Life Story of VEER SAVARKAR Part 6

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  • Part 6 consists of chapters, Writing on the Wall and Fight for United India, both deal with partition and period covered is 1943-45. 
  • Tells how Congress presented plans for partition to get support of the Muslim League and started echoing the Hindu Mahasabha’s views as its own to win the confidence of Hindus.  

Part ONE covered childhood and college, revolutionary activities in London, epic escape & trial, period 1866 to 1911. Part TWO starts with his entry into Cellular Jail, education of fellow prisoners, preventing conversions to Islam, German efforts to rescue him, war against British by 8,000 predominantly Sikh revolutionaries. Lastly, release from jail & return to India. Part THREE covers Savarkar as a social reformer, rationalist & author and end of internment in 1937 with his unconditional release. Part FOUR covers whirlwind propaganda, war and militarization and Hindu Manifesto (includes Hindu Nation, What is Hindutva, Savarkar’s India and description of Flag designed by him). Part FIVE covers Savarkar’s attacks on Gandhi and Jinnah, Cripps Mission and increase in popularity of the Hindu Mahasabha.

 

Content herein is verbatim from book Veer Savarkar’ by well-known biographer Dhananjay Keer. Credits and copyright Popular Prakashan Private Limited. Keer was fortunate to study Savarkar closely and discuss with him his views and work. This has given the book a stamp of authority.

 

Writing on the Wall                                                   

Pro-Pakistani Hindus tried to capture the Hindu Mahasabha and make it accept the Pakistan scheme so that it could be handmaid of the Congress. In order to ward off that danger Savarkar decided not to resign from but contest its president ship in 1942. He also said then that he was against self-determination but not provincial re-distribution. Further added that Pakistan would be militarily dangerous and hence it would be suicidal to hand over the frontiers to a hostile group. The Pakistani Muslim would pounce upon the neighboring Hindu territory with fire fanaticism. During his presidential address Savarkar said that banishing untouchability was to win a major war for the nation.

After the failure of the Quit India Movement (Jai Prakash Narayan ascribed it to the absence of efficient organization of the national revolutionary forces) Gandhi was arrested. To secure his own release Gandhi went on a 21 day fast. While the Mahasabha prayed for his wellbeing they warned that the fast not be exploited for bringing about constitutional changes to end the deadlock. Savarkar correctly sensed that if done it would threaten the integrity of India. This was a historic reading of Gandhi’s mind. A year later India was stunned when Rajaji came out his formula and declared that Gandhi had fathered it during his fast. Resignations in the Executive Council did cheer Gandhi a bit.

Just then the Muslim League was pushing the Pakistan proposal ahead. Its Sind League Ministry passed the Pakistan resolution. The writing was on the wall. The Liberals sought Savarkar’s help to speak to the Viceroy on Gandhi’s release.

However, Savarkar could not attend their conference the next day due to a toothache and a previous meeting with William Phillips, President Roosevelt’s personal envoy. The interview was on a wide range of topics from the situation in India to future relations between India and the U.S.  Meanwhile the Liberals issued a statement that Savarkar had signed an appeal for Gandhi’s release, which he contradicted later.

On May 28, 1943 Savarkar’s 60th birthday was celebrated with lots of enthusiasm. At Pune he was presented with a purse of Rs 1.25 lakhs. At Mumbai, Amaravati, Nagpur, Ahmedabad he was felicitated too. Except Tilak no leader was similarly honored in Maharashtra. Also services of no Indian leader except Gandhi were publicly appreciated on such a large scale earlier.

About this time Jinnah desired to capture power in the Muslim majority provinces. So he sought the cooperation of the Hindu ministers. While the Congress wanted these ministers to resign the Hindu Mahasabha said do not. So Dr Wadhwani refused to resign from the Sind Cabinet but form Coalitions without committing themselves to anything detrimental to the integrity of India. Jinnah now expressed a desire to meet Savarkar. Who should come to meet whom became a tussle so both leaders agreed to meet at Dr Wadhawani’s room in Majestic Hotel, Bombay.

Meanwhile Jinnah had seen the Viceroy and secured his approval for the formation of Coalition government. He had given up his demand for 50 % representation in Ministries but agreed to form them on population basis as suggested by Savarkar. Jinnah kept on delaying meeting Savarkar.

Savarkar resigned from the Sabha in July 1943 but his resignation was not accepted. Long before Savarkar had warned Assam Hindus of the impending danger from Muslims moving into Assam in large numbers. In June 1943, the Sind government had banned Chapter XIV of Swami Dayanand Saraswati’s magna opus Satyarth Prakash. While the Congress kept quiet, Savarkar appealed to the Viceroy.

Then came the famine of Bengal. The Muslims tried to utilize the time to convert starving women and children. Savarkar attacked these nefarious designs of the Muslims and urged Hindu leaders and organizations to come forward and help. Said the official Vatican Organ around that time “The Christian light shines already in the subcontinent of India. We hope it will blaze someday in great splendor”. Savarkar criticized the Vatican.

He attended the celebrations second millennium celebrations of Vikramaditya the Great. Come December he was elected the president of the Hindu Mahasabha for the 7th time.

In March 1944, Congressmen fresh out of jail began to realize the frustration of their boycott of the Central Assembly. They joined the assembly and outvoted the Finance Bill in collaboration with the Muslim League. The League used this to browbeat the Viceroy. Sensing the League game plan, the Sabha MLA’s did not support this unholy alliance. The Congress criticized the Sabha but its stand was vindicated with a vengeance by the disclosure of the Bhulabhai-Liaqat Ali Khan pact which was mooted by this alliance.

In June 1944 Savarkar again had an interview, with the personal representative of the American President Roosevelt, on the future of Indo U.S. relations. By now Bose’s I.N.A. had made some progress. In this message on June 25, 1944, at night on Singapore Radio Netaji Bose said that it is heartening to note know that Savarkar is exhorting the youth of India to enlist in the Armed Forces. 

Fight for a United India                                

Rajaji had by now released to the press his correspondence with Jinnah on the offer that was fathered by Gandhi during his jail stay. Rajaji said, “I stand for Pakistan because I do not want that State where Hindus and Muslims are not honored. Let the Muslims have Pakistan. If we agree our country will be saved. Gandhi approved of my proposals and authorized me to approach you (Jinnah) on that basis.”

Jinnah said, “Gandhi is offering a shadow, a husk, a maimed, mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan and thus trying to pass off as having met the Muslim demand”. All this happened in April 1943.

Rajaji’s new offer had these terms. That the Muslim League should endorse the Indian demand for independence, co-operate with the Congress in the formation of a provincial Interim government and conceded that if the Muslim majority provinces of the West and East decided a plebiscite in favor an independent State the decision should be given effect to, a mutual agreement should be entered into for safeguarding defense, commerce and communication. In the meantime Gandhi asked Jinnah for an interview – 1944.

Savarkar disagreed with these proposals; his views were much sought after by the American papers. Meetings supporting Rajaji’s proposals were disrupted. Gandhi was greeted with black flags enroute from Wardha to Mumbai. 

Gandhi Jinnah talks lasted for about three weeks in September 1944, the underlying theme being that the British government should be ousted first and then the right of self-determination be given to the Muslims. Jinnah wanted settlement between Hindus and Muslims to be made first.

Gandhi said, “The League will, however, be free to remain out of any direct action to which the Congress may resort and in which the League may not be willing to participate”. Thus the Muslim participation in the freedom struggle was not guaranteed but the partition of India was.

Gandhi paid 19 visits to Jinnah’s house without success. Savarkar’s mind was torn with anxiety, his anguish imaginable. As a mark of protest Savarkar organized the Akhand Hindustan Leaders Conference in October 1944. It was attended by Master Tara Singh, Sri Shankaracharya of Puri amongst others. It was the greatest demonstration of the nationalist opposition to the scheme of Pakistan during that period.

1945 was a turning point in Savarkar’s life in many respects. His health broke down and his elder brother Babarao Savarkar passed away.

In early 1945, Bhulabhai Desai, with the approval of Gandhi, came out with a formula that was worse than Rajaji’s. The Congress agreed to a 50-50 Hindu Muslim representation Muslims. The parity of the Congress and League was now a reality. The British welcomed the proposal while Savarkar opposed it.

Lord Wavell returned from London with a Wavell Plan. The Plan was to form a new Executive Council with him with equal representation of caste-Hindus and Muslims. There was no reference to the Indian States, not to speak of Indian Independence. The Plan, however, presupposed full cooperation against Japan by the leaders. Quit India prisoners were released to take part in the Simla Conference. The Congress leaders were now ready to fight for British imperialism against the Japanese aggression and even Bose’s I.N.A. declared Nehru. A conference was held at Simla where the Mahasabha was not invited but all other parties were invited. It failed but increased the stature of Jinnah and the League. Political parity now got transformed into communal parity.

Countrywide protests by the Mahasabha and others kept growing daily. The Mahasabha intended to launch direct action but unfortunately Dr S.P. Mookerjee was not backed in turning the boiling opposition to good account and in launching any direct action in defense of democracy and Hindus. Had the Mahasabha done this it would rise in the eyes of the public.

It must be admitted that Savarkar failed in his promise to resort to direct action at the opportune time. It was here that the rudder of the ship of the Mahasabha broke down and it was swept along with the new captain into the trough of the popular estimation in the election held thereafter.

During this period the Labor won a landslide victory in the British elections, around then the Japanese sunk under the atomic bomb attack. The government announced General Elections in September 1945 to test the strength of political parties, to hammer out a constitution.

The Congress plunged into the elections head-on; the League said Pakistan or Perish. The Mahasabha campaign was low key due to lack of funds, more importantly it missed the dynamic leadership of Savarkar, for he was unwell and made no move. There was no organizer to build up and consolidate the party. Nor did he show any anxiety about it. Also the Congress changed its strategy. Patel inspired confidence in the Hindu electorates by his anti-Pakistan outbursts and anti-League speeches. Congress was gaining and the Mahasabha loosing. 

The most unfortunate aspect of this election for the Mahasabha was that its President Dr Mookherjee lost his grit and confidence in the nick of time. There was a sudden break down in his health. Patel and Nehru who had never inquired about Savarkar’s health, now, rushed to the side of Dr Mookherjee and inquired about his health. He withdrew his candidature and gave up the struggle even before he joined it. When the trials of Bose’s I.N.A. men came up, the Congress which had earlier condemned the I.N.A. as rice soldiers took their side and stole a march over the Hindu Mahasabha to their advantage.

So during the 1945 elections the Congress changed its positioning with the Indian public, echoing the Hindu Mahasabha’s views as its own, did not want competition for the Hindu vote. The interest by the Congress in the IN.A. Trials too were guided by the forthcoming elections. The Hindu Mahasabha was now wiped out from the political landscape of India; the Congress met its waterloo in the fields held by Muslim candidates. The victory of the Pakistani forces was complete.

During this election the Hindu Mahasabha was the only Hindu organization that stood by its pledges to the Hindu nation. Meanwhile Savarkar’s health deteriorated further, he was moved to Walchandnagar on 1/1/1946. He had a severe heart attack on 20/01/1946. Dr Sathe and close anxious attention of Gulabchand Hirachand helped his speedy recovery.

Next chapter is ‘From Parity to Pakistan’.

If you wish to read the above chapters in more detail chapter-wise links are below.

Also read

1 Savarkar the man and mission beyond mercy petitions

2 Do not malign Savarkar for petty political gains

3 Hindu Pad-Padashahi

4 The Writing on the Wall

5 Fight for a United India 


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