Congress booklet on Savarkar kicks off controversy

The All India Congress Seva Dal stocked a controversy with a booklet in which it claimed that the freedom fighter and Hindu Mahasabha co-founder Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was in a “homosexual relationship” with Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.

The book titled ‘Veer Savarkar Kitne Veer?’ which translates to Veer Savarkar, How Brave? was distributed among volunteers during the inauguration of the Seva Dal national training camp in Bhopal’s Bairagarh on Thursday.

The book claims that Savarkar was in a relationship with Godse and says that he had exhorted men to rape women of minority communities. It also blames RSS and Savarkar for the partition of the country in 1947.

The booklet also laid blame on Savarkar for coming up with the two-nation theory, which sowed the seeds of partition.

“Savarkar and his friends used to dance in jubilation whenever they learnt about Muslims getting killed in communal riots,” the booklet read.

In a second booklet, titled ‘RSS aur BJP, Kuchh Tathya aur Jankari (RSS and BJP, Some Facts and Information)’ the Seva Dal claims that the organisation from the outset derived inspiration from fascism and Nazism. “RSS always idolised noted dictators –Hitler and Mussolini, the dictators of 1930s and 1940s,” the booklet reads.

The BJP hit out at Congress over the contents of the booklet saying that the party often distorts and spread misinformation. Former Maharashtra chief minister and BJP leader, Devendra Fadnavis, demanded a ban on the book.

The grandson of Savarkar urged the Madhya Pradesh government to ban the Congress booklet and also demanded a criminal case against the Congress Seva Dal.

Defending Savarkar Union Minister Smriti Irani asked the Congress how long it would “insult the sacrifices” of Veer Savarkar.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Friday also targeted Congress over a Seva Dal booklet questioning Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s credentials as a patriot and his reputation for valour.

The Congress Sevadal National President Lalji Desai defended the contents of the booklet and said that they are based on facts.

Who was Savarkar?

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was a politician, lawyer, and writer who formulated the Hindutva philosophy. In response to the Muslim League, Savarkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha to create a collective “Hindu” identity for India. However, Savarkar was an atheist.

He was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totalling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands for involving himself with radical organizations in 1910. He wrote several mercy petitions to the British, pleading for a release in return for serving the British interests. He was released after 10 years after signing a plea for clemency that required him to renounce revolutionary activities.

Savarkar criticised the ‘Quit India’ movement against British rule in 1942 and later voiced support for a two nation theory. In 1948 Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, however he was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.

Savarkar’s teaching and books inspired Nathuram Godse to assasin Mahatma Gandhi.

In spite of Savarkar’s controversial doings and teachings, the Narendra Modi led BJP government considers him as a patriot and a leader.

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