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Bharat Ratna Savarkar? Opinions split wide open
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 10/28/2019 5:33:48 PM
Bharat Ratna Savarkar? Opinions split wide open

New Delhi: As chorus for the Bharat Ratna, India's top civilian award, for Veer Savarkar grows, political parties are sharply divided on the issue. While the BJP stirred the row by promising the same in its manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly election, the Congress is sharply opposed to it. So where does everyone stand on this issue?

Bharatiya Janata Party:

It's the ruling BJP that kicked off the row when it promised to award the Bharat Ratna to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the Hindutva icon. Soon after its Maharashtra manifesto advocated for that, party chief Amit Shah said in an election rally: "Had it not been for Veer Savarkar, the 1857 'kranti' (revolt) would not have become history and we would have been seeing it from the British point of view."

In a comment that is construed as a backing from the top, Shah claimed that Savarkar has been a victim of "injustice" by the wrong depiction of history. He asked: "How long will you keep criticising the British and the Leftists for injustice to Indian history? Who stopped you from writing history based on truth?"

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS):

The BJP's ideological mentor, the RSS too backed the saffron party's demand for the top honour for the Hindutva icon who has been called a "traitor" by the Congress. Recently, during the poll, when the question on this was specifically asked to top RSS functionary Bhaiyaji Joshi, he replied: "Why Not?" Even, Panchjanya, the RSS mouthpiece, has clamoured for the same.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP):

The VHP, the most influential RSS offshoot, was more vehement in its backing for the top honour for Savarkar. The VHP's national spokesperson Vinod Bansal told IANS: "People have no knowledge the amount of torture Savarkar withstood in jail by the British. What did he do it for? Hindu Rashtra. If he will not be given the Bharat Ratna, then who else?"

Indian National Congress:

But the Congress has been vehement in its opposition. A party that in March 2016, from its official Twitter handle dubbed Savarkar as a "traitor", said the top honour should instead go to Bhagat Singh, another revolutionary. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Manish Tewari wrote: "I would like to draw your kind attention towards the fact that Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev inspired an entire generation of patriots by their unrelenting resistance to British Imperialism and later their supreme sacrifice on the 23rd of March, 1931."

The matter was notched by senior Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah. While speaking at a conference of party workers, he said: "The BJP is planning to confer the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar, who is accused of conspiring to kill Mahatma Gandhi. The BJP might also honour (Nathuram) Godse with the Bharat Ratna award. I don't know what is happening in this country."

Communist Party of India-Marxist:

The left party too was not far behind in its staunch opposition. The latest editorial of the party mouthpiece, People's Democracy, has accused the BJP-RSS of creating myths about Savarkar being a freedom fighter."The BJP's election manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly election proposed that Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the father of the Hindutva concept, be conferred the title of Bharat Ratna. This is part of the ongoing strategy of the BJP-RSS combine to legitimise the Hindutva ideology and to create icons out of rabid communal figures such as Savarkar," it said.

It further went on to state: "None of them could even dream of pleading for mercy and abandoning the struggle... To project Savarkar as a great freedom fighter, when actually he surrendered to the British and spent rest of his life in fomenting Hindu-Muslim discord, is to say the least, a travesty of truth."

Gandhi Clan:

Tushar Gandhi, the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, too came out hard on the BJP's stand on Saturday. Conferring the Bharat Ratna to Savarkar would be an insult to all freedom fighters, claimed Tushar Gandhi. He also raked up the hornets nest by claiming Savarkar was not acquitted by court in Mahatma Gandhi's assassination case due to his innocence but lack of evidence.

Rebellious Congress voices:

In this sharply divided House, there are some aberrations as well that proves to be an embarrassment for the Congress party. After the GOP vehemently opposed the BJP's bid, party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi strayed away from the Congress party line to call him a "nationalist". He in fact, tweeted: "...he was an accomplished man who played a part in our freedom struggle, fight for Dalit rights and went to jail for the country."

If that was not a matter of concern for the Congress, its former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement brought discomfort to the Congress field when it said: "Congress is not against Savarkar, it only opposes his Hindutva ideology."Savarkar still remains a sharply divisive character, even after so many years of independence. And now the issue of conferring him the Bharat Ratna by the BJP government has divided the political reaction as sharply.


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भारत डिफेंस कवच की नई हिन्दी पत्रिका ‘डिफेंस मॉनिटर’ का ताजा अंक ऊपर दर्शाया गया है। इसके पहले दस पन्ने आप मुफ्त देख सकते हैं। पूरी पत्रिका पढ़ने के लिए कुछ राशि का भुगतान करना होता है। पुराने अंक आप पूरी तरह फ्री पढ़ सकते हैं। पत्रिका के अंकों पर क्लिक करें और देखें। -संपादक

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