Savarkar India’s first, biggest defence expert, says Rajnath Singh

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Oct 13, 2021 06:34 AM IST

At an event to release a book on Savarkar in Delhi, the minister also said people who followed Marxist and Leninist ideologies accused Savarkar of being a fascist and proponent of Hindutva.

Union defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue VD Savarkar presented India with a “robust defence and diplomatic doctrine” and was India’s biggest and first defence and strategic affairs expert in the 20th century.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh. 
Defence minister Rajnath Singh. 

At an event to release a book on Savarkar in Delhi, the minister also said people who followed Marxist and Leninist ideologies accused Savarkar of being a fascist and proponent of Hindutva.

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“He was very forthright in saying that India’s relations with other countries should depend on how conducive they are to our security and National interests. He was clear that it did not matter what kind of government there was (in the other country) but what mattered was that country will remain a friend as long as it remained conducive to our interests,” Singh said.

The minister said a campaign was unleashed to discredit him. “He was a freedom fighter and there are no two ways about it. It is not forgivable to paint him otherwise,” he added.

Referring to the controversy about Savarkar’s mercy petitions to the British while he was serving a life sentence in Andaman in the 1910s, the minister said, “It was the right of a prisoner…Gandhi ji told him to do so, and in his appeal he said Savarkar should be released, just as we are peacefully fighting for freedom, he would do so too.”

Singh was speaking at the launch of a book, Veer Savarkar – The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition authored by Uday Mahurkar and Chirayu Pandit.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who also spoke on the occasion, said those who did not understand the multi-dimensional personality of Savarkar discredited him. He said Savarkar’s ideology was congruent to the idea of being able to walk together and speak in one voice even in the face of divergent political ideologies.

“We believe that political difference of opinion exist and it is natural. (Mahatma) Gandhi and Savarkar had differences of opinion, no attempts should be made to disprove that…but their feelings towards each other were similar to those of compatriots who work selflessly,” he said.

The Sangh has been at the forefront of denouncing the description of Savarkar as a Hindutva proponent and a polarising figure in Indian history. They have also vehemently denied that he colluded with the British or sought leniency when he was imprisoned in the cellular jail in Andaman during India’s freedom struggle.

Bhagwat also sought to stress on Savarkar’s idea of inclusivity, which was reflected in his acceptance of ideological differences and following different faiths.

“There is absence of correct information about Savarkar. The campaign to discredit him was started soon after Independence,” he said.

He went on to say that Savarkar was not a proponent of a school of thought that says unity is not possible without uniformity. He said the attack of Savarkar is symptomatic of the attack on India’s pride. “ I was told that the real reason for the campaign to discredit him that began soon after independence was to attack Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Aurobindo and Dayanand Saraswati…” he said.

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