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Savarkar’s views on Hindu-Muslim relations

Savarkar’s views on Hindu-Muslim relations

Savarkar’s views on Hindu-Muslim relations are a result of his study of Islamic scriptures, a deep insight into historical events, assessment of ground realities and an uncanny ability to visualize the future. These views may be summarized as follows:

Savarkar did not despise Muslims per se. In his book describing harsh prison life – My Transportation for Life, Savarkar stated in 1923, “I have no hatred in my heart for Muslim or Christian brothers or even for those living in tribes in primitive state. I do not even despise any of them. I oppose only that section of it vehemently which is oppressive and violent towards others.”

Savarkar correctly diagnosed that changing demography of the nation over centuries had led to contemporary problems. Savarkar characterized the religious aggression of the Muslims to be more dangerous than an armed invasion. Dwelling on this issue in his ‘Six Glorious Epochs of Indian History’ , Savarkar said that Islamic theocracy had claimed twenty to thirty million Hindus over a thousand years. Since then, small and large “Islamic lands” arose in every village, town and province in India. Thus the Partition of Hindusthan into a Hindu half and a Muslim half had started covertly at that time. Savarkar dubbed these small and large Muslim lands as time bombs planted in the body politic of Hindusthan. Savarkar rues that the Hindu rulers, common folk and historians of that day failed to realize the significance of these developments. Savarkar notes that the Marathas did not launch a religious counter-assault (meaning bring about widespread re-conversion) despite having the opportunity and strength

Savarkar was acutely aware of the pan-Islamist, trans-national mindset of Muslims. In his Presidential address to the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Karnavati, 1937, he observed, “A Mohammedan is often found to cherish an extra-territorial allegiance, is moved more by events in Palestine than what concerns India as a Nation, worries himself more about the well-being of Arabs than the well-being of his Hindu neighbours and countrymen in India…”

Savarkar disagreed with the superstition that the Muslim problem was a result of the so-called British policy of ‘Divide and Rule’. Savarkar said, The Congress always used to fancy that the Moslems, if left to themselves would never have indulged in any anti-national, ulterior, anti-Hindu designs. The Moslems -including Messers. Jinnah, Huq and Hayat Khan- were very simple-minded folk incapable of any political subterfuges and as devotees of Islam -peace and goodwill, had no aggressive political aims of their own against the Hindus. Nay, even the Frontier tribes, the ‘brave brothers Moplas’, the Moslem populations in Bengal or Sindh who indulge in such horrible outrages against Hindus have no taste for it at all, nursed within themselves – but were almost compelled to rise and revolt against the Hindus by ‘the third party’ the Britishers. When the British did not step in, we Hindus and Moslems lived together in perfect amity and brotherly concord and Hindu-Moslem riots was a thing simply unheard of. Thousands of Congressite Hindus are observed to have been duped in to this silliest of political superstitions. As if Mahamed Kasim, Gazanis, Ghoris, Allaudins, Aurangzebs were all instigated by the British, by this third party, to invade and lay waste Hindu India with a mad fanatical fury. As if the history of the last ten centuries of perpetual war between the Hindus and Moslems was an interpolation and a myth. As if the Alis or Mr. Jinnah or Sir Sikandar were mere school children to be spoiled with the offer of sugar pills by the British vagabonds in the class and persuaded to throw stones at the house of their neighbours. They say, ‘before the British came, Hindu-Moslem riots were a thing unheard of.’ Yes, but because instead of riots, Hindu-Muslim wars were the order of the day (Presidential address to the 21st session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Kolkata, 1939).

When Gandhi declared Hindu-Muslim unity to be more important than Swaraj itself and started granting ever-increasing concessions to the Muslims, Savarkar observed, When will our unity-hankers understand that the real question at the root of this Moslem displeasure is not a word here or a song there! We would have sacrificed a dozen songs or a hundred words of our own free will if thereby we could really contribute to the unity and solidarity of Hindusthan. But we know the question is not so simple as that. It is the strife of different cultures and races and nations and these trifles are but the passing and outward symptoms of this malady deep seated in the Moslem mind. They want to brand the forehead of Hindudom and other non-Moslem sections in Hindusthan with the stamp of self-humiliation and Moslem domination and we Hindus are not going to tolerate it any longer not only in the interests of Hindudom alone but even in the interest of Indian nation as well…Let the Hindus realize that the real cause of this mischief is nothing else but the hankering of the Hindus after the Willow-the Wisp of a Hindu-Moslem unity. The day we gave the Mohammedans to understand that Swaraj could not be won unless and until the Mohammedans obliged the Hindus by making a common cause with them, that day we rendered an honourable unity impossible. When an overwhelming majority in a country goes on its knees before a minority so antagonistic as the Mohammedans, imploring them to lend a helping hand and assures it that otherwise the major community is doomed to death, it would be a wonder if a minor community does not sell their assistance to the highest bidder possible, does not hasten the doom of the major community and aim to establish their own political suzerainty in the land

(ibid, Karnavati, 1937).

Savarkar had prophesized that the Muslim problem would remain in independent India. He said,

We must watch (the Moslem minority) in all its actions with the greatest distrust possible. Granting them on the one hand every equitable treatment which an Indian citizen can claim on an equality of footing with another, we must sternly refuse them any the least preferential treatment in any sphere of life – religious, cultural or political. Not only while we are engaged in our struggle for liberating India but even after India is free we must look upon them as suspicious friends and take great care to see that the Northern Frontiers of India are well guarded by staunch and powerful Hindu forces to avoid the possible danger of the Indian Moslems going over to the alien Moslem nations across the Indus and betraying our Hindusthan to our non-Hindu foes

(Presidential address to the 20th session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Nagpur, 1938).

To Hindus, Savarkar’s advice was as follows,

” It is not want of resources, Oh Hindus, which forces you to be so helpless and hopeless but it is the want of practical insight in political realities to know your resources; and the tact to use them. You have lost the political eye altogether

(ibid, Kolkata, 1939)

” The belief in absolute non-violence condemning all armed resistance even to aggression evinces no mahatmic saintliness but a monomaniacal senselessness!…I want all Hindus to get themselves re-animated and re-born into a martial race. Manu and Shri Krishna are our law-givers and Shri Rama the Commander of our forces. Let us re-learn the manly lessons they taught us and our Hindu Nation shall prove again as unconquerable and conquering a race as we proved once when they led us: conquering those who dared to be aggressive against us and refraining ourselves, not out of weakness but out of magnanimity, from any unjustifiable designs of aggression against the unoffending ”

(Presidential address to the 22nd session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Madura, 1940).

In his Presidential address to the 19th session of the Hindu Mahasabha, Karnavati, 1937, Savarkar laid down the Hindu formula for Hindu-Moslem unity thus – “ if you come, with you; if you don’t without you; and if you oppose, in spite of you – the Hindus will continue to fight for their National Freedom as best as they can ! ”


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