Nationalism of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

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    In News 

    Recently ,the Nationalism of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar was  compared to other prominent leaders .

    About Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 

    • Veer Savarkar was a multidimensional personality – a freedom fighter, social reformer, writer, poet, historian, political leader and philosopher – all combined into one
    • He named the 1857 rebellion as the first war of independence.
    • He was one of the most important figures of the Hindu Mahasabha (“Great Society of Hindus”), a Hindu nationalist organisation and political party.

    Ideology 

    • According to him the rigid caste system deserves to be thrown into the dustbins of history”.
      • He wanted to break away from the taboo on inter-caste dining.
    • He wanted to popularise Vedic literature to everyone, not only to a particular caste. 
    • He  believed in global mobility and the need for Indians to venture out into foreign lands so as to “bring back the best of the world and carry the fragrance of India and her culture to every corner of the globe.”
    • He was in support of promotion of inter-caste marriage.

    Views on Nationalism: 

    • He retained the image of a nationalist because of the revolutionary commitment he developed as a young man, which resulted in his arrest in 1910. 
      • By 1941, his main motto was “Hinduise all politics and militarise Hindudom”, which implied some collaboration with the British. 
        • He was in favour of “extending military cooperation with the British government to secure permanently a dominant position for the Hindus in the Indian army, navy and air-force .
        • His priority was not independence, it was the fight against Muslims for which Hindus would need to occupy as many posts as they could in the army and in the state machinery.

    How his view were different from others?

    • After the Quit India resolution was passed by the party in 1942, most of the members of the Congress Working Committee were arrested. 
      • Nehru, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad and others stayed behind bars at the Ahmednagar Fort till June 1945. 
      • Their definition of nationalism was different: They fought for a free, multicultural and secular India where all communities would live on an equal footing. To force the British to Quit India was their priority and they succeeded by resorting, mostly, to non-violent techniques — a unique achievement in the history of the world.
    •  In contrast, Savarkar’s view of the nation was ethno-religious. He wanted Hindus to prevail over other communities because, according to him, they were sons of the soil and recognised this land as their “punyabhoomi”. 
      • His priority, therefore, was to defend Hindus against Muslims and use martial power for the purpose. 
      • He was severely critical of Mahatma Gandhi and saw his methods as pretentious. He also criticised Gandhi for his appeasement of Muslims during the Khilafat Movement. 
      • He opposed the Quit India Movement of 1942. 
        • He was accused of having a role in the conspiracy to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted by the court. 

    Other Contributions 

    • Mitra Mela   :He formed a youth organisation. Known as Mitra Mela (Group of Friends), this organisation was put into place to bring in national and revolutionary ideas.
    • Writings: He wrote ‘The Indian War of Independence, 1857’ during his jail time.
      • He also wrote Hindutva: Who Is a Hindu? coining the term Hindutva (“Hinduness’ ‘), which sought to define Indian culture as a manifestation of Hindu values; this concept grew to become a major tenet of Hindu nationalist ideology.
      • He also founded the two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’ calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations. In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution.

    Conclusion

    • There are several aspects of Savarkar which demand greater attention. Being an ideologue of Hindu philosophy was just one aspect of his life. 
    • He should be remembered as a man of vision, a freedom fighter, social reformer, writer, poet, historian, political leader, and philosopher who believed in an Indian society that is free of untouchability and injustice.

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] Mahatma Gandhi and Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, despite having divergent approaches and strategies, had a common goal of amelioration of the downtrodden. Elucidate