Indian Nationalism and the Hindus. Undoubtedly, both Savarkar and Golwalkar need to be taught on the same pretext as Gandhi, Dr. Ambedkar, Nehru, Patel, Sardar Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose, they also have significantly contributed to the making of the Idea of India and shaping of contemporary India.
The tendency to accuse them as Nazist or fascist is nothing but a replay of an old colonial anti-India tactic. This is incitement! Ensuring that Savarkar or Golwalkar remain a villain as they are made out to be in the minds of many by erasing them from texts and banning their books will continue to paint their uncharitable picture. This wouldn't happen if students were actually allowed to read about them. It is a classic example of preventing the students from developing a critical understanding of various strands of Indian political thought.
Another canker in the system has been textbook writing, banning and syllabi structuring that has been used for political propaganda for a long time.
The roots are indeed in the colonial portrayal of Indian history by the British. The process of curriculum writing has also been going along the same lines. The previous governments had constituted committees with left leanings, essentially to subvert any form of nationalist ideology. It is a matter of fact, most of the writing had been done to undermine the role of Sanskrit, Hindu culture and philosophy. But those who are creating furore now seem to have no problem with that, as we do not see any agitation on the issue by those parties or their student wing.
Many books have been banned completely, or certain texts have been deleted because of demands and outrage by certain outfits to fit RED ideology. An example is a Chinese leader Mao Zedong who completely changed the idea of contemporary China, which he called the Cultural Revolution. An entire chapter of the Cultural Revolution was taken out of the state-approved history books and replaced with Mao's idea of the development of China. The parts about the protests against Mao and the government-backed violence were deleted altogether.
From the pre-Independence era to date, history is full of instances wherein certain groups in India, having ideological positions and interests that are aligned to their colonial/communist masters, turn a blind eye to their wrong doings, rather they support their actions even at the behest of the national interests. Till now, colonial and leftist thinkers had a monopoly on historiography. That is why they have been arbitrary in the selection, glorification and denial of ideologies and thinkers. However, when it comes to their own country, they voice serious concern over the inclusion of few texts written by nationalist historians and Hindutva ideologues and term them as poisonous and "dangerous" for the young minds. Why these double standards? India and Indian culture cannot be imagined by ignoring Hindutva.
Undoubtedly, it is very difficult to understand how a culture of intolerance for nationalist ideology and Hindutva grew so rapidly in post-independence India and succeeded in vitiating the intellectual atmosphere so thoroughly. It was the spirit of inquiry that distinguished Indians from others, and argumentation was the norm in our day-to-day life. It was not viewed with suspicion, and no lack of respect was attributed to it. To say something is negative or positive, we have to flip the coin and see what is there on the other side of the coin! By not allowing books/ texts on Savarkar or Golwalkar, we are actually excusing young minds into believing something that we think is true for them while disregarding all the other impacts on their wholesome development.
As Margaret Heffernan rightly quoted, "For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate", education is understanding diverse ideas, which is not the case for left-liberals. Furthermore, the hegemony of colonial and left ideology in the curriculum and textbooks also raises serious concerns. The Nationalist ideology has been the victim of this government-supported dominant combination. In such a scenario, the larger question remains–should students be hostages of colonial and leftist narratives, or is it high time a panel of neutral academicians came together to de-colonize and Indianize the textbooks/curriculum once and for all?
(The writer is Dean, Students Welfare, Central University of Jammu)