The Truth Behind Veer Savarkar’s Apology

The opponents usually harp on the same string that Veer Savarkar once apologized to the British Government giving an undertaking that he would remain loyal to them till the very last. Other allegations are that he advocated the two-nation theory, vandalized mosques, he was involved in the assassination of Gandhiji and that he condoned untouchability.

‘The Truth always wins’ and/or ‘the truth should get success’ is the slogan of India. However the Communist, Socialist and Congress party members always take to falsehood. In the case of Veer Savarkar, too, the opponents adhere to falsehood. Let us see how they turn down the truth, which is clearly stated in many books.


It is true that Veer Savarkar once apologized the British Government, with words full of prostration. But before apologizing he had convinced the political prisoners in Andaman that cheating the enemy is the real truth, and to achieve that truth one may lie many times. He cited examples of Shivaji the Great, Guru Govindsing and Lord Krishna. Krishna had accepted defeat before Jarasandh and Kala Yavan temporarily, to get full success at the final stage. Guru Govindsinha did the same. Shivaji the Great wrote letters to Mirza Raja Jayasing, Afzalkhan, Aurangjeba and Adilshah, apologizing them with full prostration and promising them to remain loyal till the very last. However, when the situation changed, Shivaji also changed, and he won the race. The same was the plan of Savarkar while writing to the British Government from Andaman. First, many political prisoners opposed Savarkar, but Savarkar could convince them. Savarkar told them that it was of no use to rot in the prison, and therefore to accept any conditions, which are not harmful to our nation and to get released from the jail, after which they would be free to serve the nation again. If we die our own death, we would be supporting the enemy. Enemy wants our energy diminished. With this philosophy, Savarkar always opposed going on fast, which helps the enemy, not us. Accepting Savarkar’s views the political prisoners of the Andaman signed agreement with the British Government to get release from the jail. In fact many prisoners were released from Andaman but not Savarkar brothers, because the British rulers were shrewd enough to understand the plot of Savarkar. However, the modern critics of Savarkar are not that intelligent to recognize what cooked in the mind of Savarkar, the great politician and tactician.

Why Savarkar apologized during 1914, though he was in Andaman since 1911?

The reason is that the war between the Germans and British was imminent then. Since 1907 Savarkar was expecting such an opportunity to win freedom for India. He wrote in the magazine named as ‘Talwar’, the mouthpiece of the Abhinav Bharata, that in recent future there would arise a war between the British and the Germans, and it was a duty of the Indian revolutionaries to grab that golden opportunity, which comes only once in a century. Now the golden opportunity did come, but Savarkar was in a helpless state in Andaman. Unless he got released, anyhow, Savarkar could not have used that opportunity. Therefore, he apologized. It is stated in ‘Mazi Janmathepa’. Why not the critics see this history before talking or writing against Savarkar?

According to another plan of Savarkar, he would have been picked up from Andaman by a German vessel, ‘Emden’, and send him in a German aeroplane to the head quarters of the Gadar Party, or to Burma where he could have done revolutionary work to win freedom for India. But alas Emden was destroyed and the escape of Savarkar could not take place. Thus the German Government struggled for Savarkar’s rescue; but now the Indian nationals are doing wrong propaganda against Savarkar.

savarkar, Fergusson College

Since childhood, Savarkar has stated often that to deceive enemy is the ultimate truth. Accordingly he made petitions and appeals to the British Govt. that he should be released with or without conditions or he be enlisted in the voluntary corps; but could not succeed, because the British authorities knew his intention. By the agreement with the British Govt. almost all the political prisoners were released from Andaman, except
Savarkar brothers. Why the critics do not look at this end result?

Did Savarkar really prostrate before the British? No. When the Home Member, Sir Reginald Craddock visited Savarkar in the Andaman jail, Craddock suggested that if Savarkar used his intellectual powers in proper direction any highest post of authority would have been conferred upon him. Savarkar did not accept that proposal. If he really bent upon apology, he would have accepted the proposal to get released and be posted somewhere high. However, Savarkar refused the opportunity. Craddock suggested him to write a letter of his views to his comrades and lieutenants. Savarkar accepted to write such letters independently; but Craddock insisted that the letter must go through the Government. Savarkar refused that. Can this be held as prostration? Those were only tactics. Had Savarkar been really apologetic, he would have written letters to his revolutionary friends through the Govt. and that action could have proved fatal to those revolutionary friends.

During the period Savarkar begged apologies, thousands of revolutionaries rose against the British Govt. They were arrested and sentenced. Five Hundred revolutionaries were transported to Andaman jail. Prominent among tem was Bhai Paramananda, who was inspired by Savarkar in London. On arrival in the Andaman jail, the revolutionaries told how Savarkar’s sacrifice had a magic effect in changing them overnight into patriots and warriors. Why that magic of Savarkar’s sacrifice does not affect the modern critics? Because these modern critics of Savarkar are not patriots at all, they do not have devotion and dedication to India.

After release from the Andaman, Savarkar was kept in House arrest in Ratnagiri. He was under constant watch of C.I.D. and Police. Whenever any fire broke out anywhere in India, Savarkar’s residence was raided. Surprise raids were common for Savarkar’s house. Could this be the effect of Savarkar’s surrender to British, as is held by the opponents and critics?

In 1934 Savarkar was arrested again in connection with the shots fired at some Military Officer by Shri Wamanrao Chavan. The British Government went on increasing the period of Savarkar’s internment from 1929 to 1937, as it considered him dangerous to the peace in India. The District Magistrate Mr. D. Simington, when asked by the British Govt. to report whether Savarkar’s restrictions be withdrawn partly or wholly, Simington reported that in the then state of politics Savarkar should not be released. Was this the effect of Savarkar’s apology?

In 1934, Mr. R. M. Maxwell, Secretary to the Govt. of Bombay declined Savarkar’s request to go to Bombay. Whenever he was allowed to go out of Ratnagiri, wires were sent to all police head quarters. Every District Magistrate tried his utmost to avoid Savarkar’s presence in his district by complaining to the Home Department that Savarkar’s presence would tremendously increase the work of police. Do all these facts suggest that Savarkar really wanted to prostrate before the British?

The Magistrate also reported to the Government that Savarkar had devoted himself to the removal of untouchability and had accomplished the goal, Savarkar successfully admitted the untouchables to the Patit Pawan Mandir. This was a gentleman’s appreciation of Savarkar’s social work. Savarkar’s foe admitted his greatness in the battle against untouchability while, on the other hand, critics of Savarkar like Udit Raj say that Savarkar condoned untouchability. The critics forget that Savarkar brought the untouchables into the hall of the famous Vithoba Mandir in Ratnagiri, by peaceful means. Orthodoxy collapsed under the precious arguments of Savarkar. This was admitted by the Special Magistrate, who rose after Savarkar’s convincing speech and exclaimed, “ Now who and what remain to be convinced?”. The untouchables entered the Vithoba temple singing Savarkar’s poem “ One God, one goal, one language, one country and one nation.” It was a historic scene, the first of its kind in the history of Hindusthan. The opening ceremony of the Patit Pawan Mandir was grand. Shankaracharya, other Acharyas, pundits and patriots declared Ratnagiri as the place of pilgrimage, the New Kashi of the awakened, purified and unified Hindudom where a scavenger acted as a priest, persons from depressed classes delivered Kathas and Keertans, Mahars read the sacred Geeta, Brahmins garlanded and bowed before those priests, Kathakars etc. Savarkar celebrated the ‘all caste diners’ and himself dined many times with the so called low caste people. The famous social reformer Karmaveer V.R.Shinde rejoiced to see the work and acclaimed Savarkar as the real ‘Patit Pawan’. Shri. P. N. Rajbhoj, a volatile leader of depressed class congratulated Savarkar. Worthy was the glowing tribute and noble appreciation made by Dr. Ambedkar’s ‘Janata’ that Savarkar’s service to remove untouchability was as decisive and great as that of Gautam Buddha. Gandhiji also praised Savarkar for his marvelous work against untouchability. Then how, the critics of Savarkar say that Savarkar condoned untouchability ?

Looking at that great work of Savarkar, a prominent Congressman suggested Savarkar’s name for the Presidentship of the Indian National Congress and wrote that in the event of Savarkar’s absence, his address should be read with installation of Savarkar’s portrait in the Presidential chair. It was even suggested that Savarkar should represent the Congress at the Round Table Conference. Even the Congress honoured Savarkar then, and now why are they opposing the portrait of Savarkar?[Savarkar & His Times by D. Keer, page 194]

Veer Savarkar did not advocate the two-nation theory. On the contrary he unveiled the reality that the Muslims behave in India as a separate nation. Savarkar’s definition of Hindutwa was thus – Any person, who believes that India is his motherland, fatherland and Holy land, be held as a Hindu, irrespective of his caste, creed and religion. Hinduism, according to Savarkar, is only a derivative and a part of Hindutwa. Savarkar realized that Muslims do not honour India as their mother, father or Holy land. They have devotions outside India, eg Mecca and Madina. Savarkar was not the only politician to say that Muslims are separate. Shri Gokhale, the Guru of Gandhiji, held the same opinion. Gokhale G. K. said, ‘ Seventy millions of Mohammedans were more or less hostile to the national aspirations’. Gokhale warned Sarojini Naidu that the Hindu- Muslim unity would never come in their lifetime. Sir Pherozshah Mehta had warned the British Govt. against the unjust Muslim claims. Lala Lajpat Ray had realized the danger of the separatist tendencies of Muslims. Dr. Annie Besant had foretold in her ‘Future of Indian Politics’, in 1922, that the primary allegiance of Muslims was to Islamic countries, not to our motherland. She further warned, “ In thinking of an Independent India, the menace of Muslims has to be considered.” In 1941, Dr. Ambedkar wrote, “ Islam can never allow a true Muslim to adopt India as his motherland and regard a Hindu as his kith and kin”. When so many eminent personalities show the danger of Muslims, why blame only Savarkar, who gave an antidote to Hindus to save themselves from the Muslim menace?

Even today we can see the fact that when Pakistan wins over India any match the Indian Muslims happily celebrate. Indian Muslims exhibited agony over the defeat of Afghanistan and Iraq by America; but never show sympathy when Muslim terrorists massacre Hindus.

Savarkar did vandalize a debilitated Mosque, which was not in use, when he was only eight years old. Therefore he need not be blamed. Savarkar never hated Muslims. In Andaman he taught Muslim prisoners to read and write. Savarkar himself studied and taught Koran to Muslim prisoners. Barrister Asaf Ali and many other Muslims were his best friends. Savarkar told Muslims that he would fight back the freedom and would take help of Muslims if they were willing. If they were not willing, he would fight alone, without their help. But if the Muslims obstruct his way to the freedom, he would achieve it by forcefully displacing them out of his way. Is this wrong in any way?

The critics of Savarkar say that he was involved in the assassination of Gandhiji. This is a totally false allegation. The Congress Govt. brought teeth and nails together to implicate Veer Savarkar in the case of assassination of Gandhiji. However, the Govt. could not bring any evidence against Savarkar to even suggest his involvement. Therefore the Special Judge Shri Atma Charan gave clear judgment, “ There is no reason to suppose that Vinayak Damodar had any hand in what took place at Delhi on 20-1-1948 and 30-1-1948. Savarkar is found not guilty of the offences as specified in the charge and is acquitted.” After this clear judgment, the Govt. did not file any appeal. It means the Indian Government was satisfied with the judgment. From 1948 till 1966, there were clear 18 years for the Govt. to file an appeal; but it did not file. During this time Savarkar was arrested for a few times; but the Govt. could not arrest him on the charge of Gandhikilling. Now, 36 years from the death of Veer Savarkar, why the critics try to introduce the same issue? Does it not amount to the contempt of the Court?

Savarkar is the history of resistance, strife, struggle, sufferings and sacrifices to the utmost level, for the cause of political. social, economic emancipation of India. Savarkar was never tired of sufferings for and services to India. There is no comparison for Savarkar’s sufferings and sacrifices in the world.

Reference: – Dr. P.V. Vartak

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