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Indira Gandhi did not share Rahul’s view of ‘India’s remarkable son’

Even though Rahul Gandhi has sparked controversy by deriding freedom fighter Veer Savarkar as “an obedient servant of the British” twice in recent days, the view of his grandmother and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was the opposite. She had, in fact, praised the Hindu ideologue’s “bold rebelliousness of the British”.

Her comments were in response to a letter written by Pandit Bakhle, secretary of the Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Rashtriya Smarak, who made plans for Savarkar’s centennial celebration, in her letter dated 20 May 1980.

Indira Gandhi wrote back to Bakhle and said, “I have received your letter dated May 8, 1980. Veer Savarkar’s daring resistance to the British government has its own significance in the annals of our freedom movement. I wish success in the plans to celebrate the 100th birthday of India’s remarkable son.”

The letter is reposted on Twitter.

CONGRESS AND SAVARKAR

According to media reports, when Savarkar was imprisoned by the British in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 1920, Congress leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Vithalbhai Patel and Bal Gangadhar Tilak demanded his release. Only later did Savarkar become a critic of Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress. He later popularized ‘Hindutva’ as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, of which Nathuram Godse was a member. Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi.

READ ALSO | Maha: Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson joins Rahul in Bharat Jodo Yatra; Congress calls it ‘historic’

The late Congress Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri ordered the payment of a monthly pension to Savarkar.

INDIRA AND SAVARKAR

According to reports, Shashtri’s successor as prime minister, Indira Gandhi, had expressed condolences on Savarkar’s death in 1966.

Indira Gandhi was given a stamp in his honor after his death in 1966. She even got a documentary on Savarkar made through the government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Indira Gandhi even gave a personal grant of Rs 11,000 to the Savarkar memorial in Mumbai.

SONIA AND SAVARKAR

Sonia Gandhi had written to then President APJ Abdul Kalam urging him not to reveal a portrait of Savarkar in the central hall of the parliament.

“It will be a great tragedy if the central hall of the parliament is used to install a portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, who was not only accused in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination case but also supported Jinnah’s two-country theory,” she wrote. .

However, Kalam revealed the portrait.

MANMOHAN SINGH AND SAVARKAR

Another Congress Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, also did not share Rahul Gandhi’s thoughts.

He had even issued a statement in this regard: “We are not against Savarkar ji, but the question is whether we are not in favor of the Hindutva ideology that Savarkar ji was and stood for.”

RAHUL GANDHI AND SAVARKAR

Rahul Gandhi shares his mother Sonia Gandhi’s views and has repeatedly attacked Savarkar.

He took aim at the late Hindutva ideologue on Thursday, claiming he had helped Britain’s rulers and written a petition for mercy out of fear, the remarks sparking criticism and protests.

At a press conference in Wadegaon in Akola district, Gandhi showed documents dated 1920 to media persons, claiming that they contained a letter written by Savarkar to the British.

“I will read the last line, which says ‘I beg you to remain your most obedient servant’ and is signed with VD Savarkar, showing that he has helped the British,” Gandhi said during the media interaction during his Bharat Jodo Yatra who is in the last leg in Maharashtra.

READ ALSO | ‘Non-Issue repeatedly flogged’: Historian Vikram Sampath rails on RaGa for Savarkar comments

He said he believed that Savarkar signed the letter out of fear, thereby betraying Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru and other freedom struggle leaders.

Gandhi, Nehru and Patel spent years in prison, but none of them signed such a letter, he said.

“A copy of this (Savarkar’s) letter should be sent to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat. If (BJP leader) Devendra Fadnavis wants to see it, he can see it too,” Gandhi added.

On Tuesday, at a rally in Washim district as part of the yatra, Gandhi had called Savarkar a symbol of the BJP and the RSS. “He was imprisoned in Andaman for two to three years. He started writing petitions for mercy,” the congressman had said.

Savarkar’s grandson filed a police complaint against Gandhi in Mumbai on Thursday for “insulting” his grandfather.

With PTI inputs

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