You are here
Home > All Newspaper Editorials UPSC IAS > The Hindu Editorials > An impending turn: On BJP’s Savarkar campaign

An impending turn: On BJP’s Savarkar campaign



October 19, 2019 00:15 IST

Updated:


October 19, 2019 00:08 IST



October 19, 2019 00:15 IST

Updated:


October 19, 2019 00:08 IST


more-in

The BJP should not pick particular strands of historical icons for political purposes

The BJP manifesto for the Maharashtra Assembly election promises to grow the size of the State’s economy to $1 trillion, and create one crore jobs in the next five years and provide houses for all by 2022 if elected to power. The manifesto received instant national attention, not for these promises on the economy, but for the promise of a Bharat Ratna to Veer Savarkar, a founding ideologue of Hindutva. The BJP also plans to confer the Bharat Ratna on Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule, the 19th century social reformer couple who pioneered lower caste resistance to caste oppression and championed women’s education and empowerment. All three are iconic figures of the State and played a notable role in the shaping of modern India. Unlike its stated plans for the economy, the BJP has been remarkably true to its words on cultural and political questions. So it is to be expected that the three figures will indeed be awarded the country’s highest civilian honour soon, though that is not a decision in the domain of the Maharashtra government. Conferring national honours on historical figures decades after their death is always controversial. However, the BJP believes that amending the history of the country is essential for rebuilding it into a Hindu nation and repeated revisiting of the national roll of honour is an exercise in that direction. It is neither surprising nor out of character for the BJP that it seeks to valorise Savarkar, who theorised the essentials of a Hindu nation.

The BJP has been deft at selectively appropriating different strands of historical and cultural icons. Phule was disapproving of Hindu scriptures and Savarkar was fiercely critical of cow protection campaigns — facts that have been masked in discussions on them. Gandhi is being celebrated by the government and the BJP for his cleanliness campaign without any mention of the fundamental tenet of his life — Hindu-Muslim unity. Savarkar was a freedom fighter, but the India that he dreamed of was diametrically opposite to the vision shared by Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Savarkar stridently opposed Gandhi and his principles, and Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was associated with him. Savarkar was acquitted after trial in the Gandhi assassination case. A Bharat Ratna for Savarkar alongside celebrations to mark the 150th year of Gandhi’s birth will not merely be an affront on the latter’s legacy but also a statement that India has decisively shifted from the Gandhian vision of nationhood to Savarkar’s vision. The RSS chief recently said that while Sangh Parivar continuously adapted to emerging challenges, the only unchanging tenet of its existence is the idea that India is a Hindu nation. The plans to confer the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar is a definitive step in the direction of declaring India so. The BJP should not push India towards taking an irreversible turn in the guise of celebrating socio-cultural icons.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY NEWSLETTER

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not ‘the’, n is not ‘and’).
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Oct 19, 2019 3:11:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/an-impending-turn/article29738482.ece

© THG PUBLISHING PVT LTD.

Top
error: Content is protected !!