Hindutva icon Veer Savarkar filed a mercy appeal with the British during his confinement in the Andaman jail on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi, but his role in the liberation fight was smeared by people connected to certain ideologies and this would no longer be accepted, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
At the Ambedkar International Centre, where RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat also spoke, Singh stated this during the presentation of a book on Savarkar. According to Bhagwat, Savarkar was misunderstood as he talked severely, but believed that if everyone in India spoke like him, India would not have suffered division. He also agreed that highways shouldn’t be named after historically important people like the Mughal ruler Aurangazeb.
Uday Mahurkar and Chirayu Pandit wrote ‘Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition’, which was published by Rupa publishing.
He went on to say that Savarkar had encouraged people to break free from slavery and campaigned against untouchability, among other social concerns such as women’s rights. However, Singh added that his contribution to the country’s cultural unity was overlooked. He also described how, when a portrait of Savarkar was placed in the Parliament in 2003, most political parties boycotted it, and a plaque in his honour was removed from the Andaman and Nicobar jail when the government changed.
Using the analogy of a lion whose slaughter is told by the hunter since the lion is unable to tell its own narrative, Singh stated that Savarkar’s tale was narrated by people who adhered to certain beliefs.
‘You can have differences of opinion, but to see him condescendingly is not right. The act of demeaning his national contribution will not be tolerated,’ Singh said.