Congress Seva Dal chief calls controversy over Veer Savarkar baseless
Congress Seva Dal has dismissed BJP’s allegation that comments made in its booklet on freedom fighter Veer Savarkar were born out of malice and deliberate intent to defame the Hindutva icon.
Ahead of the Seva Dal’s 11-day national camp in Bhopal, the grassroots front organization of the Indian National Congress was attacked by the BJP for suggesting that Hindu Mahasabha founder Veer Savarkar had a sexual relationship with Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.
“Before he took a vow of celibacy, Nathuram Godse only had one physical relationship -- Veer Savarkar,” says the Seva Dal booklet titled ‘Veer Savarkar Kitney Veer?’ (How brave was Savarkar?).
Seva Dal chief Lalji Desai pointed out that the comment on Savarkar was taken directly from famous authors Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins’ book titled ‘Freedom at Midnight’.
Freedom at Midnight states that Godse had a homosexual relationship with his “political guru” Savarkar before the former turned celibate.
“This is a manufactured controversy; the booklet has been in circulation for more than a year. The line is referenced from a famous book. I can only say that we have forced the RSS to react,” said Desai.
He added that the booklet was part of an internal communication, and linked to an education module for the unit’s cadre.
The booklet also claims that Savarkar encouraged sexual assault on women from minorities and celebrated the deaths of Muslims. It also says he received money from the British after he was released from Andaman’s Cellular Jail.
After Desai took over the organisation in March 2018, the Seva Dal published a set of 11 booklets called ‘Rashtriya Shiromani’ for its cadre. Two of these are about the RSS, one solely focusing on Savarkar. The others concern Congress ideology, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel, Subhash Chandra Bose, and Bhagat Singh.
Before the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the organisation had distributed over 50,000 such sets in three languages to its workers.
Madhya Pradesh BJP chief Rakesh Singh alleged the Congress was bad-mouthing patriots.
A controversy over Savarkar had also erupted last month when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi suggested that Savarkar was a turncoat. Shiv Sena, which runs the government in Maharashtra in alliance with the Congress and the NCP, had condemned his remark.