New Delhi: Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, also known to many as Veer Savarkar, filed mercy petition with the British regime during his imprisonment in Andaman jail on the suggestion of Mahatma Gandhi, but people who follow the Marxist and Leninist ideology are the ones who accuse him of being a fascist, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.
While speaking at an event to release a book on Savarkar, Singh described him as a “national icon” and said he gave the country a “robust defence and diplomatic doctrine”.
“Lies were spread about Savarkar repeatedly. It was spread that he filed many mercy petitions for seeking his release from jails. It was Mahatma Gandhi who asked him to file the mercy petitions,” the Defence Minister said.
“He was an icon of the Indian history and will remain so. There can be a difference of opinion about him, but to look down on him as inferior is not appropriate and justifiable. He was a freedom fighter and a staunch nationalist, but people who follow the Marxist and Leninist ideology are the ones who accuse Savarkar of being a fascist,” Singh said, adding that the hatred towards Savarkar is illogical and unplaced.
Singh further hailed the Hindutva icon and said that Savarkar was a freedom fighter and his commitment for freedom was so strong that the British sentenced him to life imprisonment twice.
Discussing Savarkar’s concept of Hindutva, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said the word ‘Hindu’ for him was not associated with any religion and it was linked to India’s geographical and political identity. For Savarkar, Hindutva was associated with cultural nationalism, he added.
Singh also said that Savarkar was forthright in saying that India’s relations with other countries should depend on how conducive those ties are to India’s security and its interests, irrespective of the kind of government in those countries.
The book – Veer Savarkar: The Man Who Could Have Prevented Partition — has been authored by Uday Mahurkar and Chirayu Pandit and published by Rupa publications.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat, who was also present at the event, too echoed similar sentiments about Savarkar.
Bhagwat said his ideology of Hindutva never suggested to differentiate between people on the basis of their culture and methodology of worshipping the god.
Underlining that Savarkar was not an enemy of the Muslims, Bhagwat said he had written many ghazals in Urdu.
(With inputs from PTI.)