Savarkar & the BJP


Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani paying homage to Savarkar on his birth anniversary in Parliament House in New Delhi on May 28, 2014. Also seen is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

What was Savarkar’s record in his 83 years to hail him as a hero? Six abject apologies to the British rulers, an unprecedented record in the entire history of any country’s freedom movement. Add to them four murders which he conspired in from 1909 to 1948, the last being Gandhi’s.

THE Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been ceaselessly proclaiming its devotion to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the ideology and the term he propounded in his essay Hindutva in 1923. It was, he rightly asserted, a new term that he had coined in order to distinguish it from Hinduism, a great and noble faith. It is time we asked when did the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (or RSS, formed in 1925) and its political outfits, the Jana Sangh (formed in 1951) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (formed in 1980), fall in love with this hero and his ideology.

Certainly not since their respective births, as their profuse claims would have us believe. The attachment is of a far, far later origin, and it is purely opportunistic. When the Jana Sangh split from the Janata Party in 1980 on the issue of dual membership of the RSS, it did not revive the Jana Sangh, which sheer honesty demanded. Instead, the new outfit adopted two titles, both directly opposed to Savarkar and his Hindutva. One was the deceptive title Bharatiya Janata Party, as if it was the real Janata Party, a creation of Jayaprakash Narayan. Another was its adoption of “Gandhian socialism” as its ideology. Not a word about Savarkar or his Hindutva. Hindutva was adopted by the BJP around 1989-90 when it also adopted the acquisition of the Babri Masjid as its goal in the Palampur resolution of June 11, 1989, on the eve of the general election. Gandhian socialism was abandoned in 1985 by the BJP’s national executive. The national council restored it but along with its bogus “intellectual” Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s “integral humanism”. That, too, was dropped in favour of Hindutva. The BJP is a political chameleon.

L.K. Advani launched his “chariot procession” on September 25, 1990. But it was at Port Blair in the Andamans that he nailed his colours to the mast on May 4, 2002: “There is no reason to fight shy of… Hindutva propounded at great length by Veer Savarkar”; a tacit admission that he was adopting a malodorous character as his guru. “It is an all-encompassing ideology with its roots in the country’s heritage.” Why then did it take Advani so long to discover that heritage?

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