Can’t question Savarkar’s patriotism and bravery: Amit Shah
VD Savarkar’s patriotism and bravery cannot be questioned, Union home minister Amit Shah said on Friday, as he slammed those questioning the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue’s commitment to the freedom struggle.
The comments come amid a controversy over Union defence minister Rajnath Singh’s remark that Savarkar filed mercy petitions before the British at the advice of Mahatma Gandhi.
“How can you doubt the life, the credentials of a man who was sentenced to two life imprisonments, made to sweat like a plodder bullock (kolhu ka bail) to extract oil at this prison and tortured for 10 years,” Shah said, addressing an event to mark 75 years of India’s Independence, at the Port Blair Cellular Jail.
Asserting that the sobriquet ‘Veer’ was bestowed on Savarkar by the people of this country, and not by any government, Shah said :“No one can take it away”.
“He (Savarkar) had everything for a good life. He was a learned person, knew multiple languages and a great orator, which tells us he was gifted. The British proscribed his book (referring to The Indian War of Independence, 1857) even before it was published…it was the first such book in history. Those who banned his thoughts have gone, but that book is still inspiring us all. Such a scholar, thinker and brave person, and we are trying to create a controversy in his name?,” he added.
Urging the youngsters to travel to the Cellular Jail to see what freedom fighters went through, Shah said: “All of us were born after the Independence, so we didn’t get to die for the country. Can we at least live for the country? There cannot be a better opportunity... Many died here, lost their mental balance here but they didn’t give up. They didn’t let the freedom flame douse.”
Shah also laid a wreath at a memorial to the martyrs of the freedom struggle.
On October 12, a row erupted after Rajnath Singh targeted the critics of Savarkar, saying that the freedom fighter was being defamed over mercy petitions. “Time and again, it was said that he filed mercy petitions before the British government seeking his release from jail...The truth is, he didn’t file mercy petitions to get himself released. It is a regular practice for a [jailed] person to file mercy petitions. It was Mahatma Gandhi who asked him to file mercy petitions,” Singh had said, drawing criticism from the Opposition parties who called it an “attempt to rewrite history”.