15 June, 2021

The Germination Of Insecurity

Reading Savarkar, the sourcebook of Hindutva, minus is 'collaborations'

The Germination Of Insecurity
AG. Noorani’s book is primarily a response to the recent heroisation of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar by BJP leaders such as L.K. Advani who declared in May this year that Savarkar and G.S. Hedgewar, the founder of the RSS, "kindled fierce nationalistic spirit that contributed to India’s liberation". This is "a brazen falsehood", says Noorani who dwells at length on the cowardice of the author of The First War of Independence in his fight against the British. Savarkar never dared to use arms himself—he was responsible for the murders of Curzon Wylie and Collector A.M.T. Jackson but ordered some of his disciples to wield the pistol instead of himself. And once convicted of complicity and jailed in the Andamans, he pleaded for clemency in an "abject and demeaning" way.

To my mind, Noorani pays too much attention to Savarkar’s lack of courage in order to expose the shallowness of his nationalistic leanings. He could have highlighted more significant elements, such as his willingness to collaborate with the British in order to exert power at the provincial level—hence...

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