The post-Emergency period witnessed the herald of a new era in Indian politics, with a sizable chunk of democrats, not privileged class, but ordinary citizens seeking a Swadeshi alternative to the fascist and dynastic rule of the Nehru family. As we saw in 2014 and again in 2019, it was a time when they sought to put an end to the process of de-democratisation in India under the Congress, replacing it with Hindutva-Swadeshi ideals.
Meanwhile, it was a rare occasion wherein Congress’s ‘court historians’ made an active intervention to rescue their political masters when Congress stared at the erosion of its political credibility. It can be observed that the Congress-Leftist historians made three active interventions into politics, intending to rescue the Congress at three critical junctures. The first intervention was to concoct a history of India’s Independent struggle, projecting Nehru as the central character by ignoring the pivotal role of Hindu nationalists. The second was obviously the post-Emergency politics. The third is the ongoing firefight in defence of the dynastic leadership, as we see these days.
Like her father, Indira Gandhi, too, kept the doors of all universities and institutions open to the Leftists, outsourcing the task of the propaganda ministry to the Marxist intellectuals. She satiated the leftist parasites by giving away special perks in the form of awards and rewards. Indira Gandhi had realised the potential of the Sangh after it posed a formidable challenge to her fascist regime during the Emergency.
As Sarsanghchalak Balasaheb Devras said, “One man Jai Prakash and the RSS stood between the dictatorship and democracy.” She wanted to impede the growth of the RSS by ‘other means’ as a blanket ban had failed to serve its purpose during the Emergency. The Leftist historians and journalists played their historical role in this as they did in post-Independence.
Evidently, the tools, technology, style, and approach of the fascist stooges were totally different from that of the post-Independent historians. The striking difference is that if their predecessors were tasked with maiming and suppressing the nationalists and their role in liberating the nation from the colonial shackles, Indira’s court historians were employed to bury out the patriotic sons of Bharat, just ahead of their imminent resurrection as the heroes of future India. Unlike their forerunners, neo-communist historians made a sustained effort to besmirch the image and character of great nationalists. Veer Savarkar was the first victim of this Communist agenda.
Smuggling ‘Secularism and Socialism’ into the Constitution during the Emergency was also a kickback for the Leftist intellectuals and Communists for passively supporting the Emergency. It was quite evident from the history of Emergency by Bipan Chandra, a typical Marxist historian who provided content support for Congress. Without any qualms, he whitewashed Indira as a democrat, despite her fascist rule and state-sponsored atrocities, and painted the JP movement as a fascist movement! It is worth recalling that he reintroduced Bhagat Singh as a Communist, cutting the great nationalist revolutionary into the size of a mere Marxist!
The history of vilification of the Hindu nationalists in post-Emergency coincided with the attempts to appropriate and secularise the great nationalist revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh and the character assassination of Veer Savarkar. As the narrative got a popular appeal among the leftists, they experimented the same with more revered Hindu icons like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Swami Vivekananda and Aurobindo, along with the nationalists like Guruji Golwalkar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, and others. We know the ultra-Leftists do not spare even Gandhi for being a vocal advocate of Ramrajya and Hind Swaraj.
Otherwise, the forty-second amendment to the Constitution was an exercise in vain, as religious acceptance (एकं सद् बहुधावदन्ति) was part and parcel of Hinduness and India. The demand for the inclusion of secularism was voted out by the makers of our Constitution, including the legends like Dr BR Ambedkar, in the Constituent Assembly after intense deliberations and discussions by appreciating the notion of secularism is inherent in our age-old civilisation.
The amendment was aimed at a twin objective: Malign the great Hindu philosophy that binds the nation together and weaken the Hindutva surge in all spheres of Bharatiya life, especially the political movement rooted in Hindutva. Two, the political consolidation of religious minorities favouring the Congress and projecting it as the sole saviour of the minority from the Hindu threat. They promoted caste-identity politics and ran the smear campaign against the Hindu icons at full throttle to fulfil these objectives.
Evidently, the communal atmosphere has vitiated in the country ever since the adoption of ‘secularism’. The Marxist historians and journalists construed ‘secularism’ as a token to minorities and contrived an exclusivist India which is essentially envisaged for the adherents of their version of secularism and minorities. It was further exposed during the Ram Janmabhumi movement when the Leftist historians batted for Islamic fundamentalists. They even went so far as to incite the moderate Muslims who were willing to solve the issue amicably.
Vilification of Veer Savarkar
The leftists spearheaded a big debate in the 80s and 90s to destabilise the Hindutva movement, but it failed to derive a political output. They chose Veer Savarkar as the first target because of several reasons. The obvious reason was his contribution to the Hindutva.
In 1983, Robert Trumbull, a foreign journalist, wrote an article in The New York Times Magazine in which he squarely criticised Savarkar and Hindutva’s ideology, blaming them for Gandhi’s assassination. Perhaps, it was the first noted attempt to tarnish Savarkar before a larger audience. In the ill-researched article, Trumbull misnamed Savarkar as ‘Vinayak Narayan Savarkar’ and described him as a husky, bearded man! Robert Trumbull was the Times Correspondent for South-East Asia and remained Times foreign correspondent for 37 years. He was the journalist who claimed Gandhi did not say ‘Hey Ram’ when he died. Trumbull was a known Hindutva baiter and a part of the Left driven secular ecosystem.
When Communists and Congress again felt threatened by the rise of Hindutva in the 90s, then they kick-started the same propaganda. The first such article can be traced from the pen of Purshottam Agarwal, a student of Namwar Singh, who established a couple of schools in JNU and is known for his contribution to ‘Alochna’ (critical studies) in Hindi literature.
In 1996, Purshottam Agarwal published an article criticising Savarkar by misquoting him as saying that ‘a woman’s body can be used as a political instrument and weapon and the Hindus must learn to use this weapon’. This article was cited 88 times by eminent historians and intellectuals to give it academic legitimacy, reinventing the Nazi law of propaganda
“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” This is how they supplied manufactured lies as an alternate history to the semi-literate Marxists, masquerading as academicians and intellectuals.
For example, this blatant lie was quoted by Alok Rai in his article in Outlook magazine in 1996, which has been in circulation among the Leftists to date. Several Leftist academicians feasted on such canards, and multiple narratives were floated with the help of people like AG Noorani, Shamsul Islam, Ashish Nandy, Megha Kumar and many more.
The relentless efforts of AG Noorani in his writings from 1999 to 2004 questioned Savarkar as ‘a national hero’ and laboured hard to link him to the assassination of Gandhi. In 2004, with the general elections around the corner, Islamo-Leftist Shamsul Islam wrote a book in an attempt to delegitimise Savarkar as a Hindutva icon. Again, from 2014, there has been a spate of anti-Savarkar literature and articles. To name a few, Ashish Nandy had written an article in March 2014, criticising Savarkar and his idea of Nationalism. Interestingly, such pieces of literature are mainly churned out during each election season.
Savarkar was always Veer
The Indian leftists conveniently forget the history of the great revolutionary Veer Savarkar, who was widely respected by the international Communist groups and early Indian Marxists, ranging from MN Roy to EMS. When the dispute between England and France over Savarkar came before the Permanent Court of International Arbitration in 1910, Barrister Jean Longuet represented Savarkar in The Hague. He was none other than the grandson of Karl Marx. He called Savarkar a ‘Revolutionary’ in an article published in L’Humanité, the mouthpiece of the French Communist Party.
Veer Savarkar was hardly 26 years old when he was given two terms of life imprisonment by the British. He was incarcerated in Andamans for ten years, where he lived a dreadful life. He was physically and mentally tortured in abominable ways. He was put in solitary confinement and made to do hard labour, and even deprived of food and water. As we know, it was not the case of other leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, who enjoyed a close relationship with the British empire.
The major allegation against Savarkar is that he wrote multiple Letters of Clemency to the British during his Andaman days. Writing mercy petitions to the authorities was a norm that most revolutionaries of his time availed. It was vouched by none other than Mahatma Gandhi when the former was jailed in Andamans. Supporting the petition of Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi had demanded his release. “The Savarkar Brothers’ talent should be utilised for public welfare. As it is, India is in danger of losing her two faithful sons, unless she wakes up in time. One of the brothers I know well. I had the pleasure of meeting him in London. He is brave. He is clever. He is a patriot. He was frankly a revolutionary. The evil, in its hideous form, of the present system of Government, he saw much earlier than I did. He is in the Andamans for having loved India too well. Under a just Government, he would be occupying a high office. I, therefore, feel for him and his brother. Had it not been for non-co-operation,” Gandhi wrote in Young India.
Let alone the notorious cellular jails in Andaman Island, widely respected revolutionaries in the milder prisons in mainland India had written mercy pleas to the British. If submitting mercy petition amounts to ‘treachery’, he was not alone but just one among many revolutionaries who availed it. His fellow prisoner and revolutionary Barindra Kumar Ghose also applied for it. He was Sri Aurobindo’s brother. So did Satyendranath and many other revolutionaries. The most celebrated rebels in Indian history, the convicts in the Kakori conspiracy case like Ramprasad Bismil and Sachindranath Sanyal, wrote mercy petitions. The leftist propagandists who are singling out Savarkar have not branded these revolutionaries as traitors. The concocted history of Leftist historians is not enough to discredit the prince of revolutionaries who demanded Purna Swaraj when the much-celebrated secular icons of India’s freedom struggle stood for home rule! The great legacy of Savarkar that survived the ‘cellular torture’ will not surrender to the ‘secular torture’.