Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Savarkar's Apology Letter ....


Content and Analysis Petition from V D Savarkar (Convict No. 32778) to the Home Member of the Government of India, dated November 14, 1913. I beg to submit the following points for your kind consideration:

(1) When I came here in 1911 June, I was along with the rest of the convicts of my party taken to the office of the Chief Commissioner. There I was classed as "D" meaning dangerous prisoner; the rest of the convicts were not classed as "D". Then I had to pass full 6 months in solitary confinement. The other convicts had not. During that time I was put on the coir pounding though my hands were bleeding. Then I was put on the oil-mill - the hardest labour in the jail. Although my conduct during all the time was exceptionally good still at the end of these six months I was not sent out of the jail; though the other convicts who came with me were. From that time to this day I have tried to keep my behaviour as good as possible.

(2) When I petitioned for promotion I was told I was a special class prisoner and so could not be promoted. When any of us asked for better food or any special treatment we were told "You are only ordinary convicts and must eat what the rest do". Thus Sir, Your Honour would see that only for special disadvantages we are classed as special prisoners.

(3) When the majority of the casemen were sent outside I requested for my release. But, although I had been cased (caned?) hardly twice or thrice and some of those who were released, for a dozen and more times, still I was not released with them because I was their casemen. But when after all, the order for my release was given and when just then some of the political prisoners outside were brought into the troubles I was locked in with them because I was their casemen.

(4) If I was in Indian jails I would have by this time earned much remission, could have sent more letters home, got visits. If I was a transportee pure and simple I would have by this time been released, from this jail and would have been looking forward for ticket-leave, etc. But as it is, I have neither the advantages of the Indian jail nor of this convict colony regulation; though had to undergo the disadvanatges of both.

(5) Therefore will your honour be pleased to put an end to this anomalous situation in which I have been placed, by either sending me to Indian jails or by treating me as a transportee just like any other prisoner. I am not asking for any preferential treatment, though I believe as a political prisoner even that could have been expected in any civilized administration in the Independent nations of the world; but only for the concessions and favour that are shown even to the most depraved of convicts and habitual criminals? This present plan of shutting me up in this jail permanently makes me quite hopeless of any possibility of sustaining life and hope. For those who are term convicts the thing is different, but Sir, I have 50 years staring me in the face! How can I pull up moral energy enough to pass them in close confinement when even those concessions which the vilest of convicts can claim to smoothen their life are denied to me? Either please to send me to Indian jail for there I would earn (a) remission; (b) would have a visit from my people come every four months for those who had unfortunately been in jail know what a blessing it is to have a sight of one’s nearest and dearest every now and then! (c) and above all a moral - though not a legal - right of being entitled to release in 14 years; (d) also more letters and other little advantages. Or if I cannot be sent to India I should be released and sent outside with a hope, like any other convicts, to visits after 5 years, getting my ticket leave and calling over my family here. If this is granted then only one grievance remains and that is that I should be held responsible only for my own faults and not of others. It is a pity that I have to ask for this - it is such a fundamental right of every human being! For as there are on the one hand, some 20 political prisoners - young, active and restless, and on the other the regulations of a convict colony, by the very nature of them reducing the liberties of thought and expression to lowest minimum possible; it is but inevitable that every now and then some one of them will be found to have contravened a regulation or two and if all be held responsible for that, as now it is actually done - very little chance of being left outside remains for me.In the end may I remind your honour to be so good as to go through the petition for clemency, that I had sent in 1911, and to sanction it for being forwarded to the Indian Government? The latest development of the Indian politics and the conciliating policy of the government have thrown open the constitutional line once more. Now no man having the good of India and Humanity at heart will blindly step on the thorny paths which in the excited and hopeless situation of India in 1906-1907 beguiled us from the path of peace and progress. Therefore if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress. As long as we are in jails there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s loyal subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we be released the people will instinctively raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge. Moreover my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be. By keeping me in jail nothing can be got in comparison to what would be otherwise. The Mighty alone can afford to be merciful and therefore where else can the prodigal son return but to the parental doors of the government? Hoping your Honour will kindly take into notion these points.

ANALYSIS: The authenticity of the above letter has been established time and again by eminent historians of India chief amongst them ironically is Mr.R. C. Mujumdar who himself belongs to the hindutva camp.Yet many of the Savarkar supporters are in a denial mode.Even then after this the psyche of Savarkar behind writing this letter (and 3 others) began to be probed into.
The common defense that comes in the support of Mr Savarkar is that he wrote the letters to trick the british Govt into setting him free so that once he comes out he could do his work again.So much strong is the argument that Savarkar's this letter is even compared to the letters written by Shivaji Maharaj to Aurangazeb while the former was in captive at Agra. This argument I suspect should have come from the RSS as they idolize Savarkar.But is there even a grain of truth in it?I say not.
If we see the mercy plea carefully we will find that in the first half Savarkar writes about the bitter treatment and complains about the food.This is hardly going to hurt hurt the british empire anyway.The sole purpose for including those things is for a better life for himself.
Even if the argument in the second part is to be believed that Savarkar wanted to trick the British Govt, one can say that he succeeded, though not immediately.Savarkar was sentenced to 50 yrs but was released in 14 yrs.
What the Hindutva camp do not say out in loud is that even congress member and Sardar Patels brother Vitthalbhai Patel backed by Mahatma Gandhi moved to court seek Savarkars release in 1920. Was it due to his letters or congress effort or change of heart of the British Savarkar was released in 1924.What is interesting to note is Savarkars behavior after his release.

For that read the Paragraph again "...

Therefore if the government in their manifold beneficence and mercy release me, I for one cannot but be the staunchest advocate of constitutional progress and loyalty to the English government which is the foremost condition of that progress. As long as we are in jails there cannot be real happiness and joy in hundreds and thousands of homes of His Majesty’s loyal subjects in India, for blood is thicker than water; but if we be released the people will instinctively raise a shout of joy and gratitude to the government, who knows how to forgive and correct, more than how to chastise and avenge. Moreover my conversion to the constitutional line would bring back all those misled young men in India and abroad who were once looking up to me as their guide. I am ready to serve the government in any capacity they like, for as my conversion is conscientious so I hope my future conduct would be...

." Savarkar promised that he would never go against the british govt and that he would bring back the "young men misled on the path of freedom" back on the track.If we examine the works of Savarkar after his release we find that he did exactly what he promised.
 For some reasons best known to Savarkar himself, he suddenly had no objections to the British ruling India.He became an law-abiding citizen of the British India.He gave up his freedom struggle activities and started his Hindutva campaign.There is not a single speech, single article, single call to the nations by Savarkar after 1924 in which Savarkar critisized the British.He neither joined Congress which was working for the freedom of the country from the british rule nor did he start any political body of his own supporting that cause. All his guns which were first pointed towards the British now were trained at the Muslims.Some of the quote of his would be sufficient for stating how he was creating communal tension in the times when hindu muslim unity was the need of the hour.

“The scandalous activities of Bengal Moslem gundas and proselytisers, working hand in hand have become so persistent and so notorious that one cannot understand how the Hindus in East Bengal have grown so incredibly emasculated” ; “The Moslem shopkeepers, those who visit Hindu ladies for selling glass bangles, Moslem servants in Hindu houses – all try to seduce or kidnap boys and girls and generally force them to accept Mahommedanism”[V. D. SAVARKAR, “Facts Without Comment”, Pg 180.]

This is not the only thing.He promised full co-operation to the Britishers.In 1937 he urged all the hindus to help the britishers in the war under the pretext of getting trained in arms and ammunitions so that it can be used latter.Could there have been any better opportunity of using the training than assisting Subhash Chandra Bose?But did Savarkar ever make any call to his hindu youths to join Subhash Babu??Nay...Infact so active was Savarkar in assiting the British army that because of his zeal many congress people even called him as the recruiting officer of the british army. That Savarkar did not participate in any freedom struggle activities post his cellular jail is an established fact...as promised in the letter. That Savarkar opposed congress and Gandhiji(who backed his release from cellular jail) is an established fact.... as promised in the letter That Savarkar diverted lacks of hindus youths from the path of freedom struggle to his Hindutva is an established fact...as promised in the letter. That Savarkar helped the britishers is an established fact...again as promised in the letter. Savarkar staunchly advocated the two-nation theory and the partition of India. He said: “I have no quarrel with Mr. Jinnah’s two-nation theory. We, Hindus are a nation by ourselves and it is a historical fact that Hindus and Muslims are two nations”[V.D. SAVARKAR, Hindutva, 140.] A.G.Noorani notes that Savarkar propounded the two-nation theory first in 1923 in his Hindutva and next in 1937 in his presidential address to the Hindu Mahasabha In his early days when he wrote "The war of Independence 1857" written in 1909 he stresses on Hindu-Muslim unity appreciating even the muslims for their role,criticizing the British Govt.But post his Andaman Days his hindu muslim unity goes out of the windown and he says "Muslim remains a Muslim first and Muslim last and Indians never" [V.D.SAVARKAR, Hindu Sanghatan, 68] A lot more of his quotes can be brought out but that would be unecessary.I am sure readers would have formed their opinion by now.Is there any truth in the claim that Savarkar had begged for his freedom only to fool the British?To me his actions doesnt say so... One last thing that needs to be said is about the comparison of Savarkar to Shivaji Maharaj.If Shivaji Maharaj wrote the letters, he on gaining the freedom from the Emperor faught back, but Savarkar when he wrote the letters on gaining freedom chickened out....Thats the difference between Great and Pseudo-Great.What do you think?
KAYARTA KE MAHAN PRATEEK, KAYARON KE KAYAR, MAHA KAYAR, SHRI SHRI KAYAR SAVARKAR.

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