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Is it true that the Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar shared power with the Muslim League? If so, why?

It is true that the Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar’s leadership shared power with the Muslim League in certain provinces. This was in tune with Savarkar’s policy of ‘responsive cooperation’ or saadhyaanukul sahakaarya (Earlier, Lokmanya Tilak had espoused the same policy) In 1943, the Muslim League adopted a confrontationist policy towards the British. As part of this policy, then Chief Minister Fazlul Haq of the Muslim League tendered his resignation. On 11 December 1943, Fazlul Haq approached the Governor and apprised him of his intention to form a new ministry. Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee of the Hindu Mahasabha accepted a cabinet post in the said. In a statement issued in this regard, Dr. Mookerjee said that communal amity and unity was the need of the hour in Bengal. To ensure this, a strong and representative Government having the support of Hindus and Muslims was necessary. Everybody should support the Ministry leaving caste and religious hatred aside, stated Mookerjee. A similar statement was issued by Fazlul Haq. It was Savarkar’s consistent policy to occupy Governmental posts to safeguard Hindu interests. The soundness of this policy was proved on the very next day. Sarat Chandra Bose, younger brother of Subhas Chandra Bose was placed under house arrest by the British for his suspected links with the Japanese. When this issue was raised in the Assembly the next day, Dr. Mookerjee in his maiden speech as Minister gave an assurance that he would make all efforts to secure Bose’s release. In his Presidential speech to the Madhya Pradesh Hindu Parishad on 13 December 1943, Savarkar gave an account of how Fazlul Haq was forced to include Dr. Mookerjee in his Ministry. In pursuance of the same policy, the Hindu mahasabha participated in the Muslim League Ministry in Sind. When the League Ministry in Sind passed a resolution in favour of formation of Pakistan, the lone dissenting voice was that of the Hindu Mahasabha minister (It is noteworthy that the so-called nationalist Muslim Allah Bux who was a Congress member abstained when this resolution was introduced in the Sind Assembly). To summarize, the Hindu Mahasabha under Savarkar occupied positions of power whenever possible not to enjoy power per se but to safeguard Hindu interests. It is noteworthy that Savarkar himself never occupied a position of power. If he had wished, he could have joined the Congress and led a cushy life. He chose to stand up to the dominant line of thinking in the country at the time and speak what was in the best interests of the Hindus.

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