On VD Savarkar's 133rd birth anniversary, here are some facts one must know about him.
1. It was VD Savarkar who coined the term 'Hindutva' in 1923. The Bhartiya Janta Party adopted it as its official ideology in 1989.
"Our Mohammedan or Christian countrymen... are not and cannot be recognised as Hindus. For, though Hindustan to them is fatherland as to any other Hindu, yet it is not to them a holy land, too. Their holy land is far off in Arabia or Palestine," he wrote, in Essentials of Hindutva, under the pseudonym of A Maratha, quoted The Week.
2. Role in Gandhi's murder:
Though the court let him off, it was "only because the charges were not corroborated. Kapoor commission pointed out that Savarkar was a part of the conspiracy while Sardar Patel also said similar thing in his letter", writesRam Puniyani, All-India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism. In 2006, Puniyani was also awarded the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration.
3. While in jail for his revolutionary activities, from 1911 to 1924, Savarkar wrote numerous mercy petitions to the British government.
Shamsul Islam, historian and former professor at Delhi University, writes in his book Hindutva: Savarkar Unmasked: "Savarkar's nine years and ten months in the Cellular Jail did not enhance or deepen his anti-imperialistic inclinations. In fact, it ended it. The conditions in jail were indeed inhuman, but hardly any other freedom fighter in the Cellular Jail surrendered or submitted to the British [like Savarkar did]."
Excerpt from the letter
"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......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."
Click here for full letter: The Week
4. Serving as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, Savarkar endorsed the ideal that India is a Hindu Rashtra and opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942.
5. Port Blair airport is named after VD Savarkar as he served a long term in the notorious Cellular Jail, also know as Kaala Paani, in the Andamans.